"My Utmost for His highest"

by oswald  chambers

It's NH's 2024 daily devotional reading.

"My Utmost" is one of the most famous devotional books in history.  It's a treasure trove of insights, perspectives and challenges for growing big faith.

"My Utmost" doesn't replace daily Bible reading.  Instead, it compliments our daily Bible reading plan with personal instrospection.   

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Or scoll down for Pastor Mark's daily Oswald insights.

Holy Spirit, please speak to our head, hearts and hands.  Please make us more like Jesus.





1. “If you don't cut the lines that tie you to the dock, God will have to use a storm to sever them and send you out to sea.”


This is a powerful metaphor. Boats are not made to stay tethered in the harbor. They are made for the great adventure of wind, waves and sea.


So, too, with our God-walk. We may have come to Christ in the softness of our childhood or youth, protected by parents and others. But we’re made to be those who leave the confines of spiritual infancy and set out into the great depths of God.


Just as the sea beckons to the sailor, the Spirit of God beckons to the souls of men and women. “Come out of the harbor into the deeper waters.” Yet if we’re unwilling, God will see that life experiences take us there. Only then can we truly discover our capacities in Christ.


What ties to the dock remain in our life? Shall we lose them and entrust ourselves to the Wind of God?


Heavenly Father, perhaps it's naivete that keeps us tethered to the dock. If so, may we hear Your beckoning and set sail. Please deal kindly with our timidity in cutting the cords and launching out into the deep with You. Thank You for spurring us onward. Take us out to sea, O God.



2. “Put everything in your life afloat upon God, going out to sea on the great swelling tide of His purpose.”


Oswald continues with his metaphor of going out to sea. He's calling us to recognize that following God is an all-or-nothing proposition. We can’t go further with God until both feet are in the boat.


When I leave the house for long trip, I run through my mind again and again ensuring I have everything I need for the journey. Because once I leave, there's no going back.


So it is as we walk with our God. We must determine to be all in if we’re going to live into the purposes of God. We’re disassociating ourselves from our old life as we launch into the new.


Over time we’re learning we can trust God and take Him at His Word. If He says He’ll supply our need, He will. If he says He’ll go before us, He will. If He promises to keep us, He will.


Is there any vestige of our old life remaining beneath the deck, stowed in the hull of our new life? If so, let's throw it ashore and cast off into the glorious purposes of God.


Heavenly Father, perhaps it intimidates us to entrust everything to You. Thank you for developing our faith step-by-step. As You bring things to mind today, help us entrust them to Your care. Please do what You must in us and take us out to sea.



3. “When you know You should do something and you do it, immediately you know more.”


This has certainly been my experienced in Christ. When the Spirit nudges and I obey, I'm taken to a different place. It's a place of joy and affirmation as I respond to God.


“Immediately you know more.” I don't believe Oswald is speaking of head knowledge, but is referring to increased familiarity with God. We’re beginning to know Him more personally. We've learned of His character traits, now we're experiencing them for ourselves.


And it results in increased faith, trust and confidence for the next act of obedience.


“Go back to the point where you did not do something you knew you should do.” I wonder if something occurs to us as we consider this statement? If so, that remains as a hindrance and going farther with God. We may need to back up and do what we know to do before we can go forward.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the joy of having obeyed You. Thank You for Your nudges and for drawing us closer as we respond. We want to live there more and more. May we become more attuned and more willing. Thank You.



4. “In a time of crisis, we can become spiritually distracted instead of spiritually self-controlled.”


Oswald is speaking of the experience we gain as we walk with Jesus in greater and greater trust and obedience.


We all know people who seem to make great strides in their God-walk, and tell tremendous stories of their adventures and their victories. It's important for us to understand, they've learned to do so over time and through many personal experiences of God.


It results in a seasoned soul who knows how to fend off spiritual distractions and exercise spiritual self-control.


For each of us, God begins with small nudges and nuances, and our heart learns to respond in naive obedience. He continues to cultivate our faith with successive God-experiences.


God is ultimately taking us to a place where our example will encourage others, just as others have encouraged us.


May it be so in us, O Lord! Thank You for the saints who’ve demonstrated such tremendous spiritual fortitude. Please continue to fashion our faith so we my demonstrate the same for others. May it even surprise us as we realize all You’ve worked into us.



5. “It's easier to sacrifice than to discern God's purpose for our lives.”


Is it possible we do stuff for God, simply assuming He wants us doing them? Or have we truly sought God and discern His particular will and purposes for us?


For instance, if we're seeking to improve our golf game, shooting baskets is probably not the right approach. It's certainly physical activity, which is typically beneficial, but it's not in line with our intended goal of improving as a golfer.


Perhaps our God walk is the same. Perhaps simply doing any and all things for God it's not the same as hearing from God specifically and obeying purposefully. Even if the thing God calls us to do seems nonsensical to us, God may be working toward and end we cannot yet visualize.


“It's easier to sacrifice than to discern.” Isn’t this the truth? We can sacrifice mindlessly, without addressing God it all. But discernment requires drawing close to God, silencing our soul and hearing His heart.


And sometimes we're not willing to make the effort.


Heavenly Father, please adjust our thinking in this regard. Please help us examine the stuff we do by rote, assuming we're pleasing You by doing so. Please give us a heart to seek You and discern Your purposes. We want to be in line with You and Your Kingdom with our daily lives.







1. “Am I allowing my spiritual life to waste away, or am I focused?”


Thank you for this tremendous challenge, Oswald.


We know good and well we have one life to live, and we're very aware it's ticking down day-by-day. Friends, let's live every moment on purpose.


Oswald calls us to use this approach with our spiritual life as well. “Am I focused, bringing everything to one central point, the cross of Jesus Christ?” That is, am I exercising my spirit to be everything it possibly can be for the glorious purposes of God?


One day, in the presence of God, we’ll discover that our are soul and spirit are of infinitely greater significance than our flesh and blood, and they hold infinitely greater horsepower than our mortal flesh.


The trick is to learn this truth today and apply it to the remaining days of our lives. By God’s grace.


Lord Jesus, here I am, body, mind, soul and spirit, all for Your use. Here and now I center my heart on You and Your interests. Please make use of every dimension of my being.



2. “Is Jesus Christ dominating every interest of my life more and more?”


This is another tremendous self-reflection.


Oswald isn’t asking if Jesus is my dominating interest. He's asking if I'm permitting Jesus to dominate every other interest in my life.


That is, is my relationship with Jesus influencing my life as a spouse, parent, friend, neighbor, etc.? Do I recognize all of my interests, relationships, endeavors and labors as means whereby Jesus can glorify Himself?


May God open our imagination to view every opportunity in our life as an opportunity to make Jesus visible to others.


Lord Jesus, please dominate. Overwhelm every pursuit in my life. May all I say and do be spoken and done with You in mind.



3. “If the most powerful influence in my life is the cross of Jesus Christ, then every aspect of my life will bear fruit for Him.”


What a telling notion. Do I recognize the full influence of Jesus Christ in my life?


Surely this begins by recognizing our paramount need for Jesus as we realize our sinful state in the Light of our Holy God. When we see who we are and Who God is, we’re shot through with desperation for Jesus to make us right with God.


And surely it continues every day by recognizing God's meticulous care in every moment. His love defines us, His abundant provision meets our needs, and His all-sufficient grace permits us to navigate life.


We don't spend a solitary second separated from the God Who created us.


As God opens our heart and eyes to these truths, we become aware of the incessant goodness of God. And the cry of our heart is for Jesus to make Himself known to others everywhere we go.


May it be so, Heavenly Father. Thank You for revealing to us Your nearness and activity in every aspect of our life and our world. Thank You for being the most powerful influence in our life.



4. “I must take the time to realize what the central point of power is.”


It's apparent in our world that many of us are unaware of the grace of God acting in every moment.


It takes great intentionality to avert our gaze from the immediate and turn our attention toward our God. “Am I willing to give one minute out of every hour to concentrate on God?”


As we do, we’ll consistently “ask, think and work from that central point.” Christ becomes the sun around which our lives orbit, rather than the moon revolving around us.


But I must take the time to realize.


Lord Jesus, thank You for opening our eyes to behold You as the central point of power in our life and our world. We purposefully look to You here and now. You are our all in all.



5. “The disciple who abides in Jesus IS the will of God.”


What? How can this be?


This is the heart and soul of the God-walk. Our goal is to abide in Christ to the degree that He is our all-consuming interest, love and desire. And as we do, something wonderful occurs: “What appears to be our free choices are actually God’s foreordained decrees.”


Through faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us. As we deliberately abide in Christ and relinquish to His leadership, the Fruit of the Holy Spirit leaks through our words and deeds. The “Mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) is being formed in us, and demonstrates itself inadvertently through our everyday decisions.


This is the way of God as He “conforms us to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).


Father, may it be so. May we yield more and more to our God, that Christ might live through us. May the life of Christ in us become apparent in all we say and do today. Thank You.





1. “Your will agrees with God, but you have a nature that renders you powerless to do what you ought.”


This is a very helpful take on the human will.


I might say “my will is in conflict with God’s will.” That’s been my way of comprehending this passage: “The sinful nature is in conflict with the Holy Spirit, so that you do not do what you want” (Galatians 5:17).


But Oswald suggests my will is separate from my sinful nature: “Sin is a perverse nature which entered into people.” Oswald is identifying the sin nature I inherited from Adam and Eve.


Oswald goes on to claim that my will always agrees with God. “When God contacts our conscience, it awakens our will, and our will always agrees with God.” This truly aligns with my experience of God. When I met Jesus, I knew He was right: “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).


However, there’s something else in me that pushes back against God. Oswald says my “will” recognizes and agrees with God, but my “sinful nature” pushes back against obeying God.


Oswald’s insight makes a great deal of sense in light of this passage: “If I do what I do not want to do, it’s no longer I (my will) who do it, but the sinful nature living in me that does it” (Romans 7:20).


Beloved, this is a such liberating assessment of what’s going on inside us: “God’s will IS your will.” My will truly wants to follow Jesus; it’s the rotten sin nature in me that doesn’t.


So, following Jesus is not a matter of revving up my will. My will already wants to follow Jesus. My need is defeat the sinful nature in me in order to do so.


And that’s precisely what Jesus does for us as we trust Him: “O wretched man that I am. Who will rescue me from this sinful nature? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).




Lord Jesus, thank You for helping us better comprehend what’s happening on the inside. This understanding enables us to address our internal conflicts with You more precisely. We WILL and desire to do Your will. May we also learn to enable the lethal power of Your cross and Resurrection to truly render our sin nature dead and powerless. May we find greater and greater liberty as we live more fully into our “Victory in Jesus.” Hallelujah!



2. “It is God Who works in you both to will and do His good pleasure.”


I’ve always loved and claimed this passage. God doesn’t simply command me, He also empowers me by His Holy Spirit to DO His will.


According to Oswald (see my assessment in item #1 above), my WILL isn’t contrary to God’s will, but my SINFUL NATURE is. In response, God works in me through my will. He’s strengthening my will as I learn to render my sinful nature crucified in Christ: “I am crucified with Christ; it’s no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).


Beloved, we already WILL to do God’s will. Now God is working alongside our will that we might DO His will. And we can because of Jesus: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loves us” (Romans 8:37).




Father, thank You for Your incredible way in us. Thank You for defeating our sin nature in Christ. Thank You for working in our will to live into all You have for us in Jesus our Lord. May our will We will to do Your will today.



3.  “Work out your own salvation.”


Beloved, this is our glorious mission for God’s glory.


We certainly don’t work FOR our salvation. Christ did that for us with His cross, and we receive salvation from His nail-scarred hands by faith: “We are saved by grace through faith, not by our own works” (Ephesians 2:8-9).


What, then, is this “working out?” This is us learning to walk in the new life and victory that is ours in Christ by His Holy Spirit. This is rendering our old life dead in Christ and becoming alive to God for His purposes.


It’s our highest honor and joy to express outwardly for the world to see what God is doing inside us. The way we speak and act today and every day is our love gift to God, and matters for God’s Kingdom and glory for time and eternity.


Let’s be amazing for Jesus today as we “work out” what Jesus is working in us.


Father, thank You for Your continuing work in us. By Your grace and Holy Spirit, we’re determined to live outwardly for You today. Thank You for “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).



4. “Blow it up with the dynamite of obedience to the Holy Spirit.”


May it be so, O Lord!


Oswald says “stubbornness is an unintelligible barrier, refusing enlightenment and blocking the flow of the Holy Spirit.”


Implied in Oswald’s devotion today is, we don’t overcome this stubbornness by our willpower alone. It’s a spiritual matter which requires spiritual means. The Holy Spirit is that spiritual means, and the power of the Holy Spirit is made effective in our lives as we obey the Holy Spirit and permit His work.


That is, when our brutish and knuckle-dragging stubbornness rises up, we dial into the overcoming power of the Holy Spirit by yielding to the Holy Spirit and His leadership.


And as we do so, we will realize the Holy Spirit’s victory over our stubbornness. And the Holy Spirit’s victory becomes ours. Hallelujah!


Holy Spirit, we yield to You today. Thank You for Your ongoing work in our lives to counter our stubbornness. By Your grace, may we be sensitive to You nudges today as You work victory for us.






1. “My assurance is to be built upon God's assurance to me.”


Our assurance is much like our hope. Hope is more than optimistic thinking. Hope requires an object to hope in. Our God is that object, and we stand in hope based on what God has promised and will deliver.


In much the same way, our assurance isn’t self-assurance. It doesn’t come from gathering our wits and stepping forward with our ego and strength. It is an assurance based on God's assurances to us.


“I boldly say, the Lord is my helper; I will not fear.” This is the audacity of assurance. I have assurance because I have a sure God. My sure footing comes from His allegiance to be my Helper, Keeper and Provider.


Apprehension is the enemy of assurance. I defeat apprehension when I rehearse myself in God's substantial assurance. He truly is God, and He is near, able and working.


Assurance yields courage: “I will be full of courage.” Not a courage based on our own abilities or by denying the challenges and liabilities surrounding us, but the courage that comes from standing in God's assurance and stepping out boldly with our God.


Heavenly Father, thank You for Your words of assurance. They are the rock beneath our feet. We trust You as our Helper. Thank You for the courage to trust You in all our ways today.



2. “Don't forget to take a deep spiritual breath.”


This is a metaphor for stopping and listening to God's assurance to us.


When we're up to our eyeballs, all of our natural mechanisms spring to action: fight or flight, denial and excuses, panic and acting out, etc.


It's in these moments we must stop and “encourage ourselves in the Lord” (1 Samuel 30:6). This is the discipline of interrupting our mechanisms and declaring the promises of God: “I will never leave you or forsake you.”


Faith falters when we go it alone. Apprehension crowds out faith when we forget our God. Instead, we're developing the discipline of stopping and breathing the oxygen of Heaven, and permitting God’s assurance to sweep through our system once again.


Father, we pause in this moment and deeply breathe in Your presence and promises. We confess our trust in You as God Most High. Thank You for Your undergirding assurance as we face the day.



3. “Are you listening to God before you speak, or are you saying things and then trying to make God's word fit what you have said?”


This is hugely convicting.


How often are we propping up our worldview, decision-making and druthers with our assumptions about God or with convenient quips and quotes? When we do so, our lives are not guided by the Word of God, but by our own will and sensibilities.


Today we will have opportunity to offer our opinion. Will it be our opinion alone, or will we consult God about His? We can't say we’re God's people if we're not listening to our God.


We have finely tuned reasoning skills and can persuade ourselves in any direction we choose. But if we’ll stop and give God opportunity to speak, we’ll find He will direct our path, and we’ll be glad He does.


Perhaps it’s never occurred to us that God wishes to form out thinking and doing. Once that realization comes, we discover the still small voice of God has been running in the background all the time.


Father, please help us pause today long enough to listen. Please forgive us when we force fit our way and reasoning. Help us become more and more given to following You.



4. “Human frailty gets between God's assurance and our thoughts.”


When we become overwhelmed, We're liable to withdraw rather than reach for the assurance of God. “Our difficulties become like giants, we become like grasshoppers, and God seems not existent.”


That's why it's important to consistently fuel up on God's assurance. We need a steady stream of God's promises on a daily basis, so when our frailty sets in, the assurance of God's stored up in our soul rises to the surface.


We’re not as tough as we think we are. Even the best among us find themselves crippled by circumstances now and again. We do well to recognize our vulnerabilities and lay up the assurances of God for those traumatic moments.


Holy God, we confess our weakness and vulnerability. Perhaps not today, but perhaps tomorrow, we’ll will find ourselves overwhelmed with difficulties, grief or sorrow. Please fill our souls even now with Your great assurance so we may draw from that well in the days to come.


5. “Have we learned to sing after hearing God's keynote?”


What a glorious poetic and powerful metaphor!


When a pianist gives a singer the starting note, the singer finds their key, and with great confidence, sings with fortitude.


The same is true when God speaks a word to our heart. When we hear it, we well up with assurance that God is near and God knows.


This is why we need to be in the Scriptures every day. As we discover “neon light” Scripture passages blazing on the page, we sense the God of the Universe speaking Personally to our soul. He has taken notice of us. In that moment our hearts are joined and our sails are filled.


Father, speak Your Word to our awaiting ears. There's nothing like hearing from our God. Hallelujah!







1. “Do I turn to what God says or to my own fears?”


Our fears can be all-consuming, up in our face, and sucking up all the oxygen in the room. It's certainly easy to react to fear and permit it to grip our hearts.


But God clearly says, “Fear not, I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10). He speaks those words so we can store them up in our heart and stand on them when fear is overwhelming.


The trick is, we need to know what God says. If we’ve not stored up God's Word in our heart, where do we go? We go to our imagination of Who God is. Yet, if our vision of God has not been formed by the Scriptures, how can it be trusted?


For me, trusting God is like trusting a ski rope, a repelling rope or a parachute. I have to lean into them, entrust myself to them, and only then will I discover they are sufficient.


So it is with our God. We will find, as we trust what God says, He will carry us through the thing that frightens us, and we’ll find ourselves securely in His presence throughout.


Heavenly Father, our fears are noisy and all-consuming. Please forgive us when we give way to fear instead of turning to and trusting what You say. Thank You for having us, holding us and completing what You've begun in us. Today we declare our utter confidence in Your nearness and care. Thank You.



2. “Am I learning to truly hear God and respond after I've heard what He says?”


“Hearing God” is so subjective and controversial. After all, who are we that the God of the Universe would speak to us?


But in this case, Oswald is speaking of “hearing God in the Scriptures.” This is a primary way God's people interact with God by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit “quickens” or brings to life the utterances of God in the Scriptures.


“I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Can we hear God’s promise in the depths of our soul and believe it? As a result, can we boldly say, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: What can people do to me” (Psalm 118:6)?


Beloved, this is why we spend time in the Scriptures daily—to hear God speak by His Spirit through His Word to our souls. It’s been the way of God's people for centuries.


Does this seem odd or foreign to us? It certainly was Jesus’ demonstration. He quoted and taught the Scriptures because He knows the Scriptures are God's way of speaking God's heart to God's people.


May the Holy Spirit give us ears to hear and a heart to respond to His glorious Word.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the Scriptures, and for the way Your Spirit speaks to our hearts through them. Thank You for Your creative genius in making a way for us to hear from our God.



3. “God says He will never leave us, not for any reason; not my sin, selfishness, stubbornness or waywardness.”


We do well to internalize this truth.


“Have I really let God say to me He will never leave me? If I have not, let me listen again.” It’s in receiving, digesting and embracing this truth that we can walk in the great assurance God will always be with us in Christ.


We may find it easier to trust that God will be with us in our external difficulties than to believe He will be with is if we’re the cause of our difficulties. Perhaps we assume God will become annoyed with us, just like we become annoyed with others.


But God is emphatic when He promises to remain near. This is the tenacity of God’s faithfulness. We simply can’t get away from God: “Where shall I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7).


Imagine the difference this can make for our daily God-walk. He will never, ever, under no circumstances, leave or forsake us. Period. And all because He’s God Almighty. Hallelujah!


Heavenly Father, thank You for speaking this truth to our heart. Please continue to do so. May this truth overwhelm every effort of the wicked one to cause us to believe otherwise. Thank You for Your constant nearness.



4. “Sometimes it's not the difficulties of life but the drudgery of it that makes me think God will forsake me.”


Drudgery is a grind. It’s the daily fatigue that wears us down to the nub. Long term drudgery can be more exhausting then periodic difficulties.


Given the persistent nature of drudgery, we can feel alone carrying the load. Where is God in this mundane?


But not even drudgery can separate us from the love and grace of our God. I would imagine God is quite familiar with drudgery as He rules and reigns over Creation.


Thank God for His limitless faithfulness, no matter what.


Heavenly Father, today we have too many things on our To Do List. Work, family, chores, home repairs and more are sometimes more than we can bear. Thank You for drawing near and helping shoulder the weight with us. We ask for Your gumption as we do what we must do today.



5. “We have the idea God is preparing and equipping us for some extraordinary work in the future.”


This is certainly a notion that comes to mind when we speak of God having a plan and purpose for our life. It sounds like we're heading toward our ultimate usefulness for God.


But the journey seems to be more important to God than the destination. Indeed, Heaven awaits us one day, but “God is glorifying Himself here and now, at this very moment.”


We may be surprised to learn God has been equipping us all along for the simple, day-to-day duties of today. Therefore, may we faithfully do those duties as unto the Lord our God (see Colossians 3:23).


Heavenly Father, it seems our emphasis needs adjusting if we’re only imagining Your ultimate purpose for our lives. Thank You for using us each and every day in ways that will influence people for time and eternity. May we be satisfied with being faithful in the small things today.





1. “The sign of a friend is, they tell you their secret joys.”


What a tremendous insight.


We're quicker at sharing our sorrows than our joys. There are people all around who will gripe and complain to anyone who will listen. This is certainly apparent with social media rants.


But sharing our joys is reserved for the select few in whom we will confide. Whereas complaining is defensive and retaliatory, sharing the joys of our heart is transparent and vulnerable, and only for those we trust.


“The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him.” The beauty of our God walk is, we’re intimate enough with God to share our joys with Him and to hear His.


That is, if we'll take the time: “We must leave time for Him to talk to us.”


Heavenly Father, as we voice our joys and sorrows to You, would You please also share Your heart with us? What are Your joys and sorrows, hopes and dreams, concerns and burdens? We'd like to know. We want the kind of relationship with You in which You’re able to confide in us.



2. “In time, we find God bringing us into an intimate relationship with Himself whereby we get in touch with His purposes.”


Oswald is right. In a brand new relationship with God, we present all kinds of requests to the Father. He invites us to do so by “boldly approaching the throne of grace in times of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Praise the Lord.


But, in time, as God draws us closer, and as we become more like Jesus, we become less concerned with matters in our life, and more concerned with God's purposes: “Your will be done.”


What a blessing it is to be so confident of God's intimate care in the details of our lives that we can begin embracing God's concerns instead. This is surely Jesus’ intent when He calls us to come “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6: 33 ).


As we do so, we begin recognizing there's no greater joy on earth then being aligned with the will of God. May God's perfect and glorious will captivate us today.


Heavenly Father, thank You for expanding our hearts and minds beyond the immediate and physical, and into the unsearchable riches of Your Kingdom. We're overjoyed our citizenship is in heaven. It's our honor to facilitate Your will.



3. “What makes God so dear to us is not so much His big blessings to us, but the tiny things, because they show His amazing intimacy with us.”


Isn't this the truth? When Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes comes to your front door and announces you've won, it's incredibly impersonal. It was merely a random selection and you got the prize.


But when someone near to us gives us a gift that perfectly aligns with our needs or interests, it's something special. It's an indication that someone has taken note of our heart and soul.


“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). Of course, this is the greatest blessing possible, but it's also an indication of God's intimate knowledge of our most vital need.


The same is true day-by-day when we sense God's hand in the miniscule details of our lives. Thank God He opens our eyes to see God's trademarks in the biggest and smallest matters.


It makes us aware of God’s personal and loving care. Hallelujah!


Heavenly Father, thank You for the enormous blessings in our lives. We're alive, we've been given another day to live, you've given Your Son as our Savior, Heaven is our home, and much, much more. We also thank You for the minute ways in which You work in our lives. Thank You for letting us know how near You truly are.



4. “As we grow spiritually, we live so fully aware of God that we don't need to ask what His will is.”


It's one thing not to ask God His will because we have no interest in doing it. It's another thing for God to have transformed our hearts in such a way that “the thought of choosing another way will never occur to us.”


Certainly there are times when our old nature will rear its head and demand that which is not in keeping with God's will. But, as we grow in Christ, our fellowship with Jesus become second nature, and “God guides us by our everyday choices.”


In time we don't need to ask, because we know already. This, too, is evidence of growing more and more intimate with Jesus: We’d rather have His way than our own.


Lord Jesus, may this be our experience more and more. By Your Holy Spirit, please make us more and more aware every day of Your good and perfect will. And thank You for the great satisfaction of walking in it with You.



5. “If we are about to choose what God does not want, He will give us a sense of doubt or restraint, which we must heed.”


This resonates with my God walk.


I always say, “I don't always know when God says ‘yes,’ but I always know when He says ‘no.’”


I'm always keenly aware of God's “check” in my spirit. “Whenever there is doubt, stop at once.” True story. If it's not God's will, it's less than God's best.


“Never try to reason it out.” The reason is simple: I can reason anything I choose. I can even use the Scriptures to do it. If I want to do a thing, I will find a way to justify it. We’re very clever when we want to be.


Heavenly Father, we’re reliant upon Your leadership today. Holy Spirit, as we “do Your will by our common sense decisions,” thank you for the security of Your checks in our spirit when our decision-making is contrary to Your best. Please help us respond in obedience. Thank You.






1. “Are we obsessed by God?”


Perhaps this language seems problematic because we see “obsessed’ in a negative light. An “obsession” is rarely a good thing.


But Oswald's use of this term is helpful: “All of us are obsessed by something.” That is, something or someone rules our thoughts and imaginations. But any obsession other than Christ Himself is surely problematic.


That’s because any other obsession crowds out God Himself. “The abiding awareness of the Christian life is to be God Himself.” If we’re absolutely given to Jesus Christ our Lord, He will be forever in our frontal lobe and in the center of our heart.


This is a challenging heart-check for us. Is God our life and breath, or simply our backup plan when things go awry? If the former is not our reality, it can be, and it's God's hope it will be.


Heavenly Father, it sounds odd to say “I’m obsessed with God.” But more challenging still is reckoning whether or not You’re truly the all-consuming desire, motivation and gratification of our life. If You’re not, we want You to be. Please move us along in that direction. Thank You.



2. “Our abiding awareness is to be God Himself, not just thoughts about Him.”


Oswald makes an important distinction here. Our God is not simply a mindset, philosophy, theology or worldview. He's a Person, which makes Him knowable, relational, and experience-able.


A heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul, moment-by-moment walk with Jesus is very different from conversing about Jesus when the topic arises. The latter is theoretical. The former is an all-consuming, all-captivating, all-loving infatuation.


We might describe this as moving from a head-knowledge to a heart-knowing regarding Jesus. He’s becoming more then a thought or idea. He's becoming our friend, soulmate, Leader and Lord.


We’re growing in our constant awareness of Jesus; He’s becoming our everything.


Lord Jesus, please forgive us when You’re an afterthought. We want You to be our first thought and instinctive go-to. We want to be captivated by Who You are, Your love for us and our love for You.



3. “We’re to live, move and have our being in God.”


Oswald likens this to a child absorbed in their mother, not consciously thinking of her, but “always aware their overwhelming relationship is with her.”


This describes the loving trust we offer our God. We recognize ourselves as God's children, going about our daily business in His presence, and intuitively turning to Him as we respond to Him and involve Him.


This is “living, moving and having our being” in the very presence of God. We’re confident of His nearness, care and concern, and it’s this awareness that permits us to live in joyful freedom in Christ.


Lord God, You are indeed our everything. Thank You for Your constant attention at all times and in all matters. Thank You for Your care and keeping. Thank You we get to share this life and eternity with You.



4. “If we’re obsessed by God, no concerns, tribulations or worries can get into our lives.”


This makes a great deal of sense. When God is front and center, He overwhelms all our fears.


“Now we understand why our Lord so emphasized the sin of worrying.” We rarely think of worry as sin. Rather, it's a nuisance, and something to overcome as we attempt to cast our cares on Jesus.


Oswald says it’s a lack of obsession with our God. We're handling matters on our own. We call out to God as if He’s distanced, unaware or unavailable. We're obsessed with the trouble rather than with God Himself.


This is a great heart-check. About what am I worried presently? What does my worry say to God about my confidence in Him? We might be embarrassed to realize.


Heavenly Father, please forgive us for worry. It suggests we don't trust You. Please help us live what we believe. We believe You know, care and are at work in our lives. Thank You for the corresponding peace You offer.



5. “God will keep us at ease, even in the midst of tribulation, misunderstanding and slander.”


This seems unimaginable. “Tribulation, misunderstanding and slander” are brutal and loathsome because they involve other people. And we know we have no control over others.


But, if “our life is hidden with Christ in God,” we’re not alone in our struggle. Instead, we’re relating with the only One Who can change our heart and others’.


Until we make God our refuge, “We rob ourselves of the miraculous, revealed truth of our abiding companionship with God.” Our day-by-day, hour-by-hour relationship with Jesus makes it possible to draw from Him in the midst of the moment.


It's much more difficult if we haven’t yet cultivated our reliance upon Jesus.


Lord Jesus, please keep our heart today as we face the challenges other people bring into our lives. We offer our heart to You, and trust You with their heart. Please “keep us at ease” as You direct our paths and work out the details. Thank You.







1. “Can a sinner be turned into a saint? Can a twisted life be made right?”


Most would believers respond to these questions with an immediate, “Of course! God can do anything!”


Then, as Oswald suggests, as we declare “God can,” we often also set about trying to make it happen in our own power and by our own means. We often heap on others all they must do to be transformed: “Go to church; spend time in prayer; read your Bible; serve others; steward your money, etc.”


As if that’s how souls are saved.


All of these practices may well be healthy Christian disciplines, but it's God Himself, and not our best efforts, that “turn a sinner into a saint and make a twisted life right.”


This is where our prayer and loving care brings others into the transforming presence of God. Our love, fellowship, demonstration and encouragement are the vehicles through which God extends His transforming grace to others.


Our responsibility is to show others what a sin-soaked life can look like in Christ, how a twisted life can be made right by the grace of Jesus, and invite them into the process.


And walk with them as God does the transforming.


Father, we believe. We also believe, if You don't to the transforming, nothing we do will make a difference. Please forgive us when we portray faith as a self-help venture. May we instead give ourselves to vital relationship with our life-changing God, and help others do the same.



2. “It's much easier to do something than to trust God.”


Oswald certainly knows us well.


Unfortunately, in our heart of hearts, we equate “working FOR God” with “working WITH God.” In the former, we determine what we will do to please God. In the latter, we’re humbling ourselves to do God's will. The former permits us to choose according to our liking, while the latter requires denying ourselves and giving deference to God.


Consider a child's first steps. For a time, they cling to furniture as they find their feet. Then, as we extend our loving arms, they choose to trust us and take first steps into the great unknown. They can do so because they know we'll catch them if they fall.


Surely the same is true as we learn to trust God and let go of our internal and external security devices. And as we do, we discover the joy of following Jesus into the wild blue yonder.


Lord Jesus, we confess we don't always trust You, and resort to our own devices. Please forgive us and strengthen our faith. We've seen others walk with You in great trust and obedience. By Your grace, we want to be among them.



3. “Is my own personal experience such a wonderful realization of God's power and might that I can never have a sense of hopelessness for anyone else?”


This requires personal awareness and self-inventory.


Am I a self-made soul, or do I recognize I am who I am by the grace of God? Until I’m able to credit God for the changes in my life, I’m critical of others. But if I have a growing awareness of all Christ is doing in me, I'm able to trust His work in others and be hopeful for their heart-change.


We're either blind or arrogant to think we exist, live and have our being in and out of our own strength and doing. In reality, we have no control whatsoever over the next heartbeat or sunrise.


Nor can we take one iota of credit for our spiritual growth as a Christ-follower. We’re merely making ourself available to the One Who can transform our heart and life.


And the sooner we realize, the sooner we can be hopeful God can do the same in others.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the myriad of ongoing ways Your power and might are at work in our life. May we walk in hope of Your work in the souls of others. As You grace us with breath in our lungs today, we joyfully and gladly give You the praise and recognition You are due.



4. “Have you ever had a vision of what you are apart from the grace of God?”


It's a tremendous gift of God to see who we are outside of Christ. Thank God for those moments we realize, “I know in my flesh dwells no good thing.”


This is not self-loathing or self-condemnation. This is an honest evaluation of who we truly are. It's a reality check that keeps our attitudes in check.


At the same time, we must also realize, “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Although we’re a sinful people, by faith in the grace of the crucified and Resurrected Christ, we’re also transformed and adopted as children of God.


May our vision of these realities become our identity, grounding and eternal hope.


Father, thank You for revealing to us who we are. May it be foremost in our minds at all times. Thank You for helping us see our utter need for You, and Your utter provision for us. May it keep us forever and lovingly dependent upon You.







1. “Jesus never put His trust in any person, yet He was never suspicious or bitter, and never lost hope for anyone.”


This is one of my favorite Oswald Chambers line of reasoning.


“Jesus gave Himself to no one, because He knew what was in them” (John 2:24-25). Jesus is not being aloof or untrusting. He simply knows “what is in us.” That is, we all have our foibles, triggers and breaking points. We all let others down, and they let us down as well.


But that didn’t keep Jesus from fully immersing Himself in the lives of the people around Him. He knew they would eventually deny, betray and crucify Him, yet He opened His heart and soul to them.


The only way He could do so without “suspicion, bitterness or losing hope,” is because “He trusted abundantly in what God's grace could do for others.” This is our never-ending and unrelenting prayer and desire for others. Even the meanest, orneriest, detestable, unsavory, self-centered, egotistical, unfaithful, irritating and foolish among us is no match for the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!


We need not be fully self-effacing with others to love them, be concerned for them, and hope in Christ for them. We can relate to them in grace, kindness and compassion, as we pray for God's ongoing work in their life.


And all while we recognize we’re included among those with whom others struggle to love and trust. God, have mercy.


Lord Jesus, thank You for Your undying hope for humanity. It's amazing how You pursue us, even knowing our fickle hearts, bad attitudes, and mean tendencies. Thank You we can put our complete and unbridled trust in You and You're perfect love and faithfulness. Amen and amen.



2. “I will despair in hopelessness if I insist people be absolutely perfect and right.”


I admit: I'm an idealist—especially in Christ. I believe God can fully save and sanctify even the meanest soul, and transform and conform our hearts and lives into the image of Christ Himself.


But the reality is, none of us are there yet. That's what's going to be so great about Heaven. We’ll be different, made perfect, healed, and delivered from our sin and brokenness. What a wonderful eternal existence that will be!


But until then, I cannot ask of you what you cannot ask of me. I will never live up to your expectations, nor you mine. We will continually fail one another, disappoint one another, seemingly betray one another, and break one another's hearts.


If I demand perfection from my friendships, I will forever be alone. Instead, I must live in grace-filled, kind and compassionate, longsuffering relationship with others, forgiving and asking forgiveness all along the way.


I'm so thankful we’re learning to view others through the lens of the grace and transforming power of Jesus. Otherwise, how could we possibly tolerate one another?


Father, thank You for Your holy and gracious ways with us. Thank You for Your endless hope as You work continuously work in our hearts. We're eager for You to bring about Your perfection, because we know good and well we can't do it ourselves. And thank You for never failing us, leaving or forsaking us. We gladly put our complete trust in You.



3. “Our Lord's obedience was to the will of His Father.”


What a fantastic statement and example. Jesus didn’t live for the approval of others. He didn’t live into others’ expectations. Instead, He gave Himself fully to His Father’s will: “Not My will but Yours be done.”


What freedom and peace of mind! The demands and expectations of others can be ruthless and unattainable. Some people will never be pleased. But what our God asks of us, He also empowers us to do. And the result is His very best for us and others.


“The purpose of our spiritual training is to get us into right relationship with God, ensuring His ‘needs’ are met in us.” Today, amid all our other duties and responsibilities, is our central purpose—to “do the will of Him who sent me.” (John 6:37).


Father, only by your grace. We turn our attention to Your “needs” in us. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in and through our life today.



4. “Jesus expects my personal life to be a Bethlehem.”


God has entrusted us with the Life of His Son in our heart, and intends for us to steward, nurture and cultivate that Life.


In some respects the Life of Christ in us is fragile and vulnerable. If left unattended, it will grow unkempt and impoverished. But with appropriate attention and care, it becomes a fruitful Vine, blessing my life and those around me.


“Am I allowing my natural life to be slowly transformed by the indwelling Life of the Son of God?” This is my sole duty as a Christ-follower. God is conforming me to the image of His Son, “that His Son might be exhibited in me.”


Let's get to it, shall we, friends?


Lord Jesus, thank You for the privilege of being your “Bethlehem.” Inhabit us. “Grow in favor with God and humankind” (Luke 2:52) within us. By Your grace, may we provide a delightful environment for Your life to thrive and bear much fruit for the glory of God.





1. “Suppose God tells you to do something that goes against your common sense. What will you do?”


Throughout the Scriptures we see a multitude of examples of God doing just that. God told Noah to build a boat. God told the Patriarchs to leave their land of origin. God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. God told Moses to go speak to Pharaoh. God told the prophets to do all kinds of weird things.


The same is true in the New Testament. Jesus called fisherman to leave their nets and follow Him. Jesus told the Disciples to go on a mission trip without packing a bag or taking a weapon. Jesus told the Disciples to walk up to a stranger and ask for a donkey. The Holy Spirit directed Philip to run alongside the Ethiopian’s chariot. The Holy Spirit told Ananias to lay hands on Saul and pray for Saul’s sight.


And so it is throughout Christian history. God has called men and women into life-harrowing mission work, to sell all their belongings and give their wealth to the poor, to risk their necks for abolition, women's suffrage, civil rights, etc.


From the examples above, we must admit God sometimes asks His saints to do the nonsensical. Why do we suppose God wouldn't ask the same of us?


Perhaps it's to give or tithe. Perhaps it's a serving role at church, or a mission trip or outreach. Perhaps it's to ask forgiveness from a family member or friend, or extend forgiveness to someone who has wronged us. There are plenty of things God asks of us that seem absurd to us and others.


But if we're going to walk with Jesus, we must realize God may ask of us that which goes against our common sense. It comes with the territory.


Is it possible we don't hear much from God because we've already determined what we will and won’t do?


Heavenly Father, it doesn't seem to bother You to ask hard things of us. How we need Your Holy Spirit to bolster our faith to step out when we don't understand or would rather not. Please strengthen our hearing and our doing, and all for Your glory.



2. “You will turn back at the point of testing until you are determined to abandon yourself to God in total surrender.”


If we analyze our qualms with abiding by the leadership of the Holy Spirit, it will nearly always come back to the issue of humility and surrender.


That is, when God calls, there may be things we'd rather do, or things we'd rather do differently. These are matters of our will, and matters of our will are addressed by humility and surrender.


Or, perhaps we’re concerned with ego and reputation. What might people think if we do or act in the manner of God's leadership? What if we look foolish or incompetent? Again, these matters are also addressed by humility and surrender.


However, when we come to the place of abandoning ourselves to Jesus, we're far less concerned with our concerns, and far more concerned with pleasing our God. Humility and surrender become our love gifts to the God Who loves us, humbled Himself, and surrendered Himself to the cross.


And our desire is to be like Him.


Heavenly Father, we struggle with abandoning ourselves to You. We would much rather keep our hand on the tiller instead of deferring to You. Please continue to strengthen our resolve to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow You.



3. “Jesus demands an unrestrained, adventurous spirit in those who have placed their trust in Him.”


I love this kind of language. It speaks to something deep in my soul. I long for something to give myself to with an unrestrained, adventurous and bodacious spirit.


I want to be a part of something bigger than me, and as a Christ-follower, I get to be a part of the Kingdom of God.


Oswald challenges us to put the same effort into our God-walk as we might in any other entrepreneurial venture: “If a person is going to do anything worthwhile, there will be times when they must risk everything with their leap in the dark.”


The reason we enjoy our liberties, drive automobiles, talk on cell phones, and know about the far reaches of our galaxy, is because men and women have taken great personal risks and stepped boldly into unknown ventures.


Jesus calls us to do the same for Him.


The difference is, when Jesus calls us out into the Great Adventure, we’re not alone: The God of the universe goes before us. We get to do great things for God because we’re working alongside God.


And nothing is more soul-satisfying.


Heavenly Father, You created us with the great propensity for doing the audacious. Thank You for all those who have benefited our lives by doing so. And thank You for the incredible demonstration of saints who’ve demonstrated unrestrained, adventurous and risky faith in obeying You. Please help us follow their example.



4. “Risk everything you hold on to or believe through common sense, and leap by faith into what God says.”


This seems to be perfectly in keeping with Jesus’ calling: “Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33).


No wonder many disciples turned away: “‘These are hard words; who can hear them?’ And from this time on many disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.’” (John 6:60,66).


When Jesus calls us to make him “Lord,” He's asking us to permit Him to usurp, not only our will and life trajectory, but even our common sense intellect and understanding.


Yet, we must if we are going to dial into the God frequency: “My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).


Such is the nature of “faith.” It requires us to step beyond ourselves.


Thankfully, faith in Christ is not a blind faith in the karma and fortune of the universe, but is a resolute confidence in the Person and character of God Himself.


And what could be a more solid footing for our life?


Heavenly Father, please continue to forge our faith. We want to be those who operate in the sphere of Your Spirit. Please help us become more and more adept in the glorious realm of walking with our God.



5. “We act like pagans in a crisis. Only one out of an entire crowd is daring enough to invest his faith in the character of God.”


This is quite the indictment.


Doesn't strike us as a criticism or as a challenge? Do we want to justify ourselves and argue, or are we humbled by our seeming lack of faith?


Why would we not instead determine to be that “one”? Who says it can’t be us? What's keeping us from “showing the world what it's like to be fully given to the Holy Spirit” (DL Moody)?


From God's vantage point, it must seem surprising how little confidence we have in the God for Whom nothing is impossible and Who has promised He’ll never leave or forsake us.


How about we show God today what we are made of? We’re men and women of God, created in His image, filled with His Holy Spirit, and imbued with mountain-moving faith.


Let’s be the “one,” shall we?


Lord Jesus, we believe; please help us with our unbelief. Please forgive us for living in the shallow end of the faith-pool. Please help us discover and develop the robust faith You enable in us. Please help us live like we truly trust the God of the Universe.







1. “In that day you will ask in My Name.”


Continuing from yesterday, “‘That day’ is not a day in the next life, but a day meant for here and now.”


This is evidence of God's interest in our physical and daily life, not only our eternal life in heaven one day. Jesus saved us to walk with Him forever, and our forever begins when we receive Christ, and includes every day of the rest of our earthly life.


Jesus is equipping us for His continuing mission on planet Earth. His death and Resurrection permitted the Father to send the Spirit to indwell believers and empower them for His Kingdom purposes in our world.


We do well to recognize that every moment of this life matters to God for time and eternity. God has injected us into our world, into our family of origin, and into our circle of family and friends for the forwarding of His Kingdom.


We’re on a mission for God today in every aspect of our life.


To further His Father’s mission, Jesus has equipped us with the gift of addressing and asking the Father in His Name. And “His Name” is the subject of item #2, below.


Father, thank You for including us today in Your eternal work through Jesus Christ our Lord. Please broaden our life-perspective so we might realize “the high calling of God in Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:14).  By Your Spirit, may we be found faithful each and every day.



2. “‘In My Name’ means ‘in My nature.’”


We often tag our prayers with, “in Jesus’ Name, amen.” Perhaps we don't even think about it when we say it.


“You will not use ‘My Name’ as some magic word.” Using the phrase “in Jesus’ Name” isn’t simply a polite salutation, nor is it a key that unlocks God's answers to our prayers, nor does it ensure God will respond in the affirmative.


Praying “in Jesus’ Name” means learning involve the nature of Jesus Christ in us through His Holy Spirit as we pray. Jesus’ intention for His indwelling Spirit is to bring us into oneness with Himself, sensing His heart and mind as we pray.


Praying “in Jesus’ Name’ is to pray as if Jesus is praying through us—which He is—as we seek to align ourselves with His will and purposes.


For instance, as we pray for a loved one, we purposely unite ourselves with Jesus in regards to that person, and pray Jesus’ heart to our Heavenly Father. Just as Jesus does.


Or, when we’re praying our way through a personal situation, we're joining Jesus in lifting our eyes to our God, trusting Him implicitly with our needs, and praying along with Jesus in His faith and assurance in our Heavenly Father’s grace, provision and power.


Just imagine the peace and reassurance that comes from knowing our Father hears our prayers because Jesus is praying alongside us. Bless the Lord, O my soul!


Lord Jesus, please teach us to pray, “in Your Name,” in Your nature, by Your Spirit, to our Heavenly Father. And may we receive “the peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) as we do so. “In Jesus’ Name,” amen!



3. “For the Father Himself loves you.”


We must never forget, the reason God sent His Son is because He loves us. The reason our Father sent His Spirit to abide in believers is because He loves us. And the reason God made us one with Himself in Christ is because He loves us.


Beloved, let’s immerse, abide and rest in our Heavenly Father’s love for us.


“The Father's love is evidence that our union with Jesus is complete and absolute.” Consider this: “God demonstrated His love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). What God began in loving us in our sin, He has completed in Christ and sustains through His Holy Spirit.


The love of God for us is absolute and irrevocable.


Indeed, the love God intended for us from the beginning, He evidenced and demonstrated by bringing us into union with Himself through Christ. He saves us out of Own His own good pleasure, that we might “glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism).


This is God’s Personal love, purpose and decree over His precious children—including you and me.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the outrageous love You demonstrate toward us time and again. In gratitude and humility, we eagerly receive Your love by faith in Jesus Christ. By Your grace, may we reciprocate Your love by loving You with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We love You, our God!



4. “Just as Jesus stands unblemished and pure in the presence of His Father, we, too, by the mighty power and effectiveness of the baptism of the Holy Spirit can be lifted into that relationship.”


Do we see ourselves in Christ as “unblemished and pure in the presence of the Father?” Do we truly believe “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all righteousness” (1 John 1:9).


Likewise, do we see ourselves “lifted by the power and effectiveness of the Holy Spirit into the same relationship with the Father” that Jesus enjoys? Do we recognize that, in Christ, “we are one with the Father just as Jesus and the Father are one”?


If we see ourselves as anything less than all of this, may God increase our vision and understanding of the effectiveness and permanence of Christ’s cross and Resurrection, and the subsequent and unifying work of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.


Beloved, please read the following passage with a believing heart:


“God saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5–7)


This is who we are, dear brothers and sisters.


Father, how amazing You are! How incredible the work You have done on our behalf! In return, may we “boldly approach the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16), receive Your love and walk in Your fullness. We love You, our Lord and God! Hallelujah!



5. “The Sovereign character of Jesus Christ is tested and proven by His Own statements.”


The incredible words of Jesus are more than we can fathom. Are we capable of believing them, receiving them and experiencing them?


Many think Jesus’ words are merely soft and comforting. But when we read them, they are infinitely more. They pronounce the unmerited love, grace and mercy of Almighty God toward us. And, “All the promises of God in Christ Jesus are ‘Yes and amen!’” (2 Corinthians 1:20).


As Christ's followers, we “walk by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20). Our faith is not some nebulous hope of good fortune. Our faith stands upon the immovable claims, character and work of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.


We live as if Jesus is as real as He truly is.


Lord Jesus, we believe! “Please help our unbelief” (Mark 9:24)! Please help us walk in the fullness of all You've said and done. And all by Your grace. Hallelujah!





1. “When is ‘that day?’”


It's important for us to read the context of John 16:23.


In other places in the Scriptures, “that Day” is speaking of “the Day of the Lord” (2 Peter 3:10, etc.), which refers to the return of Christ. When Jesus speaks of “that day” in John 16:23, He's speaking of the era following Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon believers.


Beloved, as we read this passage, we recognize we live in “that day.”


The indwelling Spirit is not an afterthought following Christ’s death, Resurrection and Ascension. Instead, the indwelling Holy Spirit was God’s intention since the creation of humankind. God designed us from the very beginning to be dwelling places for his Holy Spirit.


God was not content to live among us, but intends to live in us (John 14:17). It was God's work through the atonement of Christ that makes that possible as we trust and receive Jesus.


How glorious to live in “that day!” The very Spirit of God dwells in us as believers! Let’s not be mistaken: This isn’t a passive nearness to God. This is the same active, ongoing and eternal “oneness” with the Father Jesus experiences. And God intends for this relationship to supersede every other relationship in our life.


God's home is now within us, and, as such, He intends to occupy the driver's seat.


Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit, thank You for doing the impossible by making a way for the Spirit of the Living God to abide within us. Holy Spirit, take Your rightful place on the throne of our heart. We yield ourselves to Your Lordship and Leadership. Thank You for the great honor of living in “that day.”



2. “In ‘that day’ you will ask Me nothing.”


(Please see item #1 for a discussion of “that day.”)


Most of us have made this statement: “I have some questions for God when I get to Heaven.” Perhaps we're curious about God Himself, or perhaps we’ve had life experiences we can't make sense of.


Jesus was speaking differently. He was speaking about our ability to walk in complete reliance upon Christ without complete understanding. Not because we're not curious, but because we fully trust our Lord and Savior.


This is the “Resurrection life of Jesus” within us by His Holy Spirit.


Oswald says, “Until the Resurrection life of Jesus in you, you have questions about many things.” This refers to the disciples’ and subsequent believers who ask questions about the veracity of the Gospel and its implications for our lives. It's certainly legitimate to ask questions as we grow in our understanding of Christian faith.


But Oswald says, “After a while you find all your questions are gone.” This is the experience of coming into such a remarkable and vital oneness with God that our questions no longer dictate our responses to God.


We can operate on incomplete understanding because Christ has made us one with God.


We certainly have plenty of questions about our God: “Great is the mysteries of godliness” (1 Timothy 3:16). But those mysteries need not prevent us from stepping out in faith and following Jesus.


Lord Jesus, thank You for the times of great nearness, when You settle our hearts and we abide confidently in Who You are. You created us to be curious, even about the things of God. Please fill in the blanks along the way as You will, but please bolster our faith today as we trust You implicitly.



3. “Are you living in complete oneness with God right now? If not, why aren't you?”


Implied in this statement is, if we're not where we could be with Jesus, it’s not on Him—it’s on us.


That is to say, God has done everything necessary on His end. The disconnect is on our end. Perhaps it's doubt or disobedience. Perhaps it's an unwillingness to bend our knee to Christ’s leadership. Or perhaps it's simply a secret sin we struggle with or enjoy.


In any case, God made His move, and by His grace, He can help us make ours. And the great thing about God is, when we take one small step towards Him, He takes a giant leap towards us.


“Are we living in complete oneness with God right now?” In an instant, in a heartbeat, with a word, we can. That's the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.


Father, please make us very aware of whatever in our life is prohibiting the nearness we could have with You. Please give us a vision and appetite for more of You, and may our hunger overwhelm whatever may stand between us. We want to “live in complete oneness with You.” Beginning now.



4. The faith and peace of John 14:1 has become the real attitude of your heart.”


Jesus says in John 14:1, “Trust in God, trust also in Me.” Perhaps we hear these words of Jesus as an edict or command. We would do well to hear them as “permission” instead.


In a complicated world, full of strife and hardships, we can become paralyzed with fears and anxieties. Jesus is inviting us into a faith-relationship whereby God’s peace mysteriously overwhelms our concerns:


“The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).


This “real attitude of the heart” can be ours as we lean into the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. It's the Holy Spirit Who grants us faith to trust God, and the Holy Spirit Who delivers the resulting peace of heart and mind.


This is not a mind-over-matter mantra. This is a supernatural work of God in our heart. As Christ-followers, we’re growing and our ability to tap into the essential of the Holy Spirit as we walk with Jesus.


And it’s only a taste of greater things to come.


Holy Spirit, please help us trust our God and Savior. We believe—please help us also trust. Thank You for Your enduring peace as we do. May this become our instinctive way more and more.



5. “Never look for explanations in your mind, but look for them in your spirit—your true inner nature.”


Oswald brings forth a great and important truth.


As human beings, we’re keenly aware of our mind, will and emotions. We employ our brain daily with decision-making; we exert our will to do the things we must do; and we experience our emotions all along the way.


Our God-walk insists we become more and more aware of and adept at utilizing our spirit, “our true inner nature.”


Our spirit is God's gift to us. The difference between us and a rock is our spirit—the inert matter that makes up our physical being has been made alive and living by the spark or spirit God has placed in us.


And the difference between us and everything else in the animal kingdom is, our spirit relates to the Spirit of the Living God. And in Christ, our spirit even becomes a habitation of God's Spirit.


“God is Spirit” (John 4:24). We believe in an immaterial God; He's not made of the stuff we’re made of. Yet God is the ultimate reality, suggesting that the spirit God has placed in us is also the ultimate reality in our being.


It takes great faith, finesse and practice, to get in touch with our spirit and let it preside over our mind, will and emotions. Do they work in tandem? Certainly. It's all part of God's design.


But God meets us in the place of our spirit, “our true inner self.” It takes growing audacity to trust the intuition of our spirit, but as we do so, we find it to be the most real dimension of who we are in Christ.


Father, thank You for the gift of our spirit. Thank You for animating our being by our spirit. And thank You for Your Spirit Who dwells our spirit. Holy Spirit, as You communicate with our spirit, may we become more and more spiritual. May we learn to live in the spiritual realm as we walk with You by faith.






1. “The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”


A glorious aspect of our faith in Christ is Jesus’ entrance into human history.


Although our God exists outside of chronology, never having had a beginning and will never have an end, God enters the human timeline along the way. He created us, revealed Himself to us, interacted with us, and is at work in our lives today—all within the construct of time.


Surely God's most glorious tie to human history is the Incarnation, life, death, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was here, He showed us what God is like, He wrought Atonement for us, and is now glorified and seated at the right hand of God.


God didn’t simply snap His fingers to make Atonement and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit actual. He achieved it as a Human Being in Christ our Lord.


“It is finished” (John 19:30) are perhaps the most incredible words in the Bible. By Christ’s glorification, de-glorification, and re-glorification, we can be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) as we trust and receive Jesus.


What an incredible God we serve!


Heavenly Father, may the work of the Lord Jesus Christ not be squandered in our life. Lord Jesus, we receive You and the subsequent outpouring of Your Holy Spirit in our lives. Thank You, Father, Son and Spirit, for all You've done for us. Hallelujah forevermore!



2. “The Lord Jesus IS glorified and the Holy Spirit HAS been given.”


Consider the saints before Christ, who knew the promises of God—the redemption of their souls and the outpouring of God's spirit—but could only dream of partaking.


Here we are today, on the other side of Christ's Ascension and Glorification, and on the other side of Pentecost, with the gifts of Christ’s Atonement and Holy Spirit only one step in faith away from being ours.


If only we realized how blessed we are to receive “what many prophets and righteous people of old longed to look into” (Matthew 13:17)!


Just as we can’t imagine a life without an automobile, a phone and many other modern blessings, we can also take for granted the luxury of union with God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. It’s ours for the receiving, enjoying and telling, as we trust and receive Jesus.


Heavenly Father, please forgive us for taking for granted all You've done for us. Jesus, we thank God You ARE glorified. Holy Spirit, we thank God You HAVE been given. We joyfully and eagerly receive by grace through faith the greatest Gifts ever given. Thank You, our God!



3. “Waiting on the promises of God is not dependent on the Providence of God, but our own spiritual fitness.”


If we have not yet received the adoption as God’s sons and daughters, and the subsequent gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit, that's on us, not on God.


I won’t be able to stand before the throne of God on the Day of Judgment and cast blame on my Creator. He’s done absolutely everything to provide for my Atonement and adoption.


Nor will I be able to blame Him for any sense of lacking in my spirit. He’s done everything necessary for my rebirth, new creation, and filling with His Spirit.


Is there waiting in the Christian life? Most assuredly. God's timeline and purposes are vastly different from ours. May we therefore be patient as necessary.


But we are no longer waiting for God to redeem us, adopt us and fill us. The necessary work to achieve these things has been accomplished and completed in Christ our Lord. Hallelujah!


Thank You, Holy God, for all You've done on our behalf. Please forgive us for not receiving to the fullest extent. We reach out to You in faith today. Please continue working in us, that You might pour out on us to the greatest extent imaginable.



4. “The attitude of receiving and welcoming the Holy Spirit into our lives is to be the continual attitude of the believer.”


We set ourselves up for failure if we attempt to live the Christian life without total dependence and reliance upon the Holy Spirit within us. We simply cannot follow Jesus otherwise.


If countless generations of saints before us were incapable of living into God's statues, what makes us think we're capable of living into the teachings of Jesus? We’ll fail every time, just as the saints before Christ.


The difference in our day is, the Holy Spirit has been poured out. It is a fact and feature of the Kingdom of God since Christ’s death, Resurrection and Ascension. Therefore, as Christ-followers, we must recognize our undeniable and undebatable need for the Holy Spirit as we walk with Jesus.


Our “continual attitude” is one of humility: Heavenly Father, we’re incomplete and can’t do this without Your Son and Spirit. Therefore, we open our lives to welcome and receive You more and more every day. Thank You.



5. “It's not the baptism of the Holy Spirit that changes people, but the power of the ascended Christ coming into their lives through the Holy Spirit.”


This distinction is incredibly helpful.


The Holy Spirit births the life of the Ascended Christ within us. Christ Himself dwells in us by His Holy Spirit: “It is not I who live, but Christ Who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).


We think of our ourselves and our lives very differently when we recognize we are “temples of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19), and therefore inhabited by the glorified Jesus Christ. Our faith is not a mindset or worldview. We become habitations of the living God.


Beloved, Christ dwells in us by faith through God’s Holy Spirit. He intends to live through us today. Let's continually strive to give Him permission to do so.


Lord Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, living in us by Your Holy Spirit, thank You for making Your abode within. We are honored to be Your hosts. It’s our honor to have You live through us today. Please direct our thoughts, words and deeds for Your glory and purposes. We are Yours.






1. “Pray without ceasing.”


What’s our understanding of prayer? “Our thinking about prayer, whether right is wrong, is based on our mental conception of it.”


Where did we learn to pray? What model do we follow as we pray? Has our understanding of prayer been shaped by Jesus Himself?


“The correct concept of prayer is the breath in our lungs and the blood from our heart.” Most of the time we're not aware of our breathing or heart rate. They just are, and they never stop. Such is the nature of prayer.


Is there a time for intentional, formal prayer, either by ourselves or with others? By all means. We’re exercising our prayer muscles as we do.


But “prayer without ceasing” comes from growing intimacy with Jesus. We begin breathing the same oxygen with Jesus as our heart begins beating in sync with His. We're learning to include Jesus in our daily thoughts, imaginations, conversations and more.


As we do we find our spiritual cardiovascular system continuously and freshly oxygenated.


Lord Jesus, thank You for the increasingly natural rhythm of inhaling and exhaling unceasing prayer. May we grow ever more comfortable with including You as we think, dream, imagine and act. May our lives reflect our glorious and unceasing union with You.



2. “If we’re obeying God, we’re living in unconscious and perfect oneness with God.”


How do we gauge our union with God? It certainly seems to be subjective.


But if we're consciously obeying God in the day-in and day-out, we can be assured of our unconscious oneness with God. Because obedience is the essence of being right relationship with God.


Am I being disobedient to Jesus in any way? If so, my relationship with God is not what it could be. However, in a heartbeat, as I begin to obey, Jesus brings my back into immediate fellowship.


And we discover there’s nowhere we’d rather be.


Our Lord and God, we desire oneness with You. Please make us aware of any disobedience. By Your grace, we want to make it right. May our outward acts of obedience result in inward union with You.



3. “Maintain a childlike habit of offering up prayer in your heart to God all the time.”


A child with their parent often jabbers incessantly. The joy and freedom of a relationship is to have someone’s ear, heart and attention.


So it is with the privilege of being a child of God. In Christ, we forever have God’s complete and undivided attention, and His unending desire to engage with us.


It brings God great joy when we “maintain a childlike habit of offering prayer all the time.” Our conversations with God denote our constant fellowship with God.


May prayer be as joyous for us as it is for our God.


Father, thank You for the privilege of speaking with You freely. Thank You for receiving our prayer right now. Our heart’s desire is to walk in pleasing fellowship with You at all times. We want to hear Your heart as Your hear ours.



4. “Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer.”


What an amazing insight.


Perhaps we’ve heard or asked this question: “Are there times when God doesn't answer prayer?” However, Jesus never addressed the matter, because it's a non sequitur in His mind.


“Jesus had the unlimited certainty of knowing that prayer is always answered.” We may want to qualify that statement by saying, “Only if our prayer is in alignment with God's will,” or, “Only if we're walking in obedience.”


But Jesus taught differently. His statement was, “Everyone who asks receives.” He puts no conditions on prayer.


But how can God answer a prayer that may lead to harm? “God answers prayers in the best way—not just sometimes, but every time.” Because God is good, loving and kind, He answers our prayers in ways that lead to God's very best for our lives.


Aren't you glad?


Heavenly Father, we ask for the confidence in prayer Jesus had. Thank You for answering our prayers in ways that draw us closer to You and keep us from that which is destructive. We trust You with what we ask of You. Thank You.



5. “We water down what Jesus said to make it align with our common sense.”


Isn't this the truth? In our sensibilities, reasonableness and conscientiousness, we often interpret Jesus’ words in conformance with our culture, thinking and experience.


There’s certainly place for our reasoning: “‘Come, let us reason together,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 1:18). God gave us a reasoning mind for a reason.


But Jesus was purposeful and specific with the words He spoke. The reason we find ourselves struggling with Jesus’ words is because our sentiments have been formed by the world around us.


In like manner, as we immerse ourselves in the things of God, we begin to gain “the mind of Christ” (1Corinthians 2:16). As God transforms our sensibilities, Jesus’ words begin to make remarkable sense.


Lord Jesus, please forgive us for taking the teeth out of Your words to make them align with our common sense. Please continue to speak to us directly and pointedly, as You shape our thought process to conform with Yours.







1. “When Jesus suddenly appears with totally unfamiliar characteristics, the only thing we can do is fall at His feet.”


We're pretty sure we've got God sized up. We're confident of His traits, attributes and attitudes. We know because we read and believe the Scriptures, and because we have daily interactions with the Holy Spirit.


But how minute is our vision of God? We've experienced a mere molecule of God’s pinky fingernail. There is infinitely more to our God than we can possibly comprehend and understanding.


Why would we be we surprised when God appears in unfamiliar ways with unfamiliar characteristics? What kind of God would He be if there wasn't more to Him than what we already know?


This’s why we must remain cautious with our reactions and exchanges with other Christ-followers. Is there something of God they’ve experienced that we have not? Certainly, it will not be something outside the boundaries of Scripture, but God is certainly big enough to surprise us.


In fact, may He surprise us today.


Heavenly Father, do surprise us today. Come in ways we've never expected or experienced. Enlarge our imagination and capacity for more and more of You. Thank You for being infinitely bigger than we think You are.



2. “There are times when God cannot reveal Himself in any other way than in His Majesty.”


Over the years, God appears to us as Father, Savior, Comforter, Helper, Friend, Advocate, Intercessor, Healer, Redeemer, Provider and more. Thank God for His incredible traits and attributes.


But thank God for the times He reveals Himself in awe-striking majesty—the times when we experience God in His power and glory, when He’s high and lifted up and His train fills the temple, when He’s larger than life and we realize the universe cannot contain Him.


These are the moments of draw-dropping wonder. The moments that catch our breath away. The moments, and thank God for them, when we find ourselves in the very presence of the Holy One.


And we experience how finite and feeble we are as we stand before Almighty God.


Father, thank You for all the ways you reveal Yourself to us. We're eager to know You more and more. May we also have those periodic tastes of Your Supreme Majesty. Thank You for the blood of Jesus Christ that permits us to boldly approach Your throne (Hebrews 4:16). We long for the Day when we will see you in Your full glory. Hallelujah!



3. “When God laid His right hand upon me.”


When God appears to us as the Holy and Almighty God, we also experience His gentle and loving touch: “He laid His right hand on me.”


It's a touch we can’t mistake or reproduce. It is the very hand of God laid upon us in His grace and mercy. It's God's claim of ownership over us. It's God affirmation we are His, purchased by the blood of Jesus, and adopted through the Holy Spirit.


“It gives us inexpressible peace and comfort.” Indeed, in these moments, nothing can convince us otherwise. The assurance and nearness of God is unmistakably real and glorious.


Father, thank You for the austere moments when we see You in Your glory and sense Your Personal and tangible touch. Thank You for drawing us, reaching to us, speaking to our heart, and tenderly touching our soul. We welcome Your precious intervention in our life.



4. “Once His touch comes, nothing at all can throw us into fear again.”


Thank God for His nearness.


The things that torment and threaten us seem so real. They can consume our thoughts, imaginations and emotional energies. We can truly feel like our life is on the line.


Then “God’s touch comes” and deflates our fears and anxieties. In those moments, our concerns lose their grip as we find ourselves in the presence of God’s immensity, power and love.


Beloved, God's touch need not be random or rare. He invites us into His presence in prayer, worship and Scripture, that He might enfold us in His arms and convince us of His nearness.


“The Lord Jesus speaks to the insignificant disciple, saying, ‘Don't be afraid.’” We have the privilege of this intimate fellowship because we are the children of God. Hallelujah!


Lord Jesus, thank You for Your immediate presence by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. Thank You for Your gentle touch and embrace, and the tremendous encouragement and strength we receive as a result. We turn and look to You here and now. We receive Your gracious touch.



5. “God can do nothing for me until I recognize the limits of what’s humanly possible and allow Him to do the impossible.”


What a tremendous summary of the God-walk.


I must come to the place where I realize my great smallness in the greater scheme of things. Most everything in my life is above my pay grade: the sunrise, wind and rain, heartbeat and breath, the traffic in the next lane, the Federal Government, international superpowers, and certainly life and death.


Yet, in Christ, the “despair” that comes with my sense of finitude also comes with “delight.” It's when I recognize my limits, God can further His work in me. God can do little for me if I’m believe I’m self-made, self-sufficient and need nothing. But, as I realize just how insufficient I am, God can rush in and demonstrate His grace and power.


“When I am weak, He is strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Hallelujah!


Heavenly Father, I confess my desperate need for the God of the Universe. I was made for union with You. Anything less leaves me infinitely impoverished. I offer You my heart and the impossibilities in my life today. I trust You to do the impossible. Thank You.






1. “Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat, drink or wear.”


According to Oswald, Jesus classifies our “commonsense carefulness” as “unbelief.”


Every sensibility in our soul screams when we hear this indictment. We can't imagine not concerning ourselves with the necessities of life.


But Oswald is getting at something more. He says God continues to ask us, “Where does God fit into this relationship, vacation, or new purchases?” That's not God horning in on our business. This is Christ enacting His Lordship as He concerns Himself with our concerns.


What would life be like to involve Jesus in all of our everyday and common sense decisions? What if we we're to train ourselves to at least acknowledge God, if not inquire of Him, in all our daily matters?


If we did, we would be learning to walk in tandem with God in the smallest and largest matters of our life. And Jesus promises it will result in us knowing the peace, joy, freedom and provision God offers.


Why do we consider it an encumbrance when Jesus calls us not to worry? Instead, it’s God's incredibly generous invitation to enjoy the abundant life of His Kingdom.


Lord Jesus, please involve Yourself in the smallest matters of our life today. As we make decisions, as we turn to the left and to the right, please “squeeze right through our lives.” We want You to be our Lord as well as our Savior.



2. “God always presses the point until we learn to make Him our first consideration.”


We might consider it pestering, but God is persistently nudging us. God’s a Gentleman, not elbowing His way in when He's not invited. But that doesn't keep Him from continuing to knock on the door of our heart and ask permission.


God will never demand we make Him our first consideration. But, because He loves us and knows what's best for us, He won't let it rest. God persistently asks of us, just as He calls us to persistently ask of Him.


Father, thank You for always “pressing the point” as You seek union with us. Please forgive us for the default of “leaning on our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5-6) in our daily lives. Please continue training us in making You our first consideration.



3. “Whenever we put other things first, there’s confusion.”


We often find ourselves consternated, befuddled, frustrated, irritated and put-out. Unfortunately, we bring much of it upon ourselves because we've put other things before our God.


“Confusion” is a great way to summarize life in conflict with God. Such conflict occurs when we crowd Him out, give Him the cold shoulder, or willful disobey Him.


Whatever the case, we're grinding the gears in our relationship with Jesus. To yield to Jesus and make Him first and above all things is to align and mesh with the God of the Universe.


Just think, it’s for this beautiful and life-giving union we were created. Why on earth would we settle for anything less?


Heavenly Father, we bless You for Your goodness. It boggles our mind that we’d put anything before such a good and gracious God, yet we consistently do so. Please help us develop the proclivity to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33) all the day long. We love the results when we do.



4. “Don't take the pressure of your provision upon yourself.”


Again, this is tough language for self-sufficient Westerners like us.


“Don't worry about your life.” Oswald suggests “it's not only wrong to worry, it's unbelief.” That certainly highlights the inherently sinful nature of worry.


We might say, “try not to worry,” as if worry was a small matter. We would never say that about other sin: “Try not to commit adultery,” or “Try not to murder.” Instead, we flee these things knowing their inherently sinful and destructive nature.


But is there any greater degree of unrighteousness than unbelief? It’s because in the state of unbelief we remain unforgiven and separated from God. Yet Oswald says we practice unbelief daily when we worry about our life.




Oswald’s statement appears bold and brash. But perhaps we ought to at least give it some prayerful concern and consideration before dismissing it.


Heavenly Father, no wonder there's a great sense of pressure when we feel like our provision rests upon our shoulders. To perceive worry as unbelief helps us recognize how we distance ourselves from You when we believe we alone are the source of meeting our daily needs. Thank You for this jarring insight. May it arrest our souls. May we instead believe and trust You for our provision, and may we sense You lifting the pressure and instilling Your peace as we do so. Thank You enormously.



5. “It's always our little worries.”


True story.


In moments of great alarm and consternation, we quickly turn to Jesus. But it's the swarm of small, petty, everyday worries that clogs our spiritual arteries.


“The greatest word of Jesus to His disciples is ‘abandon.’” Why? Because abandon denotes dismissing the big and little worries as we give ourselves to Jesus’ care. It's throwing ourselves upon God’s mercy, grace and provision on a constant and ongoing basis. It's remembering God's faithfulness in the big things and trusting His faithful in the small.


“The only cure is obedience to the Spirit.” I need not fret with “little worries” when I recognize my fundamental duty is obedience to God's Spirit. I have bigger fish to fry than to constantly attend to my personal concerns. I’m on a mission from God, and that eclipses all the little worries in my life. Hallelujah!


Lord Jesus, into Your hands we commend our lives today, including our big and small worries, and we commit ourselves to responding to Your big and small nudges. Thank You for Your corresponding and luscious grace and peace. Hallelujah all the more.







1. “Are you helping God answer Jesus’ prayer, or do you have some other goal for your life?”


Oswald asks this question in relation to Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21, “Father, make them one, as You and I are One.”


Is this my aim, too? If so, am I giving myself to God's process of bringing it about? Or is my aim different, and must God work against my druthers as He answers Jesus’ prayer?


I can’t make myself “one with God,” but, by the cross of Christ, God can. However, I can impede the process. But if I do, it will require God bringing about in my life that which He would rather not. It may require God permitting heartaches in order to break my resistance to becoming one with Him.


Is that my goal?


Jesus, thank You for Your desire that I might be one with the Father as You are. Father, thank You for Your work to answer Jesus’ prayer and bring it about. Please change my heart so I might desire oneness with You as well. Please do what You must to make it happen.



2. “Since you became a disciple, you cannot be as independent as you used to be.”


This is certainly the case. We probably need to make this more clear as we encourage people to follow Jesus. It involves denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and walking with Him.


God intends for me to be an independent human being. He formed me in my mother's womb for His purposes. I have unique personality traits, likes and dislikes, interests and wiring. God did that on purpose so I can be an independent agent for His Kingdom.


But my independence is now gone. I’ve yoked myself with Jesus Christ. I’ve given my heart to Jesus, and offer my mind for His continuing transformation. My life is now His to do with what He chooses.


This may seem like a recipe for stilted, limited freedom. Instead, it's a prescription for liberty. As I give myself to Jesus, I find myself emancipated from lesser things as I participate with God in infinitely more important and consequential matters.


I’m a child of God, a citizen of Heaven, on a life mission for God. What more could anyone ask?


Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the opportunity to be Your disciple. There's nothing I'd rather be. It's my honor and privilege to follow You, submit myself to You, and be used by You for the glory of God. Hallelujah!



3. “God is not concerned about our plans; He does not ask.”


Is this mean-spirited? How could it be from our ever-good God, Who created us and knows how to ultimately satisfy our heart?


“God is not concerned” sounds hard and insensitive. But wouldn't it be harder and more insensitive of God to permit us to go our merry way and injure ourselves and others?


“He does not ask” doesn’t indicate a snarky, dictatorial attitude. It comes from a parental posture from One Who knows far better than we do.


God is ultimately concerned for our welfare, and therefore continually asks, “Will you trust Me?”


Father, we stumble so readily at trusting You. Thank You for Your patience with us. We're so thankful You intervene in our plans when our plans are not best. We give You open permission to do what You must without asking our permission. Thank You for Your intimate care.



4. “God allows things for His Own purposes.”


This is our saving grace in comprehending our daily lives and our broken world.


Why evil? Why heartache? Why hardships? God could certainly prevent all of it, and only God knows how much He prevents on a daily basis.


But we only grow in character and in confidence of God through ordeals. That's how we build spiritual muscle, stamina and endurance.


“These things are going to either make us sweeter, better and nobler, or they will make us more critical and fault finding.” I think we’re probably aware of how hardships have shaped our lives. Most of us would say we've learned important lessons from the School of Hard Knocks.


Perhaps we need to consider today’s hardships in that vein.


Heavenly Father, do what You must do, to do what you must do in us. Thank You for forming and fashioning us to date. We recognize what it required for You to do so. As You continue Your process today, may we receive You’re grace and endure.



5. “Jesus prayed nothing less for us than absolute oneness with Himself, and God will not leave us alone until we are one with Him.”


Friends, the deck is stacked. Jesus prayed the Father on our behalf, and the Father always answers prayer—especially Jesus’.


That means God is moving Heaven and Earth to do what Jesus asked. It's happening right now, in this moment, and will happen all day long today, tomorrow and the rest of our lives.


Perhaps this helps us recognize the source of some of our discomfort—we may be acting against God's prevailing grace as He addresses Jesus’ prayer request. We’re sure to experience turmoil in our soul when God's will is not our will.


God, have mercy.


Heavenly Father, do what You must to answer Jesus’ prayer on our behalf. “Make us one as You and Jesus are One.” Even as we kick and squirm, we thank You for what You’re doing in us. Thank You for the gift of answering Jesus’ prayer.






1. “The words of Jesus are the most revolutionary our human ears have ever heard.”


Jesus was a revolutionary of the highest order, because He was calling us to subject every natural allegiance to the Highest Order—the Kingdom of God.


“Seek first the Kingdom of God” sounds like crazy talk. What about the here and now? What about the concerns of the day? Today’s needs can certainly be all consuming if we permit them.


Jesus was teaching us, “Get the right relationship with God first, then maintain it as the primary concern of our life, even above our concerns for other matters in life.”


Talk about revolutionary. This seems insane.


Yet, consider Jesus words: “Unless you become as a little child, you shall not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 18:3). Is a child foolish for being completely dependent upon their parents? Is a child foolish to put all their hope and trust in their parents? Hardly. This is the order of things.


So it is with our Heavenly Father. When we make God our primary pursuit and place every other concern beneath our devotion to God, we discover God is steadily working in the details of our lives.


And we can experience the freedom and joy of trusting our all-wise God.


Lord Jesus, thank You for Your revolutionary call to revolutionary living as citizens of Your Kingdom. Please help us raise our sights, take our place in Your Kingdom, and walk in loving union with our God.



2. “From God's standpoint it's absolutely unreasonable for us to be anxious.”


Our God, Who created us for Himself, Who promises to “supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19), has to be utterly amazed at our daily fears and anxieties.


“He Who did not spare His Own Son, but gave Him up freely for our sake, will He not also give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). God's track record is His immense generosity. God's promise is to provide for His beloved—and delivers. What evidence do we have to the contrary?


“Jesus didn't say the person who takes no thought for anything is blessed. No, that person is a fool.” We mustn't hear something Jesus didn't say. Jesus didn't call us to be aimless, vacuous and irresponsible; rather, He called us to direct our energies, attention and trust toward our God.


And when we do, “We can be cautiously carefree about everything else in comparison to that.” Lesser things must not be “the controlling factor of our life; instead, we must be focused absolutely on God.”


If we choose to argue against this principle, perhaps it's because we've never given ourselves completely to it. What might happen if we did?


Lord Jesus, I want to love, trust and be devoted to the Father just as You say and demonstrated. Please help me become that person.



3. “Some people are careless with their earthly matters, and God holds them responsible.”


This is a critical perspective on what Jesus means when He calls us to “seek first the Kingdom of God.”


“Some people are careless about what they eat and drink, and suffer for it.” Jesus is not excusing us from our earthly responsibilities. We must do what we must do in order to care for ourselves and others. And if we’re careless in these matters, we all pay the price.


Beloved, God’s not calling us to be oblivious to matters in this life, but to make our devotion to God the intervening and guiding principle directing every other aspect of our daily lives.


In the end, we’re alone are responsible for our devotion to God, just as we’re responsible for our daily living. And we’re ultimately responsible for prioritizing the former above the latter.


Father, please help us be responsible, contributing pilgrims on earth, and faithful and productive citizens of Heaven. Please help us subject our daily living to Your purposes for Your Kingdom.



4. “It's one of the most difficult, yet critical disciplines of the Christian life, to allow the Holy Spirit to bring us into absolute harmony with the teachings of Jesus in this verse.”


We do well to memorize, meditate and metabolize Matthew 6: 33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.”


This is not simply a poetic statement to be embroidered on a doily or screen printed on a coffee mug. This is the first order principle of the Kingdom of God. No other allegiance must be permitted to compete.


We may think such an allegiance will diminish other important allegiances in our lives. What about our allegiance to our family, friends, church and community? Instead of diminishing these allegiances, our allegiance to the Kingdom of God will augment all the others.


That is, we’re able to be more faithful to our parents, spouses, children, friends, workplaces, church and community, if our allegiance to the Kingdom of God is in place, intact and developing. We’re able to better serve all our other commitments because of our union with God.


But here’s a caveat:  If we’re alleged to something that hurts or hinders us or others, that allegiance must go. Such would be our allegiance to money, pleasure, fame, hobbies, etc. There’s a natural push-back against Matthew 6:33 if we’re given to these things above the Kingdom of God.


Yet, as Jesus works in our souls to gradually release our grip on lesser things, we’ll find our hearts ultimately satisfied as we immerse ourselves God’s Kingdom.


Lord Jesus, we allege ourselves fresh and new to Your Kingdom once again. We offer our hearts and lives in faithful submission and service to You. May Your Kingdom come and may Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Thank You for the high honor of being citizens of Heaven.





1. “Take possession of our own soul.”


Oswald is offering language to speak of the great intangible of our soul—the mysterious mind, will and emotions deep inside.


To “take possession of our soul” is to recognize these dimensions within us, name them and begin to harness them. Otherwise, they run amok. They do whatever they choose to do and we're just along for the ride.


“By your patience you possess your soul.” We don't “take possession of our soul” in an instant. It's a lifetime of learning, thinking, doing and practicing. Over time we become more familiar with our soul and with the connecting tissues whereby we’re able to tame it and bring it into submission in Christ.


Our soul is quite the gift. It's what makes us human, created in the image of God. As we mature, we learn to operate the body God gave us. Let's do the same with our soul. Let's regard it as one of our members, and become its master rather than vice versa.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the intricacies of our makeup. Please teach us regarding our soul. Please help us rise up and preside over it. Help us become all You intend us to be through Christ our Lord.



2. “When we’re born again, for a time we don’t have the same vitality of thinking and reasoning we previously had.”


Oswald is speaking of our initial inability to speak of the things of God and of what God has done and is doing in us. We've never been who we’re becoming in Christ. We have to grow into new ways of thinking and reasoning.


How does a mere mortal describe being born again? How do we describe the new creation birthed in us, and our old nature wrestling with it? How do we describe the nudges and nuances of the Holy Spirit in our soul? How do we describe the Light that is overcoming the darkness, and the Mind of Christ being formed in us?


We're developing new thinking and reasoning even now as we read Oswald Chambers. His depictions and surmising can be foreign to us because he’s attempting to express matters, not of our old nature and our natural understandings, but of our new nature, as we interface with the Holy Spirit and begin to grapple with the Truths of God.


But, in time, we gain new “vitality of thinking and reasoning” as we become subject to Jesus’ authority, more familiar to God's ways, and more adept at walking in God's Spirit. We might be pleasantly surprised to learn that many of the greatest minds in human history have been developed in submission to Jesus Christ our Lord.


Heavenly Father, please nurture “the mind of Christ” within us. Train us to think and reason differently with You in the equation as our foundation, provision and new reality. May we grasp and live into Your Truths, and become more skilled at helping others do the same.



3. “Many of us prefer to stay at the entrance of the Christian life instead of going on to create and build our soul in accordance with the new life God has placed within us.”


This is quite the convicting statement. How often do we forfeit the vitality of mind, soul and spirit we could have if we pursued Christ more fully? Perhaps we're more content to say, “‘These are hard sayings? Who can understand them?’ And from that time on many of Jesus disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” (John 6:60-66).




It takes great intentionality, purposefulness and endurance to press into Jesus more and more. It's not for the faint of heart. It's certainly not automatic and will try every fiber of our being all our days.


But the payoff is, we are plumbing a well that is infinitely deep and beautiful. It is an endless supply of the qualities and character of God. It manifests itself in depth of soul, soundness of mind, supernatural endurance, and “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).


Father, please take us there. We know You're more eager than we are. Please draw us into the deeper things of God in Christ. We want to become everything You've ever imagined. Thank You.



4. “We blame things on the devil that are actually the result of our own undisciplined nature.”


Isn't this the truth? The devil can't make us do anything. We fall prey to the devil because we choose to: “We are tempted when we are dragged away by our own lusts and enticed” (James 1:14).


We must never underestimate the vulnerability of our old nature. It is no match for the wicked one who “seeks to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10).


It requires personal discipline to deny our old nature and embrace our new nature in Christ. We must tenaciously put our flesh to death so the Resurrected Christ might live through us.


Are we able to do this in and of ourselves? If we were, it would not have been necessary for God to give us His Holy Spirit. Yet, by God's Spirit, we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us.


Below, let's be “disciples,” those who discipline our old natures and determine to live into the fullness of God in Christ.


May it be so, Heavenly Father. Only by Your grace God and for Your glory. Hallelujah.



5. “We will never get rid of moodiness by praying, but only by kicking it out of our lives.”


Moods, both good and bad, are liabilities.


It's because, if we do anything motivated by our mood, we are liable to and almost assuredly will flip-flop as our mood changes with wind.


Our Lord Jesus knew joy and sorrow, but He didn’t operate out of His moods. He operated out of Truth and obedience to His Heavenly Father, and was empowered by the Holy Spirit to do so. And He calls us to do the same.


We must “pick ourselves up by the back of the neck and shake ourselves.” This is how we deal with moodiness. We have long given way to our moods, made excuses for ourselves, and insisted others give us latitude based on our mood.


But not so in Christ. Our moods have no place in God's Kingdom. We follow Jesus, no matter what, no matter when, no matter where. And we certainly don't depend on our mood to make it happen.


Heavenly Father, may it be so in our lives. We know the incredible power of our moods. Please have mercy. We can be so pathetic—limp dish rags at the whim and will of our moods. Instead, in Christ, empowered by Your Spirit, may we “kick out” the moods in our daily interactions, decision-making and obedience to Your Spirit. Thank You.





1. “God does not keep His child immune from trouble; He promises, ‘I will be with you in trouble.’”


Where do we get the idea we won't face troubles if we follow Jesus? Don’t we continue to live in a broken world? Aren’t we still broken humans living amongst other broken humans?


Instead, we have a Companion as we go. His presence is monumental as we face struggles, hurdles, hardships and more. We’re not alone. He holds our heart in His hands. He feels what we feel and strengthens us to go the distance.


The companionship of Christ makes all the difference in our turmoil. We’re not forgotten or forsaken. We’re the beloved of God. He feels our pain and knows every tear we shed. He will walk us through the present troubles and beyond.


Lord Jesus, thank You we’re not alone. We pray for wisdom not make our troubles worse, and we thank You for Your ever-present fellowship in today's difficulties. Thank You for Your peace as we trust You and take the next steps with You.



2. “Nothing can ever separate us from our relationship to God.”


This is a formidable statement. Our God simply will not and refuses to leave or forsake us. We can't run Him off. We can't alienate Him to the point He will depart. Absolutely nothing can separate us from our God.


This includes our own insistence. We may well tell God to take a hike, but He will remain in the shadows. We may well grieve His Spirit and break His heart, but He refuses to leave.


We can’t sever our relationship with God, but we certainly can nurture it. As we seek our Lord and God, He opens our eyes to our need for Jesus. And, as we trust Jesus, we have ongoing opportunity to grow in greater love and confidence in our God.


And all along, we’ll find ourselves inseparable from the God Who made us.


Holy God, thank You for Your incredible tenacity to remain in relationship with us through thick and thin. Thank You that no circumstance can separate us. And thank You that our own avoidance, independence and rebellion won't cause You to leave. We implicitly and explicitly trust Your love and grace today. Thank You.



3. “The dangers that face us are not imaginary, but dangerously real. Yet none of them affects our essential relationship with God in Jesus Christ.”


Today's Scripture passage is not hypothetical. It was written by the Apostle Paul, who faced real murderous enemies, real jail time, real courtrooms, and real martyrdom.


We're apt to imagine the Scriptures applying only to internal struggles, emotional turmoil and spiritual challenges. But the Scriptures are the Living Word of God for people who live in a real and broken world.


Our relationship with God through faith in Christ is the most real, durable and lasting component of our being. Everything else about us, including the world we live in today, will pass. But our relationship with our God is forever because of the cross of Jesus Christ.


This essential Truth founds our lives for eternity.


Heavenly Father, thank You for this anchor for our soul. Thank You that nothing in the physical or spiritual world can sever our relationship with You. And thank You for the amazing way our difficulties strengthen our relationship and resolve with You. We trust and lean into You as we navigate today.



4. “Can God's love continue to hold fast, even when everyone and everything around us seems to be saying His love is a lie, and there's no such thing as justice?”


The wicked one would convince us God's unconditional love and keeping power is a ruse. After all, how could a loving God permit such catastrophes in our lives and injustices in our world?


This is the oldest lie in the book because it's a non-sequitur. Our hardships don’t annul the love of God. Instead, our hardships evoke God's compassion and care. Who among us wish calamity upon our children? Instead, their suffering breaks our hearts and draws us near.


We can’t blame God for the troubles and injustice in our world, because they’re caused by broken people in a broken world. We put God in a tenuous spot. If He were to intervene with our free will, we would curse Him for it. Yet, when we suffer the consequences, we blame Him for it.


Therefore, God simply continues to love. We can’t impede His heart for us.


Father, we’ve experienced and trust in Your unconditional and unending love. We believe it's the foundational Truth of our live, even if everything suggests otherwise. May Your love help us successfully face our hardships today.



5. “Some extraordinary thing happens to someone who holds on to the love of God when the odds are totally against them.”


Indeed, even though love can’t be mechanically detected or measured, it's the most real and tenacious thing in our life. It's our love for others, and their love for us, that keeps us sane.


How much more so the love of God? Whether we love God or not, His love for us remains. It’s unfathomable, undeniable and impenetrable. It will outlast anything else in all of eternity.


When the love of God gets ahold of us, everything changes. Even when the odds are completely against us, we can bet our bottom dollar on the love of God. Hallelujah.


Father, thank You for the active ingredient of Your love. Something extraordinary happens in us as we receive and reciprocate Your love. Thank You for its strong bond. Thank You we can lean into Your love as it holds us and girds us up. Thank You we can count on Your love, always completely and forever.






1. “The lilies of the field simply are.”


This is a beautiful devotion. Jesus calls us to consider the “lilies of the field” and birds of the air. God created them just to “be.” “The sea, air, sun, stars and moon—all of these simply ‘are’ as well.”


Perhaps we’re concerned with being of greater use to God. We mustn’t undervalue our usefulness to God when we simply “are.”


God calls us to obey His commands, and God will direct us specifically by His Holy Spirit. But as we live our everyday lives, from the smallest to the biggest activities, God intends for us to simply “be” in Christ by faithfully carrying out our occupations, loving those around us and exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit everywhere we go.


“Jesus said, ‘My yoke is easy and My burden is light’” (Matthew 11:30). Beloved, let's not make this more complicated than it need be.


Lord Jesus, thank You for the beautiful simplicity of following You. May Your glory shine through our every word and deed. Please be glorified in us today.



2. “Jesus said there's only one way to develop and grow spiritually, and that’s through focusing and concentrating on God.”


We cannot save ourselves. Why do we suppose we can grow spiritually by ourselves?


The “lilies of the field” don't strive to grow. They simply face the sun as it passes across the sky and drink in the rainfall from the sky. And unbeknownst to them, and to their amazement, they find themselves growing.


So it is with us. “Seek first the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). As we look to our God, He forms and develops our heart. It's our concentration on God alone that yields fruit in our life.


Heavenly Father, we lift our gaze to You. You’re the Source of all life. Our heart’s desire is to grow into Your fullness. We avail ourselves to You today.



3. “If we stay focused on our Heavenly Father instead of our circumstances, we’ll grow spiritually.”


It’s such a temptation to become myopic about our circumstances. We stare at our troubles rather than focusing on the God of our circumstances.


I'm certainly responsible to do what I know to do. But I can be so all consumed in the matters directly before me that I completely disregard my God.


Then I'm surprised when I'm overwhelmed.


It's amazing how God takes care of the details as we attend to Him. When we “cast our cares on God, He cares for us” (1 Peter 5:7). It's mind-boggling how familiar God seems to be with our concerns.


Heavenly Father, please remind us again and again to focus on You rather than the noisome clamoring of our lives. Thank You for Your personal and intimate care for us. We entrust ourselves to You today.



4. “If you want to be used by God, maintain the proper relationship with Jesus Christ.”


Is it really this simple? Surely it is. But perhaps it doesn’t seem so simple to maintain the proper relationship with Jesus.


“Stay focused on Him.” It requires our due diligence in the middle of life and work to focus on Jesus. It requires a growing revelation of God to realize everything we say and do matters for His Kingdom.


It also requires a heart drawn to Jesus in love. Because, it’s easiest to focus on the things we value most.


“God will make use of you every minute you live—yet you’ll be unaware.” We won’t know our influence upon others until the day we see Jesus and one another in the Kingdom of God. And we’ll surely be amazed.


Father, it's our heart’s desire to be used by You. Today, in big and small ways, as we stay focused on You, may the fruit of our lives sow seed into the soil of others. Please bring forth a fruitful harvest in them through us. And all for Your glory.







1. “The Transfiguration.”


Today’s reading is some of Oswald's most profound theology.


“Up to the time of the Transfiguration, the Incarnate Christ exhibited the normal, perfect life of a man.” This is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walking in the favor of God and men, demonstrating God's kindness and goodness, teaching God's Word and wisdom, and demonstrating His Divinity by His miracles.


But that all changed on the Mount of Transfiguration when the disciples witnessed Christ in all His glory. Jesus descended that Mount to experience “Gethsemane, the Cross and the Resurrection.” This is Jesus doing what only the Christ could do, and He did it all for our sake.


We can relate to Jesus of Nazareth; we cannot relate to Jesus the Christ. As Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus was a fully human and a citizen of Earth, with everything that comes with human life. As the Jesus the Christ, Jesus took upon Himself the sin of the world and “opened a door by which every member of the human race can enter into the life of God.”


This is the life and work of the Son of Man and the Son of God as He completed God’s mission on earth on our behalf. And like the disciples on the Mount, all we can do is gaze upon Jesus with praise, awe and wonder.


Lord Jesus, thank You for walking with us and showing us what God is like. And thank You for going before us and doing what only You could do in opening Heaven for us. We stand amazed in the presence of the Man from Galilee.



2. “The Asension.”


Oswald’s Theological treatise continues…


“The Transfiguration was completed on the Mount of Ascension.” The cross was the means by which Christ opened the door, and “by His ascension, our Lord entered heaven, keeping the door open for humanity.”


It's through the Ascension that Jesus takes His place before God as our Advocate. In the very presence of the His Father, “Christ is making intercession for the saints” (Romans 8:34). His work on the cross is finished, but His work on our behalf at the right hand of God continues to this moment.


Our Living Savior is not simply alive from the dead. He is the ascended and glorified Christ, and reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Our Living Savior is Ruler of Heaven and Earth and receives us as citizens of His glorious Kingdom forevermore. Hallelujah!


Lord Jesus, this swells our hearts with amazement and joy. You are beyond anything we can possibly imagine. You are greater, higher, bigger, grander, more powerful and more glorious then our minds can comprehend. Thank You for what You've done and continue to do for us. It's our absolute honor and privilege to kneel before You as Your humble servants. Bless the Lord forever!



3. “Jesus’ life was altogether substitutionary.”


“Substitutionary” is how we understand Christian faith. Jesus bore His cross, was raised from the dead and ascended to the Father, for us and in our place. The death He died, He died for us, and in Christ we are raised to new life. By faith in Christ’s accomplishment on our behalf, we’re granted grace to participate in the very life of God as citizens of His Kingdom.


The Scriptures teach we were “in Christ” (Romans 6:8a) when Jesus was crucified, and when we die, we’ll be found “in Christ” and join Him in bodily resurrection (Romans 6:8b). Christ was our substitute in death and resurrection, that we might participate with Him in our own.


How profound. How marvelous. What a mighty God we serve!


Jesus, thank You for all You've done in our place. And thank You that, by faith, we can participate in Your mighty acts and be adopted as children of God. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). Hallelujah forevermore!



4. “If Jesus had gone to heaven directly from the Mount of Transfiguration, He would have gone alone.”


This statement has sobered me for years and years. As Peter, James and John ascended the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus, they saw Heaven open and witnessed Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah. Then they experienced the cloud of God’s glory descend upon them and heard God speak: “This is My Son in Whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5).


It was a jaw-dropping moment the disciples would never forget.


As Oswald suggests, in the brief moment while Heaven was opened, and as Jesus revealed His glory to His disciples, Jesus could have departed from them, walked through the cloud and returned to Heaven. It was His opportunity to bypass the suffering of the cross and return to His throne.


However, if Jesus had done so, He would have returned without His disciples—and without us. So, instead of departing, Jesus descended the Mount and headed for His cross to make a way for us to join Him in Heaven. When He spoke from the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), Jesus signified He had accomplished that objective.


Jesus paid our debt that He might escort us into the very presence of God. Wowsers.


Lord Jesus, Your love for us is astounding. You denied Yourself, took up Your cross, and paved the way for us to join You in Your Father's Kingdom. Your act of self-giving is unimaginable. You’ve won our heart. We eagerly give ourselves to You and will praise You forevermore. Hallelujah!



5. “Christ's omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience are now absolute and in full power at the right hand of God.”


The Scriptures teach us, while Jesus was on earth, He chose to “limit” His power and live a fully human life: “Christ, being in very nature God, made Himself nothing, took upon Himself human likeness, humbled Himself, and became obedient to death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).


This is foundational to our understanding of Christ. But it doesn't end there...


As the ascended and glorified Christ, Jesus now rules and reigns at the right hand of God the Father. He has returned to His former glory, including His omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience. And with “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18), Jesus Christ actively works in our lives and world today.


Let's never forget what Christ has done for us. But let's never underestimate Who Christ is and what He's able to do in His power and might. When we pray, this is the Savior we're addressing. When we believe on Him, this is the Savior we're trusting. When we follow Him, this is the Savior Who goes before us.


Holy smokes.


Holy Father, please open our hearts, minds and understanding to all Jesus is, all Jesus has done, and all Jesus is able to do on our behalf. Thank You for the thunderous horsepower of indescribably glorious Savior. Hallelujah!







1. “We’re ‘partakers of the divine nature in Christ,’ receiving and sharing God’s own nature by His promises.”


These are utterly amazing words.


In Christ we are “new creations” (2 Corinthians 5:17). That’s what makes following Jesus different from every other faith on earth. We're not bettering ourselves; God makes us new.


1. This does not mean we become Divine. Other faiths suggest we are or can become Divine. Some even suggest God was once like us, and we can become like Him. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There is only one God, and we're not Him. He simply chooses to dwell in us in Christ.


2. Nor does this mean we become perfect human beings in Christ. Hardly. It means the new nature in us will struggle with the old nature in us as long as we live. We who follow Jesus are learning to “crucify” our old nature daily, while embracing and living into God's nature in us in Christ.


We’re more than we appear in the mirror. We are habitations of God's nature, and learning to involve that nature everywhere we go, in everything we do, and in everything we face.


Which is why we can be “more than conquerors through Christ who loves us” (Romans 8:37). Hallelujah!


Welcome to the divine life, brothers and sisters.


Heavenly Father, thank You for Your incomprehensible ways and you're unimaginably great promises toward us in Christ. Please help us continue to live and grow into Your nature in us.



2. “Recognize God's provision for us.”


No one on earth is wealthier than those in Christ.


“All of the promises of God for us in Christ are yes and amen!” (2 Corinthians 1:20). This is who we are as we walk with Jesus.




If so, why do “we talk as if our Heavenly Father has cut us off without a penny.” This summarizes our attitude when we “give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery.” How can Christ-followers, within whom the riches of Heaven abide, also be impoverished in spirit?


If we are, it’s because we do not “recognize God's provision for us.”


“God will reach to the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will only obey Him.” This is key to God’s storehouse of provision. The kindness, goodness, favor, love, grace and peace of Christ is ours as we walk in step with Jesus (Galatians 5:25).


Beloved, let’s continually celebrate God's incredible provision in Christ. We are rich beyond all imagination.


Heavenly Father, thank You for Your great “abundance” in Christ (John 10:10). Please help us to walk in our great inheritance today and always.



3. “No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self interests.”


Beloved, this truth serves as a dashboard warning light for us. When we sink into self-pity, it indicates we have our self-interest in mind rather than our God.


No one in human history demonstrated the absence of self-pity like our Lord Jesus. He stooped from Heaven to walk the dusty roads of ancient Israel. He was despised, rejected, flogged and crucified, yet “as a lamb led to slaughter, He did not open His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).


The same is certainly not true of me. Lord, have mercy.


Heavenly Father, please forgive us when we give way to self-pity. Thank You for this dashboard warning light, helping us realize we've usurped Your throne in our hearts. Today we enthrone You as we declare, “not our will but Yours be done.” May our lips speak Your praise instead of grumbling.



4. “We can become spiritual sponges, always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied.”


No one enjoys a child who’s forever asking and grasping, but never content. Could this be how God experiences us at times?


God forbid.


“Out of your belly will flow rivers of Living Water” (John 7:38). This is Christ's hope and promise for us, and is the polar opposite of the “spiritual sponge” Oswald describes. God is able to fill us to overflowing, so the overflow of our lives may gush out upon others for the glory of God.


God is surely amazed when we, who can be “filled with the fullness of God in Christ” (Ephesians 3:19), remain dissatisfied and discontent. He gave us “all things for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) in Christ. What more can we possibly ask?


Holy God, please forgive us for our tendency to look at what we don't have rather than what we do have. Thank You for Your great sufficiency in Christ our Lord. We receive Your goodness today, and declare with all that is within us, You are enough!



5. “If the majesty, grace and power of God are not being exhibited in us, God holds us responsible.”




We are so prone to blaming our funk and bad attitudes on other people, circumstances, tensions and more. Oswald suggests we alone are responsible when we exhibit anything other than Christ in us.


God anticipates us to emanate the Fruit of the Spirit in all circumstances. There are no situations in which this isn’t possible because Christ dwells in us.


Wouldn't we rather be those whom, through thick and thin, demonstrate the grace and resilience of God for others? Wouldn't we prefer to be known as consistently and persistently godly, regardless of what's going on and around us?


Surely that's the experience people had of Christ Himself. And God calls us, by His grace, to be reflections of Christ today: “Let the same attitude be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).


Heavenly Father, we humble ourselves before You and confess our bad attitudes, sulking, fits and outbursts. They do not become us as Your children. Please forgive us. Please help our default be more like Jesus.







1. “You have been saved so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in your body.”


(Incidentally, this is one of those serendipitous occasions when my daily Bible reading corresponds with a Scripture passage in Oswald. Pretty cool.)


We are walking, talking billboards for Jesus Christ. Our mood, manner, words and deeds matter for the Kingdom of God. Jesus's reputation is on the line if we call ourselves Christian.


Some despise the idea of living in a fishbowl for all the world to see. Yet, isn't it the highest honor and privilege? The King of Kings lives in me, and I get to demonstrate His Lordship every day, everywhere I go.


“Direct the total energy of your powers to achieve your election as a child of God.” This is to be the goal of my life every day. No matter what comes my way, I’m to “do it as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23) for all to see.


“Rise every time to whatever occasion may come your way.” Today, in every circumstance, I get to show the world what Christ can do in a human soul.


My being an doing today matters for the Kingdom of God forever. It matters for God, because He has much invested in me. It matters for onlookers, because I’m God’s living and breathing example. And it matters for me, because God only has His very best in store.


Heavenly Father, may I be faithful to Your high calling upon my life today! Lord Jesus, please manifest Yourself in all I think, say and do. I want people to know there's a God in heaven Who lives in me and can live in them, too.



2. “You didn't do anything to achieve your salvation, but you must do something to exhibit it.”


I didn't earn my salvation. I received it, paid in full, by faith in Christ. Thank You, Jesus!


But, now “I must let faith have its perfect work” (James 1:4). That is, I must “crucify myself daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31) and permit the risen Christ to live through me. I must constantly permit my new nature to overwhelm my old nature so Christ becomes apparent in my life.


Why would I strive to do so? It’s not because I'm earning my salvation—I’ve received salvation as God’s free gift.  I do so because ,“the love of Christ compels us, because we believe One died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:14).


We exhibit Christ for the world to see, because we want the world to know Jesus.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus, we receive You today as our Savior and Lord. Please, Holy Spirit, move in us as we deny ourselves and permit You to have Your way. We want the world to know You. Please help us ooze Jesus in everything we say and do today.



3. “If you’re still the same miserable, grouchy person, set on having your own way, then it's a lie to say God has saved and sanctified you.”


This is a tough one.


I’ve met some pretty grumpy and mopey Christ-followers. There’s little indication the Lord of Life lives in them.


However, it's most likely I see it in them because it's also in me. I'm prone to let down my guard when I'm most comfortable with others. Which means, if I'm not careful, they experience the grouch I can be when I don't get my way.


God, have mercy.


Lord Jesus, I want to be more like You. I imagine You as the most joyful, patient, self-giving soul ever to walk the planet. You consistently cast Your cares on Your Heavenly Father and were the perfect example of Spirit-filled living. Please continue Your process in me to make me more like You.



4. “God allows adversities into your life to see if you can jump over them properly.”


Nothing proves my God walk like adversity. When I get squeezed, what comes out of me? Is it my own weak and beggarly moods and attitudes, or is it the sweetness of the very Son of God?


Lord, have mercy.


To “jump over them properly” is to develop the habit of dethroning myself and enthroning Jesus in every and all circumstances—including, and perhaps most importantly, during adversities. “Not I, but Christ Who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).


Adversity, perhaps more than any other human experience, has the ability to reveal who or what runs the show in my life. May we “jump over adversity properly” as we face it throughout our day.


Father, thank You for the very tangible way You reveal our heart through adversity. You've done it already today and will continue throughout the day. May no adversity be wasted on us. Please use each and every experience to properly train us for Your glory.



5. “May God not find complaints in us anymore, but spiritual vitality.”




The Israelites grumbled against God in the wilderness time and again. What a miserable experience for themselves, one another and God Himself. Mercy.


“The only proper goal of life is that we manifest the Son of God.” This is the polar opposite of complaining. Complaining is about getting my way. Christian living is about God getting His way in and through us.


Have we come to the place where “dictating our demands to God disappears”? It happens when we “submit to His will so He may work through us what He wants.” And today we'll have ample opportunity to do so.


May it be so, O Lord.


Heavenly Father, we humbly offer ourselves to You today. Do what You choose through us. Please continue to temper us so there will be no whining or complaining. Instead, may we exhibit “spiritual vitality and a readiness to face anything You bring our way.” We ask You to “make us broken bread and poured out wine” for Your use today.







1. “Adversity makes us exhibit the life of Christ in our mortal flesh.”


This is a remarkable line of thought.


In seasons of great ease and celebration, our lives may look no different than anyone else’s. We display happiness, excitement, contentment, optimism, etc.


It's during times of adversity that only Christ-followers can exhibit the supernatural. Throughout history, during hardships, trials, persecution and even martyrdom, Christ-followers have been known for their incredible peace and composure.


For example, and without question, Christ's suffering and death was the ultimate demonstration of God’s supernatural mercy, grace, love and self-giving.


Today I will have an opportunity to “exhibit the life of Christ” as I deal with nuisances, irritations, hardships and struggles. I wonder what you'll see in me?


Heavenly Father, none of us would choose adversity. But, as the inevitable adversity comes, may Christ ooze from our soul and be evident in our mood, affect, words and deeds. May we be salt and light even as we suffer.



2. “I can enjoy adversity if I'm eager for the life of Jesus to evidence itself in me.”


Goodness, that's a strong statement.


Can I actually “enjoy” adversity? To enjoy pain seems masochistic. But to recognize pain as an opportunity to display the grace of God is an altogether different matter.


When I hurt, do I display my hurt, lash out, or seek sympathy from others? Or do I determine to suffer with Jesus and effervesce Christ instead? I certainly recognize the spiritual maturity in the latter. And I quickly recognize my spiritual immaturity.


Heavenly Father, we’re not fans of adversity, but we’re eager for “the life of Jesus to evidence itself in us.” Please help us recognize the holy opportunities before us today as we deal with our hardships. Instead of demonstrating our anger or irritation, or looking for the attention of others, may we choose to hide ourselves in You and leak Jesus. It will only be by Your grace, O God.



3. “When we delight in God during our difficulties, God moves to the forefront and manifests Himself.”


This is more than positive thinking. This is the supernatural work of God.


We know good and well what happens when we begin to act out or feel sorry for ourselves during our difficulties. It's not helpful for us or anyone else.


But if we choose to lift our eyes and delight in the goodness of God, even in our hardships, God moves supernaturally in our soul. We’re choosing to interface with the Holy Spirit and discover His grace and strength.


The result is the alluring Fruit of the Spirit rather than our repelling anger, complacency or self-pity.


Beloved, may we learn to connect with God in those moments and exhibit His qualities instead of our own.


Father, it's counterintuitive to delight in You during difficulties rather than act in self-preservation. Thank You for the supernatural energy of Your Spirit manifesting Your grace as we turn to You. May it be true of us more and more.



4. “If God puts you into adversity, He is adequately sufficient to supply all your need.”


Does God “put us into adversity?” Would it surprise us if He did? Would we think Him cruel to do so?


We need to be thoughtful as we approach the topic of God's Sovereignty. Does God engineer every circumstance in our lives? Do circumstances arise as a result of our will or others’? Is it a combination of both?


These are questions humankind has been asking of God for centuries.


In the meantime, regardless of the conclusion we may draw, the realities are two: 1) Adversity is a given, be it God's hand or otherwise. 2) God’s grace is adequately and abundantly sufficient for all our needs.


Each day involves hardships. We’ll not achieve pain-free living in this life. But we’ll never face a situation in which God's grace is not available, plentiful and enough.


Beloved, such is the God-walk, and we walk with a Mighty God.


Thank You, Father. We love You. Help us learn to draw from Your all-sufficient grace, all the time, in every situation. You are enough for us.



5. “You must keep yourself in the proper condition to allow the life of the Son of God to be manifested in you.”


This is true in many areas our life. We can't pass algebra exams without appropriate study. We can't run marathons without sufficient conditioning. We can't sustain relationships without working at it.


The same is true for Jesus’ followers as we learn to let Christ, Who’s in us, manifest Himself outwardly. It doesn’t happen automatically or by default. It takes great intentionality to deny ourselves and permit the risen Christ to live through us.


How do we condition ourselves?

It comes from the constant and consistent act of placing ourselves before God and asking Him to shape and form our hearts and minds.

It's sustaining nearer and nearer proximity to our God as the Holy Spirit feeds and nourishes the Life of Christ in us.

It’s permitting God to transform our thinking and worldview through our daily immersion in the Scriptures and prayer.

And it’s gaining more and more experience as we interface with the Holy Spirit in our daily activities and interactions.


Keeping ourselves spiritual fit is certainly time consuming—just like everything else worth having. But it's also worth having more than anything else.


Heavenly Father, please condition our souls as we give ourselves to You. Help us become more and more competent at “allowing the life of the Son of God to be manifested in us.” Thank You for Your ongoing work in us to this end.






1. “God's commands are given to the life of Jesus being formed in us.”


This is a tremendously helpful way of thinking about our relationship with God.


Christ is being formed in us by God's Spirit (Galatians 4:19). It’s the result of trusting Christ, receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit, and becoming a new creation.


The commands of God are deplorable to our human nature. Perhaps we can imagine their benefits if the whole world were to live by God's commandments. But when it comes to our daily living, God's commandments are often an annoying nuisance.


So we're learning to respond to God's commandments with our new nature, not our old. “God's commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3). If we find God's commandments burdensome, we’re responding to them in our flesh, not our renewed spirit.


Imagine the joy of Christ walking in obedience to His Heavenly Father, enjoying the fruit of right relationship with God, and victoriously demonstrating godliness for others.


His joy can be ours, too, as the life of Christ in us rejoices in the wisdom, goodness and blessing of God’s commandments.


Heavenly Father, we want to live this way. Thank You for Your glorious commandments, and for instilling the life of Christ in us that we might walk in them with You. Thank You for the abundance of Your way.



2. “God's commands difficult, but they become divinely easy once we obey.”


This has certainly been my experience. The burden of God's commandments is not the commandment itself, but wrestling with God over following His commandment.


God isn’t asking something arduous of me. The ardor comes with my desire to do my will instead of God's. And once I choose God's way, His commandments become “divinely easy.”


Indeed, God's commands are in opposition to our sinful nature. However, they are a delight to Christ's nature being formed in us: “Your commandments are right, bringing joy to the heart” (Psalm 19:18), and “O how I love Your commands!” (Psalm 119:97).


The joy of our God cascades through our soul when we’re obedient to His commands. And it can all be ours as, by His grace, we choose to obey.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the wisdom of Your commands, And thank You for our new nature in Christ, and the honor and privilege of humbly walking with our God. We rejoice in You and Your commandments, O God. Hallelujah!



3. “Conscience is attaches itself to the highest standard I know and continually reminds me of that standard.”


Theologians have long argued that conscience is a gift from God, helping us know His will: “God’s law is written in our hearts, for our own conscience tell us we are doing right or wrong” (Romans 2:15).


As we become awakened to God's convictions in our conscience, we quickly recognize the struggle between our conscience and our will. This is God's Spirit drawing us to a gracious and forgiving God, Who, in Christ, “works in us to will and do His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).


When we reject those convictions our conscious becomes dulled and corrupted (Titus 1:15). We begin to reject God's claim upon us, and ascribe things other than God as our highest aim.


This is why we are called to “guard our heart with all diligence, for from it flows springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).


Beloved, our conscience is a gift of God and is ours to steward. May we give it the precious attention it requires.


Heavenly Father, today we declare You and Your ways as our “highest standard” and highest good. Thank You for the gift of our conscience, and the Gift of your Holy Spirit Who speaks to our inward parts. Please help us train our conscience to respond in joyful obedience.



4. “God does not speak with a voice like thunder; His voice is so gentle it's easy for us to ignore.”


Isn't this the truth?


There are times when I wish God would thunder and make His will unmistakenly clear. However, that would be a demand rather than God's loving leadership.


If I'm honest, God's will is often too unmistakably clear. I know good and well what God is saying. My struggle is with obedience.


To disobey God is to ignore God. I can accuse God of not being clear enough. But if I'm honest, The issue is not God's clarity; it’s my unwillingness.


We do well to view God's gentle whispers as His loving approach. He desires a quiet, intimate relationship with us in mutual affection and self-giving.


Afterall, when we live in close relationship with one anothger, we need not raise our voice.


Heavenly Father, thank You for Your still, small voice, gentle as a breeze, yet evident and apparent. Please continue to shape and fashion our hearts to welcome and respond to Your Word. Thank You for the joy of walking heart-to-heart with You.



5. “There is no debating possible once your conscience speaks.”


We can certainly ignore our conscience and do as we please, but we cannot deny our conscience has spoken.


That's why we often live with regret, knowing what we Should have done, but not doing it. There's a sense of “schmuck” because we knew better.


Today, by God's grace, let's pay more attention when our conscious speaks.


Heavenly Father, we know Your voice better than we're willing to admit. Thank You for speaking to our conscience in ways we can’t deny. And thank You for the Gift our Your Holy Spirit Who enables us to follow.






1. “Immerse your habits in the life of Jesus until they become an unconscious and spontaneous expression.”


We're likely to recognize bad habits before good habits, or we're liable to write off habits as unspiritual and having nothing to do with our God-walk.


But habits are incredibly useful. In our natural lives, we develop healthy habits that help us live balanced and fruitful lives. Without these habits we're a ship without a rudder.


Spiritual habits do the same. As Christ's disciples, we “discipline” our lives as we walk with Jesus. We develop habits in keeping with God's best for our lives, including the habit of continually refreshing our relationship with Jesus.


Good habits, natural and spiritual, build muscle memory. In time, and because of intentional practice, we do them without thinking about them. They become unconscious components of our rhythm, and we only recognize them when we get out of those habits.


May we be intentional about cultivating good habits, and may they catalyze and bring balance to our lives and our God-walk. May we be quick to adjust and sustain our habits as need be, and may they become spontaneous expressions of our love and commitment to Jesus.


Heavenly Father, please examine our habits. Please help us defeat destructive habits and feed fruitful habits. And may all our habits reflect the God we love and the Savior we serve.



2. “Our spiritual life continually calls for self-examination.”


It takes great courage to look inwardly, because we'll discover things we detest.


But, in Christ, we recognize the fruit of our lives grows from the root of our lives. That is, our outward life is a reflection of our inward life. If we're going to change behaviors, it will require changing stuff on the inside.


However, we must be careful with self-examination so it doesn’t result in self-condemnation. God's Spirit shines God’s Light on our motives, will, attitudes and more, so God, in His love, can transform destructive tendencies into life-giving postures.


We need not fear self-examination as we might fear a medical exam. Because, anything God reveals as unhealthy is a compromise of God's very best. And by His grace, He’s determined to heal us.


Heavenly Father, shine Your Light. Holy Spirit, conform us to the image of Jesus. May we be eager to become more like You.



3. “Don't worship your Christian habits.”


Our God-walk must not be misconstrued with our religious practices. Our religious practices may serve our walk with Jesus, but, in and of themselves, they are a hollow shell.


Nor should our God-walk be principally about self-improvement. Indeed, God wants the best for our lives, but the goal is not personal satisfaction, but satisfying God's heart.


May God reveal to us any Christian habits that have become sources of “spiritual pride.” Such was the sin of the Pharisees—comparing themselves with others and imagining themselves justified before God.


Let’s develop healthy Christian habits, but may they never become more important then our God, Christ's mission, and the people He’s called us to love and serve.


May it be so, O Lord. May we have no other gods before You, including our spiritual habits.



4. “Love means there are no visible habits, because you practice them without realizing it.”


I realize I'm on a growth trajectory in this regard. I'm learning to love, but oftentimes I’m cognizant of the effort it takes to love some people. I must intentionally and tenaciously focus on loving if it's going to happen.


At the same time, there have been moments when someone has experienced love from me and I was not aware. In those moments, I wasn't practicing a “visible habit,” but was successfully being a conduit of Christ in me.


And that thrills my soul. Hallelujah.


Heavenly Father, may this be the case with us more and more. Thank You for forming Christ in us. May our habit of seeking You result in us leaking You.



5. “The only supernatural life is the life the Lord Jesus lived.”


“Living godly in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:12) is not a natural capability. It's the product of Christ having been born in me. Therefore, it’s “supernatural”; I’m not its source.


Jesus Christ lived a supernatural life. He was impelled and empowered by the Spirit of the Living God, and it was evident in His life, words and deeds. If we think we can imitate the life of Christ in our own strength, we’ll only be met with failure and despair.


Instead, we’re called to receive Christ, have His nature be born in us by the Holy Spirit, and nurture and permit the new creation to overwhelm and subjugate our sinful nature. This is how we exhibit the life of Christ.


If we’re exhausted by our God walk, we're going about it in our own strength. Christian maturity is learning to crucify ourselves with Christ that the Resurrected Christ might live through us.


Lord Jesus, may this be our practice and our experience more and more. “You must increase, we must decrease” (John 3:30). Have Your way in us today. “It’s not I who live, but Christ Who lives in me”(Galatians 2:20). May it be so, our Savior.






1. “Love is an indefinite thing; we don't know what we mean when we talk about love.”


This is such a pertinent statement.


We're no strangers to the word “love” today. It's common language in our relationships and our culture. But we use the term very subjectively and selectively. Most people certainly don’t have a Biblical perspective on this incredibly Biblical term.


Surely we realize love is more than an emotion, but we certainly use the word that way. We love baseball, we fall in and out of love, we can't help who we love, etc. But the Scriptures speak of love very differently.


“God is love.” One reason we may not comprehend love is because God Himself is the definition of love. If we don’t have a grasp on the character of God as revealed in the Scriptures and in Jesus Christ, we have an inaccurate and impoverished view of love.


We're also likely to redefine love because of the incredible horsepower required to love in a Biblical fashion. Love is wonderful, but it will try and test every fiber of our being. Love is a decision we make, and it costs us everything.


Such is God's demonstration of love in Christ, and it may not be what we mean when we use the term.


Heavenly Father, thank You for helping us perceive what love looks like, and thank You for giving us Your Holy Spirit as we strive to love others. Please help us comprehend and demonstrate love out of our experience of being loved by You: “We love because God first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Please help us to love like You love.



2. “Jesus demands our loftiest and sovereign preference be for Himself.”


Jesus calls us to love Him above all others: If anyone comes to Me and doesn’t hate their father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters—and even their own life—they can’t be My disciple.”


As Oswald often says, there's always and “if” to discipleship. This is one of those cases: “If anyone comes to Me...”


Discipleship hangs on love for Jesus. Following Jesus isn’t rote commands, duty, blind faith and allegiance. It's choosing to place Jesus as the highest priority in our lives, “If you love Me, you'll follow Me” (John 14:15.)


Faithfully following Jesus requires tremendous rigor, and the source of that rigor is the power of love. Love is the currency and infrastructure of God's Kingdom, because only something as ductile and tenacious as love can last for eternity.


Jesus calls us to “love your neighbor as ourselves” (Matthew 22:39). The only way we can do so is to love Jesus first, and, through that relationship, become filled with the very love of God for others.


Heavenly Father, may our belief in the Lord Jesus become a passionate love for our Lord Jesus, and may it exceed all the other loves in our life. Lord Jesus, please fill us with Your perfect love for Yourself and others. Thank You for the all-encompassing love of Your Kingdom.



3. “God loves me, not because I'm lovable, but because it's His nature to do so.”


Not many of us realize how difficult it is for God to love us. We’re not all-that. Surely we test and try God’s love on a daily basis.


God's constant and consistent love for us demonstrates His ability to love us unconditionally. There's nothing we can do to earn His love, nor is there's nothing we can do to dissuade His love.


God chooses to love. Period.


“Now God commands us to show the same love to others.” We're no easier to love than anyone else, and loving others will test and try us at every turn. That's why Jesus prayed, “May the love wherewith You love Me be in them” (John 17:26.).


It requires God’s nature in us if we are to successfully love others, and God gives us His nature when we’re born again by faith in Jesus Christ. It’s only by being loved by Jesus and walking with Jesus that we discover our new nature and our ability to love others as God loves us.


Father, thank You for Your tenacious love over us. Thank You for making us new creations in Christ. May Your nature in us become most evident by our love for You and others.



4. “God says, ‘I will bring a number of people around you whom you cannot respect, but you must exhibit My love to them.”


Reading this statement surely brings to mind the person or people in our lives who are incredibly difficult to love. They’re undeserving, unappreciative, and do not reciprocate our love.


Jesus calls us to love them anyway.


This seems to be God's way of helping us exercise His tenacious love. “It's not a patronizing love for the unlovable.” Instead, it is learning to be a conduit of God’s love, not ours.


“It will not be evidenced in us overnight.” God is working in us the ability to permit His grace to flow through us into others’ lives. The result is the Fruit of God’s Spirit towards others: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.


This is the stuff of God, not the stuff of humans. May it be others’ experience of God in us.


Holy Father, may the Holy Fruit of Your Holy Spirit be evident in us. Please use who You must as You forge this capacity in us. Please help successfully love those we find most difficult to love today.



5. “I must look within and remember how wonderful God has dealt with me.”


This is key for loving others.


“The knowledge that God has loved me beyond all limits compels me to love others in the same way.” When we recognize the long-suffering love of God for us, we’re able to love others likewise.


“I may get irritated with a difficult person, but just think how disagreeable I have been with God!” We're liable to think others are more difficult to love than we are. But God has proven otherwise. He loves us through thick and thin.


“Does Jesus’ life and sweetness continually pour out through me?” This is an incredibly helpful self-diagnosis. It's certainly not a given and it's not automatic. “God's love in me must be nurtured.”


That's what we're doing right now as we examine our hearts in the pages of Scripture, and in fellowship with one another.


Heavenly Father, thank You for your faithful and enduring love for me personal. And thank you for your spirit in me that enables me to love others in the same way. May I demonstrate my gratitude for Your love by loving others in the same way.






1. “We cannot do what God does, and God will not do what we can do.”


Once again we’re considering the topic of “synergy”: God works as we work. This has been a line of reasoning from Augustine to Wesley and beyond.


God is Almighty and nothing is impossible for Him, but He requires things of us as He works in our lives and our world. For instance, if someone has wronged us, God calls us by His grace to grant forgiveness. God doesn't simply snap His fingers to redeem and reconcile.


In the same way, in the face of temptation, God doesn’t simply snap His fingers, quench our appetite and remove the temptation. We must turn to Jesus, and by receiving His grace, turn from temptation.


But there are things only God can do, like atone for our sin: “We cannot save nor sanctify ourselves—God does that.” No matter how badly we feel about our sin, no matter what we do to make amends with God, we can’t redeem ourself. We are forgiven as we turn from our sin and look to Jesus.


Such is our synergy with God our Savior.


Father, thank You for all You do for us. And thank You for the grace and strength we receive by Your Spirit to do what we only we can do. May we do so joyfully and victoriously today.



2. “God will not give us good habits or character, and He will not force us to walk correctly before Him.”


Sometimes I wish God would. At the same time, I do value my free will. I can’t have both.


However, God gives us wisdom and supernatural strength to practice and develop good habits. And by His transforming grace, God is developing our character as He helps us navigate the hard knocks of everyday life.


Both are treasures and we can’t receive them in any other way.


“We have to do this ourselves.” This is the day-to-day God walk. We are works in process under the careful and watchful eye of our loving God.


Beloved, let's give ourselves to this end today—developing good habits as God helps us, and receiving godly character, forged by God’s hand.


Father, today, as an act of our will and good habits, we determine to “walk correctly before You.” We call upon Your grace to do so. May we settle for nothing less.



3. “We must work out what God has worked in us.”


God has given us natural abilities and we must put them to use in our physical world. God doesn’t bathe us, dress us, brush our teeth, etc. If we don't these things, they won’t get done.


A similar thing is happening in our heart, mind, soul and spirit, God has “begun a good work in us” (Philippians 1:6), but we must “work out our faith in fear and trembling.”


We’re not working FOR our salvation, but working OUT our salvation. God’s working on the inside, deep in our soul, and we must permit that work to become evident on the outside in our daily mood, words and deeds.


None of this happens by accident or osmosis, and it won’t happen if we’re negligent. It happen as we diligently walk with Jesus.


We’re called “disciples” for a reason: There’s a “discipline” to our God-walk.


Father, thank You for years and years of working Your way into us. Thank You for all we've received as a result of Your loving process. Thank You for what You're working in us today. May we not resent Your process, but work alongside You to “work out what You’re working in us.”



4. “Beware of the tendency to ask the way when you know it perfectly well.”


Isn't this the truth?


If we're wrestling with God in a particular matter, we may unwittingly seek counsel from others hoping to come to a conclusion different from God's. We're clever monkeys, able to find workarounds if God's way is not to our liking.


Let's be careful not to justify our disobedience with reasoning, words from others, or even the Scriptures. That's the way of the enemy, pushing back against God, even using God's Word to do it. Recall the devil using Scripture to tempt Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4).


Instead, let's “determine to act immediately in faith on what God says to you when He speaks.” If we hesitate we may change our minds. God's promptings can quickly become blurry, hidden in the undergrowth of daily life.


And we’ll have missed an opportunity to be obedient.


Heavenly Father, we know Your voice better than we're willing to admit. Today we’ll most certainly hear that still, small voice. May we strengthen ourselves by Your Spirit and do the things You ask, all with Christ-centered love and joy. Thank You for the opportunity to serve You.



5. “We have to get in the habit of listening to God about everything.”


This surely seems silly in today's world. Christ-followers are ridiculed at any mention of God communicating with us. Even among Christ-followers we’re wiggly about those of us who often mention God “speaking” to us.


But Jesus said, “My sheep know My voice and follow Me” (John 10:27). Apparently He means business.


“Form the habit of finding out what God says and heeding it.” This is the day-in and day-out, even in the smallest matters. We're becoming more and more sensitive to the “nudges” of the Holy Spirit.


“If, when a crisis comes, we instinctively turn to God, we know the habit has been formed in us.” This is the telltale. Habits are the things we do without thinking about them. May it be so of our obedience to God’s whispers.


Father, we're interested in everything You have to say. Please continue developing our ability to detect Your still, small voice. May we respond more and more instantaneously every day.






1. “There's a difference between a principle and a vision.”


This is very helpful. “People consumed with idealistic principles rarely do anything.” We can have big big ideals, but we will soon discover there’s no horsepower in principles themselves.


For instance, the Ten Commandments can be viewed as ten ideal principles. But those principles don’t keep us from breaking them. We’ll even make excuses for ourselves and cut ourselves slack as we do so.


But if we have a vision of the Person of Jesus Christ, high and lifted up, holy and majestic, it empowers us for following Him. We're not following a principle, we're following a Person.


And that makes all the difference.


Lord Jesus, may it be so. May we be given to following You out of love for You rather than out of fear, duty, obligation or principle. May Our God-walk be personal, and personally motivating, and may we know Your great satisfaction and victory along the way.



2. “We may use our idea of God and His attributes to rationalize our disobedience.”


Oswald points this out in the story of Jonah. Jonah knew God was “gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abundant in loving kindness, and One Who relents from doing harm.” Therefore, God would surely relent from judging the people of Ninevah, and would surely not judge Jonah harshly for not going.


How often do we do the same? We know God will forgive us, even in our deliberate sin. And, surely God will, because, “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us” (1 John 1:9).


But if constant forgiveness for known sin is our approach to God, it means we're operating only in God's redemptive grace rather than His preventative grace. God-walk is far more than asking forgiveness—it’s learning to draw from God’s all-sufficient grace as we overcome temptation, bad attitudes, disobedience and more.


God reveals His attributes to us that we might know Him, walk with Him, and permit Him to transform us into the image of His Son. Jesus’ attributes are our example, that we, by His Spirit, might be made more like Him.


Lord God, thank You for Who You are, and thank You for Your limitless forgiveness. We confess we abuse Your forgiveness in our willful sin. Please help us draw from Your infinite grace that we might walk in Your victory.



3. “A person’s reach should exceed their grasp.”


This is the way of faith in Christ. We see beyond our abilities and recognize God's infinite capabilities.


We do so by lifting our eyes to our God rather than staring at the obstacles in front of us. It means we take the long view of life, trusting God to direct our paths, work in the background, and redeem our situations.


We’re learning to live on God's plane, visualizing His Kingdom and viewing the world around us through that lens. Our perspective of God, ourselves and others is altered as we become more and more confident of God’s Sovereignty.


Beloved, let’s “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Our lives are not in the hands of fate, luck, circumstance or others. God holds us in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16) and will bring His purposes for us to pass.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of faith. We ground our faith in our confidence that You are God alone, and we embrace Your good and abundant promises for our lives and eternity. Please help us live with faith that far exceeds our grasp.



4. “When we lose sight of God, we begin to be reckless.”


This is certainly the case. When we take our eyes off Jesus, we can become selfish, brutish, hopeless, careless, short sighted, anxious, foolish and more.


“We cast off certain restraints from activities we know are wrong.” We do so out of our appetites, anxieties, lusts, desperation, despondency, attempts to self-medicate and more.


“We set prayer aside and cease having God's vision in the little things of life.” When we stop deliberately connecting with God we lose our bearings. We drift; we’re blinded by the immediate; we live like there's no God in Heaven.


“We begin to act on our own initiative.” When we’re distanced from God, we operate out of our own sense of direction, reasoning and decision-making. And because we’re flawed, so is all our self-initiative.


Beloved, this is “downward path.” And, we pick up velocity as we spiral down. It's very difficult for anyone to help us, just as we find it very difficult to help someone else in this vicious cycle. It requires lifting our eyes and grasping God's hand as He reaches for us.


Thankfully, by His grace, He will rescue us once again.


Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Amazing Grace. We've all found ourselves in a funk, distanced from You and operating beneath ourselves. Thank You for Your relentless love drawing us back once more.



5. “Are we expecting God to do greater things than He has ever done before?”


This is the posture of hope, expectation and anticipation of our faithful God.


“This attitude flows from our vision of God,” and it’s evident in everything we say and do. May it be flavored by our always-conscious vision of our ever-active God.


“Is there a freshness and a vitality in our spiritual outlook?” No one can do this for us. Only God can freshen our soul and pump vitality into our spirit, and it only happens as we set our sights on our God.


I wonder what God has for us today? Tomorrow? In the next chapter of our lives? Beloved, let's live in hopeful expectation that “God will do greater things than He's ever done before.”


Heavenly Father, forgive us for underestimating You. Thank You for Your constant companionship and Your fervent work in our everyday lives. We look to You today with expectation and anticipation. Please give ears to hear and eyes to see what You're saying and doing. Hallelujah!





1. “Perseverance means more than endurance.”


The Scriptures certainly speak of endurance: “Be strengthened by God's power that you might have endurance” (Colossians 1:11). This is the grit to go the distance.


Perseverance is on another line. In perseverance, we’re “entrusting ourselves to God's hands.” Come what may, we trust our God: “Though He slay me, yet while I trust Him.”


It takes great discipline to persevere—eyes on Jesus, trusting God in the fire, stepping out in faith believing God will meet us there. It’s not for the faint of heart.


That’s why “perseverance of the saints” is in our doctrinal language. We believe “God is able to keep us from falling” (Jude 1:24).


Friends, we’re not alone in our walk with Jesus. That's the whole point.


Lord Jesus, by Your grace, may we trust You through thick and thin today and always. Please help us keep our eyes trained on You as You keep us. May we join the saints throughout history in persevering.



2. “A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer.”


What a poignant mental image: We’re merely instruments in the hands of our Almighty God.


“He’s aiming at something we cannot see.” The bow and arrow have no idea what the Archer might up to. They're merely yielding themselves for His use.


The Archer “stretches until His purpose is in sight.” The bow and arrow are unconcerned about their comfort and ease. Their primary concern is faithfully responding to the Archer’s hands.


“The Archer then let's fly.” The Archer targets, guides and directs the trajectory. The bow and arrow simply give their all for the Archer’s ends.


Do we find ourselves in God’s hand’s presently?  Is God stretching and stretching? Are we unclear of God's purposes? Beloved, for this we’re built and prepare ourselves. May we offer ourselves as finely tuned implements for the Master’s use.


Here we are, Lord Jesus.  Use us as You will. We need not know Your aim. We give ourselves to Your decisive will, purposes and glory.



3. “Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built upon God's holy love.”


We’re people of faith, weak in the eyes of the godless. But, without argument, it’s those who hold faith in Jesus Christ who’ve demonstrated the greatest tenacity throughout human history.


Who else gives themselves for lepers, permits themselves to be thrown to lions, sacrifices in their poverty for the well-being of others, is compassionate upon the foolish and reprobate, chooses joy over self-pity, blesses instead of curses, loves the unlovely, and risks humiliation, persecution and death that others might know Jesus?


None of this comes from a “weak and pitiful emotion.” Instead, every bit of this stems from “a strong and vigorous confidence in God’s holy love.”


Beloved, let's never lose sight of who we are in Christ. Hallelujah!


Lord Jesus, “We believe; please help us with our unbelief” (Mark 9:24). We want to be men and women of great and furious faith, far beyond mood and emotion, strengthened to the core by our dissuadable certainty in the Person, character and power of our Almighty God.



4. “Disaster occurs in our life when we lack the mental composure that comes from establishing ourselves on the eternal truth of God.”


Beloved, for the sake of our sanity, and for the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ on earth, may we establish ourselves in the Lord our God. We’re fully aware of the sure and complete disaster awaiting us when we don't. We know without a doubt, when we fail to stand upon the Rock, we’ll be swept away by the wind and waves.


Lord Jesus, to that end, please help us “make our faith the supreme effort of our life.” Help us discipline ourselves in a sure connection with You as we draw upon Your all-sufficient grace.


Lord Jesus, by Your grace, may we “throw ourselves with abandoned and total confidence upon our God.” Come what may, may You be the anchor of our soul (Hebrews 6:19).


Lord Jesus, we confess our vulnerability. We eagerly tether our lives to Your absolute Truth, and with the mental fortitude You provide us, we declare You to be our Lord and Savior forever. Hallelujah!



5. “God ventured His all in Jesus Christ to save us, and wants us to venture our all with total abandoned confidence in Him.”


Just imagine the powerful connection between us and our God as we both abandon ourselves for one another. Mind-boggling.


Yet, “There are areas of our life where faith is not yet working in us.” This correlates to those things which we’ve not yet submitted to Jesus, not yet entrusted to Him, and are not yet confident of His care.


Beloved, our tight grip limits God’s activity in those areas of our life.


“This is eternal life, that they may know You.” We think of eternal life as unending life, but the Bible speaks of eternal life as a quality of life. “Eternal life is a life that can face anything without wavering.” This is the way God intends for us to walk daily with Jesus.


And when we do, “Life will become one great romance.” We get to experience the nearness, goodness and grace of God first hand as He amazes us in our everyday affairs.


Father, we want to be Your people, venturing out into the great unknown, “with total abandoned confidence in You.” Thank You for abandoning all for us. May we do the same for you. Hallelujah!






1. “Counting the cost.”


I have certainly always interpreted this passage as counting what it will cost me to build for God's Kingdom. Instead, Oswald challenges me to reckon with what it cost God.


When we consider all Christ has done to forward God's Kingdom, our contributions are infinitesimally small. That recognition keeps us humble as we serve our God and King.


“In the final analysis, people will not laugh at Jesus' labors.” Indeed, only what Jesus builds will last. Yet we get to be a part of His endeavors in this lifetime and forever.


What a tremendous motivation to give it everything we have.


Jesus, thank You for taking the cost upon Yourself, stooping to the earth and giving Your life for us. It's our greatest honor to “build for eternity” alongside You. Hallelujah.



2. “Our Lord uses men and women for His enterprises in whom He has done everything.”


This is a great statement. In Christ, He does it all; we simply participate.


And, in building His Kingdom, we simply make ourselves available and permit Him to work through us.


That means it's not rocket science for us. We don't have to be rock stars. We simply need to say “yes” and show up, and God does the rest.


I wonder how that might translate to our life today?


Lord Jesus, thank You for all You’ve done in us. May we avail ourselves for Your use. Have your way in us today.



3. “The only men and women our Lord uses in His building enterprises are those who love Him personally, passionately, and with great devotion.”


This makes sense. For instance, how can God use us in building His Kingdom if we anticipate personal gain? Or if we think we can add something to His eternal enterprises with our finite means?


“We have a love for Him that goes far beyond any of the closest relationships on earth.” What a lovely way to think about our relationship with Jesus. Of course we love our family, spouse and friends, but we love them best only out of our growing love for Jesus.


Beloved, may we recognize that, out of devotion to Jesus, all our labors, relationships and ambitions become opportunities to benefit time and eternity.


What a great way to live!


Lord Jesus, please increase our love and devotion for You. May they eclipse all our other interests. May we bring You great glory in all we do today.



4. “All we build is going to be inspected by God.”


This is a rather sobering statement, especially when we consider all the time, effort and resources we spend on all sorts of endeavors.


“Will God detect we’ve built enterprises of our own on the foundations of Jesus?” My guess is He certainly will, because often God's enterprises are not foremost in our minds.


Instead, we're dialed into the duties of our work day, our responsibilities to family and friends, our pursuit of personal goals, etc.


These are not necessarily bad things in and of themselves. However, if we're not building on the Rock Who is Jesus Christ, we're building on sand (Matthew 7:24-27). And that means our very best efforts will not amount to what they could.


Beloved, let’s consider God's opinion as we give ourselves to our work today.


Heavenly Father, we don't want to squander what You've given us. We want our lives and our efforts to make a difference in the long run. Please help us consult with You, the Architect and Inspector, throughout our day today.



5. “We can never work for God. Jesus takes over in us so He can direct us for His enterprises.”


Throughout the Scriptures, God uses willing and unwilling vessels to bring about His purposes. This includes saints and Pharaohs, disciples and agitators, the righteous and unrighteous, etc.


I must recognize how finite my efforts are in the greater scheme of things. God will bring His Kingdom, with or without me.


But in submission to Jesus, we get to be a part of the greatest enterprise every known. And one day we will celebrate with the heavenly hosts as we marvel and what God has done.


“No one has any right to demand where God will put us to work.” However, we can know for sure God is using us for His purposes. This is the essence of “abundant life” (John 10:10)—being abundantly aware that “our labors are not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).


In Christ, our lives make a difference for time and eternity. Hallelujah.


Lord Jesus, thank You for such a meaningful existence. We exult in You today.







1. “Never demand people believe this or that, but align your life with the standards of Jesus.”


This runs somewhat counter to our modern day.


In my view, God used the Reformation in the 1500’s to refine Christ's Church. It brought the church into serious reflection on the claims of the New Testament.


I believe it was a sharpening of the essential doctrines of Christian faith, with an emphasis on trusting Christ and Christ alone for our salvation. It was the genesis of worldwide mission and renewal.


However, in its emphasis on rightness of doctrine, in some circles, rightness of doctrine has become the centerpiece of faith. It calls us to believe the right things about Jesus in order to be saved.


Oswald is challenging us, not to negate doctrine, but to see beyond doctrine and align our lives with the example, teachings and standards of Christ Himself. We are to devote ourselves to a Person, not a belief system.


I'm all for a solid theological foundation for our faith. We must do so to tamp down heresy and skewed doctrine. But we must not worship the guardrails of our faith in place of the Author of our faith, Jesus Christ.


Lord Jesus, thank You for opening our eyes to Truth. But not for Truth’s sake, but so we might know You in greater measure. May our heart’s desire be joyful, life-giving, right relationship with You forevermore. Thank You.



2. “We're not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One Whom the Bible reveals.”


It sounds both radical and unnecessary to make the following statement: Let's not worship the Bible.


It sounds radical because we believe the Scriptures to be inspired, authoritative, and containing everything necessary for salvation. Don’t we call people to study, believe and stand on the Scriptures?


It also sounds unnecessary because we worship our God and Savior, not a book about our God and Savior. Surely there's a distinction between Jesus in the Scriptures.


A technical definition is helpful for me: The Bible is not “the Word of God” in the sense that Jesus is “The Word of God.” Rather, the Bible reveals “The Word of God,” Who is Christ Himself.


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1-14). The Scriptures are inspired by God and point us to Christ. The Scriptures help us comprehend Christ’s character and what He’s done for us with His cross and Resurrection.


But the highest revelation of God is not the Scriptures, but Jesus. The Holy Spirit reveals to us the Christ of the Scriptures, and the Christ of the Scriptures reveals the Father to us.


Beloved, as Christ’s followers, we pledge allegiance to Jesus, not the Bible. Jesus supersedes the Bible Because he is the living and breathing word of God.


Lord Jesus, Word of God in the flesh, thank You for revealing Yourself to us by the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures. We allege ourselves to You, that we might know You and the Father in greater measure. Thank you for making Yourself known and knowable.



3. “We’re called to present liberty for the conscience of others, not to bring them liberty for their thoughts and opinions.”


This is profound.


In our culture, “liberty of conscience” means we’re free to believe as we'd like and offer our opinions as such. It’s the freedom to speak and do as we please.


However, true “liberty of conscience” comes from “realizing and submitting ourselves to the absolute control and authority of Jesus Christ.” As counterintuitive as it may seem, I am only truly free of heart and mind as I freely give myself to Jesus.


“It is for liberty that Christ has set us free” (Romans 5:1). The liberty of conscience Jesus offers comes from aligning ourselves with Christ, confessing His Lordship over us, and offering our lives in joyful obedience.


This is “the freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21) experienced by countless believers over twenty centuries of following Jesus. God gives us freedom to choose or reject Christ, but we gain ultimate freedom in union with the God Who made us.


Thank God for a free and clear conscience in Jesus Christ our Lord!


Lord Jesus, thank You for setting us free from the captivity of our fallen reasoning and will. The liberty You offer is profoundly greater than our unbridled self. Thank You for Your wonderful and mysterious ways. Hallelujah!



4. “It takes God a long time to get us to stop thinking that unless everyone sees things exactly as we do, they must be wrong.”


It takes time to reckon with the following statements of Jesus: “Whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40) and “Whoever is not with Me is against Me” (Matthew 12:30). They certainly seem like contradictory statements.


As Oswald suggests, perhaps they seem contradictory because of our insistence that others see things exactly like we do.


It's one thing if someone outright rejects Jesus altogether. By their own admission, they are not “with Jesus” and are therefore “against Jesus” because they can be stumbling blocks for others.


On the other hand, none of us hold the corner on God’s Truth. Two people can pursue Christ and have different opinions—they are “not against us” but “for us.” Unfortunately, our initial reaction is often to gather with those who believe like us, and dismiss or correct those who believe differently.


We do well to let the Holy Spirit do the correcting. It “takes God a long time” to change our mind, but it's nearly impossible to change someone else's.


“If on some point you think differently, this too God will make clear to you” (Philippians 3:15). As we seek Jesus together, the Holy Spirit is fully capable of “leading us (and others) into all truth” (John 16:13).


Let’s let Him, shall we? And love one another in the meantime.


Father, we often feel it's our job to defend You and our beliefs. Please help us entrust ourselves and others to Your gracious and wise counsel. Please help us not make matters worse by being divisive.



5. “Let God's Truth have its way and never apologize for it.”


Lord, have mercy.


God's Truth will forever challenge human reasoning because we forget to factor in our fallenness.


Beloved, God's convictions may sting, but God offers them in loving grace. “It’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance” (Romans 2:4).


May we never make accommodations for ours or others’ preferences. Instead, let's wrestle with God. It's how we get to know God, experience His character and discover His goodness.


God knows what He's doing in His interactions with humankind. Let's trust Him with ourselves and others.


Thank You for Your Truth, O Lord. We thank You even when it cuts us to the heart like a knife. We trust You as the skilful Surgeon. Thank You for Your loving care.




Sunday, 5.5.24


1. “Salvation is God's idea, not ours; Therefore, it has unfathomable depth.”


We would not know we need salvation if God did not make us abundantly aware. Praise God, therefore, for His loving convictions.


We will grow in understanding and appreciation of our salvation for the rest of our existence, which means, forevermore. Salvation has “unfathomable depth,” because it has to do with soul and spirit—domains of our person for which we have very little knowledge or understanding.


That means I'm going to have to take God's Word for my salvation. I can't figure it out on my own. I can't perceive all the intricacies. If God says I need it, and if God says Jesus is the only way, I must be willing to trust God in the matter and do what He says if I want His salvation.


Our theology and doctrines have nothing to do with being saved. They are simply means whereby finite humans minds can begin to fathom the infinite intricacies of God—in particular, the work of Christ's cross and Resurrection.


Beloved, let's trust God's Word over our own understanding in every situation.


Father, thank You for saving us. We had no idea, and we have no capacity to save ourselves. We joyfully and gladly receive Your magnanimous gift of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. Please continue to help us perceive and appreciate all You've done for us. We are forever in Your debt.



2. “Our experience of salvation is simply the door through which salvation comes into our conscious level so we are aware it has taken place.”


Have we “experienced” salvation? That is, is there something in the “conscious level” that convinces us we’re saved? Was it a flash in the moment we received Christ? Or is it the day-by-day experience of the presence of the Holy Spirit that makes us aware that we are God’s children?


In whatever way we know that we know that we know, it's God's grace that has brought that to our conscious mind. It may not be an emotion, but it's a knowing and awareness that God has done something in first by his spirit.


Something has changed on the inside, and that change is, we have been saved by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.


It's that real and evident. Hallelujah.


Father, please make us abundantly aware in our hearts and minds that you have saved us by faith in Christ. May there be no doubt or wavering. Thank you for the conscious experience of an unconscious but real and true transaction that has occurred in our soul. Thank you that, in Christ, we have been forgiven, adopted as your child, and are being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). Hallelujah to the Lord our God forevermore!



3. “In the teachings of Jesus, God’s judgment is always brought out. It's the sign of God’s love.”


This is a wonderful and remarkable statement.


In our culture, we don’t judge. That is, we do not criticize others, lest they criticize us. It's one of the only taboos left.


But God, out of His love, convicts us of our sin. When we’re stepping outside of God's ways, God lets us know. Because, anything less than God's way is a tremendous compromise in our life.


More so, our sin always affects others. No sin is private. We may sin in private, but our sin is reflected in our attitudes, affects and relationships with others. And it's never helpful.


It's why Jesus spoke of sin to begin with. It's a demonstration of the tremendous love of God. Jesus broke taboos when He spoke of sin, but He did so because we know we're falling short of God's glory.


Lord Jesus, thank You for requiring us to contend with our sin. Although we may object at first, we recognize our sin is destructive to us and others. Thank You for loving us enough to help us realize that. And thank You for loving us enough to give Your life that we might be forgiven.



4. “Never sympathize with someone who finds it difficult to get to God. God is not to blame.”


We’re certainly a sympathetic people. It's hard for us to watch someone suffer.


However, sympathizing with someone who’s struggling with God is another matter. When we do, we make God out to be a hard taskmaster, indicting His calling upon our lives and justifying our difficulties in following Jesus.


But nothing is easier then entering into a relationship with God, because God did the heavy lifting for us in the cross of Jesus Christ. We may find it challenging to turn from our sin and embrace Christ, but embracing Christ is pure joy once we do.


God isn't to blame when we struggle with our sin. God is our refuge and strength, our victory and deliverance. God’s not our enemy; sin is. And although our sin may seek our sympathy as we wrestle, it's a liar. God’s not denying us gratification; sin is denying us access to the Living God.


Heavenly Father, may we give our sin no refuge. Although it cries out as our friend, may we see it for what it is—that which stands between us, others and You. By the cross of Jesus Christ, and through the power of Your Holy Spirit, may all sin be vanquished in our soul. Thank You for being so available and tenacious in setting us free.



5. “The moment we recognize our complete weakness and dependence upon God will be the very moment the Spirit of God will exhibit His power.”


Truer words have never been spoken.


“Unless you change and become as a little child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 18:3). “Childlikeness” is not childishness. It's the recognition of our complete and utter dependence upon our God.


We are dependent upon God for our next heartbeat, our next breath, the next sunrise, our tomorrow, our future and our eternity. We have zero control over any of these things. They are all in the realm of our God.


When we come to the place of recognizing this truth, we realize the goodness of God and His favor toward us: “God is for us and not against us” (Romans 8:31). The devil would have us think otherwise, but a careful observation of our finitude reveals the loving hand of our gracious God.


And with that realization comes the warmth, goodness and all-consuming love and power of God's Holy Spirit, opening our eyes to the gift of forgiveness in Christ, and whisking us into the very presence of our Heavenly Father as we entrust ourselves to His care.


May we remain in the place of recognizing “our complete weakness and dependence upon God.”


Thank You, Holy Spirit, for opening our eyes to our need for our God, and thank You for Your loving disposition towards us. We receive You as our God and Savior through faith in Christ our Lord. Hallelujah!






1. “Our ability to approach God is due entirely to Christ’s vicarious, substitutionary identification with our sin.”


This is a no-nonsense, matter-of-fact analysis of Christ atoning cross.


We don't wander, stumble or blunder into the presence of God. It's impossible for us to stand face-to-face with God outside of Christ's death and Resurrection.


To think otherwise is to ignore or vastly underestimate the serious ramifications of our sin: Our sin results in complete and eternal separation from our God and Creator.


Only Christ’s cross and Resurrection can contend with our sin. “Christ became sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). With His death He sacrificed Himself for our sin “once for all” (Hebrews 7:27), and with His Resurrection, “Christ was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25).


The result is, we can “boldly approach the throne of God” (Hebrews 4:16), “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by His mercy” (Titus 3:5).


Is this how we understand the Christian faith? Surely anything less infinitely diminishes all Christ has done for us.


Lord Jesus, what an overwhelming depiction of Your cross and Resurrection. We’ll forever praise and thank You for working salvation on our behalf. We are unworthy of Your mercy and grace, yet we receive it today as Your free gift to us. Thank You for complete and unhindered access to Your Heavenly Father and ours. Hallelujah!



2. “We see things in ourselves and others that we think need no atonement.”


Are we out of our ever-loving mind? Are we so out of touch with the holiness of God that we think any part of our sullied soul is worthy?


What do we not understand about this statement: “No one shall see God and live” (Exodus 3:20)?


Or this one: “The soul that sins, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20)?


Or this one: “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)?


Here's our fallacy: “Measuring ourselves by one another and comparing ourselves with one another is not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12). God’s standard for goodness is not us or the people around us. God's standard is Christ, and all of us fall woefully short.


Thank God for His amazing grace: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Roman 6:23).


No wonder we’ll stand before our God and thank and praise Him for all eternity!


Lord Jesus, “You alone are worthy to receive glory and honor and power” (Revelation 4:11). Therefore we join all of heaven in declaring, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:9). Hallelujah forevermore!



3. “When we don't identify with God’s interests in others, we get irritated with Him.”


Isn't this the truth?


When our hearts are not aligned with God's, we find His ways to be intrusive, limiting and not to our liking. We become critical of the God of Scripture, and begin deconstructing and reestablishing faith along the lines of our own reasoning.


How embarrassing for the pot to reprimand the Potter (Romans 9:20). Lord, have mercy.


Instead, as we identify with God's interests in others, we gain God's heart and perspective. We begin to comprehend His holiness and His great compassion for sinners like us. Then we’re able to receive and offer others God’s unlimited mercy and grace through Christ our Lord.


May we forever marvel at and revel in God’s great interest in each of us. Hallelujah.


Heavenly Father, thank You for Your remarkable ways. Please forgive us when we get sideways and irritated with You. Please help us align ourself aligned with our God and King. May we be forever amazed at Your amazing grace.



4. “Intercession means we deliberately substitute God's interests in others for our natural sympathies.”


We assume our natural sympathies are correct and best. At the same time, we know our natural sympathies can lead to enabling, codependency, dysfunction, self-pity and more.


If we're not careful, we can project our sympathies upon God by assuming our sympathies align with His. Yet God's eternal perspective always runs counter to our immediate perspective. We’re often convinced what's best in the moment is best in the long run. But we know this is not true in many other aspects of our life—the education process, diet and exercise, saving for the future, etc.


Thank God He doesn’t give us what we think we need, but what He knows we need.


It takes continual effort to align our hearts with God’s. It's an indication of how extremely different He is from us: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways” (Isaiah 55:8).


Heavenly Father, please help us adjust our perspective to mirror Yours. Help us trust Your wisdom and ways above our own. We confess, You are God and we’re not. And we're so glad.








1. “We may find our intercession will cost those for whom we intercede.”


Perhaps we’re familiar with the old adage, “Never pray for patience.” The reason is Romans 5:3, “Tribulation increases our patience.” God doesn't simply zap us with patience. He forges and forms our patience through everyday hardship and challenges.


Indeed, there's a price to pay for patience.


That’s Oswald's line of reasoning here. As we intercede for others, God is at work shaping, fashioning and molding their lives. And some of that process is unpleasant. God involves the grind of everyday life to make us more like Jesus.


Therefore, we mustn't despair for those for whom we are interceding as they experience these struggles. It's all part of God’s process in their life, just as it’s part of God’s continuing process in our life.


Let's never forget, godly character comes at a cost. May we be willing to pay the price for God’s work in us, and prayerfully stand with others as they pay the price as well.


Heavenly Father, thank You for ongoing Your work. Please help us endure, and we pray for others as they endure. We entrust ourselves and our friends to Your love, care and best interests.



2. God is gradually lifting up others to a totally different level in direct answer to our prayers.”


How did we get to where we are and our own God walk? We got here as God gradually lifted us from one level to another. Perhaps much of that was in response to someone else praying for us.


In Christ, we don't lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps. It's Christ Himself, working in us by His Holy Spirit, bringing us into new vistas, new understandings, new faith and new levels of commitment to Jesus.


That's what God's doing for others in response to our praying. He's dislodging them from where they are and raising them up to the next level. Don't forget the consternation and difficulty we experience as God also does so for us. That's precisely what our friends are experiencing as a result of our praying for them.


And just as we're surviving, so will they. God keeps us even as He increasingly forms our faith.


Father, we commit ourselves and those for whom we’re praying to Your loving lifting. Take us higher, deeper, farther and nearer. As You dislodge us from the old and take us into the new, please give us grace to participate in Your process. If that's what it takes to draw closer to You, receive Your gracious work with gratitude.



3. “The danger is, when we begin to intercede for others out of sympathy, we step out of vital connection with God.”


Oswald is challenging our sympathies.


As we intercede for others, we’ll also watch them endure the formative process. If we're not careful, we may begin praying against the very things God is using to form them.


Some of our sympathy can actually be an objection to God's ways: “This is a deliberate rebuke to God.” We can be critical of God's process of growing us by wounding us.


But isn't this precisely how muscle tissue is formed? Muscle fibers are ripped and torn as we lift and stretch, then they repair themselves to build new and increased muscle strength.


In the same way, if out of sympathy we help a baby bird emerge from its shell, we harm the bird’s development by interfering in the process.


As counterintuitive as it sounds, sympathy isn't necessarily the appropriate response towards others. If God is working through their struggle, our appropriate response is to maintain vital connection with God and intercede.


Father, please help us discern when we are to step in and alleviate hardships, and when we must permit the hardships to play out in order for You to accomplish Your purposes. Please help us beware of our sympathies for ourselves and others as You continue Your work in us.



4. “The key to vital intercession is to be perfectly and completely sure of God.”


Do we trust God’s work in those for whom we intercede? Or do we feel the need to supplement God's work with our own?


Surely God is able to work in others’ lives just as He is working in ours. He’s kept us through thick and thin, and surely He will do the same for them.


Intercession is entrusting our beloved to God's care, and trusting that God’ perfectly capable of letting us know when He needs our help.


Father, please forgive us for feeling indispensable to someone else's relationship with You. Thank You for Your intimate care for us and for them. We trust You to bring us all along. In the meantime, we pray for ourselves and them, and we happily make ourselves available for Your use in others’ lives.



5. When we’re completely and entirely identified with God's interests and concerns for others, we’re less inclined to pity ourselves.”


I can certainly feel sorry for myself, and I'm good at gaining sympathy by licking my wounds, complaining, and make everyone else acutely aware of my emotional duress. Lord, have mercy.


But in the act of “identifying with God's interests and concerns for others,” I'm able to visualize God's process as He forms their heart and mind. And I become more aware God’s doing the same in me.


As a result, I grow less critical of God in my hardships, and more determined for God to use those hardships to conform me to the image of Jesus, just as He’s doing for others.


Self-pity and pity for others can hinder our intercession. Instead, may our intersession help us stay on God's line.


Father, thank You for these insights into Your continuing work in our lives and others’. Please help us participate with You as You forge our faith.





1. “Patience is not the same as indifference.”


This is well-stated.


We all know the difference between patience and indifference. When we're indifferent, we have no strong allure or opinion. The thing is not high in our priorities or preferences. It doesn't make the thing a bad thing, it's simply not critical in our eyes.


Patience, on the other hand, is a virtue. We must diligently exercise patience because we care very much about a thing. We have a strong opinion and preference, and it’s high on our priority list. With all that's in us we wish to jump in, act, do or respond.


This is why patience is listed as a “Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). There are times we feel so strongly about a matter that we must tap into the patience of God to wait it out, bite our tongue and respond appropriately.


May we be successfully patient in these types of situations today.


Father, thank You for being a patient God, and thank You for giving us grace to be patient as well. Today we will have opportunity to lean into the patience You give us. May we exhibit Your love and grace as we do so.



2. “Having a vision of God is the source of patience because it gives us God's true and proper inspiration.”


We may not have a supernaturally inspired vision for my future, for a business, for a ministry, etc., but God does give us a vision of Christ Himself. And in that vision we recognize the true essence of God’s patience. It’s loving, kind, steadfast, enduring, gracious, merciful, hopeful, redemptive and more.


Such a vision is incredibly helpful in the moments we struggle with patience. When we contrast our natural inclinations with the incredibly controlled and the virtuous responses of Christ, we recognize the difference. And we recognize what’s possible as we learn to receive and act on God's patience.


Lord Jesus, please inspire us with a vision of Your affect today. Help us picture You and Your responses in the moments when we struggle with our own attitudes. May we become incredibly adept at operating in the patient power of Your Holy Spirit.



3. “A patient person is not one who is devoted to a cause or an issue, but devoted to God Himself.”


This is beautiful.


I'm all for “devotion to a cause or an issue.” Thank God for those who are inspired and determined.


But ultimately, the patience Oswald is speaking about here is the patience derived from our “devotion to God Himself.” That is, it’s a determination to be faithful to God, to faithfully reflect Christ-likeness towards others, and to guard God's reputation above all our ways.


Indeed, may it be our devotion to our God that drives our thoughts, actions, words and deeds today. May our allegiance to Jesus be our greatest resolve, always.


Holy God, may You be our highest affinity. Please help us truly love You with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. And, may great patience and grace result.



4. “There’s a sense of greatness and vitality to your life when everything is energized by God.”


This is surely central to the “abundant life” (John 10:10) Jesus offers His followers.


That is, every wit of our life matters to God and His Kingdom. Even in the mundane, we are serving the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This brings “a sense of greatness and vitality” to all we do.


It's not about us; It's about our God and Savior.


What might be the thing we dread about our day today? Are we able to see that thing in God's light? Can we perceive how our attitudes, faithfulness, words and actions reflect Christ Himself? It's this perspective by which God energizes all that’s before us today, because in these matters we have opportunity to bring glory to Jesus.


Heavenly Father, please energize us today with the recognition that we are bearing Your image before others in all we say and do. Thank You for “the sense of greatness and vitality” we receive as we faithfully serve You in all that's before us today. Thank You for such a high calling in Christ.



5. “It's a bad thing to be satisfied spiritually.”


How incredibly insightful. God, have mercy.


“We’re apt to look for satisfaction within ourselves.” This is a recipe for settling for less. If we seek to gain satisfaction only by attempting to quiet our heart, still our soul, find resolve, etc., we're forgoing missing the satisfaction only Christ provides.


Likewise, if we seek satisfaction only along the order of the physical world, we’re also compromising what can be ours in Christ alone.


“Our reach must exceed our grasp.” To reach within, to reach to others, or to reach for accomplishments, pleasures, material things, etc., is to reach beneath ourselves. It's when we reach for Christ that He can fill our hands and our heart with His supernatural satisfaction. We were made by and for God, and anything less than union with God is infinitely less then what could be.


“Not that I have already attained or am already made perfect, but I press on.” This is the joy, aspiration and enthusiasm of our God-walk. The best is always yet to come. Praise Jesus!


Father, thank You for what we've already experienced in You. We relish the goodness You’ve poured out throughout our lives. But thank You for the infinite dimension of our life in Christ. We choose and determine to give ourselves to You today for all You might have in store. Please use us, work through us and have Your way in us. May we only be content and satisfied with more and more of You.




1. “We begin to take on a pitiful look and talk only of our trials and difficulties.”


God forbid!


This is one of my biggest gripes. When I see a saint someone moping about, licking their wounds and highlighting their hardships, I often detect a criticism, questioning and indictment of God.


I wonder if people see the same in me? Dear, God.


“All the while, God is calling us to do our work as hidden people who are not in the spotlight.” God has not forsaken us in the mundane, in the challenges, when we are unappreciated, and when we are criticized for our faith. Instead, God is conditioning us to walk through these things with faith and confidence God will never leave us or forsake us.


Some people seem masterful at this. You would not know from their exterior of the great burdens they carry. Instead, they have a twinkle in their eye, a skip in their step, they wear a continual smile, and they always have a good word for God. Hallelujah.


It's of critical importance that we “do our work without the continual glow of inspiration.” God has put us to the ordinary tasks of everyday life, and has resourced us with His Holy Spirit so we might exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit in all circumstances.


May it be our goal today to do so. By God's grace.


Father, please forgive us for grumbling. We act as if you've forgotten and forsaken us, or have unwittingly or cruelly burdened us with our cross. May we carry it with great faithfulness today.



2. “A self-assured saint is of no value to God because they are completely unlike God.”


Oswald is speaking of my innate desire to be seen and applauded by others as I serve God. Jesus said, “Don’t do your good woks before others to be seen by them” (Matthew 6:6).


This is so contrary to the ways of God Himself. God never sounds the trumpet before Himself. God never insists we acknowledge Him when He blesses us. He works in the stillness and the silence, and only the heart tuned to God's frequency recognizes His gracious hand and offers praise and gratitude.


“Don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:6). This is the life of the saint, “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). We're not working for the praise of others, but for the honor and glory of God.


“Your Father Who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:4). We're not looking for recognition from God, but only to please his heart. And when we do, we are thrilled to know of God's good pleasure.


Heavenly Father, thank You for your undetectable ways. And thank You for Your Holy Spirit in us that permits us to detect them all around. May we be content with doing the same, living our everyday lives doing undetectable things for which we’ll never receive praise from others, but which bless Your heart. It’s our honor.



3. “If we continually try to bring back those exceptional moments of inspiration, it's a sign it’s not God we want.”


We all love those “moments of exceptional inspiration.” We’re thankful for the nearness of God, the clarity of vision, the warmth of heart, and the exceeding joy. May we never forget.


But those are the exceptions, not the rule. The rule is faithfully following Jesus in the shadows, in the mundane, in and the ups and downs, and in the highs and lows of ordinary human life on planet earth.


“We’re to do it with an infinitely greater power because we have been born from above.” This was surely the demonstration of Jesus. So many looked upon Him as an ordinary Man. They could not see what we see: this is God in the flesh, “The fullness of the Godhead in Bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).


Jesus wasn't looking for the praise of people. He wanted people to see God in Him and lift their eyes to His Heavenly Father. May we set our sights, not on the thrill of “the exceptional moments of inspiration,” put on our Father in Heaven. May He be our ultimate desire and aim.


So be it, Father. We desire You above all things. Thank You for the moments of glory, but thank You as well and more for Your nearness in the everyday. Hallelujah.



4. “God wants us to walk by faith.”


It's one thing to walk in moments of glory, when God is tangible and our souls are tingling. It's another to walk when our bodies hurt, when our hearts are downcast, and when we can't see the next step.


“We have to get up on our own, without any inspiration and without any sudden touch from God.” So it has been with Bible characters, the saints of God throughout history, and Christ-followers all over the world today. Our victories do not always come with the fireworks of heaven, but in the smallest acts of obedience, with great fidelity to the God we love.


When we step out in this way, we discover “He was there all the time, and we never knew.”


Father, thank You for Your constant nearness, even when we can't detect it. Please help us walk, step by step, day by day, in full assurance You go with us. Thank You for the glorious moments, but thank You even more for being with us in every moment. Help us “walk by faith and not by sight” today.



5. “God will give us His touches of inspiration only when He sees we are not in danger of being led away by them.”


God is helping us mature in Christ. He's weaning us from milk that we might walk by faith.


We can become prideful in moments of inspiration, as if we earned them or deserve them, or as if they are marks of spiritual maturity or of God's approval. Instead, may we humble ourselves when God chooses to reveal Himself in greater ways.


We can also become dependent upon those moments. “I cannot do anything until God appears to me.” If this is the case, we’ll be of little use to God. God anticipates us to “rise up and walk” every moment of every day.


When we grow accustomed to walking by faith and not by sight, God’s moments of inspiration come as pleasant surprises. We’re thankful and appreciate those moments, but we realize God’s no closer in those moments than He always is. Bless the Lord, O my soul.


Heavenly Father, thank You for Your constant fellowship and for the persistent shadow of Your wings over us. Thank You for moments of inspiration, but please help us to walk in the same knowledge of Your faithfulness even when we're not inspired. We trust You today.





1. “Love isn’t premeditated; it’s spontaneous.”


This depiction of love is thought provoking.


I don't believe Oswald is suggesting love is an emotion, coming and going, whimsical and spontaneous. Instead, we know love is a verb. It's not what we feel, it's what we do because we love.


“Spontaneous” describes the “imprecise nature of love.” It's not robotic, pre-programmed, or prescribed by a list of do’s and don'ts. It's what we do in the moment because we love. And because we can’t predict the moment, we can’t predict how our love might be exhibited.


The goal of our love is for it to evidence itself naturally, instinctively, and without hesitation. In Christ, we’re growing in a love which isn’t forced or contrived, manipulated or choreographed. Rather, it flows from us as freely as a mountain spring.


Because we’re not its source. God in us is.


Father, thank You for a love relationship with You. It's a joy to freely love You because You love us (1 John 4:19). We pray that, like You, everything we do would be motivated by Your love. Thank You for Your endless supply.



2. “When the Holy Spirit is having His way with us, we live according to His standards without even realizing it.”


For me, this is the meaning of Jesus’ statement, “If You love Me, you’ll keep My commands” (John14:15).


This is the way of love. It's God's chief motivator, compelling everything God has ever done. He created in love, provides in love, approaches us in love, redeems us in love, etc.


And, in Christ, it's our love that motivates our God-walk. We’re compelled to respond to, obey and follow Jesus out of our growing love for Jesus. Then, instead of it being arduous, it's our joy.


When we first ride a bicycle, we’re so aware of every movement, every distraction, and the sense of dread we might fall off. But, in time, riding a bike becomes second nature. We hop on and go, and enjoy the ride.


So it is as we walk in a love relationship with God. We walk, talk, think and imagine in fellowship and union with God, and we don't give it one wit of thought. It's our joy and delight Because we love one another.


Father, may it be so. May we love You with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and may love be the driving force in our relationship with You and others. Spirit, have Your way in us, especially when we don't even realize.



3. “When we look back, we’re amazed.”


Oswald says this is the evidence of the spontaneous nature of love. It happens when we don't realize it. We only become aware of it after the fact. And we're amazed because we weren't even trying.


“This is the nature of everything involved in the God life.” We don't realize the change going on in us, but others certainly do. We don't realize our common sense decisions are becoming naturally inclined towards the things of God. We don't realize we’re inadvertently walking in the ways of God, not because we're disciplining ourselves, but because of our new nature in Christ.


“The life of God in us is only discerned when we have been through a thing and it's in our past.” This is the way of our new nature In Christ. We don't realize it in the moment, but it leaves a trail of evidence behind. Hallelujah!


Lord Jesus, may we continuously be the most amazed people on earth and who we’re becoming, because we’re aware it has nothing to do with us. Thank You for transforming us from the inside out.



4. “The fountains from which love flows are in God, not in us.”


This is the realization of “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). If our understanding of faith in Christ is anything less than Christ living in us, it is infinitely less.


The entire purpose of Christ’s Atonement was to make away for the Spirit of the Living God to live in us, love through us and empower us as He unites us with God.


Our God-walk is not gritting our teeth to follow God's commands out of fear of retribution. It's our realization that we are incapable of doing so. Therefore, we humble ourselves, receive Christ as our Savior, and permit God to form Christ within us (Galatians 4:19).


Our freedom in Christ comes from rafting the river of the fountain of love and life which flows through us from the throne of God. It's the greatest joy and liberation a human being can know.


Father, thank You for the rivers of Living Water that flow through us because of Christ in us. Thank You for the daily taste of the Divine as we walk in union with you. Thank You for the incredible and endless peace and joy we receive by Your Spirit. Hallalujah!



5. “If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it's a sure sign we really don't love Him.”


How might we parse this out?


Obviously we do things for others to demonstrate our love for them. It's why we speak and do kind things, attend to needs, give gifts, etc. We want others to know beyond the shadow of a doubt we love them.


Don’t we do the same for God? Don’t we not adopt spiritual disciplines out of faithfulness to our Savior? Don’t we tell God we love Him and offer Him praise and thanksgiving out of love?


Perhaps Oswald is attempting to help us understand we can never “prove” our love. We can't see it under a microscope, detect it with a Geiger counter, taste it or quantify it. Our love is evident simply because we love.


And the people we love know of our love even if we we’re unable to prove it. And if they aren't able to recognize it, we are incapable of helping them do so.


Such is God’s love for us. He demonstrated it fully in the cross of Jesus Christ and those of us who believe can sense and receive His love. But if someone doesn’t, there is no way in heaven or on earth to force them to believe.


Father, may we grow in our sensitivity and awareness of Your love. May we forever be swept up and titillated by Your love for us. And may we forever reciprocate out of our love for You. May Your love in us increase and increase, and become more and more evident to You and others.






1. “We look upon uncertainty as a bad thing, but in Christ, we are certain in our uncertainty.”


This is good stuff today. Praise the Lord.


“Our natural inclination always tries to forecast what will happen next.” Indeed. This indicates our need to control our environment, our present activity and our future.


But this notion is at odds with walking with Jesus.


“Certain in our uncertainty” is a great way of describing faith. We have no idea what the day might hold, or where we'll end up at the end of our days. But we have absolute confidence in the God Who goes before us.


Perhaps this helps us understand why human beings struggle with faith. We want to know more than we’re able to know. But if we’ll rest in Christ, our uncertainties melt into “peace that transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).


Father, thank You for this glorious thing called faith. Thank You for the nature of our God-walk. Thank You for helping us learn how to thrive in Your realm. Please forgive for our attempts to control. We give ourselves to You and Your will today. We trust You, and gratefully receive Your incredible grace and peace in return.



2. “The nature of the spiritual life is, we don't put down roots.”


This is a great way of saying, “this world is not my home.”


Perhaps we have a notion that, one day, our life will plateau and we’ll “live happily ever after.” But that's not the way of things on planet earth. And it's certainly not the way of God's people.


Instead, “We’re  pilgrims on the earth, desiring a better country” (Hebrews 11:13-16).


The older I get, the less desirable the things of this world become. We’ve been there and done that. Our heart longs for more than this existence can provide.


Thank God for the amazing contentment and satisfaction of a life lived abiding in Christ our Lord.


Beloved, let's put down deep roots in the Kingdom of God. Our God alone offers us the groundedness we long for.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible freedom of knowing we're just passing through this life. Thank You for liberating us from the finite that we might live our lives to the fullest. Thank You we get to live in eternity, today.


3. “To be certain of God means living in breathless expectation.”


What a spectacular sentiment. We get to live in the glorious unknown, absolutely certain of God's Sovereign grace, reveling in His fellowship, with great anticipation for what He might have in store.


Surely nothing expresses our absolute trust in our God then our statement, “not my will, but Yours be done.” It says to God, “bring it on; we're all in.”


I wonder what God might be up to today? Rather than living in dread and hesitation, let's anticipate the great adventure God may set before us.


Lord Jesus, I can imagine the disciples wondering day by day what their Lord and Master would do next, then rejoice as He blew their ever-loving minds. We want to live with the same “breathless expectation.” Bring about what You may. We’re here for You. Hallelujah.



4. “As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises.”


Christ followers do not sit on their hands waiting for the next revelation of God. We do what we know to do, “working heartily as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23), anticipating God At every turn.


We call this, “synergy.” In the words of John Wesley, “God works as we work.”


As we serve Jesus with great abandoned today, may He give us eyes to see His amazing surprises. And may we rejoice with childlike wonder that God is using us, even us.


Father, thank You for things to do for You today. Please help us be faithful in our doing. We can't wait to experience more of You along the way.



5. “When we become simply a promoter or defender of a particular belief, something within us dies.”


This is powerful. It suggests it's possible to reduce our relationship with the Living God into statements of faith and doctrine. Then we simply become religious people who defend and promote our beliefs.


God, have mercy.


Doctrine and dogma certainly have their place. They provide pavement stones and guardrails as we grow in Christ and speak of Him to others. But there’s no nutrient in statements of faith alone.


Instead, we “abide in the Vine” (John 15:4), which is Christ our Lord. We draw life and strength from Christ Himself, not from our beliefs about Him. As beneficial as reciting our creeds can be, it's no substitute for dynamic, life-giving union with our Savior.


Without the Vine, “something in us dies.” Faith-tenets can’t nourish our soul. Only the God who made us for Himself.


Lord Jesus, thank You for the living, breathing, nurturing, satisfying Life that flows through our system as we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) in You. We drink deeply from Your well today. Praise.






Sunday, 4.28.24


1. “I will give your life to you as a prize.”


This is a sensational statement.


God has certainly given us the gift of life. I’m living and breathing today by the grace of God. Even with life's difficulties, I thank God for the gift of life.


But, on this earth, my life can and will be taken from me. Perhaps by accident, sickness or old age, my life will depart my physical body. At that point, it’s no longer mine. I have no control. My eternal future is all God's doing.


But, in Christ, God “gives our life to us as a prize.” That is, God has placed the destiny of our life in our hands for time and eternity. Whether I live or die, my life is mine forever in Christ. Hallelujah!


There’s no more important thing than our life. And, although we don’t know the day our life on this planet will end, we know our life is safely hidden in Christ for eternity.


The beauty of having been “given my life as a prize,” means I can choose to give it to the One Who gave it to me. God gifts me with a prize more precious than anything else, that I might have the most precious gift to offer my God.


O God, what a beautiful truth! Thank You forever and ever for the gift of my life. It is my greatest treasure. And with great love and joy I lay it at Your feet.



2. “Are you prepared to let God take you into total oneness with Himself?”


I wonder what “total oneness with God” looks like? I wonder what it might cost? Oswald says it looks like this: “You no longer pay attention to what you call the great things of life.”


That’s a tall order. I wonder if that prospect might be hindering me from total oneness with God?


“Are you prepared to surrender totally and let go?” That's a big question. I might fool myself into thinking I’ve done so already, but God makes me aware of my tight grip on many externals. Mercy.


The truth is, God cannot “give my life to me as a prize” if my hands are already full of the stuff of this life. It takes guts to let go, but I’m willing to bet what God has to give is of far greater worth.


Father, I'm drawn to the idea of “total oneness” with You. I like the romantic notion of “surrendering totally and letting go.” I’m confident, from Your perspective, this is not the case with me. Thank You for Your continuing work in my heart toward this aim. May You accomplish Your goal of total oneness with me.



3. “Once you surrender to God, you no longer think about what God is going to do.”


In Christ, we may wonder where things are headed, but we’re not obstinate, demanding or fearful. We’re content to receive from Jesus’ hand as He chooses.


This is the joyful freedom of our God-walk, and it comes from trusting God more than we trust our own intuitions. After all, who else “knows the end from the beginning”? (Isaiah 46:10).


Surrender unburdens us from concerning ourselves about tomorrow: “Don’t worry about your life, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34). And in its place we receive “the peace that transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).


What a tremendous tradeoff.


Heavenly Father, thank You for Your very personal care. We happily surrender our lives to You. We look forward to doing what we find at hand to do (Ecclesiastes 9:10) and trust You to direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). Thank You for the emancipation of walking with You.



4. “If you’re not totally surrendered to God, it is either because of disobedience in your life or your refusal to be simple enough.”


This is heavy and very convicting.


I know good and well I’m not totally surrendered to God. I certainly don't have the audacity to claim otherwise. I know I’ve placed limitations and stipulations on my Heavenly Father. 


Perhaps there’s known disobedience in my life, those secret sins I allow myself and have yet to relinquish to God.


Or perhaps I'm not “simple enough” to receive from my Father's hand as His precious child. I make faith, doctrine, worldview, etc., much more complicated than that. I encumber my God-walk with theology, philosophy, reasoning and more.




If the above serve as an impediment to total surrender, they’re my enemies rather than the friends they claim to be.


And I probably know it better than I'm willing to admit.


Father, I love the notion of being totally surrendered to You, heart, mind, body, soul and spirit. Please continue Your work in my life to this end. May I be simple and obedient enough to fully abandon to You.









1. “God wants you to be in a much closer relationship with Himself than simply receiving His gifts.”


The gifts of God are wonderful. The gift of God Himself is infinitely more so.


Our God is a “giver of all good gifts” (James 1:17). And the very best Gift He can give is the gift of Himself. Which means, if our sights are set on anything less, our sights are set on something infinitely less.


We’re apt to equate God Himself with His blessings. We give God thanks for the good things in our life. Do we also gift God thanks for the greatest Gift, the Gift of God Himself?


I wonder if God ever sees us like a child at Christmas, who opens a gift and plays with the box instead of the gift inside? How often are we enthralled by the blessings rather than the Giver of all good gifts?


Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the gift of Yourself through faith in Christ. Thank You for approaching us personally in Jesus, and living in us personally through Your Holy Spirit. May we revel in Your glorious Gift of our amazing, living and breathing relationship with You.



2. “There is nothing easier than getting into right relationship with God, unless it’s not God you’re seeking.”


Why is it so easy to be in relationship with God? It’s because of the great price God paid with Christ’s cross. When we take a small step towards God, He takes a giant leap towards us. Praise Him.


If we miss the mark of right relationship with God, it’s because we’re aiming at something else.


We may well be striving for good things—a healthy marriage and family, a healthy mind and body, even meeting others’ needs. But even well-meaning aims can distract us from the best—right relationship with God in Christ.


What keeps me from knowing the ideal relationship with my God? Perhaps it’s because it’s not my focus.


Heavenly Father, thank You for providing the Way into union with You through the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thank You for a taste of that glorious place. May our life-goal and desire of my heart be more and more of You.



3. Am I a “Christian on my own terms?”


It’s complete natural to live according to my own terms. It’s true of every relationship, activity and pursuit we’re a part of.


That inclination must be defeated in our relationship with Jesus. To gain fullness of relationship with God requires surrendering our terms to His.


And it’s a life-long struggle.


God makes it clear to us when we’re relating to Him on our terms:  “God puts His finger on the reason.” He also gives us the grace to release that thing to Him—if we only will.


Lord Jesus, please forgive me for attempting to dictate the terms of our relationship. Please help me walk with You in Your way, not my own. I give You permission to put Your finger on any impediment, and I receive Your grace as I seek to dislodge that thing.



4. “As you draw closer to God, you will cease asking for things altogether.”


This is a beautiful sentiment, but it’s typically not where I find myself.


I must confess, my prayer life is full of asks. But that's not wrong. Jesus says, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be made full” (John 16:24).


So, if “God knows our needs before we ask” (Matthew 6:8), why would we ever ask? Oswald gives us the answer: “We ask that we might get to know Him.”


Our prayer life, then, is not simply asking. It’s fellowship with our Father. It’s breathing the oxygen of heaven. It’s spending time in the healing and fulfilling presence of our Almighty God.


What a gift.


Father, thank You for the gift of prayer. We’re so thankful to have Your ear, and even more thankful to have Your heart. Thank You for wanting to be with us. It’s our joy to be with You as Your beloved children.



5. “God always ignores your present level of completeness in favor of your ultimate future completeness.”


What a profound statement.


Our heads are usually in our present space. We’re very conscious and aware of matters immediately at hand—our needs, struggles, challenges, wants, etc.


But God views us in the bigger picture. He certainly cares about our immediate needs, but His eye is on the long game. “God has begun a good work in us, and will bring it to completion by the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6).


God wants us to trust Him in the present and gain a greater perspective for His Kingdom. God is far more interested in our eternity than in our present. And if we’re wise, so are we.


Father, thank You for what You do for us every day, and thank You for what you’re doing for our eternity. We trust You to do what You must today to bring about our very best forever. We entrust ourselves to You toward that end.






1. “Character determines how a person interprets God’s will.”


This makes sense. Surely we ascribe things to God based on the way we perceive God.


If we view God as a cruel taskmaster, only motivated by our misery, it’s easy to imagine God’s commandments as burdensome and arduous.


But if we perceive God as our Heavenly Father, desiring only that which leads to our flourishing, we recognize God’s commandments as good and loving.


And, as God continues to shape our character after His Own, we look forward to obeying. After all, who’s better equipped to satisfy our soul than the Genius Who made us?


Heavenly Father, not our will, but Yours be done. We believe You’re perfect in all Your ways. We happily submit ourselves to You. By Your grace, please help us live in joyful obedience to Your perfect purposes for our lives.



2. “When God sent an angel to stay Abraham’s hand, Abraham obeyed.”


This is a masterful interpretation of this story.


I don’t know of any story in the Bible that gives us as much consternation as the Story of Abraham Sacrificing Isaac. But, as Oswald says, “Our character determines how we interpret.”


Oswald’s insight is brilliant. The Scriptures commend Abraham for his willing obedience to take up the knife to slay his son. Yet Oswald commends Abraham for his obedience in heeding the angel and staying his hand.


If Abraham was a “religious fanatic,” he would have rebuked the angel and followed through with the sacrifice. Instead, this story depicts Abraham’s determination to obey God, regardless.


Am I willing to do the same? What comes first, my conviction or God’s leadership? If it’s the latter, we’ll never be surprised at how creative, and challenging, God’s leadership can be.


Heavenly Father, please help us be more obedient than we are religious. Please forgive us when we place our beliefs before our God. We want to be fully Your fully devoted followers.



3. “It takes the pain of a tremendous ordeal to break us from beliefs that misrepresent God.”


It’s critical that we examine what we believe about God, because our God-views are often shaped by family, traditions, rituals, culture, movies, music, history, philosophy, etc., rather than by the Scriptures and historic, orthodox doctrine.


And some of our views can be dead wrong.


“It took the pain of tremendous ordeal to set Abraham right.” In like manner, God must forcefully “break us from beliefs that misrepresent Him.” The process can be arduous when our deeply held convictions are not in keeping with God’s Truth.


May God grace us as He continues this lifelong process in us.


Heavenly Father, we certainly don’t want to hold beliefs contrary to Who You are. Please refine us as You must. Strip away that which is false, even when it hurts. Holy Spirit, please “lead us in all Truth” (John 16:13).



4. “The devil lies about the true nature of God.”


Isn’t this the truth? The devil’s greatest ploy is to misrepresent God and convince us. “The devil is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Because it’s a win for the wicked one if he can skew our God-view.


None of us are above being deceived. Beginning with Adam & Eve, saints and unbelievers throughout history have bought the lies.


Is it possible some of our beliefs are deceptions? Until we’re convinced we can be mistaken, we’re not interested in self-examination. But once we recognize our vulnerability, we will gladly and perpetually permit the Holy Spirit to examine us in the Light of the Scriptures and historic, orthodox doctrine.


Because “we desire God’s Truth in our inward parts” (Psalm 51:6).


Heavenly Father, please “lead us not into temptation, but keep us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). Please help us recognize our liability to be deceived, that we might be all the more driven to abide in You.



5. “If we remain true to God, He will lead us straight through every barrier into the inner chamber of knowledge of Himself.”


Perhaps we think it’s complicated to comprehend and walk with God. However, Jesus said, “Unless you become as little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 18:3).


“If we remain true to God, He will lead us…” If we’re willing to give ourselves to God, He’ll bring us into “the inner chamber” of His fellowship. All we do is “remain true to God” and go along for the ride.


This is the joy and simplicity of the God-walk. He’ll take us where we’ve never been, and we can’t begin to explain how we got there.


Heavenly Father, here we are. Please help us remain faithful to You above all things. We’re eager for your to take us to Yourself.






1. “Be ready, whether we feel like it or not.”


It’s one thing to respond to God when we feel closest to God. It’s another to do what we know to do for God and His Kingdom, even when we’re feeling uninspired.


We’ve learned to do what we must do in other realms of our lives. We get up in the morning and go to work. We care for our family. We do yard work.


I must learn to do the same in my God-walk. I must haul myself up daily, plop myself down in the Scriptures, force myself to my knees in prayer, love unlovely people, and give myself to the service of God.


It may not be a moment of high inspiration, but the Holy Spirit dwells in me nevertheless. And when I make the effort, the Holy Spirit follows with His all-sufficient strength.


No wonder we’re called “disciples. There’s a discipline to following Jesus.


Heavenly Father, I always know of something to do as I relate to You. I ask for the spiritual gift of gumption to do that thing whether I feel like it or not. Please and thank You.



2. “There are some people who are totally unemployable in the spiritual realm.”


God forbid this should be us. Mercy.


To be “employed by God” is the essence of life. We were made by God for His purposes, and nothing less will satisfy our soul. Our lives are an endless search for that “certain something” until we discover being “employed by God.”


How sad to be found “unemployable in the spiritual realm, ” to discover we’re incapable of being used by God. What on earth has happened to us if this is the case?


“Those who are unemployable are spiritually feeble and weak.” No one wants to be physically feeble and weak. We do our best with diet, exercise, rest and more to insure this isn’t the case.


Why would we not do the same spiritually? Just as physical limitations hamper our daily life, how much more do our spiritual limitations hamper our mind, body, soul, emotions, imaginations, creativity and more?


May God help us recognize the “unemployability” in us, and stir our desire to be absolutely everything we can possibly be for our God.


Father, we desire to be fully employed by You. We want to be of use to You. We want to bring You glory and honor all the days of our finite life on earth. Please make us aware of ways we inhibit being of use to You. May serving You be the driving force of our life.



3. “Now that I've experienced this moment of inspiration, I will always be like this for God.”


It's certainly tempting to believe this is true. In those mountain top moments, we feel as if we could slay dragons. We’re sure we’ll never be complacent about the things of God again.


This is the challenge with high spiritual moments. We are sure they represent an upshift in our God-walk, and we assume we will remain inspired and enlightened.


When we find we are not, we're apt to go in search of the next mountain top. But, as Oswald says, “Those times are entirely the gift of God. We cannot give them to ourself when we choose.”


Don't we want to be those who are consistent in our attitudes and affects, capable of loving and doing, regardless our emotions or circumstances?


We must recognize doing so will require a strength beyond our own. Which is why God gave us His Holy Spirit. As we learn to walk in synergy with God's Spirit, we find God's strength to say, do and be, regardless of our sense of inspiration.


Holy Spirit, may it be so. Thank You for the mountain tops, but thank You even more for Your constant presence in us. Please help us develop a low impedance connection with You, that we might be empowered in the daily grind. And all for Your glory.



4. “If you make a god out of your best moments, you will find that God will fade out of your life.”


I grieve thinking of the many, many Christians I’ve known who base their faith and God-walk in the best moments of their past. Perhaps it was during a meaningful conversion experience or baptism. Perhaps it was a powerful worship service or mission trip. Perhaps it was a particular small group or individuals in our past.


Then, as those moments fade, so does our sense of God's presence. We try with all of our might to replicate those moments, but we will always be unsuccessful. They were then, and this is now.


Thank God, “His mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22). May we discover our best moments were merely a taste about things to come. Hallelujah!


Heavenly Father, may You be our only God, rather than us making a god out of our best moments. May we learn to live in the everyday dynamic of fellowship with You by Your Spirit. Thank You for giving us a taste of what is possible on an ongoing basis.***********



1. “The trap that most endangers us as Christian workers is not worldliness or sin, it’s desiring spiritual success.”


What’s “spiritual success?” Oswald says it’s “the form set by this religious age in which we now live.”


What does this amount to in our day? For starters, perhaps it's the goal of going to heaven when we die. If that’s our mark of our faith, we fall short of God's greater intentions for us. Our names are certainly written in the Lamb’s Book of Life when we trust Christ, but that’s only the beginning of our God-walk:  God intends to “conform us to the image of Jesus” (Romans 8:29).


Or, our “religious age” might suggest spiritual success looks like a plentiful, carefree life, with perfect health and material blessings. Or perhaps an ideal marriage, family and kids. Or complete freedom from hurts, hang ups and habits. But walking with Jesus may not yield the perfect life on earth: “Jesus said, ‘In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’” (John 16:33).


Instead, may we “never seek anything other than the approval of God.” This is spiritual success in the eyes of God. We're not striving for the standards of this age, but God’s Kingdom standards. And we can only rise to these standards by the grace of God through the Holy Spirit.


Father, thank You for Your work in delivering us from worldliness and sin. Please also deliver us from using “the form set by this religious age” to measure our spiritual success. Instead, may our hope and aim be no less than Your daily approval. Only by Your grace, O Lord.



2. “We have a commercialized view of spiritual success—how many souls have been saved and sanctified.”


Oswald isn’t downplaying our work in helping people know Jesus. Instead, Oswald is challenging us to take people beyond salvation and new life, into a lifetime of discipleship.


“Our work is not to save souls, but to disciple them.” This is directly in line with New Horizon’s present posture. Our aim is not simply church attendance, conversions and baptisms, but to make disciples, who make disciples, who make disciples.


“Salvation and sanctification are the work of God's grace, and our work as His disciples is to disciple others.” This is a great breakdown of the progression in Christian faith, and visualizing God's role and our role. Indeed, we play a part in sharing and inviting people to the Kingdom of God, yet it's God Who draws people to Himself, and imbues them with salvation and new life. Then it’s our role to help them “live lives that are totally yielded to God.”


Of course, we can’t lead people where we have not been ourselves. Therefore, we must honestly assess our God-walk. Perhaps we’re saved and have received new life in Christ, but are we moving in the direction of totally yielding our lives to God? It's only as we walk this path that we can help others walk this path.


Holy Father, thank You for entrusting us in Your process of transforming lives. May we be faithful to do what only we can do as You do what only You can do.



3. “One life totally devoted to God is of more value to Him than one hundred lives which have been simply awakened by His Spirit.”


I'm so convicted by this statement. For years and years I've worked to create ministries and experiences that awaken people's spirit. And I'm thrilled when they have powerful God-moments.


But this is only the beginning of the process. Our work continues by helping people become totally devoted to God. It’s only those who are totally devoted to God that transform families, churches communities and our world for God’s Kingdom.


Father, please help us go far beyond aiming to provide titillating God-experiences. Please give us a heart for connecting with people who have had such experiences, and leading them in the even greater experience of becoming fully-devoted followers of Jesus Christ.



4. “As God's workers, we must reproduce our own kind spiritually.”


This has been my coaching with New Horizon’s disciple-makers. That is, they are not merely group leaders, but they are commissioned to “reproduce our own kind spiritually.”


It's one thing too facilitate group conversation. It's another thing altogether to press into others, help them lay foundation stones of faith, and work to transfer what we've received from Christ into their souls.


“As Christian workers, God is bringing us up to a standard of life through His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that same standard in others.” We’re growing in faith, and God intends for us to help others grow in faith as well. All God has invested in us, He intends for us to invest in others.


Father, how we squander what You've given us. We receive it and enjoy it as if the end game is our personal edification. Please help us visualize ourselves helping others receive from You what we've received from You.



5. “Unless the Christian worker lives a life that is ‘hidden with Christ in God,’” we will be unsuccessful in replicating disciples.


It's only as we “live life that is hidden with Christ in God,” that we sense God's calling to help others do the same. Until then, our faith is only a practical matter—going to Heaven when we die, strength for daily living, peace, joy, fulfilment, etc.


But, as we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we gain His heart for others, and we begin to embrace Gis Great Commission to “go and make disciples.”


It’s in union worth God through Christ that we learn to access the Holy Spirit in us for the purpose of helping others know and grow in Jesus. As we abide in Christ, we come to realize we have nothing to offer except that which we have received from Jesus Himself.


I cannot give to others what I don’t  possess myself. I cannot call others to live a life “hidden with Christ in God” if mine is not. Lord, have mercy


Father, Son and Spirit, we want to live in union with You in the way and to the degree You intend. As we seek to do so, please help us also graciously receive your commission to help others do the same. May we be successful in replication, O Lord.




1. “We are God's fellow workers,”  (1 Corinthians 3:9)


Oswald is reminding us of the nuance of this Scripture passage. We don't simply work FOR God; we work WITH God. Those two statements are very different.


The first is laborious. We're apt to see ourselves as minions under God’s hand. Or, perhaps we see ourselves working to appease God and earn His favor. Or, we may choose our work and justify its importance as “God's work.”


This approach can be exhausting. It can lead to bitterness towards God if we’re working in our own strength.  It can also breed a sense of superiority in our work—after all, what could be more important than working for God?


Working WITH God is a different matter. First, we’re subordinate to God—God chooses the work and calls the shots. We don’t dictate to God, but follow His leadership. Second, we don’t labor alone, but in partnership with God. That means God does the heavy lifting. Third, the purpose of our work is God’s, not our own. We're more concerned with what God gets out of it than what we get out of it.


The latter is a very freeing notion of serving God. As we work together with God, we enjoy fellowship with God, and experience the ups and downs, laughs and heartaches, and rigor and celebration with God.


Nothing in this world is more satisfying then serving alongside the King of Kings.


Father, thank You for our incredibly meaningful lives as we serve with our Savior. Lord Jesus, have us today. Put us to Your use. We look forward to being with You.



2. “As we concentrate on God, we’re completely free with the freedom God gives His worshipping child.”


Soul-freedom is the best kind of freedom. And it's ours as we give ourselves to Jesus.


A number of years ago I was blessed to do a walking sabbatical in Italy. As I traveled from cathedral to cathedral with my Bible in hand, I stayed in various Air B&B’s and even a convent.


In the convent, a senior nun befriended me. She could only speak Italian, so we used Google Translate on my phone to communicate. She loved doting on me during my stay. We even topped off my visit with a time of extended prayer together in their Chapel. It was a joy.


As I was leaving, she made a comment that humbled my heart. She said, “You’re the freest individual I've ever met.” I can't imagine a greater compliment. And I owe it all to the freedom Christ affords me with His loving fellowship. Hallelujah!


May Christ’s freedom be our daily experience, beloved.


Lord Jesus, thank You for the incredible freedom You offer as we live in a worshipping relationship with You. Thank You for bearing our burdens. Thank you for filling our hearts with Your love, joy and peace. Thank You for the Great Adventure of walking with You day-by-day. Love.



3.  “A worker who lacks concentration on God will become overly burdened, a slave to their own limits, burned out and defeated.”


I certainly know this experience. We can become so consumed by our work, and so distracted from God, that we wind up working in our own strength, trying our hearts and minds, and exhausted and depleted.


That's not to say God doesn't call us to do hard things that will tax our reserves. Hardly. He called Jesus to the cross.


But I've also experienced the wonderful satisfaction of being completely and utterly exhausted—mind, body, soul and spirit—in serving alongside Jesus. In my depleted state, I find the great satisfaction of having been a co-laborer with my Savior.


And I sense His glorious words: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).


Lord Jesus, thank You for those opportunities to spend myself for You and Your Kingdom. I love when it feels like every ounce of energy mattered. I long for that on a daily basis. I want to know that my life is making a difference for time and eternity. Thank You for such tremendous opportunities



4.  “No longer is the responsibility on you for the work. The only responsibility you have is to stay in constant touch with God.”


As we serve God, I think some of the greatest burden and burnout can come from a sense of great responsibility for the outcome.


I suppose I'm responsible for the outcome as I'm digging post holes for fencing around the New Horizon Orphanage in Haiti. If I slack off or take shortcuts, the end product will suffer.


But, in serving God's Kingdom, we’re also working with human hearts. Although we can encourage or discourage another soul, we can't transform their heart to love and serve Jesus.  Only God can do that.


When we relieve ourselves of the responsibility of heart-change, we free ourselves to seek Jesus on behalf of others. In doing so, we take our cues from Him along the way, effervesce the Fruit of the Spirit, and entrust precious hearts to Jesus.


And that's becomes our greatest responsibility.


Lord Jesus, we offer You our full attention today. We leave hearts in Your capable hands for shaping and forming. Please inspire us with winsome words as we relate to others. May our proximity to You become evident to them.



5. “God engineers everything He places on us, and our goal is to pour out our lives in wholehearted devotion to Him.”


This statement is a challenging. Do I believe God in His Sovereignty is engineering the matters I will deal with today? Do I believe He places them upon me with His Holy hand?


If I do, I will be of the mind to draw upon His grace as I shoulder the come-what-may of today. If not, I'm liable to grouse and complain, and think God unfair.


Which will I choose? My attitudes and affect will certainly demonstrate my decision.


Heavenly Father, help me to grow in my absolute confidence of Your complete Sovereignty. I know “stuff happens” on planet earth, and much of it is beyond my control. Please help me gratefully received from Your hand today, and pour out my energies in wholehearted devotion to you.







1. “People who used to be lights to us will flicker out, and those who used to stand with us will turn away.”


Isn't this the sad truth? There are so many who have been points of reference in our lives, yet no longer are.


Sometimes it's because of failed relationship on our part or theirs. Sometimes it's because of life changes or moral failings.


But the effect is the same—we no longer have that anchor to which we can moor our boat.


Oswald is speaking to our growing relationship with Jesus. In time, regardless of the bulwarks in our life, Christ becomes our ultimate grounding. Then, as people come and go, Christ continually stands.


Thank God.


Lord Jesus, thank You for being the Rock beneath our feet. How difficult if must be for those who don’t have Your immovable foundation to stand upon. May our lives demonstrate the consistency of “the anchor of our soul” (Hebrews 6:19), so others might discover and find security in You, too.



2. “Important individuals in our lives are meant to go, so that we will look into the face of God.”


I don't believe Oswald is suggesting God plucks important individuals from our lives. Instead, they are training wheels on our bike. As they are removed, we learn to look to Jesus for ourselves.


As long as we have parents, teachers, mentors, ministers, best friends, etc., we will look to those people before we look to God. But, in time, we realize they cannot fully provide our needs.


It's in those moments we’re forced to look to Jesus. Thank God for those people, but thank God we have something more sure than the most important people in our lives.


We have the infallible God as our Heavenly Father. Praise Him forever.


Father, thank You for teaching us to look to You above all others. Thank You for the crises in our lives that cause us to do so. Train our hearts to instinctively look to You before we look to others—not out of disregard for others, but out of our highest regard for You.



3. “A Christian servant is one who perpetually looks into the face of God and then goes forth to talk to others.”


How profound. I’m never as useful to others as when I'm closest to Jesus.


Proximity to Jesus doesn’t happen by accident. I must diligently pursue Him. And when I do, my heart and mind become seasoned and helpful as I interact with others.


It's amazing to me how often I’m able to speak with others out of a very recent encounter with God in the Scriptures, in prayer, in a conversation with someone else, etc.


As someone has said, “When I pray, coincidences happen. When I don't, they don't.”


Heavenly Father, may our worth to others be heightened by our consistent relationship with You. Thank You for the grace and wisdom You give us for their sake.



4. “The ministry of Christ is characterized by an abiding glory of which the servant is totally unaware.”


I've certainly experienced this in other people. They have no idea they are glowing with the glory of God.


They are unaware because it has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with God Himself. They simply abide in Christ, and His glory manifests itself.


How I long to be this person, so beaming with Jesus that others see Him instead of me!


Lord Jesus, thank You for Your glory in others. Thank You for those saints who shine so brightly for You. In time, may it be us as well, and may we be unimaginably oblivious.



5. “The secret of the servant's life is that they stay in tune with God all the time.”


What does it mean to “stay in tune with God?”


Does it mean we’re always obedient? Does it mean we’re without sin? Does it mean we sequester ourselves to a monastic life?


Surely not.


“David was a man after God's own heart” (Acts 13:22). As we know full-well, David was anything but the perfect man. He had incredible personal faults and fallouts.


Yet David knew how to seek God, how to walk in faith, and how to repent. David certainly paid a high price for his disobedience, yet he went down in the annals of Biblical history as one upon whom God bestowed great matters.


Can we be entrusted with the things of God? Can God anticipate us too step out in great faith? Are we those who will respond to the Holy Spirit’s direction and conviction, including repenting and turning from our disobedience?


Surely this is an opportunity for all men and women. Surely God is searching for such. All it requires is our determination. May it be so.


Heavenly Father, it's the desire of our heart to be Your man or woman. We want You to safely trust in us. We want our lives to fulfill the purposes for which You created us. Please give us the heart and pluck to stay in tune with our God all the time. We say, “yes,” O Lord.





1. “Our Lord must be repeatedly astounded at how “un-simple’ we are.”


I love the passages in the Gospels when “the people were amazed at Jesus” (Matthew 7:28), because He’s that awesome.


I'm also struck by the passages in the Gospels when “Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mark 6:6). Ouch.


In both places, the amazement Jesus and others experience is triggered by humankind’s lack of faith. Which means, sadly, Jesus and I are consistently amazed by one another.


I can understand why Jesus views faith as “simple.” We're “simply” trusting our Almighty God, the greatest Reality of all.


But I’m never convinced faith is that simple. It’s because I refuse to be so simple as to simply believe.


Lord, have mercy.


Jesus, “I believe; please help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). If only I were simple enough to trust You more. Please increase my faith. I want to truly believe.



2. “When we are simple, we have discernment all the time period”


For me, this speaks of our God-given capability of discerning the things of God by virtue of the Holy Spirit living in us.


It's me that complicates matters. When I'm inspired with discernment, I seem to need to overthink it, reason it through, and run multiple verifications in my thoughts and mind.


But if I'll be simple enough to be moved by the quiet swaying of the Holy Spirit, I find it very natural to sense God's heart and mind in the day-to-day.


If only I will.


Lord Jesus, You tell me, “unless I become as a little child I will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 18:3). I pray I would become childlike enough to be “simple” enough to simply walk in Your Spirit.



3. “It is highly probable that we are hurting Jesus by what we ask.”


I wonder how often I hurt Jesus with my constant questioning? Even if I don't speak the question, the question is running in my heart: “Can I trust You? Do You have my best interest in mind? Will You ever leave or forsake me?”


In Jesus’ mind, these questions have all been answered by His cross and Resurrection. “All the promises of God in Christ are yes” (2 Corinthians 1:20).


It surely breaks Jesus’ heart when I question Him again and again. Thank God, He's patient with me, and is happy to assure me as often as I need.


Lord Jesus, thank You for Your faithfulness. Please forgive me for needing verification time after time. “O for grace to trust You more.”



4. “If I believe in Jesus and His attributes, am I living up to my belief?”


I love reciting the Apostles Creed and other statements of faith. And I love proclaiming the promises and mighty acts of God.


The question is, do I truly believe what I claim to believe? Because the only way to demonstrate my faith is to live it.


Is God truly Almighty? Is nothing impossible for God? Is He my Savior and Keeper? Does He hold me in the palm of his hands? Will He meet my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus?


It's one thing to speak these things as true. It's another to navigate my daily life upon these paving stones.


By Your mercy, O Lord, may it be so, more and more.



5. “I have to get to the point in my relationship with God to take everything exactly as it comes from Him.”


This speaks to our confidence in the absolute Sovereignty of God.


Certainly there are evils in our world that affect us every day. We also have an enemy of our soul who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. And I am more than capable of dumb decisions.


At the same time, I have a God Who oversees my life, and He anticipates me to trust Him explicitly with everything that comes my way. Although He may not be the source of everything that affects me, He’s my Rock and stay, no matter what.


My confidence in God’s Sovereignty is borne out through my fully-devoted relationship to Jesus.


Lord Jesus, I confess my life does not always demonstrate my utter confidence in Your Sovereignty. It's why I worry, strive and wear myself out trying to manipulate and navigate. Thank You for my growing relationship with You. May I grow in my confidence of Your Sovereignty and receive everything that comes my way in fellowship with You.





1. “Never measure our spiritual capacity on the basis of our education or intellect.”


We're likely to think of our spiritual capabilities much like we think of our natural capabilities, which can be measured by an aptitude test. We're also likely to equate our natural giftedness with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.


Neither is accurate. Certainly, any capacity we have for thinking, breathing, moving, creating, etc., is a gift from God. But “spiritual gifts” are manifestation of God's Spirit living in us as believers.


Therefore, “it’s possible for us to misjudge our capacities.” That’s because our natural capacities have nothing to do with spiritual capacities. “Our capacity in spiritual things is measured on the basis of the promises of God.”


Which means, as we seek God, and as the Holy Spirit has His way in us, we’re unlimited in our spiritual capacities.


And recognizing this truth makes all the difference when God nudges us.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit in us, and the unlimited capacities He brings. May we learn to judge ourself based on Your infinite rather than our finite.



2. “If we get less than God wants us to have, we will falsely accuse God.”


We're likely unaware of our accusations and indictments of God. Lord, have mercy.


“All the promises of God in Christ are yes and amen.” The more and more we recognize the power of the cross and Holy Spirit, the less we’ll blame God and recognize our shortcomings.


Our failures are never God's fault.


“When it's a question of God's Almighty Spirit, never say, I can't.” God says we can because His Spirit dwells in us in Christ. Our weakness is our failure to interface with God's Spirit and His infinite capacities.


God forgive us when we lay blame at His feet.


Holy Father, not only do we take You for granted, but we unwittingly blame You for so many things. Please have mercy. Thank You for giving us all things in Christ. Please help us give ourselves to receiving all You have for us. May our lives be demonstrations of our gratitude.



3. “If we have received the Holy Spirit, God expects the work of the Holy Spirit to be exhibited in us.”


If we trust Christ, we’ve received God's Spirit As such, the Spirit is eager to manifest Himself in our daily lives.


This certainly includes the Fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These qualities are the supernatural effervescence of Christ's Spirit living in us.


But the Holy Spirit is also to be exhibited in our obedience, courage, boldness, tenacity, endurance and more. The Spirit of God in us means we’re capable of sensing God's nudges and responding to His leadership in the power of His Spirit.


The work of God's Kingdom is accomplished by God's Spirit working through God's people. Thank God for the latent and humane qualities of humankind. But thank God even more for the exhibition of the Holy Spirit Through Christ's followers.


Lord Jesus, thank You for the incredible demonstrations of our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the ages. May we be among them in our day-to-day, as we serve Your purposes. All praise, honor and glory is Yours. Amen!


4. “Have we been falsely accusing God by daring to worry?”


Oswald offers quite the challenge.


Who are we to worry when “all the promises of God in Christ are yes and amen”? It's as if we think God will leave us hanging high and dry.


Jesus never worried because He was confident of God's care and provision, every moment of every day. God extends that privilege to us as we are adopted as His children through faith in Christ.


Do we consider worry to be accusatory towards God? Perhaps that's not our intention, but think about how God has proven Himself faithful time and again. Surely we’re hurt when those we love distrust us.


“O for grace to trust You more.”


Heavenly Father, please forgive us for inadvertently accusing You when we’re tempted to worry. You haven't failed us yet. Please help us trust You won't fail us today. Thank You for caring and providing for us just as You did for Your Son.



5. “The person who is lazy is always full of anxious self-pity, always saying, ‘I haven’t been given a decent chance.’”


Goodness. Oswald gives us quite the insight here. This doesn't simply apply to our relationship with God, but regards how others might experience us.


Do I exhibit self-pity? Am I envious of others for their opportunities? Do I excuse myself because others seem to have a leg-up over me?


We all know the smell of self-pity in others. It's noxious. I wonder what people smell in us? God, have mercy.


Heavenly Father, please forgive us for slothfulness. And please forgive us when we blame you instead of taking responsibility. Thank you for the tremendous opportunities you've given us. By Your Spirit, please help us take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and do what we no to do. And offer Your glory.




1. “Be alert about the things that may appear to be the least likely to tempt you.”


We do well to recognize that better people than us have fallen at lesser things. To maintain a keen sense of our vulnerability to temptation and sin is a critical awareness.


No matter my station in life, I will never outgrow my vulnerabilities. Temptation and sin may change form, but this truth always remains:  I’m always just one step away from doing something very stupid.


I watch people struggle with matters I don’t presently struggle with. If I’m not facing these temptations presently, it's easy to presume I never will.


But, when I truly get to know myself, I recognize I can never say never. “Where one person has turned backs is exactly where anyone may be tempted to turn back.”


Lord Jesus, please have mercy. I’m not above any temptation or sin. I’m as vulnerable as the next person. Please help me remain vigilant and alert, with my eyes on You and my back towards my lusts. I'm no match for them, but thankfully, they’re no match for You. Hallelujah!



2. “Beware of thinking you are least likely to stumble in the areas of previous victories.”


I've had moments of great victory over great temptation. They had me by the throat, but God prevailed and delivered me. Hallelujah!


I'm foolish to think that particular temptation no longer hold sway over me.


In fact, I may be more vulnerable there than ever. For instance, I incurred a significant twisted ankle playing volleyball years ago. I recovered from that injury, but that ankle remains more prone to injury than my other.


I must not assume yesterday's victory makes me impervious to today's temptation. I only survived yesterday by God's grace, and I will only survive today by the same.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the great victories You have wrought in my life. May I never assume Your deliverance without also hiding myself in the shadow of Your wings.



3. “Don't try to predict where temptation will come; the real danger is likely to be the least likely thing.”


If I am attempting to predict the next temptation, my eyes are on the temptation instead of on Jesus. That leaves me completely vulnerable to other temptations.


It is amazing how, while God graces me to overcome a significant temptation, I can immediately fall to a smaller and lesser temptation.


Sometimes it's because I get cocky. If God can deliver me from that one, He can surely deliver me from anything.


I must recognize both God's deliverance and my great vulnerability. I must sustain Christ as my rear guard as well as my front-facing Shield.


Lord Jesus, please help me live in a constant state of dependence upon You and Your power over temptation. I have no idea where the next temptation will come from, but I know where my help comes from. Therefore I will seek to continually dwell in Your powerful presence.



4. “It's in the aftermath of a great spiritual event that the least likely things begin to have an effect.”


I love an impactful mission trip, spiritual retreat or other mountaintop experience with God. However, what I've learned is, the devil is on the prowl, eager to trip us up afterwards. “Beware of the undercurrent.”


As I lead such events, I intentionally coach participants in what I affectionately refer to as “reentry.” As we descend the mountain and reenter real life, we’ll discover nothing has changed below—including our daily challenges, hardships and temptations.


It's utterly amazing how quickly we can have our legs kicked out from under us after significant encounters with God. We’re foolish to believe we're no longer vulnerable, even after the most intense God-moments.


Lord, have mercy.


Indeed, Lord Jesus, have mercy on our souls. We relish the periodic “great spiritual events” You gift us with along the way. May we be fully aware of our vulnerabilities afterwards. Please help us recognize You're not finished with us yet.



5. “Bible characters stumbled over their strong points, never their weak ones.”


This is powerful. Our greatest strengths can become our greatest liabilities.


Surely it's because we falsely believe our strength is sufficient regarding our strong suits. We take for granted our best capabilities, while avoiding or attempting to address our weaknesses.


“Unguarded strength is actually a double weakness.” If we’re guarding our liabilities, we leave our strengths unguarded. In this way, our strengths ironically become our vulnerabilities.


And just imagine the mess we can make with our greatest strengths.


Father, thank You for our areas of giftedness. We offer them to You for Your purposes. Please help us steward them well, never taking them for granted, and always aware of their great liabilities.





1. “When God speaks, many of us are like people in a fog and give no answer.”


“In a fog” is a great metaphor when we discuss God’s “voice.”


For instance, we might be “foggy” on the issue of whether or not God speaks to His people. God certainly does throughout the Scriptures, but does He speak today? Jesus claims He does, and does so by His Holy Spirit which He has given us: “My sheep know My voice and they follow Me” (John 10:27).


We might also be “foggy” on how to recognize God’s voice. How do we know it's God and not our own thoughts or even the devil? Perhaps it’s helpful to consider how we’re able to recognize the voice of a loved one, even in a crowd of other voices. And we hear their voice even more distinctly when we eliminate distractions.


But it seems the “fog” Oswald is speaking of is our willingness to respond when God does speak. Have we determined to hear? Have we set aside our will to make way for His? Are we anticipating His still, small voice? Are we delighted to hear and obey?


We will most likely always fight the “fog” in this matter, but the fog begins to clear as we settle our hearts on the matters above. Once we do, we may discover God speaks to us more often than we imagined.


Father, there’s no greater joy then hearing from our God. Thank You for Your nearness and fellowship. Thank You for Your comforting words. Thank You for impressing upon our hearts Your love, encouragement and leadership. May You find us eager to listen and respond.



2. “Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are.”


I hear, “right relationship,” as prioritizing our relationship with God above all things. We're seeking God because we aim to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We’re eagerly participating in God's ongoing work of sanctification—refining us, shaping us and conforming us to the image of Christ. We’re realizing God has purpose for us every moment of every day, and we're determined to follow His leadership to that end.


I hear, “knowledge of where we are,” as self-awareness and self-understanding. For instance, I’m a human being, created to bear the image of God everywhere I go. I’m a sinful soul in need of Christ's forgiveness, and I’ll be eternally in His debt for His grace and mercy. And I’m “God's workmanship, created for good works which God has prepared for me” (Ephesians 2:10).


With these foundation stones in place, I’m “ready” to hear and respond as God may call. His call is not a strange thing, nor is it an imposition. Instead, it’s the desire of my heart, and, by His grace, I've decided ahead of time to say “yes.


Heavenly Father, I want to be “ready.” Please help me desire right relationship with You above all things, and please give me greater understanding of who I am in Your eyes. I want to be Your man, O God.



3. “We wait with the idea that some great opportunity or something sensation will be coming our way.”


We may imagine God isn’t concerned with the petty and mundane, but only with the great matters of our life and our world. Unfortunately, if that is our posture, “we won’t be ready for some obscure duty.”


Perhaps we only view God as infinite in magnitude. As such, the trivial is surely beneath Him. However, God's enormity also means He is forever and always present, even in the smallest details.


Or perhaps we're not interested in God's leadership in the day-to-day. If God would call us to some great work, we would give it consideration. Surely we’re quite capable of handling everyday matters.


But God almost seems more interested in the micro than the macro. Perhaps it's because the macro is made-up of scores of micros. But perhaps it's because, “You’ve been faithful in the small things; I’ll entrust you with greater things” (Matthew 25:23).


Either way, in the eyes of God, nothing is insignificant.


Heavenly Father, we offer ourselves to You for big and small, things that seem important and unimportant, and things seen by others and unseen. We're simply overjoyed to be included in the work of Your Kingdom.



4. “Jesus expects to do with us just as the Father did with Him.”


We often see Jesus’ life as an example of how we, too, should live. Jesus is certainly our standard and example for walking with God.


But Jesus also exhibited great fidelity, deference and obedience to His Father. “The Son can say or do nothing except what He sees His Father say or do” (from John 5:19). And Jesus anticipates us to do the same.


That's why Oswald can assert, “Jesus can put us wherever He wants because our union with Him is the same as His union with the Father.”


We might imagine this kind of relationship is far beyond our reach. But it certainly aligns with Jesus prayer: “Father, may they be one just as You and I are one.”


Jesus is a Son to His Father, and by Christ’s cross and Resurrection, we can be adopted as God’s sons and daughters. As such, it’s God's gift and intention that we experience the same relationship with Him as Jesus did.




Heavenly Father, how can this be so? Yet it is through Jesus Christ our Lord. Hallelujah! Lord Jesus, we give ourselves to You as You gave Yourself to the Father. Thank You for so great a privilege as to walk with You. Have Your way with us today.



5. “Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God.”


The funny thing is, even when we feel we are “ready,” God's visits are always very pleasant surprises.


That is, we rarely anticipate when or how God will approach us. Even with years and years of experience in walking with Jesus, His ways remain mysterious and defy description.


But isn't that the joy of the God walk? Thank God for a God who is infinitely beyond our comprehension.


Thank You for Your glorious ways, O God. It's the joy of our life to walk in intimate and loving relationship with You. May we do so more and more.






1. Have you had a crisis in which you have deliberately, earnestly and recklessly abandoned everything?”


We’ve all witnessed this happening in another soul in very negative ways. That is, because of a great loss, rejection, wounding, etc., some have completely withdrawn, isolate themselves and become emotionally paralyzed.


That's not what Oswald is speaking of when he speaks of “abandoning.”


He’s referring to life situations which are so far beyond our control and ability, that we find ourselves on our face before God, laying everything at His feet.


It's coming to the place where we recognize God is our only hope.


I wouldn’t wish such crises upon anyone, yet I know from experience what such moments bring about in our lives. It's a very healthy thing to recognize how infinitesimally small we are in the bigger picture, and how magnificently enormous our God truly is.


And sometimes only a crisis can bring this revelation about.


Father, thank You for personal crises in our lives which convince us of our finitude, and cause us to cry out to our infinite God. Having “deliberately, earnestly and recklessly abandon everything,” may we leave those things at Your feet and walk in the amazing, unfettered freedom of the children of God.



2. “The giving up of only external things may actually be an indication of your being in total bondage.”


This is very insightful.


There are those who imagine that stripping themselves from all externals will free them on the inside. This is certainly true if we feel we’re absolving ourselves by self-denial.


“Giving up external things” can also be driven by our cravings and habits. There are those who sacrifice family, friends, jobs and security, in order to feed all-consuming addictions.


“True surrender is reached internally.” This is the “transaction of a will” Oswald is speaking of. We’re dethroning ourselves, our preferences, druthers, decision making, etc., in favor of God's leadership in our lives.


Unfortunately, we know from experience, internal surrender is far more challenging than external.


At the same time, internal surrender is much more freeing. It's because we're giving ourselves to the One Who holds all things in His hands. We're abandoning ourselves to the God Who made us and knows us better than we know ourselves. We’re His beloved, and only our God knows what will truly satisfy our soul.


Lord Jesus, into Your hands we command our heart, mind and will. We gladly surrender to Your Lordship and leadership. We trust You and believe Your ways are best. Thank You for the freedom we experience when we commit ourselves to You.



3. “Any positive emotion that results from committing ourselves to Jesus is simply a superficial blessing.”


Oswald is challenging us not to be subservient to our emotions. “If you focus your attention on the emotion, you will never make the transaction.”


That is, our emotions cannot guide us in our God-walk. There are certainly times of peace and joy as we are obedient to Jesus, but they cannot be our guiding principle. Emotions are fickle, and come and go like the wind.


Our guiding principle is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We commit ourselves to responding to His leadership, regardless how we feel.


Love is on the same order. We don't rely on our emotions when we love others. We love as an act of our will. There may well be accompanying emotions, but they do not determine when and how we will love another.


Thank God for His blessings, but the greatest blessing is simply being His child. It's our relationship with our Heavenly Father that sets everything else right in our lives.


Lord Jesus, we commit ourselves to You. We believe You are Truth and Light. Thank You for the gift of life founded and grounded on the Rock.



4. “Let everything else go, and concentrate on maintaining your intimate relationship with Jesus.”


Herein lies the crux of the matter:  All of life’s incidentals become aligned as we set our sights on the face of Jesus.


What does this look like in real life? We're developing the ability to visualize ourselves, others and the world around us, through the lens of the Kingdom of God. We’re becoming more aware that every breath we take is breathed in the very presence of God.


When we begin to visualize God is the Pinion of all things, great and small, then every matter becomes a God-matter. Every decision becomes a God-decision. Every act effects time and eternity. And we’re determined to make every moment count.


There’s no greater relationship that our relationship with Jesus. And there’s no greater life-pursuit than sustaining and deepening that relationship. Afterall, it’s the only thing that will last forever.


Lord Jesus, in great gratitude, with great conviction, and with great love and joy, we commit ourselves to You. By Your grace, we choose to devote our greatest concentrations towards You.





1. “We all have moments when we feel better than ever, and feel fit for anything.”


Along the way with Jesus, we've all had these moments. So did the disciples: after Jesus performed wonders, after significant gatherings with people, the Mount of Transfiguration, the Triumphal Entry, etc.


“We were not meant to always feel this way.” These are special and blessed experiences. They are moments of revelation and renewal. They are periodic way-points as we walk with Jesus.


“These are moments of insight which we live up to even when we don't feel like it.” The motivation to hunker down and do the hard work of reaching a goal is a vision of the goal itself. That's what mountain top moments are all about.


One day, “our faith will become sight.” But until that day we’re nudged along by periodic experiences of “the glory to be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). May we be compelled by those special moments.


Father, thank You for the invaluable mountain top moments along the way. Thank You for transforming our hearts in those moments, and giving us a taste of our greater reality. May the memories of those precious moments fuel us as we press on day-by-day.



2. “Many of us are no good for the everyday world when we are not on the mountaintop.”


This is a statement of the fickle nature of human beings.


When life is good—when we love our job, when our marriage is hitting on all cylinders, when we have cash in our pocket, when we’re looking forward to an exciting life-adventure in the near future, etc.—in these moments we’re happy, energetic and pleasant to be around.


But our whimsical moments can come crashing down when we least expect them. Things can go south quickly—our plans are disrupted, the demands of others stack up, the onset of aches and pains, etc. Suddenly we are irritated, impatient and annoying.


A great challenge in our God-walk is to be consistent throughout our ups and downs, mountain tops and valley lows, euphoria and heartbreak, etc. This consistency is not within our fickle human nature. However, it’s indeed the nature of Christ-in-us by His Holy Spirit, which permits us to demonstrate the even-keel of Christ, come what may, if only we will.


Christ’s reputation is on the line in the daily lives of His followers.  May His consistent temperament be a constant and high priority for us today.


Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unchanging, steady-state, character, mood and affect. Thank You that “you do not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). Please help us be more like you.



3. “Never allow a feeling that is awakened in you on the mountain top to evaporate.”


In those mountain-top moments, God has given us a vision and taste of what can be. He doesn’t impute a state of peace and pleasantness upon us. He's letting us experience the well-being that can be ours as we abide in Christ.


Mountaintop experiences don’t transport us out of chaos into a carefree existence. Instead, in those mountaintop experiences, we experienced Christ Himself.


The joy and freedom of those moments are the result of fellowship with Jesus. Which means, by the Holy Spirit Christ has given us, those moments of fellowship can be daily and ongoing.


I must develop the wherewithal to walk in constant fellowship with Jesus if I am to sustain His grace and peace. It's not the product of anything external to me, but living in perpetual union with Christ in me.


Lord Jesus, thank You for the tastes of what can be as we walk hand-in-hand with You. May we “act immediately” as you offer us Your fellowship today.



4. “Pick yourself up by the back of the neck and shake off your fleshly laziness.”


Oswald says our “laziness can always be seen in our cravings for mountaintop experience.” Surely this explains why we consistently speak of our God-experiences back in the day instead of our God-experiences in the moment.


We can’t go back, but only forward. Those moments merely point to what can be today and tomorrow.


But it doesn't happen by accident, nor is it a once-and-done. I must “pick myself up by the back of the neck” and do what I must do in order to sustain my God-walk today.


Slothfulness is a killer. I don't want to be in a state of running on fumes and memories. I want the fresh inspiration a fresh manna today and every day. Please, O Lord.


Lord Jesus, please forgive me for my laziness. I recognize You won’t force Yourself upon me. I must “shake off my flash” and do what I know to do. Thank You for the atomic fortitude of the Holy Spirit within me to do just that. Holy Spirit, I call upon you now...



5. “Stand committed to God by an act of your own will.”


I see this as an ongoing, self-perpetuating act.


We recognize the feeble strength of our own will. If willpower alone was enough, we wouldn't need the Holy Spirit.


Yet it’s an act of our will that engages the strength of God Spirit in us. We choose to make the connection, pull the lever, and act in accordance with the Holy Spirit.


Doing so is our act of defiance against our ego and self-sufficiency, and our procrastination and laziness. We are choosing to step up to Christ’s willingness to live through us as we give Him permission and opportunity.


This is the synergy between our will and God's.


Holy Spirit, as an act of our will, we call upon Your strength and leadership today. By Your grace, may we walk in Your strength, experience Your fellowship, and produce the Fruit of the Spirit. We determine to do so here and now. Thank You.






1. “King Asa was obedient in what he considered the most important areas, but he was not entirely right with God.”


Apparently I am not the judge of the things that matter to God, or of the matters that might separate me from God.


It's certainly easy to make such judgment calls, “Oh, that thing in my life doesn't matter much.” And perhaps it doesn't. But my judgment is faulty.


If we want to be right with God, we will we'll need to let God make the judgment calls.


“Nothing should be considered a trivial matter by a child of God.” We may well conclude God is not nudging or prompting because the matter that seems irrelevant. But perhaps it leads to something more relevant than we can possibly imagine.


It would be a shame to miss all God has for us, or wishes to do in or through us, because we are dismissing a small matter.


Holy Father, as we seek to offer You the key to our heart, please help us do so completely. Please continue to urge us, even in the small matters. We don't want to compromise Your plans and purposes for our life. Please continue to have at us.



2. “God keeps trying to teach us, and He never loses patience.”


Thank God for our long-suffering God. He never, ever gives up on us. Praise Him.


“How much longer are we going to prevent God from teaching us something?” Surely there's something God’s showing us, revealing to us, teaching us, even now. He's been at it for some time, patiently knocking, wooing, drawing, orchestrating circumstances, etc, to get to us to the point of recognizing, repenting, receiving, etc., in an area of our life in which we remain incomplete.


He's quietly waiting for our willing participation.


And, ironically, what He's working towards will only benefit our soul. Why in the world would we not cooperate?


Father, thank You for Your infinite patience. Please don't stop. Please get through our thick head, independence, disobedience, pride, etc., in order for You to have more of our heart. Thank You that Your will for us is nothing but good, always.



3. “Is there something in your life God causes you to doubt?”


Oswald makes a very particular and important point here.


I must be very careful not to scrutinize myself. If I do, I may become overly critical. The Pharisees did that. They were sure that more regulations meant more righteousness.


“Why do you test God by putting on their necks a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?” (Acts 15:10).


Instead, we must permit God alone scrutinize our souls: “Whenever God causes a doubt about something, stop it immediately.”


This is the role of the Holy Spirit—opening our eyes, convicting us, calling us to repentance, etc. These judgment calls are above our pay grade and will only burden us. But when God makes the judgment call, He also provides the grace to obey by His Holy Spirit.


There’s no greater freedom then trusting God with the details of our obedience.  “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God” (1 John 3:21).


Heavenly Father, we give You permission to scrutinize our souls. We will trust You to cause us to doubt when something is out of line. In the meantime, we will “walk in the liberty, freedom and glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). Thank You.



4. “Are there things in your physical or intellectual life to which you are not paying attention?”


This is certainly convicting.


We all have a physical life. We do and don't do things with our bodies that can be wise, foolish, helpful, hurtful, healthy, sinful, productive, slothful, etc. We know good and well when we're being obedient and balanced, and when we’re being disobedient and negligent.


Father, please help us do what we know to do, and not to do what we know not to do.


We must also pay attention to our intellectual life. This is an area in which we can become quite haughty. We pride ourselves in our opinions, understanding, reasoning, education and more. One of the greatest impediments to faith is intellect. We are not keen to give ourselves in obedience if what God asks doesn't make sense to us.


Father, thank You for our minds. Like our bodies, we submit our wits to you as well. May both our physical and intellectual lives be subject to the Living God, even when we don't want to and when we don't understand.



5. “You no more need a day off from spiritual concentration then your heart needs a day off from beating.”


This Oswald-ism that has remained in my mind for years and years.


“You cannot take a day off morally and remain moral, neither can you take a day off spiritually and remain spiritual.” We certainly are what we eat and do. I am morally and spiritually the product of what I give myself to.


“God wants you to be entirely His, and it requires paying to close attention to keep yourself fit.” Indeed, the motivation for any pursuit must come from a vision for the outcome. Is it the desire of my heart to belong entirely to Jesus? Then I will have to give myself to that end.


“It takes a tremendous amount of time to remain spiritually fit.” It's amazing how much time we will give to things we enjoy and benefit from. May our love for Jesus draw us to Jesus more and more and more.


Father, please help us give ourselves to being at the top of our game in regards to our God-walk. May we be insistent that nothing else crowd out our times of fellowship with You. May we be more eager about our spiritual fitness than any other pursuit in our life.





1. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.”


Oswald says, we find our most meaningful fellowship with God as we bear the burdens God places upon us. It's under that yoke we find ourselves side-to-side with Jesus.


The burden isn’t ours alone. We’re sharing in the burden of Christ. He bears the burdens of this world, including our fragility, sin nature, self-centeredness and more.


It's under that yoke, and yoked with Jesus, that we find Jesus alongside. There He fellowships with us and changes our hearts: “Whom the Lord loves He chastens.”


How powerful to consider the burdens we feel from this perspective. Oswald challenges us: “Are you identifying with Jesus in your burdens? If so, you will thank God when you feel the pressure.”


Lord Jesus, what a phenomenal way to consider our hardships. Thank You for Your nearness as we take upon ourselves Your prescribed yoke. Thank You for altering the dynamic of our burdens, and transforming them into a time of fellowship and personal growth with You. May we be found faithful as we bear those burdens today.



2. “Where do Saints get their joy?”


Oftentimes we experience maturing saints, and from their affect and outward appearance, “we might think they have no burdens at all to bear.”


Oswald challenges us in that regard: “The fact they have the peace, light and joy of God is proof they bear a burden as well.” It's in this place they discover and demonstrate, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.”


Indeed, it's by enduring the burdens, stresses, strains and hardships, that we learn to fellowship with Jesus and receive His grace and mercy.


Perhaps we think there surely must be another way. Apparently there is not. We mustn't think God is cruel or unkind. We must trust our God knows human nature better than anyone else, and therefore knows how to help us receive His joy and peace.


And it comes through bearing our burdens with Jesus.


Father, we want to be saints who demonstrate You joy and peace. If it's only through our burdens we must learn to draw from You, then so be it. Thank You we’re not alone as we do. Thank You you're nearer than ever in those moments.



3. “The burden God places on us squeezes the grapes in our lives and produces wine.”


Indeed, no one on the outside knows the burdens we carry on the inside. What they experience is our words, deeds and affect as we bear our burdens.


Do they the wine of God, or do they only hear us whining? “If your life is producing only a whine instead of God’s wine, then ruthlessly kick it out.” None of us like a whiner. Lord have mercy if that whiner is us.


Heavenly Father, please forgive us for purposely letting everyone know how burdened we are. Please forgive us for looking for their sympathy as we lick our wounds. And please forgive us for blaming You in our struggles. By Your grace, may we survive the squeeze and produce only the beautiful wine of Christ in us.



4. “No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of God living within the human spirit.”


This is a glorious statement. It declares the strength and power on tap as we draw from the Holy Spirit living in us.


The Spirit of God within us “creates an inner invincibility.” That's why we can confidently make this statement: “We are more than conquerors through Christ Who loves us” (Romans 8:31).


It's because it’s not us, but Christ in us that empowers, sustains and keeps us moment-by-moment, and day-by-day. And it’s through our daily circumstances and the press of our life that God helps us learn and lean into the strength of His Spirit in us.


“It's definitely a crime for a Christian to be weak in God's strength.” What a convicting statement. How can I be weak, mopey and complaining if the Spirit that made the worlds lives in me?


Holy God, please forgive me for acting at times as if You've forsaken me. Please forgive me for entertaining thoughts that You aren’t just and fair. Thank You for Your strong Spirit living within me through faith in Christ. May the strength of your Spirit grip me and gird me up for victorious living today and every day.




1. “We must recognize the difference between burdens that are right for us to bear and burdens that are wrong.”


This is helpful, because not all burdens are the same.


Rightly, there are burdens God places on our soul—like our care and concern for a neighbor or a loved one. We see their struggle and long for them to find freedom in Christ. God has burdened us for their sake, and we become intercessors and witnesses of the goodness of God.


Wrongly, we can carry burdens of sin, shame, doubt, fear, unforgiveness and more. These are unbearably heavy and crush our soul and spirit. Some of us have carried these burdens so long they’ve become part of us, and we’re no longer aware of the continual weariness they cause.


The cross of Jesus Christ is the dumping ground for inappropriate burdens. We unload them at the foot of the cross that they might become soaked in the blood of Jesus. By the grace and strength of His Holy Spirit, our God can bear them away once and for all.


This is what happens when we finally release a long-standing secret sin to Jesus, and discover His strength to become free. Or when Jesus helps us recognize, dislodge and grant forgiveness for a long held grudge. Or when Jesus is able to finally convince us our sin has been forgiven and cast into the sea of forgetfulness (Micah 7:19).


Thank God for a burden-bearing God. May we permit Him to bear away our caustic burdens today.


Lord Jesus, thank You for rescuing us from burdens we cannot bear. By Your strong Spirit, please reveal such burdens to us today, and give us grace to cast them upon You. Thank You for the completeness of Your forgiveness, healing and heart change.



2. “There are some burdens placed on us by God which He does not tend to lift.”


Has God burdened us with care and concern for another soul? Or perhaps for another nation or people group? Or perhaps with a present social dilemma?


Such a burden can become all-consuming. Every minute and every circumstance can be a reminder. It's all we can think about when we see the suffering, read a headline and kneel to pray.


Unlike unhealthy burdens, like fear, doubt and unforgiveness, God will not bear away burdens He has placed upon us. He placed it on there so we might be a co-laborer with Christ.


Key to bearing this burden is to include God in the process. God burdens our soul we might participate in His work. If we attempt to bear the burden alone, solve the problem ourselvces, tend to the need in our own strength, etc., we will find ourselves over-burdened and consumed.


Therefore, we “cast our burden upon the Lord,” as a means of participating with God in addressing the need. We co-labor with Jesus in intercession, with sacrifice, by the work of our hands and heart, etc.


But we recognize that, ultimately, the burden is beyond our capabilities. We must permit God do the heavy lifting as we attend to the burden alongside Him.


Such is the life of a Christ-follower yoked with Jesus.


Lord Jesus, thank You for burdening our soul in this way. May we faithfully attend to You, doing what we know to do, while trusting you to do what only You can do. Please help us faithfully and correctly bear the burden You’ve placed on our shoulders. It's an honor to share in Your burden.



3. “If we get out of touch with God, the sense of responsibility we feel will be overwhelming and defeating.”


It's amazing to read of saints who’ve served God's people in deplorable conditions, yet were able to maintain their vitality in Christ.


For instance, Mother Teresa served among the poor in Calcutta. She watched the suffering, witnessed the human atrocities, yet faithfully fulfilled God's calling upon her life.


Only in her constant pursuit of and connection with Jesus was she able to bear up. Christ bore her up as she bore the burdens of the people God loves.


Surely she had to learn she could not do it herself. Failure after failure, frustration after frustration, and with every tear she cried, she learned to lean into Jesus with the burden He had placed on her soul.


What burden has Christ laid on us? Are we permitting Him to bear the burden alongside us? Otherwise, “the sense of responsibility will be overwhelming and defeating.”


Lord Jesus, please forgive us when we become so concerned about doing that we get out of touch with You. The endless needs and the agonizing heartbreak is more than we can possibly bear alone. Therefore, today, right now, in this moment, we draw close to You, that You might help us carry our cross. Thank You.



4. “You will see that your burden is lightened by the sense of companionship with Jesus.”


It is so helpful to have a friend come alongside, recognize our burden, and tend to our soul by listening and praying.


How much more does Jesus’ companionship do the same? He’s “closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Simply the presence of Jesus lightens the load.


Lord Jesus, thank You for Your nearness when we call. Just knowing You're there, knowing You know, makes all the difference. We draw near to You today with the burden on our soul simply to gain Your ear and sense Your companionship. Please help us faithfully bear our burdens as we walk with You.





1. “Eternal life is not a gift FROM God; Eternal life is the gift OF God Himself.”


I love this language. Eternal life is “Christ in me, the Hope of Glory” (Colossians 1:27). God doesn’t simply bestow His life upon me, but enters me and lives His Life in me.


“The life I live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God in me” (Galatians 2:20).


What could be a greater gift from God than God Himself? And what could be a greater Life-Energy than the Spirit of Life living in us?


Thank God “for the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 6:23).


Father, Thank You for Your very Personal Gift of dwelling in us in Christ. Thank You for the eternal quality of life You live through us. In praise and gratitude, we welcome You, and we wholeheartedly give ourselves to You in return.



2. “Eternal life is the life which Jesus Christ exhibited on earth, and it's the same life which is made evident in us when we are born again.”


Thank God for the gift of Jesus Christ, and His atoning death and Resurrection. We believe we’re forgiven and adopted as children of God as we trust in Christ’s work on our behalf.


But thank God also for Christ’s demonstration of what life on earth can look like when we are fully given to God and His Holy Spirit living in us!


Just to think, the life exhibited by the Son of God on earth can be ours today in Christ! Hallelujah!


Heavenly Father, may it be so! Holy Spirit, we give You full access to our lives that we might live like Jesus lived. Thank You that the greatest and most profound ever lived can be ours in Christ. Father, we want nothing less. Have Your way in us today. Make Your abode in us. Live through us. Thank You for eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord!



3.  “God's power is not a gift from the Holy Spirit; God's power is the Holy Spirit in us.”


This is rubber-meets-the-road stuff. We believe God created all that is by the power of His Holy Spirit. And we believe God raised Jesus from the dead by the power of His Holy Spirit.


And, just to think, the Holy Spirit and His power dwells in us!


What might our lives look like if the Holy Spirit were to truly have His way in us, just as He did in Jesus? “The energy and power which was evident in Jesus is also in us by an act of God's sovereign grace.”


May it be so, O Lord!


Heavenly Father, it's one thing to talk about this stuff. It's another for it to manifest itself in us. Thank You for the Gift of Your Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, thank You that the power that made the worlds dwells in us by faith in Christ. Holy Spirit, have Your way in our lives today. Please help us offer You full reign. Please do in and through us what You've always imagined.



4. “If it's difficult to get right with God, it's because we refuse to make a moral decision about our sin.”


There's a great “if” in all of this talk of the Holy Spirit. “IF we've made the complete and effective decision about sin.” “IF we make the decision to be identified with Christ.” Etc.


God’s holiness, power, victory and eternal life is a work of God's Spirit in us. But the “IF” is our part of the bargain. I must reckon with the reality of my sinful nature, and fully embrace the cross of Jesus Christ as God's provision for my forgiveness and adoption as a child of God.


If there's anything between me and God, it's on me, not on God. As soon as I own my sin, confess my powerlessness over it, lay my sinful self-nature before the cross of Jesus Christ, and receive absolute and complete cleansing by the blood of Jesus, there will always be distance between me and God.


But, in an instant, and as an act of my will, I can be done “permitting sin to reign in my mortal body” (Romans 6:12). I can dethrone my sinful nature and enthrone the Son of God in my heart.


And this we will do by the grace of God.


Heavenly Father, we're sick of compromise. We so quickly make excuses for our sin, and we’re so sure we can deal with it in our own strength. Here and now we reckon with our sinful nature. We place it upon Christ on His cross, and fully embrace His resurrected life in us. By Your grace, please clear any obstructions between You and us. We decide today for You rather than for our sin, and we receive “Your endless supply of life” in Christ our Lord. Thank You, amen.



5. “Even the weakest saint can experience the power of God when we’re willing to ‘let go.’”


I remember my first experience of rappelling down a cliff face, hanging by a rope. In order to rappel well, one must lean back into the harness and back down the cliff in a horizontal position. It requires defeating our instinct to be upright and cling to the rope.


This has always served as an analogy for me in my God-walk. I must be willing to “let go” of the rope, trust Jesus, and permit Him to have me completely.


It certainly requires counterintuitive effort to do so. But it certainly yields great joy and peace.


Lord Jesus, thank You for Your patience as I learn to let go and let You. Thank You that, as I do, “the great, full life of God invades and penetrates every part” of me. Thank You for Your grace as I learn to offer You “complete dominion” over me. Have Your way today, O Lord.





1. “Co resurrection.”


I love this language.


“If we have been united with Christ in His death, we are also united with Him in His Resurrection.”


It's apparent we've been reading through the section of My Utmost for His Highest intended to be reflections on the Lenten Season, the suffering, death and Resurrection of Christ.


The Scriptures declare again and again that we join Jesus in His death by dying to ourselves, and join Jesus in His Resurrection by being born again to new life.


One might view this language as metaphorical. Oswald is helping us see that it's much more than that. In Christ, and in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, we truly do “put to death” our old nature and “come alive” to our new nature by faith and trust in Jesus Christ.


This is the heart and soul of Christian conversion. It's not simply a change of mind, habits and worldview, but a transaction with God that results in a brand new creation. It’s literal, not figurative.


And the gist of the God-walk is recognizing the new and walking in it, as we deny and deprive the old.


Lord Jesus, may it be so in us. Instead of striving to be godly, may spiritual death and resurrection truly be an occurrence and practice in our life. Thank You for the power of the cross and the empty grave. Hallelujah!



2. “The proof that I have experienced crucifixion with Jesus is that I have a definite likeness to Him.”


Indeed. May it be said of us, “You're not who you used to be!”


But it's not us knuckling down, defeating bad habits, and becoming more optimistic, kind, generous, etc. It's truly the Resurrected life of Christ happening in us.


The Fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23) isn’t human in origin or effort. It's the effervescence of the Holy Spirit making us new creations in Christ.


We’re not simply imitating Christ. We’re learning to permit Christ to live through us and overwhelmed our old nature. And, in time, it becomes as natural to us as the old nature used to be.


Lord Jesus, we desire this more than ever. More of You, less of us. “He must increase, we must decrease” (John 3:30). May it be so in us today.



3. “The experiences of my life must now be built on the foundation of His life.”


If Christ lives in me, I must learn to bear in mind, whatever happens to me, happens to Him.


That means, as I face hardships, struggles, temptations, sorrow, grief and more, Christ is experiencing these things with me. I'm not alone. His mercy and grace comfort me, strengthen me, and help me endure.


In like manner, as I celebrate goodness, blessings, peace and joy, I'm experiencing these things along with Jesus. Jesus shares in my enjoyment, and I get to laugh with Him, and thank and praise Him along the way.


On the other hand, I can also drag Jesus through the muck when I permit bad attitudes, prejudices, unforgiveness, anger, outbursts, sin and disobedience manifest in my life. How dreadful it is when we sully Jesus’ reputation.


Lord Jesus, thank You that we get to live our life founded in Your life. Thank You for a new Cornerstone, the Rock beneath our feet, and Your constant fellowship moment-by-moment. Thank You for the overwhelming satisfaction of experiencing and sharing with You in the day-to-day. Including right here and right now. Hallelujah!



4. “It takes the Omnipotence of God to live the life of the Son of God in the flesh.”


Was this not true of Jesus of Nazareth? His inward and outward life was that of the Incarnation, the fullness of God in human flesh.


So it is for me. I cannot live into the standards of God in my own strength. It requires “the omnipotence of God” if I am to put to death the old and live the new.


As long as I think I can do it by myself, I won’t lean into the life of Christ in me. Instead, in confessing my weakness and inability, I permit the Resurrected Christ lived through me.


Father, in Your Omnipotence, and by Your Spirit, may the life of Jesus Christ manifest itself in us today. We can’t do it on our own. Therefore, we gladly give way to “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).



5. “The Holy Spirit cannot be accepted as a Guest in merely one room of the house; He invades all of it.”


Denise's Uncle Jim used to say, “We don't invite Jesus in and sit Him on the couch. We permit Him to rearrange the furniture.”


Perhaps it's intimidating to allow the Holy Spirit to invade our soul, to have His way, to call the shots and “conform us to the image of Christ” (Romans 8:29).


What a shame it is when we inhibit the Holy Spirit’s work in our life, when we put limits on Him, when we deny Him access to hidden corridors. When we do so, we’ll never know what we could have been otherwise.


Holy Spirit, come in and have Your way. “Take charge of everything.” By Your grace, may we “walk in the Light and obey all You reveal to us.” May we “find the life of Jesus in us all the time.” Thank you we now “belong to a new spiritual order.” May it be so today.





1. “Have you decided that sin must be completely killed in you?”


This is a moral matter. I must “agree with God’s verdict on the nature of sin in me.” God is not passive on this point. Sin entered God’s perfect creation and has been destructive in human souls and on planet earth ever since.


God's verdict is, sin is serious. It’s evil and cannot be toyed with. I must address it head-on.


That's why this is also a violent matter. “Sin must be completely killed in me.” I cannot treat sin politely. I cannot allow it one inch or it will take a mile. I can’t toy with sin or nibble at it. If I do, it will take the whole kit-and-caboodle.


The only way to deal with sin is to crucify it. That's precisely what Jesus did with the sin of the world. I must reckon with sin and bring it to a bloody death. After all, that's what it's trying to do to me.


Heavenly Father, please help me come to this point. Help me love You more than I love my sin, and please help me hate my sin as much as You do. By Your grace, may sin be crucified in me, that the Resurrected Life of Christ might live through me.



2. “It's the greatest moment in your life once you decide that sin must die in you.”


We give ourselves much way too much credit. We're sure we can navigate and manage sin on our own. We convince ourselves we can “restrain, suppress or counteract sin.” Instead, sin must be crucified. That's precisely the approach God took when He sent His Son to die for the sin of the world.


“Pull yourself up, take some time alone with God, and make this important decision.” I can point to these moments in my life, when I confronted the thing in the presence of God, committed it to death and committed myself to God's way. These were defining moments. And they’ve lasted to this day. Hallelujah!


Lord Jesus, by Your grace, help me keep my sin on the cross, dead and defeated. Thank You that through this process sin no longer has a hold on me. Please help me sustain my sin’s death through proximity with You. I'm loving my freedom more and more. Bless You, O Lord!



3. “Dying to sin was not some divine future expectation on the part of Paul.”


We’re the best at justifying and rationalizing as we fall to temptation and sin. We’re liable to conclude that it’s only one day by-and-by that we’ll no longer need to deal with these matters.


Instead, that day can be today.


It won't come by positive thinking and revving up our willpower. I must “reckon myself dead to sin.” It's a deliberate personal struggle and a bloody death.


“You must radically deal with the issue of your will before God.” My will says I can handle this. My will says one day in heaven I will be free of this. Instead, we must wrestle our will to the ground, agree with God, and will for our sin to be crucified with Christ.


Only then can we enter into “the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).


Lord Jesus, we certainly long for the day when there will be no more sorrow or pain. But thank You that today can be the day of salvation and freedom from “the sin that so easily beset our souls” (Hebrews 12:1). We long for the freedom from sin afforded by Christ’s cross. May it be ours today. Thank You for so great a victory.



4. “Are you prepared to let the Spirit of God search you regarding your sin?”


Let's not become our own worst enemy.  We can do so by nitpicking ourselves to death deciding what sin and righteousness look like.


For instance, the Pharisees “tithed mint and dill” (Matthew 23:23) in their attempt to achieve self-righteousness. That is, they decided that plucking and tithing to God one mint and dill leaf per ten new leaves was a way of gaining right-standing with God.


That's why Christians in previous generations forbid movies, dancing, card games and more. They were deciding for themselves what sin and righteousness were, and heaped upon themselves rules and regulations to that end.


Instead, we must permit the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and reveal our sin. And when He does, He also provides the supernatural ability to crucify and find victory over that sin.


Which means, if God isn’t convicting, we can live in glorious freedom and assurance of right-standing with God. And, when God convicts, we eagerly heed, repent, receive forgiveness, and crucify that sin in our lives.


Holy Spirit, please search our hearts. We want to be right with You. Please reveal our sin that we might confront it and render it crucified, in Jesus’ Name. Thank You for the great freedom of looking to You for our convictions.


5. Is this even possible?


“Have you entered into the glorious privilege of being crucified with Christ, until all that remains in your flesh and blood is his life?”


Wouldn't be glorious to be free from our hurts, habits, hang ups, attitudes, prejudices, liabilities, lusts, unforgiveness, self-centeredness and more? Surely that will be our experience in the Kingdom of God.


But Jesus says, “the Kingdom of God is among us.” That is, by His death and Resurrection, and by the indwelling Holy Spirit, I can know “the glorious privilege” of being crucified and dead to my old nature, and enjoy the vital, vibrant, vigorous and victorious life of Christ within.




Lord Jesus, we infinitely desire Your Life over our own. We have “tasted and seen the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Your Life eclipses anything else this world has to offer. We long for it more and more. Today, right now, and to that end, we give ourselves to You for crucifixion and resurrection. Come, Lord Jesus!





1. “Once you’ve seen Him, you can never be the same.”


A truer statement has never been spoken.


A nanosecond’s glimpse of the face of Jesus is an absolute game-changer. It's so undeniable, so profound, so glorious, it becomes all-consuming.


“Other things will not have the appeal they did before.” What a huge understatement, because nothing else in this world compares to Jesus.


It doesn't mean we can't be distracted. But in those quiet moments with Jesus, everything else loses its luster.


Lord Jesus, thank You for the way You open our eyes as You reveal Yourself to us. I can’t describe what I've seen, but my heart can’t forget. I'm different for having seen You. Thank You, thank You, thank You.



2. “We cannot order or predict when He will come.”


“Seeing Jesus” is always so surprising. And so titillating.


It's not necessarily when I'm seeking Him out, when I'm buried in the Scriptures, I've been fasting for days, etc. He simply appears and vanishes instantaneously, without warning or fanfare.


Nor can we sustain God-sightings. We can only revel in the moment, thanking Him, praising Him and enjoyingHim.


Lord Jesus, thank You for those moments when You reveal Yourself. They are so precious and life-giving. We can't wait for the day when our faith becomes sight. Hallelujah!



3. “No one can see Jesus with their eyes.”


I’ve certainly never seen Jesus with my physical eyes. I would imagine it would be like attempting to view a solar eclipse with the naked eye. It's simply beyond our capability.


But somehow Jesus appears. He rises in our heart, mind, soul and spirit. Something on the inside recognizes His quickening. It's unmistakable, yet indescribable.


It makes me become more and more aware that there is far more to a human being than what we see and touch. We've been created in the image of God, to respond to God in our inward parts.


And, in time, that must become our greater reality.


Lord Jesus, it makes complete sense to me when I read of sightings in the Scriptures when your disciples don't recognize You. Somehow you have to make that happen on the inside. Please make us more and more adept with our spiritual sensitivities.



4. “You cannot bring your friend to the point of seeing; God must do it.”


I have certainly experienced this.


It's absolutely unimaginable to me that others can’t see what I see—the Truth of the Scriptures, God's hand in the world around us, the nearness of God in our soul, and more.


How can something be so real to me be so inconceivable for others?


Indeed, “If you've seen Jesus, you will want others to see Him too.” This is the driving force in my life and the witness. I long for others to see what I've seen. And I figure, if I can see, surely they can as well.


“When you see Him, you must tell, even if they don't believe.” I certainly resonate with the “you must tell” part. It's the “even if they don't believe” part that drives me nuts.


It's beyond me how others can’t see and believe the God Who has become so real to me. Mercy.


Holy God, please open their eyes. Please reveal Yourself to them. Please astonish them with Your beauty, majesty and love. Please take their breath away as You have mine. Thank You for revealing Yourself to humankind. Please do so more and more.  Thank You.




1. “You should say nothing until the Son of God is risen in you.”


Oswald is speaking particularly here.


He’s not suggesting we can't ask questions and have conversation about the things of God. There are certainly appropriate contexts to ask questions, share experiences, offer opinions, etc. How else would we learn?


It’s problematic, however, when we make public, declarative statements about the things of God that don’t square with Biblical that orthodox Christian faith. When we do, we lead others astray: “Woe to you if you cause one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble” (Matthew 18:6).


This is how many Americana Christian chinches, which have no Biblical basis, came into being. For instance, “Everything happens for a reason,” “God helps those who help themselves,” “God won't give you more than you can handle,” “I'm sorry you lost your loved one; God must’ve needed another angel in heaven” etc.


These fabrications give false hope and damage faith.


We are incapable of making such statements after “the Son of God is risen in us,” because we realize they are not in keeping with the character of the Christ we know and love. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but our personal awareness of the risen Christ compels us to speak of the Jesus we’ve come to know rather than conjecture based on theories and speculation.


May it be so more and more.


Lord Jesus, please arise in us. We want to speak of You on the basis of our personal relationship with You. Please help us know and speak “truth from our inward parts” (Psalm 51:6).



2. “Jesus said, ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot hear them now.’”


Oswald offers a very helpful perspective on this passage.


Jesus couldn’t speak some things to His disciples while He was on earth because their hearts we're not yet prepared to receive them. In time, as God battered and shaped their souls, the disciples would be able to receive and perceive greater revelation of Jesus Christ.


The same is true of us. God has so much to reveal to our hearts, but we cannot receive them without His ongoing, formative work in us. And, we must be willing to receive that work.


Are we eager for Christ to reveal Himself in greater ways? Or are we satisfied where we are?


May we “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6), and a grander vision of Jesus.


Lord Jesus, please continue preparing our hearts that we might hear from You more and more. May we never be content to stay where we are.



3. “We must have a oneness with Jesus’ risen life before we are prepared to bear any particular truth from Him.”


This is the very personal nature of our relationship with Jesus. It is a “oneness” with Him.


Not only is Jesus alive from the dead, but He has risen from the pages of Scripture and the annals of human history, and has entered our hearts, personally, intimately and truly.


Then, in quiet moments with Him, He’s able to reveal Himself in greater ways. And, as we commune with Him personally, we’re able to receive because we’re receiving from our Friend.


The more He opens our eyes, the nearer we draw to Him. And the cycle continues perpetually.


Jesus, we want greater oneness with You, whatever it takes, no matter the cost. We want to know You and Your truth more and more.



4. “His Word is becoming understandable to us.”


This is not a matter of intellect, but a matter of personal relationship. We are experiencing the character and the Person of Jesus Christ, and as we do, His Word is continually fresh and new.


“Jesus opened the eyes of their understanding” (Luke 24:45). He could so for the disciples because they were in near proximity to them. How much more can Jesus open the eyes of our heart because He dwells in us?


Lord Jesus, thank You for living in us by Your Spirit. Please reveal Your Word more and more. May it continually be light and life as we search the Scriptures and listen.



5. “Our own unyielding and headstrong opinions will effectively prevent God from revealing anything new to us.”


We all have opinions about God. Let's learn to hold them loosely.


God's Truth is a completely different matter. As God reveals Himself to us in the Scriptures, His Truth lodges in our heart. It becomes the loadstar that aligns us with God’s heart, and positions us to listen, hear and receive directly from our God.


It's a beautiful thing to acquire from God in this way. “What He has revealed in the secret places, shout from the rooftops” (Matthew 10:27). When God reveals His heart to us, we take ownership of something very personal.


“Mary pondered all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:19). She was receiving new and fresh revelation of the God she had only known in part.


Heavenly Father, please forgive us for “headstrong opinions” that prevent You from revealing Yourself to us more fully. Please help us make distinctions between our conjecture and the Truth you reveal to us. May we hold the former loosely and cling tightly to the latter. Bless You, Holy God.





1. “The cross of Christ is the revealed truth of God's judgment on sin.”


For me, this is some of Oswald's finest writing.


As he describes the cross of Christ and what God has accomplished, my mind reels at the audacious and bodacious work of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.


“Jesus made it possible for the entire human race to be brought back into right standing relationship with God.” This is no small matter. It didn’t happen with the snap of God's fingers or the flick of His wrist.


It cost God His Own life in Christ.


The brutality of the cross is evidence of the eternally fatal nature of sin and the just and final judgment of God. The judgment I readily deserve fell upon Christ in His suffering and death.


My sin debt has been fully paid in Jesus. And that's the Truth.


Lord Jesus, thank You for taking upon Yourself the judgment I deserve. Father, how You love us to visit Your judgement upon Your Son in our place. Holy Spirit, thank you for revealing all God has done for us. We stand in awe and gratitude.



2. “Never associate the idea of martyrdom with the cross of Christ.”


There are some who misinterpret Christ's suffering and death. They presume Jesus fell prey to political betrayal and execution.


Nothing could be farther from the truth: “No one takes My life from Me; I give My life of My Own free will” (John 10:18).


Jesus didn’t get caught up in a snafu. The cross was the reason He came in the first place.


Lord Jesus, how can it be that You would give Yourself for a wretch like me? Thank You for leaving Your throne, taking on flesh and giving Yourself in my place. Indeed, “Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friend” (John 15:13). With great gratitude I receive Your loving forgiveness. Thank You, Jesus.



3. “Christ's cross was the supreme triumph, and it shook the very foundations of hell.”


This is the stuff of heroes. Jesus accomplished what couldn’t be done in any other way or by anyone else.


In Christ, the Father, Son and Spirit defeated sin, death, hell and the grave, once for all, forevermore!


This was the single-handed act of God Most High. In His humble and quiet way, God turned heaven and earth upside down by the cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Christ's victory is imputed to me as righteousness as I trust and receive His grace. By faith in Christ, I, too, will triumph over the mortal enemies of sin and death.


Hallelujah! What a mighty God we serve!


Lord Jesus, thank You for assailing death and hell on our behalf. You victoriously triumphed over the enemies of our soul. Thank You for Your undisputed victory and Your gift for all to receive. We give You all praise, honor and glory forevermore!



4. “The Incarnation of Christ would have no meaning without the cross.”


We’re liable to think Jesus came simply to show us what God is like: His love, care, compassion, concern, healing power, provision and more.


We certainly gain perspective as we examine Jesus’ life and hear His teaching. Thank God for His tremendous demonstration of goodness towards us.


But ultimately, the Incarnation of Christ was destined for the cross. Apparently, there was no other way. If God was to atone for the world, it would require God becoming flesh and dying in our place.


We remember the Incarnation of Christ happening in a singular moment in history as the Christ Child was born. Let's also remember the destiny for which He was born.


Father, thank You for sending Your Son. Lord Jesus, thank You for giving Your life. Holy Spirit, thank You for raising Jesus from the dead. Thank You, our God, for opening our eyes to Your marvelous ways as You took on flesh, dwelt among us, and gave Yourself for us. We stand flabbergasted.



5. “The cross is the central event in time and eternity, and the answer to all the problems of both.”


There is no way to overstate the centrality and paramount importance of the cross of Jesus Christ.


Indeed, the cross has changed the course of human history. By the cross and through the subsequent giving of the Holy Spirit, God dwells in those who trust and receive Christ. This has been God's intentions since creation, the creator living within the creation. And through Christ followers, the world has become significantly better.


And, the cross has changed eternity for humankind. By faith in Christ, we are adopted as children of God, and have the insurance assurance of everlasting life in the presence of our God. We will enjoy perfect union with our God forever endeavor.


Indeed, the cross changed everything.


Lord Jesus, we are living testimonies of the supreme power of your cross to alter the destiny of humankind throughout all time and eternity. We rejoice in your great gift. You are the answer to all our concerns. Thank you for such great grace. Hallelujah!


6. “The reason salvation is so easy to obtain is that it cost God so much.”


What a powerful statement!


The Christian faith certainly seems too easy: We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, only in the death and Resurrection of Christ. Period.


That’s crazy talk.


God can make it this simple because “all the cost and pain of the collision between God and sinful humankind was absorbed by the heart of God.”


This is the meaning, message and work of Christ's cross on our behalf. Hallelujah!


Heavenly Father, we believe with all our heart. Thank You for all You've done in Christ. It certainly seems too good to be true, but we will believe and receive just as You ask. We trust Your Word and your way as we trust in Christ’s death and resurrection. Thank You for the glorious gift of salvation.






1. “We can't comprehend Christ's agony, but we don't have to misunderstand it.”


This is why we “brood in the cross” every Lenten Season. Thank God for our remembrance.


We’ll forever glory in Christ’s agony, suffering and atoning work on the cross. Throughout time and eternity, we’ll only come to greater realizations of all Christ does for us.


May we also come to greater appreciation, fondness, captivation, awe and wonder. It’s unimaginable what Christ has accomplished on our behalf.  Praise Him forevermore!


Thank You, Lord Jesus. You only become more and more marvelous, and our love for You only grows and grows. We bless You, our Lord and Savior!



2. “In the agony of the cross, Jesus came face-to-face with sin.”


We undervalue the cross when we downplay the ravages of sin. Sin is no small thing. Nothing in heaven or on earth can render the eternal destruction caused by sin in our life.


But, we have a Savior Who’s greater than our sin. He defeated sin, death, hell and the grave, once for all, on our behalf. Hallelujah!


May we only grow in our realization and gratitude of what Christ has done for us, and demonstrate it every day as we say yes to Jesus and no to temptation and sin.


And all by Your grace, Lord Jesus.


Our Savior, thank You for paying the unimaginable debt of our sin with Your cross. We joyfully receive Your atonement and forgiveness. May we never, ever take it for granted.



3. “Jesus’ concern was that He might not get through the struggle.”


I can imagine this statement raising eyebrows. How could Jesus have doubts, fears and concerns?


We must remember that Jesus “laid aside His deity” to become Incarnate (Philippians 2:7). He didn’t cease being God, but “took upon Himself the nature of a servant, and became obedient to death on the cross” (Philippians 2:8).


It's breathtaking to consider the risk God took upon Himself. Jesus had to become capable of sin in order to atone for our sin. Had He fallen prey to temptation, it would have fractured the Godhead permanently.


Such is the nature of God's incredible love for us.


Lord Jesus, it's beyond our intellect and emotions us to comprehend what it cost You to pay the debt of our sin. We bless You forevermore for Your act of Self-giving love. Thank You for Your supreme sacrifice, Your triumphant success and our eternal freedom. Just as You offered Your all for us, by Your grace we offer our all for you. You are worthy, our God and Savior. Hallelujah!


4. “The veil is pulled back to reveal all it cost Jesus to make it possible for us to become the children of God.”


By Christ’s death and Resurrection, the “veil” separating us from our Holy God has been “torn asunder” (Luke 23:45). “Nothing separates us” from our God as we trust Jesus (Romans 8:31).


And, as we gaze through the torn veil, we recognize the enormity of what Christ has done for us. We would have no access whatsoever without him.


And the more we peer upon the face of the revealed one, the more amazed we become. Look what our God has done for us!


More Jesus, thank you for full access to the father by your cross. Other, “we boldly approach your throne of grace” through Christ our Lord (Hebrews 4:16). Your grace is ever more amazing day-by-day. Hallelujah!






1. “The way to permanent faith.”


Oswald is helping us visualize God's process of making our faith steadfast and immovable.


Oswald describes the Twelve Disciples’ faith as “real, but disordered and unfocused.” They truly believed, but they were still learning how to enact faith “in the important realities of life.”


This is certainly the case with us. If we've walked with Jesus for any time at all, we know the emotions of faith can wane.


And a faith founded on emotion will never stand in the press of life.


“Our faith must be exercised.” We must stub our toes, bump our head and skin our knees, as our faith is battered into becoming an essential part of our daily life.


You and I are going through this process in this very moment. Beloved, let's to be faithful to Jesus, not on the basis of emotions only, but on the basis of willful determination.


Let’s trust Jesus as He forges our faith.


Lord Jesus, thank You for real faith; please do what You must to make it permanent faith. Please help us endure the daily process before us.



2. “We will be scattered into the barrenness and emptiness of our lives to know what God's blessings truly mean.”


We can become so accustomed to God's blessings we don't realize them.


There will be times when we come face-to-face with the meaninglessness of life outside of a relationship with God. In those moments we recognize how sweet His blessings are.


God permits these dark moments to remind us just how real our God-walk is. We find life intolerable without the meaning and purpose only God can give.


Just think, in those experiences, we're getting a taste of what some people live day-by-day. May it cause our hearts to well up with compassion for them to know Jesus, and may we help them do so.


Father, it seems inconceivable that we could take Your blessings for granted. But, without a doubt, we surely do. Thank You for the wake-up calls, when we get a glimpse of the bleakness of life outside of Christ. It only makes us more determined to walk with You.



3. “Once our faith is made permanent, no matter where God may place us, we can praise Him that all is well.”


I do long for a steady-state faith, regardless of circumstances.


I know how agitated I can become at the smallest things. I'm embarrassed to think about it.


I’ve watched many saints in my life endure tremendous hardships. I'm so impressed with their faithfulness during their suffering.


I want to be like them.


Lord Jesus, I want permanent faith, impervious to the stuff of life, incapable of doubting You, blaming You, becoming impatient with You, etc. I want a faith that endures until I see You face-to-face. Please.



4. “God is never in a hurry. He’ll point out when we’ve been interested only in God's blessings instead of God Himself.”


This is a humiliating experience. God’s interested in me, not simply what I can do for Him. I wish I could say the same of my interest in God.


Lord, please make it clear when You’re secondary to Your blessings. Refine my faith until You alone are my heart’s desire.



5. “Unyielding spiritual fortitude is what we need.”


I love this language, and I find it very helpful to connect it to Jesus statement: “I have overcome the world.”


“Unyielding spiritual fortitude” connotes an enduring and rigorous faith, capable of standing in the face of all that assails. It's a recognition of God's nearness and infinite grace and mercy on my behalf.


It's a faith that never whines or licks it's wounds. It’s a confidence in God that knows no bounds. It’s a boldness to believe and declare God will never fail.


This is where God is taking us in the process of making our “real” faith into “permanent” faith.


Father, help us remain on Your anvil as You forge unyielding spiritual fortitude in us. May we go the distance, without shortcuts or hesitation. All by Your grace.




1. “Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly but was met by a strange God—the religious pride of the Pharisees.”


“Religious pride” is an insidious enemy of our God-walk. It may seem upright, “but inside it's full of dead men's bones.”


This describes “a form of godliness that denies God’s power” (2 Timothy 3:5). That is, a sense of righteousness that stems from within instead of coming from faith in Christ.


The religious pride of the Pharisees convinced them they did not need a spiritual Savior. They were eager for deliverance from the Romans, but felt fully justified in their own righteousness.


Is there any bone in me that believes I'm righteous before God on the basis of my merits? If so, I inhibit Jesus from triumphally entering my heart as Ruler and King.


Because religious pride can occupy the throne in my soul instead of Jesus.  God, have mercy.


Lord Jesus, I renounce all religious pride in me right now. There is no righteousness in me except Yours (Philippians 3:9). Please enter my heart and soul in greater ways and have Your way. It's my joy to welcome and receive You.



2. “Is there an unholy nature that controls your life?”


We tend to think of “unholy” as mortal sin and depravity. Instead, “unholy” describes the absence of God and His Holiness.


Such is my old and natural nature. It’s devoid of the Lordship of Jesus. It’s not interested in the things of God or His glory. It demands doing things its own way without regard to God's will and way.


Therefore, our God-walk necessarily involves trusting Christ and becoming “born again” (John 3:3). When we’re born again by faith in Christ, we received a new nature. (2 Corinthians 5:17). And in walking with Jesus, we determine daily to permit our new nature usurp the old.


“I still find myself under the control of that strange god.” If our old nature is permitted to reign, “I am blind to the things that make for my peace.” I cannot know the fullness of God’s love, joy and peace until the old nature is vanquished by the new.


Lord Jesus, I confess there are times when my old nature gets the best of me. Thank You for the grace to be forgiven and to reinstitute my new nature in place of the old. Please reign in my heart as Sovereign Lord over the new me. Thank You.



3. “We are responsible for our own faults. God holds us accountable for what we refuse to see.”


Today's Scripture implies the things of God can be “hidden from our eyes.” But God isn’t hiding these things. They’re hidden because “we’ve never completely yielded our nature to God.”


It takes great humility to surrender our heart, mind, body, soul, spirit and will to Jesus. It's a confession of our inadequacies and a willingness to permit Christ rule and reign in us.


When we finally recognize we’ve been holding God at arm’s length, there’s great grief and “deep, unending sadness for what might have been.” Certainly, God is a Redeemer, but God doesn’t rewrite history. We must live with the consequences of having chosen our will over God's.


Thankfully, God holds tomorrow in His capable hands. And we, by declaring Jesus Christ as Lord, can choose to step into God's future for us beginning right now.


Lord Jesus, we yield our lives to You. Please forgive us when we’ve refused. We take full responsibility for our compromises. Please have Your way in us today.



4. “Your memory is a minister of God bringing rebuke and sorrow to you.”


We speak of God “casting our sin into the sea of forgetfulness” (Micah 7:19). We truly believe the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness, and God never revisits the matter.


But, we’ll never forget. Yet, although those memories may haunt and grieve us, they can also be our friends. They remind us of what compromises lead to.


It's God's grace that permits us to remember. It’s also God's grace that “turns what might have been into a wonderful lesson of growth for the future.”


Our memories are not God's punishment, but God's encouragement to choose differently today.


Father, we can remember all our foibles as if they were yesterday. Thank You for taking the sting out of our past and granting us a new future in Christ. May our yesterdays remind us to never go back.





1. “Paul received spiritual insight into the Person of Jesus Christ.”


Thankfully, this is not unique to Paul. If we come to know Jesus Christ, it's because God has given us spiritual insight.


Ours is a “revealed faith.” It’s not a matter of study and cognition only. God opens our eyes to a spiritual realm and truth beyond our natural reach and comprehension.


“The natural man cannot comprehend the things of the God; they must spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14).


Matters of faith are not merely intellectually perceived. Rather, we must become more and more familiar with the spiritual dimension of our being. We’re “made in the image of God,” with a spiritual mechanism designed to comprehend our spiritual God: “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).


It's not a dismissal of our mental faculties. One only needs to look at the intellectual rigor and literary craftsmanship of Paul and other writers in the New Testament.


But they learned to unleash their spirit as well. And so can we.


Holy Spirit, please continue revealing Jesus to us. Please help us exercise our spirit in concert with Your Spirit. Thank You for our mind and our spirit. May we employ both as we seek You.



2. “Learn to maintain a strong degree of the character that has been revealed to us in our vision of Jesus Christ.”


As we come to know Jesus, His glorious character becomes more and more prominent. And, as His followers, we desire our character to become more and more like His.


The Scriptures certainly describes what godly character looks like. But God went a step further and sent His Son to demonstrate that character as well.


May Jesus’ manner and demeanor make us thirsty for the same in us.


Lord Jesus, we want to be more like You. May Your strong Spirit continue to shape, fashion and conform us to Your image. We present our growing character to You as our love offering and living sacrifice.



3. “We must nurture the ability to understand the meaning of Jesus Christ, and the ability to explain the purposes of God to others.”


This is a powerful exhortation.


Have we pressed into Jesus to understand more and more fully Who He is and what He accomplished with His cross and Resurrection? And have we given ourselves to the task of being able to describe and explain for others the mysteries of God’s Kingdom?


It doesn’t require formal education. It requires a givenness to the things of God, and a givenness to God’s Kingdom purposes for our lives.


When we do so, we’re taking seriously our “citizenship in God’s Kingdom” (Philippians 3:20), and our role as “Christ’s ambassadors, through whom God makes His appeal” (2 Corinthians 5:20).


Jesus, please open our eyes more and more to Your truth, way and Person. We want to know You more and more, and the ability to more clearly articulate You to others. Please give us a greater givenness to this lifelong pursuit.



4. “To be unspiritual means that other things have a growing fascination for you.”


Let's contextualize this observation.


God doesn’t intend for us to be contemplative only, with zero interest or concern with everyday affairs and future matters.


Instead, God calls us to “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). We are stewards of this earth, to discover, learn, develop and prosper.


Another way of considering Oswald's observation is to visualize our pursuits in the context of God's Kingdom. Be a business entrepreneur, with a vision of how your business can serve God's Kingdom. Be a research scientist, with a vision of how your research can benefit humanity for God's sake.


We are “unspiritual” when we have no interest or the inability to perceive our lives in the greater context of God's Kingdom. We’re growing in spirit as we recognize God's calling upon our lives, the gifts and passions He has given us, and put them to use for His purposes.


Father, may we see our lives and our world from Your perspective more and more. May that vision result in a greater eagerness to serve You and bring You glory.





1. “Christ makes intercession for us.”


What on earth does this mean?


Scripture teaches, “We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1). Which assures us, even now, Jesus is appealing to the Father on our behalf.


How amazing is it to have such representation in Heaven? In Christ, we need not fear God, because Jesus stands before Him for on our behalf.


And when God sees us, He sees us through the righteousness of Christ.


Not only so, but Jesus is presenting our needs before God. He knows our needs better than we do, and petitions God in our place.


And surely the Father never refuses His Son. Hallelujah!


Lord Jesus, thank You for interceding for us before the Father. Thank You for being our High Priest, going before us into the very presence of God. Thank You we can join You there—received, forgiven, adopted and whole. Thank You for Your continuing, personal, self-ministry for us.



2. “Do we do the work of intercession as a result of being the children of God?”


Intercession seems to be the way of the Godhead. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are interceding before the Father for us (Hebrews 7:25, Romans 8:27), demonstrating for the saints a life of interceding for one another.


Surely intercession becomes our natural response as we grow to believe “God is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).


Why would we hesitate?


Intercession is in our bloodline. It's the ministry of our Savior and God's Spirit. And God anticipates His children to carry on in that ministry.


Just imagine an existence wherein we, along with everyone we know, are joining the Son and Spirit in interceding for everyone else we know. What a tremendously powerful web of prayerful care shielding us from the slings and arrows of the wicked one.


Once again, God's ways are amazing. Praise!


Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit. Please help us to grow into Your ministry of intercession. May we discover Your heart for others, and find ourselves in the center of the action as we intercede.



3. “Do crises seem to be crushing in on us?”


Undoubtedly, the 24/7 news cycle can weigh us down. Let alone all the drama happening in our extended families and friendships.


No wonder we live in a world of unprecedented mental health issues.


“Put a stop to such distractions through the work of intercession.” This is a powerful freedom. As we connect with God in a relationship of intercession, we can sustain our relationships with our world and others by prayerfully and engaging with God regarding these matters.


“Intercession is where God works His miracles.” And the first miracle is, we’re able to transfer these crushing burdens from our shoulders to God’s as we intercede.


We’re not heartless to do so. We’ll do what we can do, but we’re determined to trust God to do what only He can do.


And it results in great liberation for our souls.


Father, into Your capable hands we commend the crises all around us, in our community, nation and world, and among our family members and friends. Even the crisis occurring in us right now as we consider all these crises. Please help us learn to cast these cares on You as we faithfully pray and commend them to Your care.



4. “We run ahead of God in a thousand and one activities, becoming so burdened with people and problems that we fail to intercede.”


I recognize this dilemma in some of the people I love. They concern themselves with a great many matters, and along the way find themselves covered in the lint of all the associated problems and burdens.


It results in great weariness because they fail to cast those cares upon Jesus.


There’s surely a great eagerness in our soul to tend to many, many needs. But we can quickly get ahead of God, anticipating what God might have us do, and biting off far more than we can chew.


Perhaps a good rule of thumb would be, don't concern ourselves with more then we're willing to also pray for. That only makes sense. Our intercession provides a constant reminder to involve God in all we're doing for God.


We may even find there's plenty of matters we burden ourselves with that don’t concern us. And, by God's grace, perhaps we can dismiss ourselves.


Father, forgive us for trying to bear burdens without You. It certainly becomes soul-crushing. Help us be wise in the matters we involve ourselves. May we be prayerful first before acting.



5. “If a burden comes upon us and we do not intercede, it will only produce a hardness towards God and despair in our own souls.”


I know a great many people who struggle in this way. The cares and concerns of the world and their loved ones hang around their neck like a boat anchor. They become so burdened and weary they lose faith and hope.


Soon a “hardness towards God” results. They become critical because they don't understand why God isn't intervening. They may even try to supplement for God's lack of intervention by taking more and more burden upon themselves.


And it results in a downward spiral.


Oswald calls us to immediately intercede when we sense the burdens around us. As we do, we not only gain God's compassion, but also a confidence God’s at work. We entrust difficult situations to Him, knowing He's fully aware and fully able.


Heavenly Father, please forgive us for indicting You when we are burdened. Please forgive us for failing to entrust matters to Your capable hands. Please forgive us for charging ahead without You, and blaming You for our weariness. Thank You for the gift of intercession. May we faithfully labor alongside You.





1. “Take our ridicule and criticism towards others and turn it into intercession.”


We certainly can be judgmental towards others when we see their foolishness and disobedience. It can lead us to brewing and stewing rather than praying.


Oswald says, “God reveals the truth about others to us by His Spirit.” That is, God is giving us eyes to recognize their shortcomings, not so we can condemn them, but so we can pray for them.


This is certainly what I’d like you to do for me when you watch me speak or act in ways beneath myself as a Christ-follower. When you see my wrongdoing, please be gracious and hold me before our Heavenly Father.


And I’ll work to do the same for you.


Father, I can become so aware, perturbed and offended by the speck in others’ eyes. Please help me love and be patient with others by interceding for them. May we both receive Your mercy and grace as I pray.



2. “God says, ‘Ask, and I will give life for those who commit sin not leading to death.’”


A pushback to this statement may be, “Who can forgive sin but God alone?” Or, “How can someone be forgiven who doesn’t acknowledge or turn from their sin?


Surely this goes hand in hand with Oswald’s theme of interceding for others as we discern their foibles.


Praying for another person benefits both of us. First, we’re praying for God's ongoing work in their life. And second, we’re delivered from criticism, cynicism and judgmentalism as we pray.


God grants life to each of us as we intercede instead of critique.


Heavenly Father, we ask for life today as we pray for others. Please continue Your transforming process in them and in us.



3. “Don't become a hypocrite by trying to get others right with God before you get right with God.”


Oswald is exhorting us along the lines of Jesus’ teaching: “Don’t concern yourself with the speck in someone else's eye while ignoring the plank in our own” (Matthew 7:3-5).


We're pretty good at using different measurements for us and others. Instead, may we extend the same grace to others that we extend to ourselves.


Father, we have plenty of shortcomings without concerning ourself with others’. Please forgive us when we fixate on theirs instead of ours. Please help us fix my eyes on You instead.



4. God gives us discernment about others so we might accept the responsibility for their soul.”


How will I steward this gift of discernment?


God gifts me in many ways and anticipates me to steward those gifts for His Kingdom: Family, friends, skills, abilities, opportunities, potential, material goods, finances, etc.


Stewardship is our way of demonstrating our faithfulness to God.


Oswald calls us to the stewardship of other souls. God gives us insight into their souls so we might pray for them as God works His purposes in them and us.


It's a blessed responsibility. And just think, God has called others to steward our soul as well.


Father, thank You for the gift of discernment regarding others, and the opportunity of interceding for them. May we be intentional and faithful as we steward these gifts. Thank You for involving us in the critical and eternal matters of Your Kingdom.



5. “Awaken ourselves to the point where God is able to convey His mind to us regarding the people for whom we intercede.”


Father, thank You for this tremendous gift. Thank You for helping us see Your involvement and work in other people's souls.


Father, we pray the scales would fall from our eyes as we view others. May we see them as Your beloved children, for whom Christ died, and for whom You have great hopes, dreams, plans and purposes.


Father, we pray for “the agony of Christ's soul in us” towards others. May we see and visualize them just as Jesus does.


Father, may You be “completely and overwhelmingly satisfied with us as intercessors.” May we truly join You—heart, soul, mind and spirit—in Your mission in other lives. Thank You for this amazing privilege.






1. “We stop praying because we only have an emotional interest in prayer.”


Oswald pulls no punches. We neglect prayer when our heart’s not in it.


That is, when we don't feel a direct need. Because, when we do have a need, we’ll certainly pray more readily and sincerely.


Or, when we don't feel like God is listening or responding. Perhaps we become disappointed and give up.


Yet the Scriptures call us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It's a call to pray whether we feel like it or not.


Is it because God’s demanding? No—it’s because it's best for us to pray. Prayer isn't only about moving the heart of God. It also moves our heart towards God.


We’re always better for having prayed because it means we're placing ourselves in God’s presence. And we’re always better for having done so.


May it become our habitual practice.


Heavenly Father, please forgive us for losing interest in prayer. Please forgive us for only praying as we have needs. Help us become prayer warriors in the sense that we’re able to battle through our emotional disinterest and become people of prayer.



2. Worship and intercession must go together”


What’s “worship?” It’s ascribing “worth” to something or someone, which is what we’re doing as we pray. We’re addressing and exalting God because we believe He’s able.


And what’s intercession? It’s more than praying for someone's needs. It involves “raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person for whom we are praying.”


That is, we press through, connect with God's heart, and pray God's heart over others. Interfacing with God in this way is an act of worship, and a powerful means of motivating our praying.


Heavenly Father, we worship You, the One to Whom all hearts are known. Please help us to know Your heart for those You love, so we might join You in Your work in their lives.



3. “When we lose sight of God, we become hard and dogmatic.”


This is a hard truth.


It is our ongoing connection with God that helps us maintain a supple heart. When that connection is broken, we can become calloused towards God and others.


It's because our God is the God of love, grace, mercy, truth, compassion, kindness, gentleness and more. Prayer is our umbilical cord to God, and His qualities circulate through us as we pray.


God’s qualities become ours through our prayer-connection with God. Which means, our character is most like God’s as we pray.


And most unlike God when we don’t.


Heavenly Father, we’re so easily distracted from prayer. Please help us cultivate the discipline of prayer that our heart might remain supple, sensitive, kind and caring towards You and others.



4. “Get involved in the real work of intercession, remembering that it truly is work.”


This is a helpful reality check: It takes effort to pray.


Prayer requires girding up our heart, mind, will and emotions, and directing them towards God. It means availing ourselves to be acted upon by God.


If it were easy, everyone would pray. This is why prayer is so often neglected, and our privilege of praying often goes unused.


From God’s perspective, it’s surely unimaginable that we’re not more prayerful.


Heavenly Father, please forgive us for slothfulness regarding prayer. We ask for a greater givenness to this incredible, supernatural gift. Please stir our hearts for “the real work of intercession.”






1. “A Christian worker’s greatest need is a readiness to face Jesus Christ at any and every turn.”


A “Christian worker” is one who is determined to be of service to God.


But Oswald persistently admonishes us not to permit our service for Jesus take precedence over Jesus Himself. We can become so involved in our work we pay no attention to our Leader.


Unfortunately, this leads to our spirit and attitude becoming misaligned from God’s heart. As a result, we can become pushy and put out with people and obstructions if they hinder our work.


Instead, Oswald exhorts us to “be ready to face Jesus Himself at every turn.” Only then will we see recognize in “serving the least of these” we’re serving Christ Himself (Matthew 25:40).


Father, please forgive us for viewing others as nuisances in our service to You. Help us become more and more aware of Your loving leadership and presence. May our intentions and motivations align with Yours.



2. “Jesus rarely comes where we expect Him; He appears where we least expect Him, and always in the most illogical situations.”


Isn't this the truth?


In our idealism, we imagine God's ways very differently from our actual experiences of God. For instance, we may anticipate God in the profound and extraordinary. Instead, He seems to intervene in the least likely ways.


Why wouldn't God boldly skywrite His intentions? Why wouldn't God reveal Himself in supernatural signs and wonders on a more regular basis? Why are God's ways so hidden and diffuse?


It’s because God knows our heart must be aligned with His before we can believe and receive. To that end, God chooses to reveal Himself as we seek Him, and opens our eyes and heart to see and believe as He operates in quiet nuances.


May God's ways become more and more evident to us day by day.


Lord Jesus, thank You for Your still and mysterious ways. We're thrilled when we catch a glimpse of You here and there. You've convinced us time and time again of Your ever-present nearness. May we come to expect You, any way You may choose.



3. “Be ready for the Lord's surprise visits.”


Christ-followers live in a strange paradox: We constantly anticipate Jesus, but we're always surprised at His ways.


“My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not yours” (Isaiah 55:8).


Does this frustrate and aggravate us? Why can't God be more predictable? Why must we always be left wondering?


Thank God for our “wonder” at His interventions. If we were able to fully understand God’s ways, our God would be far too small.


As it is, we get to live in the joyful unknown, trusting God's Sovereignty over our lives, and looking forward to whatever our God might do next.


Lord Jesus, visit as You will and wish. May You find us ready and eager to welcome You in whatever manner You choose. We're thrilled to be a part of what You're doing today.



4. “Expect Jesus Christ at every turn. This sense of expectation will give our life the attitude of childlike wonder.”


I've always considered “childlikeness” to depict our recognition of absolute dependency upon God. That's certainly where our God-walk begins.


But “childlike wonder” is a great way to describe the delicious and joyful amazement that consistently overcomes and overwhelms us as we walk with our God.


It's almost as if He never does the same thing twice so we’ll never grow tired of His displays.


Lord Jesus, please continually renew our sense of wonder at Your marvels and majesty. Thank You for being an infinite God who constantly amazes us. You’re worthy of all our praise.



5. “Set your heart on what God wants and thinking His thoughts.”


When we love someone, we’re forever concerned with their needs and wants. It's the desire of our heart to care for them as an expression of our love.


The same is true of our conversation with others. “What's on your mind?” is our way of seeking to interface with those we care about, to share in their thoughts, dreams and concerns.


So it is in our God-walk. Our primary concern is God's thoughts, will and purposes for our world. It's our greatest joy to participate in what God’s doing.


“Jesus said, ‘I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you’” (John 15:15).


Father, what’s on Your heart and mind today?  It's the desire of our heart to know and follow You.





1. “Just because I don't understand what Jesus says doesn't mean He must be mistaken.”


This is the human tendency to think we know better than God. It's a great temptation for us. After all, we know better than anyone else about our context, capabilities, the people around us, etc., right?


This surely leads to reinterpreting or correcting the Scriptures or the leadership of the Holy Spirit when they don't seem to fit our contemporary reasoning and context. We assume we know how Jesus would respond if He were living in our day.


When we begin down this path, there’s no end. We’ve permitted our intellect rather than God to direct our paths. If we follow this trajectory, who knows where we may find ourselves. But it will most likely result in becoming distanced from God.


Lord, have mercy.


Lord Jesus, please forgive me for reinterpreting what You teach and tell me. Please forgive me for thinking less of You and more of me. Please help me determine Your Word and Your ways are always right. And when they collide with my reasoning, please help me always bend in Your direction.



2. “I know when the instructions have come from God because of their quiet persistence.”


I continued to maintain, I believe we know God's voice better than we're willing to admit. It's because of His “quiet persistence.” He doesn’t antagonize or provoke. Instead, He patiently reminds and waits for my response.


“I begin to weigh the pros and cons, and doubt and debate enter my mind.” This is certainly our thought process as we reason through the liabilities and ramifications of everyday decision-making. But if we apply this thinking to God's leadership, we may well talk ourselves into disobedience.


Yet, if we’ll step out and obey, we’ll discover God's ways are infinitely wise and prudent. They may not make sense in the moment, but they certainly do in the long run. Even if we don't see the outcome in this life.


Such is the way of following the nudges of God’s Spirit.


Holy Spirit, thank You for Your quiet persistence. Right now, whatever it is You’re speaking to our heart, whatever it is that we might be ignoring or pushing aside, whatever it is we’re weighing in a balance, please persistently press through until we obey.



3. “Many of us are faithful to our ideas about Jesus, but how many of us are faithful to Jesus Himself?”


Boom. Right between the eyes. Oswald knows how to shoot straight.


We all have our concept of Who Jesus is, how to interpret what He says, drawing conclusions about His purposes, etc. We can even become dogmatic and defensive about these matters.


But are we being faithful to Jesus Himself? Is our faithfulness and obedience pure and simple, based on nothing less than what Jesus teaches and speaks? Or is our obedience filtered through our own opinions and druthers?


Because the latter can certainly lead to great compromise.


Lord Jesus, thank You for being infinitely more than merely an ideal, philosophy or worldview. Please forgive us when we speak of Your ways and Word in those terms. Help us instead regard You as the Person You are, our Lord and Savior, and live in the loving relationship You intend. May we be far more passionate about You then about our opinions about You.



4. “Faith is not an intellectual understanding, but a deliberate commitment to the Person of Jesus Christ, even when we can't see the way ahead.”


These are powerful words. The Person of Jesus must be the Object of our faith, and our deliberate commitment to Jesus Himself is our act of faith.


Faith involves a knowing that goes beyond understanding. It's a trust and confidence even when we're unable to visualize all the components of the equation.


We’re learning to trust Jesus’ wisdom, and growing in our confidence that He’s working in ways and towards objectives we can't fully comprehend or imagine.


Our faith is our demonstration of commitment and fidelity to our Leader, Lord and Savior. It's personal for both of us.


Lord Jesus, our heart’s desire is to be fully given to You. You know our need to understand. Please help us step over this hurdle when You call. Please help us trust You more and more.



5. “Don't wait until you can clearly see how to do what He has asked. Simply obey Him with unrestrained joy.”


I don't need to fully understand an aircraft to board a plane. I will trust its designers, builders, mechanics and pilots.


I'm simply thrilled to be there, and munch my free pretzels and Pepsi.


May this be the way of my God-walk as well. I don't know the inner workings, the details, the how’s and why’s, the future, etc. But I know the One Who’s called me, and I trust He knows what He’s doing.


And I know the joy that comes from obedience.


I also know, if I wait for all the details, the moment for obedience may pass, and I will have missed out and what could have been.


Lord Jesus, thank You for the joy of obedience. Thank You for leading us in Your great adventure. Please forgive us when we're hesitant because we don't fully comprehend. Please help us trust and obey with abandon today.






1. “A higher state with God is only achieved through higher personal character.”


I'm thankful Oswald emphasizes the critical nature of our character. Surely our growing character is the greatest demonstration of our ongoing God-walk.


If we're going to go on with God, it will necessary involve character development. My God-walk is not measured by my increasing knowledge or experiences of God, but the God-qualities that emerge as I walk with Jesus.


Growing in humility is part of my growing character. Which means, as God forges my character, I cannot boast. I can only credit the presence and ongoing work of God in my life.


Lord God, thank You for exhorting us regarding the essential of character. Please continue Your character development in us as You take us higher. May our lives display Your grace and glory more and more.



2. “God will continually say to you, ‘Friend, come up even higher.’”


By definition, there’s always a “higher” in our relationship with our eternal God. To that end, God will never be finished with us. He’ll be making us more like Jesus for time and eternity.


Paradoxically, “When you go higher, you only encounter other temptations.” We might imagine there is a height at which we no longer contend with temptation. Yet that was certainly not the case with Jesus: “Father, please take this cup from Me; but not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).


Oswald suggests higher character only leads to higher temptation, which leads to a greater pursuit of God, which leads to higher character, etc. And the cycle continues endlessly.


By recognizing this ongoing process, may we not become discouraged and weary. May we only become more engaged and determined.


Lord God, thank You for continuing to call us higher. Thank You for the high honor of doing so. And thank You for Your all-sufficient grace to reckon with the higher temptations and challenges all along the way. May You be victorious as You escort us upward.



3. “When God elevates you by His grace into heavenly places, you find a vast plateau where you can move about with ease.”


What a beautiful portrait of going higher with our God. We don’t experience constraints, but liberation from our tenacious and fallen lower nature.


Thank God for drawing us upwards—even when we hesitate, complain or resist. Thank God for His long-suffering with our soul. He knows what's best, and He's determined to get us there.


Elevate us, O Lord! Thank You for your patient persistence in doing so. Thank You for what You're working in us. Thank You for the great freedom of soul we discover as we rise higher and higher into Your glorious presence. Hallelujah!



4. “Never allow God to show you a truth which you do not instantly begin to live up to, applying it to your life.”


I'm presently seeing a physical therapist to recover from repetitive trauma to my right arm and rotator cuff due to aggressive guitar playing. It's not easy getting older. 😊


He tells me I'm one of the few that actually work all the stretching exercises he assigns. He tells many clients simply hope they'll get better without doing the work.


Oswald suggests the same is true in God's process of taking us higher. When God reveals something to us about Himself, ourself or others, He intends for us to begin living into that truth. If we don't, we will not receive His intended benefit.


Heavenly Father, by Your grace, please help us to receive, embrace and live into the greater Light You reveal to us. Please help us never plateau, but do the work of letting You further transform our hearts and minds. Take us higher, O Lord.



5. “God has to hide from us what He does, until, due to the growth of our personal character, we get to the level where He’s able to reveal it.”


A mentor of mine says, “God can only anoint a person to the extent of that person's character.” He's also the guy that turned me on to Oswald Chambers. I wonder if Oswald inspired his statement?


I get it. Perhaps we long for greater revelations and knowledge of God, more occasions to serve God, new opportunities for leadership and teaching roles, etc. Perhaps we wonder why we've not been chosen for such things.


Could it be our character can’t provide sufficient foundation for what we're hoping for?


Surely the solution is not to give up hoping and asking, but to also hope, ask and participate in God's process of developing our character. Instead of being put out with God and others because doors aren't opening, we will do well to give ourselves to God’s present and ongoing work in our lives.


Then trust, as God grows our character, He will also open the doors we aspire to walk through.


Father, we long to know and be used by You to greater and greater degrees. Please do what You must in us to prepare us for that day.






1. “Purity is the result of continued spiritual harmony with God.”


Perhaps we think of purity as the absence of sin, sully, impropriety, etc. Those are certainly characteristics of purity. But purity is not brought about by removing things alone, but by the sustained presence of our Holy God.


In union with our Holy God I become aware of my impurity. Only as God convicts and offers grace am I able to address those things, depart from them and receive God’s forgiveness.


In the Light of God’s presence I recognize my impurity, turn from it, and receive His purity.


And it’s beautiful.


Father, I desire “purity in my inward parts” (Psalm 51.6). Thank You for giving me that desire, and thank You for the capability of living into that desire as I seek union with You. Purify me, O Lord, that I might be pure in Your sight.



2. “As our outer life becomes spotted and stained, we recognize the necessity of maintaining.”


I know when I've become spotted and stained by things I've said and done. It's a feeling of regret. I'm dirty and need cleansed. I have stooped beneath myself in Christ.


Thank God for His gift of conviction, repentance, forgiveness and restoration. I need not stay in my contaminated state. I can be made clean and whole once again by the blood of Jesus.


I’m very aware of my inability to remain pure outside of God's grace. It’s my continuing pursuit of union with God that enables me to maintain the purity I long for. It’s that desire that drives me to our God.


Lord Jesus, the vision of Your holiness what whets my appetite for the same. Thank You for Your cleansing. Please help me sustain purity by maintaining an airtight relationship with you. May it become more and more the desire of my heart.



3. “If our spiritual life with God is impaired to the slightest degree, we must put everything else aside until we make it right.”


The word “must” in Oswald’s statement is conditional. It’s not God requiring it of us and threatening consequences if we don't. It's a matter of us recognizing we’re compromising and need to make things right with God.


It comes from a heart that’s unwilling to permit anything to come between us and our God. Nothing is worth stilting His nearness.


“If you love Me, you'll obey Me” (John 14:15). To the degree I love God, I’ll seek to maintain a low impedance connection with Him.


Father, I want to respond more and more quickly for Your reconciliation when I sense the slightest distance between us. May nothing be more important to me.



4. “It's coming in contact with other people and other points of view that tend to tarnish us.”


Isn't this a remarkable truth? Even the people we love the most can set us off. God, have mercy.


Certainly it’s their quirks and idiosyncrasies, but it’s also their opinions. It's amazing how offended we can become by those we disagree with. And it only seems to be more and more prevalent in our day.


Father, may we become more and more aware of this tendency. Please help us become better postured for those moments when others get under our skin. May our nearness to Jesus, and may your Holy Spirit within us, enable us to lovingly interact, listen and sustain a pure heart.



5. “If we want to maintain personal intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ, it will mean refusing to do or even think certain things.”


This has certainly been my experience. My thought life can truly hinder my God walk, let alone the things I say and do. Mercy.


“Some things that are acceptable for others will become unacceptable for us.” Here we become aware of the dynamic relationship each is of us have with Jesus.


Paul speaks of this as well: “Some can eat meat in good conscience, while others cannot” (Romans 14:2). An example of this for me is, many Christ-followers in my family and beyond have no conscientious objections to alcohol in moderation. However, because God delivered me from substance abuse, I have determined to keep my distance.


In time, our “refusing” is not burdensome, but becomes our love gift to God. It tells God we’re more interested and maintaining personal intimacy with Jesus than we are those things we avoid.


Lord God, it's our joy to stand clear of the things that injure our relationship with You. We're learning there's nothing we want more than You.



6. “Begin to see others as God does.”


This is a tremendously practical and helpful way of “keeping our personal purity unblemished in our relations with other people.”


If all we see are faults and offenses, we will forever be critical and distanced from others. Especially those who’ve injured us in the past.


Oswald encourages us to see others as “perfect in Christ.” We’re not oblivious of their faults, but neither are we oblivious of God's ongoing work in their lives. We're praying for the refining work of God in ourselves and others.


Beloved, we’re all works in progress. May we give others the same grace we hope they’ll give us.


Lord Jesus, this is a beautiful sentiment. Please give us eyes to see and hearts to love and respect others, knowing the same grace at work in us is also at work in them. Please help us measure ourselves and others by Your cross alone.






1. “If my holiness is not drawing others to Jesus, it's not the right kind of holiness.”


Isn't this a curious statement? Surely my example always points to Jesus, doesn't it?


That depends upon the state of my heart. Perhaps I’m hoping others will see and think well of me. We call this “spiritual pride” and we must permit God to extinguish it.


Instead, “Goodness and purity should never be traits that draw attention to themselves, but should be magnets that draw people to Jesus Christ.”


Perhaps the secret to this posture is to be very open about our personal failings and God's dealings with us. In this way we’re helping others understand we’re not so great after all.


Let’s help others perceive the amazing grace of God working in us. Christ dwells in us by faith, and His Spirit is transforming us. And He wants to do the same for them.


Holy God, we recognize that “nothing good dwells in us” apart from Christ (Romans 7:18-19). We openly confess, if anyone sees any good in us, it's because of You. May this attitude be abundantly apparent in our lives today.



2. “A saint can be a hindrance in leading people to Christ by presenting only what Christ has done for them, instead of presenting Christ Himself.”


I must be careful in the way I posture myself as I speak of what Christ has done for me. It must be the farthest thing from my mind to believe God blesses me because of my inherent goodness.


Instead, let’s strive to live a self-effacing life that continuously points to Jesus as our Source of forgiveness, joy, strength, purpose and meaning.


Because our goal is not someone's adulation, but that they might come know our Savior.


Father, please forgive us for taking any credit that belongs to You alone. “We are a new creation in Christ; it’s is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us” (Galatians 2:20). May this be our humble way today and always.



3. “‘What a fine person they are!’ is not being ‘a true friend of the Bridegroom.’”


Is this an offensive statement?


Perhaps we think we're fine folk, only in need of a bit of adjustment here and there. But that’s not a Biblical perspective. We are sinful people in need of a Savior, and anything good in us is God's doing, not ours.


If we take credit for our goodness, we are unwittingly suggesting other people can do the same. If that were the case, we diminish the necessity and work of the cross.


A “true friend of the Bridegroom” gives credit where credit is due. Any goodness in us comes from Christ in us. We are “wretched, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17) outside of Christ.


The goal of our God-walk is for Christ’s goodness to be evident in our lives, and for Jesus to receive all the honor and glory.


Lord Jesus, we confess we are nothing without You. We offer You all praise, honor and glory for what You’re doing in us. May our lives reflect only You and Your goodness, because we are incapable in and of ourselves. We truly want to be Your friend by pointing others to You.



4. “Our only task is to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ.”


This may be counterintuitive. Perhaps we see our God-walk as a pursuit of virtue. But virtue is merely outcropping of our relationship with Jesus.


If we give our attention to developing and displaying our inherent goodness and morality, we’re concentrating on ourselves instead of Jesus. But, if we concentrate on Jesus, the Fruit of the Spirit begins to emanate from us.


Likewise, “our life is not spent in trying to be consciously obedient, but in maintaining our relationship with Jesus.” Because, as we seek to walk in unhindered fellowship with Jesus, His Spirit is causing us “to will and do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).


There is something beautifully symbiotic in a vital connection with Jesus, because in doing so, we begin to experience “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:17).


Walking with Jesus isn’t effortless, because we must choose to pursue Jesus. But the fruit of our lives is effortless, because it’s merely the fruit of Christ living in a us.


Lord Jesus, it's the desire of our heart to maintain a vital connection with You. It's ironic that we can become distracted by attempting to live a virtuous life rather than simply seek to live in unbroken relationship with You. Please help us concentrate on the latter that our lives might exhibit the former.



5. “Christian work can actually be a means of diverting a person's focus away from Jesus Christ.”


Perhaps I work to serve Jesus as a means of checking a box to meet God's requirements. If that's the case, I'm missing out on the joy of walking with Jesus.


God created us to “walk with God in the cool of the evening” (Genesis 3:8). Or, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism says, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” This way of thinking and living is far different from striving to accomplish objectives.


This is the genius and joy of the God-walk. We get to spend time and eternity in union with our God and Savior. Nothing is more gratifying than living into God’s brilliant design.


Heavenly Father, may the simplicity and beauty of Your way become ours. May nothing divert our attention from walking more closely with You.






1. “We try to be amateur providences in someone's life.”


It's at this point, if not before, some will put this book down and be done with it.


It's statements like this that make Oswald so difficult: “When you begin to see that person struggle, don't try to prevent it, but pray it will grow 10 times stronger.” That seems cruel and uncaring.


Until you understand what Oswald is after.


Of course there are times when we minister to people's needs. The Scripture are very clear about our loving generosity in the face of human poverty.


But, Oswald also recognizes our paramount need for God, and God's way of breaking down our defense mechanisms to get at our heart. God’s process is necessary, “until no power on earth or in hell can hold a person away from Jesus Christ.”


The pain we try to prevent could well be God's way of gaining a person's attention. God help us not be “a thief who steals someone’s desire to follow Jesus.”


May we be wise, discerning and obedient in our care for others.


Lord God, it certainly is hard to “watch Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it.” In our idealism and self-certainty, we’re sure there must be a better way. Please forgive us for jumping in to ease pain, only to defuse Your reckoning with another soul. Please help us be helpful to You as You do what You must to win others’ heart.



2. “If you become a necessity in someone else's life, you are out of God's will.”


This is a powerful notion.


In today's language, we might call this “enabling.” It's when we, in what we believe is compassion, care for a person's needs to the point at which a person becomes dependent upon us.


There is certainly a time and place for caring for those who can’t care for themselves. But we must never usurp God's place in a person's life. Their need could well be God's way of gaining their heart.


Lord God, this is certainly a thin line. When am I helping and when am I hurting? My natural compassion wants to eliminate suffering. But, in doing so, am I conditioning someone to look to me instead of You? Whom am I enabling today? Please help me discern so I don't get in Your way.



3. “The friend of the Bridegroom rejoices greatly because of the Bridegroom's voice.”


It will certainly be amazing to hear Jesus’ voice one day. What a great celebration that will be!


But Oswald is speaking of the rejoicing in our heart when a friend finally hears the Bridegroom's voice for themself. Our prayer all along is for God to gain their heart just as He has gained ours.


In the joy of this moment, we “step aside, removing ourselves, never to be thought of again.” That is, people take their eyes off of us as they behold Jesus. “He must increase; I must decrease.”


And we gladly stand in the shadows.


Lord Jesus, we long for the moment when those we love hear Your voice. Please connect with their heart as You have ours. May they see what we see and love the One we love. We will happily rejoice with them as they do, and humbly fade into the background.



4. “Listen intently until you hear the Bridegroom’s voice in the life of another person.”


There does seem to be a moment when we recognize that a loved one is beginning to hear Jesus for themselves. We've shared and shared about God's work in our lives, and finally they begin to recognize His work in their own.


What a day of rejoicing that will be as they perceive Jesus revealing Himself to them! And immediately we’ll be able to fellowship with that person in the Light of Christ. Hallelujah!


Lord Jesus, we long for that moment in our loved one’s life. Please help us not be an impediment to it happening for them. Please help us be a consistent example of listening, hearing and responding to You. May our example whet their appetite for what we have in You.






1. “Carnality is the desire of the flesh warring against the Spirit.”


We rarely use the term “carnal.” Perhaps it's because it seems so debased. We want to think of ourselves as enlightened and above our “carnal nature.”


But the Bible helps us understand the fallen state of our human nature. Its tendencies, appetites and inclinations are constantly “warring against God’s Spirit” (Galatians 5:17) when we don’t get our way.


Which means our old, fallen, sinful nature becomes a daily impediment as we seek to offer ourselves completely to Jesus.


Thank God, we are “new creations” (2 Corinthians 5:17) through faith in Jesus Christ!


Lord Jesus, we call upon the strength of Your Spirit in our present battle with our lower nature. Thank You we can be “more than conquerors through Him Who loves us” (Romans 8:37). May we know Your victory, freedom and joy today.



2. “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”


This is one of the most important learnings in our God-walk.


Different situations “awaken” our fallen nature and elicit a sinful response. We’re not alone in this experience: “Paul connects these attitudes with carnality.”


Hence, “the process of sanctification.” It's God's work to defeat our lower nature. God’s  supernatural grace is transforming us. He conceives a new nature in us as we trust Christ, and nurtures the new while rooting out the old.


I’m no match for my fallen nature. But it’s no match for our God. Hallelujah!


Lord God, thank You for Your ongoing work in our life. We’re all too familiar with our sinful nature. It continually reacts and rebels against Your ways. May the new creation in us supersede and overwhelm the old,in the strength of Your Spirit.  Amen.



3. “God doesn't ask you to make it right; He asks you to accept His Light and Truth, then He will make it right.”


In Christ, I’m not a self-made man, because I'm no match for my old nature. But my old nature is no match for Jesus.


God's way is to shine the Light of His Truth on certain matters in my life. As He reveals them, perhaps my immediate response is to justify them: “Oh, I can explain that.” If so, His Light will persist until I acknowledge my sin.


When I finally acknowledging my sin, I'm liable to attempt to make things right. I make big promises, then I grit my teeth and do my best. But I find myself continually falling short.


Instead, God calls me to be “a child of the Light, confessing my wrongdoing, and letting God deal with them.” This is the way of God's transformation. I can’t change my heart any more than I can lift myself up by my bootstraps.


It will be the work of God’s Spirit, or it won’t happen.


Father, please help me truly embrace Your process. Please shine Your Light. Please give me grace to acknowledge and turn from my sin, and grace to enable You to change my heart. Thank You for Your present, persistent and ongoing work in my life, here and now. Hallelujah!



4. “You will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside.”


Oswald says, “God will see to it you have a number of opportunities to prove to yourself the miracle of His grace.” That is, I will find myself in situations where my responses and reactions are different than they used to be.


It’s because God is transforming me from the inside out.


What a joy to realize I'm not who I used to be! And as it happens, I recognize I have very little to do with it. God gets all the glory, because I’m convinced He’s doing the transforming work in me.


Father, may we be amazed more and more as You continue to do Your transforming work in us. May our new nature exhibit itself more and more in everyday situations, and may we and others be aware of and amazed by of Your ongoing work in our life.






1. “Did not our hearts burn within us?”


Oswald calls this, “the secret of the burning heart.” It's those moments Jesus appears and fans our flames. It's the mountaintop experiences we can't reproduce.


Oswald encourages us to “maintain the secret of the burning heart.” That is, to act on what we believe and imagine in those moments. Sustaining the burning heart permits us to go through anything—including “the simple, dreary day, with its commonplace duties and people.”


When's the last time my heart burned within me? What did I do in response? Did I act on the burning? Did I seek to live out what God revealed to me?


It's not too late to obey the burning heart.


Lord Jesus, please bring to mind anything You've revealed to us on which we’ve not acted. We don't want it to be an impediment in our God-walk. Please rekindle the burning heart within us, and give us grace to respond.



2. “We are ignorant of the laws of our own nature.”


We’re certainly learning more and more about ourselves these days. We have greater understanding of what makes us tick, and more tools to explore our hearts, minds, personalities, temperament, etc.


Let's not forget the insight we gain from the Scriptures for understanding human nature. And let’s not dismiss the personal learnings we gain as the Holy Spirit reveals ourselves to ourselves.


We’re complicated beings. Thank God for helping us discover who we are.


Father, thank You for creating us in Your Own image. Thank You we’re “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Please, by Your Spirit, help us to “know thyself” (Socrates, c.400 BC). Please help us fully utilize the tremendous capacities You've given us—and avoid their pitfalls.



3. “Determine whether or not to allow a particular emotion run its course in our lives.”


Over the years we've become very aware of what happens when we permit our emotions to drive the bus. We know where they can lead.


Oswald encourages us to “examine the final outcome of that emotion.” And, “if the outcome is something God would condemn, put a stop to it immediately.”


That means we mustn’t permit our emotions determine our course. Instead, “we’re learning the secret of abiding in Jesus.”


We’re discovering our emotions don’t have to have the final word. We can determine to let Jesus have the last word instead.


Lord Jesus, thank You for helping us understand our inner workings. And thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit, Who’s able to supersede our emotions, temperament and more. Please help us become more acquainted with our ways, and more given to Yours.


4. “If the Spirit of God has stirred you, make as many of your decisions as possible irrevocable, and let the consequences be what they will.”


What's an “irrevocable decision?” For instance, it would be determining, by God’s grace, to leave behind a bad habit, and sharing your decision with a friend. In doing so, we’re seeking accountability and leaning into God’s strength to follow through.


Another example would be taking measured steps in following God’s leadership to go and do a particular thing. Instead of telling ourselves, “one day we’ll do this or that,” we put the date on our calendar and follow through, by God’s grace. We might even tell a good friend for extra measure.


We've grown accustomed to making backup plans in case our initial plans fail. However, when we make backup plans prior to stepping out in obedience, we've already hindered our faith.


Faith means we don't have a backup plan.


Lord Jesus, please help us act more immediately to Your nudges in ways that don’t include escape clauses. Please help us develop a faith that eagerly responds to You rather than letting our reasoning, sensibilities and procrastination persuade us otherwise.






1. “Sign the death certificate of our sinful nature.”


Oswald is emphatic: We do not tame our sinful nature; we crucify it with Christ.


“A moral verdict against the nature of sin” means I truly agree with God and recognize my sin as destructive and an impediment in my relationship with God, myself and others. It must not be permitted.


“I have no claim to my right to myself.” This is what it means to be “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2: 20). Sin manifests itself as I claim ownership of myself. But if I belong to Jesus, “I despise my sin and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).


Does this seem radical, harsh and overstated? Not if we truly recognize the destructive nature of the sin in our life. It's a cancer in our system, and dying and rising with Jesus is the antidote.


Lord Jesus, here and now we sign the death certificate of our sinful nature. We die to ourself in Your Name, that You might live Your Resurrected life through us. Thank You for setting us free from the boat anchor of sin. We rejoice in Resurrected life with you. Hallelujah!



2. “I have been crucified with Christ.”


This is an emphatic statement, not merely good intentions. We aren’t simply trying harder to follow Jesus, but “identifying with Him in His death.”


The Christian faith is bloody. It's the death of Christ for my sin, because that's what atonement required.


But it's also my own crucifixion, and it's not pretty. “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). That means every day I must place my old nature on Christ's cross, die with Him, and permit the Resurrected Christ to live through me.


Does this seem extreme? It is only if I believe I'm naturally a good person who simply needs tweaking. Instead, I’m a sinner with a soiled soul who needs a new nature. To be “born again” (John 3: 37) means receiving a new nature by faith in Christ, and striving daily to put my old nature to death.


It's this process that yields newer and newer life every day. And it's glorious. Hallelujah!


Lord Jesus, please help us take our old and new lives seriously. Please help us be done with the old and fully live into the new. We die to ourself right now that Your life might flourish in us. Thank You.



3. “May Christ accomplish IN us all that Christ accomplished FOR us on the cross.”


If we're not careful, we’re apt to consider Christ's cross far more lightly than we ought. Indeed, Christ paid the debt of our sins with His death, but He accomplished infinitely more:


“Christ died for all, so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but only for Him Who died and was raised to life for their sake” (2 Corinthians 5:15).


There is so much more to following Jesus than heaven when we die. There is today, apprehending, appreciating and appropriating all Christ has accomplished for us.


We can be different people because of His cross.


Lord Jesus, please help us grow in our understanding of what You've wrought for us through Your death and Resurrection. Please help us to receive and walk in all Your cross provides. Thank You for such amazing grace.



4. “My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.”


We're liable to think holiness is simply the absence of sin. Instead, holiness is the presence of God in us.


The results of sinless living is righteousness and purity. But only the Holy Spirit can grant the holiness of Jesus Christ. Jesus’s death and Resurrection permits the Holy Spirit to make me holy.


But this isn’t an automatic or default process. It requires “my unrestrained commitment to God.” I must participate by yielding myself to God’s continuing work in me.


Giving God permission is ongoing and never ending. I must do it again today, tomorrow and forever.


Heavenly Father, thank You for all you've done through Your Son and Your Spirit that I might be made holy. Please forgive me for undervaluing what it cost You to do so. Please help me be a willing participant in receiving. And all for Your glory.



5. “Faith in Jesus Christ is not my own; It’s the faith the Son of God gives me.”


I give myself too much credit if I think I can believe on my own. It is the grace of God that draws me, opens my eyes, touches my heart and grants me faith to believe.


Just as I can’t save myself, I can’t believe on my own. I don’t have the aptitude, so Jesus grants it to me. “I live by the faith of the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).


Beloved, let’s become more and more dependent upon our Savior, and more and more willing to receive what only He can give. This is the process of faith-development in Christ.


Lord Jesus, we need what only You can give—time and time again. We call upon You for faith to believe and receive Your daily mercy and grace. We recognize our incapability and Your infinite capability. Thank You.






1. “The delight of true friendship with God.”


Oswald takes a turn here. He’s been pressing us about submission to God and following God's leadership rather than our natural sensibilities.


Now Oswald speaks along another line. He suggests we can be “so intimately in touch with God that we never even need to ask Him to show us His will.” That is, we have progressed into a union with God whereby we sense God's will without even asking.


In this place, “all of our common sense decisions are actually God’s will for us.” It’s because Christ has so transformed us that our sensibilities have merged with His. “Not my will but Yours be done” has become a union of our will with His.


In this union, if my decisions are wrong, “I sense a feeling of restraint brought on by a check in my spirit.” This is simply God's gentle way of course-correcting.


In this intimacy, “we have freedom, liberty and delight,” because, “when He restrains us, we stop immediately.” This arrangement produces great soundness and security as we walk with Jesus every day.


Lord Jesus, thank You for our growing friendship with You. Thank You we're becoming more familiar with You and Your ways. Thank You for Your ongoing work in our heart, “helping us will and do Your good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). And thank You for the resulting peace and joy. Hallelujah!



2. “Abraham stopped praying because he lacked intimacy in his relationship with God.”


Oswald suggests we don't pray because our relationship with God is not what it could be. If it were, we would “boldly continue with the Lord in prayer until God grants our desires.”


Not that God gives us everything we want, but we are assured enough to ask, and assured enough if God doesn't bring it about.  That's because, in our intimacy with God, we’re more interested in getting to God then in getting the thing we’re asking for.


“The reason for asking is so you may get to know God better.” Surely that’s the intention behind this Scripture: “Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Why then would God have us ask? It’s because asking builds our relationship with God and solidifies in our hearts Who God is.


Beloved, let’s grow in our love for God as we pray.


Lord Jesus, may we constantly pursue an intimacy with You that leads to “the freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). When we're hesitant to pray, please draw us closer. We want to know and love You more and more.



3.  “You are nearing the final stage of your discipline in the life of faith.”


It seems bodacious that Oswald would speak this way. Is he doing so out of personal experience? How does he know what the final stage is?


“We still have another level to go.” This is Oswald's emphasis on ongoing sanctification. We will never arrive, but must never cease in our pursuit to offer “our utmost for His highest.”


This is the never-ending nature of our God walk.


Father, thank You for taking us “step-by-step, here-a-little, there-a-little, line upon line, precept upon precept” (Isaiah 28:10). We’re confident we've only begun discovering the riches of Who You are. We relish our continuing journey. Thank You.






1. “We are to be separated mentally and morally from the viewpoint of family members who don’t believe.”


This is Oswald's interpretation of Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, they cannot be My disciple.”


This is certainly a troubling passage. Perhaps equally troubling is being on a different page from people we love who don’t follow Jesus.


It's quite a temptation to attempt to find agreement with others by compromising Biblical values. Doing so certainly brings down the tensions between us.


But it also compromises our God-walk. And it compromises our effectiveness as salt and light for others.


Our manner of life, conversation, deeds and affect are to be reflections of Jesus to draw others to our Savior. We’re different people because Jesus lives in and through us. And the goal of our life is for others to know and follow Him, too.


Lord Jesus, please give us great grace to walk this delicate balance with unbelieving family members. Help us love and embrace, even when we disagree vehemently. Just like You do for us. Thank You.



2. “Living a life of faith means never knowing where you’re being led, yet knowing and loving the One Who’s leading.”


What a tremendous definition of faith. We may not understand the how, where or why, but we absolutely know and trust the Who.


“It's literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason.” This dimension of walking with Jesus can strip our gears. In nearly every other aspect of life our reason and sensibility is helping us decide.


But when we walk with Jesus, we're letting Him decide. And, although we have no idea where it may lead, we have a growing love for and confidence in the Person we’re following.


Beloved, may we become ever more assured we can implicitly and completely trust Jesus.


Lord Jesus, faith can seem so foreign to us, because we’re so well acquainted with our sensibilities and reasoning faculties. Please help walk in the assurance that comes from knowing You, even when we don’t comprehend or understand.



3. “One of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that, if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in this world.”


Goodness. It's certainly a temptation to equate faith in Christ with successful living. After all, isn't that the measure of God’s abundance?


Instead, walking in faith leads to a deep abiding in the Person of Jesus Christ.  In time, His nearness and fellowship becomes sweeter than anything the world has to offer.


We’re also likely to view worldly success as a reflection of our choices and gumption. Surely the lack of success is an indicator of our foolishness and failure.


But what if God's purpose for our lives is to live less than optimally in order to be used by Him in the circles we find ourselves? Wherever God places us, wherever His path for us takes us, may the people around us be influenced for God’s Kingdom because of Christ's presence in us.


Lord Jesus, we can certainly imagine what a successful life might look like. Instead, may the measure of our success become our faithfulness and submission to You. May we bloom wherever it is You choose to plant us. And all by Your grace. Thank You.



4. “The final stage of the life of faith is the attainment of character.”


Do we realize the highest aspiration in life is Christ-like character? Because if we don't, we won’t value the process God is leading us through.


God's intention is to make us more like Jesus every day. Not just morally, but inwardly, demonstrating character fashioned after Christ Himself.


This is surely indicated by the Fruit of the Holy Spirit emanating from us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 2: 22-23).


It's Christ-like character, not our accomplishments and possessions, that holds greatest value in the Kingdom of God. Because our character permits God to put us on display for all the world to see.


Heavenly Father, please continue to forge in us the character of Your Son. May we go to our graves having attained the highest possible character, and may it bring You glory now and forevermore.



5. “Faith is a life of day-in and day-out consistency; a life of walking without fainting.”


I'm inspired by this description of the faith-life.


Although my emotions and reactions can be all over the map, I want my daily living to be integral. That is, the same on the inside and outside—consistent, determined and enduring—all for the sake of God's Kingdom and glory.


Oswald reminds us this can only happen if our life of faith is tested and true, built on God alone. We may be able to muster this stuff in the moment, but not for a lifetime.


Abraham and others “believed God.” That is, they bet the farm and built their lives on the premise that God is God, God is good, and God will never fail us. As such, they could step out in great faith and audacity following God’s leadership and reflecting His character.


Father, I want this kind of faith—a great confidence in You that fashions and motivates my daily living and endurance. Thank You for the example of amazing saints. I want to be among them, and all by Your grace and for Your glory.







1. “God intends for me to recognize His claim of ownership over me.”


This is certainly contrary to my natural will. My assumption is, I belong to no one but myself, and I choose how I will divvy myself out to others.


Because no one else owns me. I’m surely mine alone.


We begin to see things differently as we walk with Jesus. God opens our eyes to His sovereign claim over all things—including us.


This perspective is at the heart of Christian faith. We follow a Savior Who demonstrated giving Himself completely over to His Father’s will.


And He calls His followers to do the same.


My Lord and my God, I hereby recognize and confess, I am Yours. Have me as You will. I place myself before You; I’m at Your disposal. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in and through me today. Amen.



2. “God instructs us even in the smallest details of life. I begin to transform my natural life into spiritual life by obeying Him.”


I don't become spiritual; God forms me spiritually. He does so as I respond to His Spirit. When the Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin, I turn from that sin to God, and seek and receive His forgiveness through Christ.


Along the way, as God directs me to go left and right, I do so, by His grace. Not only is God accomplishing His purposes through me, He’s also conforming me to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).


In these ways and more, God is “sanctifying me.” “He’s setting me apart and making me holy in His sight.”


How given am I to obeying God? My unwillingness is evidence of the unspiritual nature in me. It may, therefore, require my own brute force, by God's grace, as I determine to obey. But as I do, and as I’m transformed, I find I’m growing more eager to do so.


May it be so, O God.


Heavenly Father, please bring about this metamorphosis in my life. Please help me participate by being obedient to You today. I'm looking forward to seeing Your finished work in me.



3. “Am I allowing the mind of Christ to be formed in me?”


Something happens in our mind as we yield ourselves to Jesus. There are new learnings, knowings, sensitivities, realizations and more. Jesus is forming “the mind of Christ” in me (1 Corinthians 2:16).


But Jesus will not force Himself upon me; I must participate. It requires God’s grace working in me to do away with the old and begin walking in the new. And God can only do so as I release my grip.


As I consider giving myself to Jesus to this end, I find myself tremendously possessive of my mind, thoughts and imaginations. Nothing is closer to who I am, and nothing influences me more.


Which is why it’s critical for Jesus to transform my mind by forming His mind in me.


Therefore, Lord Jesus, have at it. Rewire my mind as need be. I want my thoughts might be Yours. By Your grace, may I become of one mind and heart with You.



4. “Jesus never spoke of His right to Himself, but maintained submission to His Father.”


Jesus didn't simply live a moral life. He demonstrated a life given over to His Father's will.


He calls me to do the same, to “vigilantly keep my spirit in agreement with God's Spirit.”


As I do so, “Jesus is gradually lifting me to the level where He lives—in perfect submission to His Father's will.” It's a place where “we pay attention to nothing else.”


“Are people beginning to see God in my life more and more?” This only happens “as God is having His way with me.”


Heavenly Father, Jesus whets my appetite for what He has. Like my Savior, please help me “be serious about my commitment to You and gladly leave everything else alone.” Please take me farther into this way of being.






1. “Seeking ‘to be well pleasing to God’ requires a conscious decision and effort to keep this primary goal before us.”


If we are to accomplish an objective, we must have a goal. That's true for spring cleaning, a day at work, or a lifetime aspiration.


What if our overarching goal was “to be well pleasing to God?” That is, a determination that our thoughts, motivations, words and deeds be pleasing to God no matter what we put our hand to.


Is any personal objective worth compromising our right-standing with God? Or, is “to be well pleasing with God” of greater value to us than anything else?


If we’re determined to live into the latter, the rest will follow, including the example of our life today. Because we’re aspiring to our grand and overarching goal.


May it be so, our God.


Lord Jesus, we pray our hearts would become satisfied with nothing less than to be well-pleasing in Your sight. Thank You for every opportunity we'll have today to demonstrate You’re most important in our lives.



2. “Examine yourself before God to see if your life is measuring up to the standard He has for you.”


This is one reason we might avoid God. It's because, in His Light, we see our short-comings.


But we're only cheating ourselves when we don't concern ourselves with measuring up to God's standards, because our natural affinities and decisions will lead us elsewhere. And that means we're missing out on God's best.


Lord, have mercy.


Father, please examine our heart—even if it means exposing things we don't want to see. Help us want what You want more than what we want.



3. “A musician gives no thought to audience approval, only approval from their conductor.”


I'm not sure this is always my motivation. Instead, I think I may be looking for your affirmation rather than God's.


Surely this is evidence of the human condition. If we examine our daily decisions and actions, they’re often made to fit in, gain others’ attention, and please those around us.


Yet what’s more satisfying than our Heavenly Father's approval? There are no more gratifying words then these: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:53).


Father, may we be myopic in our desire to please You alone. May we experience Your wink and nod as we go about today’s business.



4. “My worth to God publicly is measured by what I really am in my private life.”


This is such a revealing statement. But instead of it becoming a heavy load, may it become our primary motivation toward giving “My utmost for His highest.”


I make public appearances everywhere I go. What do others see in me? Is it important to me to reflect Christ everywhere I go and in everything I say and do?


If so, I will need to give myself to the pursuit of God, and out of that pursuit will effervesce the Fruit of God’s Spirit in my everyday life. Because it’s my intentional and unbroken connection with God that necessarily alters how I speak and behave.


Thankfully, reflecting Christ is not the result of gritting my teeth, hunkering down and doing my level best. It's the product of a low impedance circuit between God’s heart and mine, and a determination to permit the Resurrected Christ live through me.


Heavenly Father, I'm up to the challenge today of seeking first Your Kingdom and Your righteousness. May You leak through me as I do.






1. “Learn here and now to live under the scrutiny of Christ's pure Light. Then your final judgment will only bring delight in seeing the work God has done in you.”


Do I live in fear of God’s judgment? Perhaps it's because I know good and well I'm walking in darkness in various areas of my life, and I realize there will be an accounting for these things one day.


No wonder I might keep my distance from God.


But if we “walk in the Light as He is in the Light,” and immediately bring our convictions of sin before His throne in confession and repentance, we immediately receive His grace and forgiveness, and can walk in great confidence as the children of God.


To remain up-to-date with Jesus is to walk in great freedom, and to walk in great anticipation of the great and glorious day we see Him face-to-face. May this mode of being mark our daily God-walk.


Lord Jesus, thank You for Your constant scrutiny. Thank You for the opportunity to turn and repent in an instant as You convict us. Wherever we may be harboring sin, please shine Your light and grant us a willing heart to respond. May we walk with great joy in the light of Your Spirit, rather than fearfully anticipating Your impending judgment.



2. If you don't turn and confess your guilt, your heart will become hardened through and through.”


I'm so grateful for Christ's immediate conviction and forgiveness. We don't have to prove our worthiness to receive God's grace. It is unmerited, and it’s instantaneously ours for the asking.


On the other hand, when I excuse my sin, thinking it won't harm me, and thinking no one is looking, I will find myself distanced from God. And if I ignore His conviction long enough, my heart will become calloused to the point where I no longer sense His correction.


Beloved, has God put His kind finger upon something in our life? It's because that thing is toxic and will only lead to a hard heart. And a hard heart can be hard to revive.


Lord Jesus, in this very moment, we turn from known sin and receive Your amazing and all-sufficient grace. Please strengthen our resolve to love You more than our sin, and to respond immediately when You convict us. And, where there may be hardness in our hearts, please soften us once again with the oil of Your gentle Spirit. We want to remain in vital, up-to-date relationship with You.



3. “Sin itself takes its toll. The penalty of sin is that we gradually get used to it.”


This is the reality of personal sin. God doesn’t need to judge or punish, because the consequences of our sin are punishment enough.


The penalty of sin is it's pernicious effect on my relationship with God and others. Sin is always a crummy counterfeit of a greater good, and only robs me of the blessings that can be mine as I walk in obedience.


Without exception, my sin separates me from God, and that isolation is painful. I come to full recognition of that pain when I turn from my sin, receive God’s forgiveness, and am re-reconciled with God. Until I do, I have no idea what I'm missing.


Holy God, surely I’ve tortured myself with my sin. I’ve compromised what could have been if I were living in full submission to You instead. To that end, please sweep through my system and convict me of my sin. Please give me grace to turn from sin, receive Your forgiveness, and enjoy Your fellowship without impediment. Thank You for Your good and perfect ways, and for loving me back to Yourself time and again.



4. “No power except the power of God's Holy Spirit can change or prevent the inherent consequences of sin.”


Sin fools us. We're pretty sure we're in control, but we're not. It takes us by the throat, encourages our compromises and diminishes our lives.


If we’re able to conquer sin on our own, our Savior, His cross and His Spirit would be unnecessary.


But that's far from the case. Sin is insidious. It lies, creeps in under the door and poisons our souls. Our best intentions are no match, and we find ourselves at its mercy once we partake.


Thank God for the gracious Gift of His Spirit. “We’re more than conquerors through Him Who loves us” (Romans 8:37). What we cannot do in our own strength, God is fully capable of doing in His glorious strength.


Holy Spirit, we call upon You for Your deliverance today. We yield our souls to Your process of rooting out our sin. We confess our inability to do it on our own, and trust Your loving and gracious capability of setting us free.






1. “In the beginning of our life with Jesus, we were sure we knew all there was to know about following Him.”


Remember being younger? When we had a new experience, we become experts on the subject. We happily informed others because we imagined we knew everything there is to know about the matter.


Then the maturing process continues. We have other experiences that contradict our previous experience, and hear opinions that cause us to question the conclusions we’ve drawn.


It certainly happens as we mature in our God-walk: “Jesus is far ahead of us and is beginning to seem different and unfamiliar.” Growing in Christ means continually coming to a greater understanding of the “mystery of godliness” (1 Timothy 3:16).


Beloved, Jesus doesn’t change, but He’s changing us. And even as we and our world change over the years, we can take great confidence knowing “our God is the same today, yesterday and forevermore” (Hebrews 13:8). Hallelujah.


Lord Jesus, even as water passes under our bridge, we’re so thankful for the stability You offer our lives. Please continue to reveal Yourself to us more and more. We want to know You even as You know us (1 Corinthians 13:12).



2. “As Jesus walks before me with great determination, He strikes terror right through me.”


There was a time in our God walk when Jesus carried us in a most unmistakable way. Almost like training wheels on a bicycle.


But as we mature in Christ, He treats us more and more like the maturing human beings we’re becoming. He may “no longer seem to be our Counselor and Friend,” because He is anticipating us to stand on our own two feet in the strength of His Spirit.


Indeed, “Jesus has a point of view about which I know nothing.” He will continually call us out into deeper waters, anticipating us to rely on Him more and more, even when we don't see it or feel it.


Remember, “God is conforming us to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). To that end, God continues to grow our faith in every season of our lives.


May we not think it strange, but trust His ever-wise leadership


Father, thank You for Your steadfastness in helping us mature as Christ’s followers. Please help us stand on what You’ve already worked into us, and take steps today as You continue to form us. We trust and follow You today.



3. “There is a distance between Jesus and me and I can no longer be intimate with Him.”


I liken this to my maturing relationship with my parents. There was a time when they never left my side, but took me by the hand through the developmental seasons of my life. They offered me a sense of assurance as I navigated a strange new world.


There was a time when Jesus physically walked among His disciples, teaching them, answering their questions, defending them and debriefing. But after His Resurrection, and after the outpouring of His Spirit, He was no longer among them as a Man.


It's not what they had in mind, but it's precisely what God intended. They were to be filled, empowered and directed by His Spirit in Christ’s continuing mission.


So it is with us today. As newly born-again babes, we experience the nearness of Jesus as He nurtures our faith. But in time, He sends us out into our woolly world to be His representatives and conduits of His love and grace to others.


In God’s strength, may we be faithful to Christ’s mission today.


Lord Jesus, thank You for the nearness and power of Your Spirit dwelling in us. May we walk in greater faith and determination today as Your ambassadors in our world. We want to reflect You well.



4. “We tend to look back on our past relationship with God in an effort to keep our enthusiasm for Jesus strong.”


It's one thing to look back and remember God's faithfulness as we walk in Christ today. It's another matter to live in the past, remembering when we were younger and our relationship with Jesus was new and fresh.


Thankfully, our God is infinite, and the newness and thrill of discovering and following Jesus never dissipates.


Because, beloved, we’ve only scratched the surface of Who He is.


Lord Jesus, please forgive us when our enthusiasm wanes because we’ve left off pursuing You. Please stir our hearts to more eagerly know and follow You today.






1. “There’s no power other than yielding to God that’s capable of breaking the bondage of our human nature.”


This is intense stuff. Oswald is talking about the overwhelming power of human nature.


For instance, we can’t yield for a second to temptation. Even a nibble and our human nature is rendered powerless and we’re taken captive by that thing. This is true of our imaginations, bad attitudes, fears, complacency, slothfulness, resentment, unforgiveness, lusts, addictions and more.


However, when we yield ourselves to Jesus, He’s able to break the power of our old nature by giving us a new nature empowered by His Spirit. Then, by God’s grace, we can say no to temptation and discover God’s freedom.




Heavenly Father, may we yield more and more to You and Your Spirit, and find ourselves more and more capable of NOT yielding to lesser things. Lord Jesus, thank You for giving us a new nature that overwhelms our old nature.



2. “I am responsible for having yielded myself to whatever it may be.”


Nothing and no one can force me to yield. They can threaten me, humiliate me, twist my arm and tempt me, but I alone and responsible for yielding.


I’d rather not be responsible. I’d like to blame someone or something else. But in the end, it’s I alone who says, “yes” when I yield to temptation. And when I do, I’m in its grip.


But the tremendous power of yielding also wields the power of God as we yield to His Spirit. To some, yielding to God may seem weak and limiting. Yet, in doing so, we learn to tap into God's power and become free from the cruel taskmasters in our life.


And we’re the only one who can say “yes” to Jesus.


Lord Jesus, we give You our “yes” today. “Yes” to Your work in our lives, “yes” to Your leadership, and “yes” to Your will and Your way. We yield ourselves to You for Your purposes today, and for Your strength to say “no” to compromise.



3. “Selfishness is the most enslaving tyranny on earth.”


Oswald named the most vicious attribute of our human nature: Selfishness. It’s this liability that divides us from God and others.


Self-centeredness convinces us it knows best how to satisfy our soul. It makes great demands of others, only to leave us less satisfied and alone.


And outside of Jesus, we’re prisoners of this tyrant.


Thank God for a selfless Savior Who names, saves and delivers us from our selfishness, and introduces us to His selflessness. In Christ, we discover God's glorious economy: “It's more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).


Lord Jesus, thank You for Your unselfish ways, and for helping us realize our selfishness and the sorrow it brings. Please continue to deliver us from this evil attribute. Please set us free for selfless, joyful, Kingdom living.



4. “No release or escape from this slavery will come from any human power, but only through the power of redemption.”


This is the glorious deliverance of God for the children of God.


It may seem counter intuitive, but only in “yielding ourselves in utter humiliation to the only One Who can break this dominating power in our life,” do we find freedom from slavery to our lower nature.


Christ not only cancels sin, but can cancel the power of things to which we’ve yielded. Jesus resets our loves and yieldings as we yield ourselves to Him. Thank You, Jesus!


Lord Jesus, we want more and more of Your freedom. Help us pry our fingers off lesser things as we yield ourselves to You. Please set us free from the things that hold us captive today.



5. “A bad habit absolutely dominates because we willingly yield to it.”


Surely we recognize our helplessness in habits that exert control over us. “‘I can give up that habit whenever I like,’ but we know we cannot.”


Oswald claims we are dominated by habits because we've willingly yielded ourselves to them. Much hardship in our lives is due to our “obvious slavery to ourselves.”


Thank God for our Savior: “Yielding to Jesus will break every kind of slavery in any person's life.” I long for this freedom. And it can be mine if I will only yield.


Lord Jesus, we declare and proclaim “You will break every fetter.” Please help us live into this truth. Thank You for Your power that can cancel strongholds in our lives. Please “speak liberty” to this captive.






1. “Salvation means being completely delivered from myself, and being placed in perfect union with God.”


What a tremendous way to understand our salvation. Indeed, salvation means we’re delivered from sin and enter the process of sanctification.  But God's goal in salvation is so much more. Jesus intends to bring us into complete union with our Heavenly Father.


We undersell salvation if it's simply a means to freedom from the sin that holds us in bondage, and going to heaven one day when we die. Instead, “the Spirit of God has brought me into intimate contact with the true Person of God Himself.”


The gift of salvation is the gift of personal communion with our Heavenly Father. How could there possibly be a greater gift?


Heavenly Father, we receive Your gift of salvation. Not only deliverance from our sin and heaven when we die, but day-by-day, moment-by-moment union with our God and Creator. What a gift! Thank You for giving Yourself to us to that end.



2. “As I’m caught up into total surrender to God, I've become thrilled with something infinitely greater than myself.”


This has certainly been my experience.


I came to Christ out of self-preservation—I wanted to go to heaven when I die. But what I received in return is infinitely greater. I’ve been caught up into the life of God. It was totally unexpected. But it's been the joy and pleasure of my life ever since.


I think that's why I love this God-thing. It's bigger than me. It has the smell and ring of destiny and eternity. And nothing else holds a candle to it.


Heavenly Father, I had no idea. Thank You for ushering me into such amazing grace. My life is so full because I have been united with my Maker. I look forward to each day, and eternity together with You. Hallelujah!



3. “If we’re truly surrendered, our entire life will be consumed with the One to Whom we surrender.”


How I want this to be so.


I do feel like I’ve tasted this to a degree. My God and Savior continues to subsume my life. The things of earth continue to grow more and more strangely dim.


I love that our salvation is not about a place or our pleasures. Instead, it’s about a Person—the Person of God Himself. It's a love affair and dance with our Creator. It's discovering that for which we were made in the first place.


It makes it so personal. This is less and less about me, and more and more about Him. Which is what makes a great relationship, after all. Hallelujah.


Heavenly Father, it's such a joy to know You, to serve You, and to be Your child. You’re continually becoming the biggest part of my life. And the more I get to know you, the more I love You, and the more satisfied and content I become. Thank You so infinitely more than I bargained for. Hallelujah.



4. “Salvation is God's wonderful and total surrender to us.”


What an amazing God!


At the heart of our God-walk is a God Who gave Himself for us. The goal of our God-walk, is to give ourselves completely to Him.


It's this reciprocal relationship that makes our God-walk so beautiful. We’re following the lead of our self-giving God as we yield ourselves to Him.


I love the way God never asks anything He doesn't do Himself. He asks for our heart because He has given us His. And He asks for our faithfulness and fidelity, because He has given us His.


How amazing, mysterious and wonderful is our salvation. Hallelujah!


We receive your advance, Holy God, and we’re learning to release our hearts to You more and more. Thank You for your demonstration as we enter this union with You. Thank You for more and more of Your love and joy as we surrender to You more and more.



5. “The consequences and circumstances resulting from our surrender will never even enter our minds, because our life will be totally consumed with Him.”


It never occurs to me what I could have had if I wasn't married with four children. The gift of my wife and kids are the greatest blessing in my life.


The same is true of my God-walk. I never think about what I might be missing out on because I follow Jesus. I certainly have to count the cost as I surrender various aspects of my life, but those things never occur to me afterward.


It's because the sheer delight and satisfaction of pleasing God infinitely outweighs anything I’ve given Him.


That's precisely how Jesus feels: “For the joy set before Him, Christ endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2). As we surrender to God, His pleasure becomes our greatest joy.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible satisfaction of being rightly related to You through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. You fill our heart with such pleasure and contentment as we give ourselves to You. By Your grace, may we do so today.






1. “Beware of surrender that is motivated by personal benefits.’


It’s so easy to bargain with God. We have this or that need, so we attempt to make a deal with God that may include surrendering this or that.


Instead, Jesus says, “Surrender is for My sake and the Gospel’s.”


It's amazing how persistent our flesh can be. It’s constantly looking for self-gratification, and will seize every opportunity for personal gain. And it can easily drive our God-walk.


That is, often we’re turning to Jesus for our sake, not His.


Lord Jesus, please have mercy. I recognize I’m naturally driven by my appetites, wants and needs. Please forgive me when this becomes my motivation for approaching You. I want my relationship with you to be different. I want to move towards the place where I surrender to You and follow You out of a growing love for You.



2. “We can be so self-centered that we go to God only for something from Him, and not for God Himself.”


We know the burden of constantly being on the giving end of a relationship. It seems like the other party is only after what they can gain from us.


It certainly make the relationship seem superficial.


Is it possible this is how God experiences our relationship with Him? Could it be we only look to God for what we receive from Him, without personal care or concern for God Himself?


How heartbreaking that must be for our God.


Heavenly Father, I certainly am self-centered and manipulative. Please forgive me when I approach You in this way. I want to give myself to You for Your pleasure, not my own. Please help me do so.



3. “Genuine, total surrender is a personal and sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself.”


Oswald names the many benefits of following Jesus: gaining heaven, being delivered from sin, being made useful to God, etc. But, “these things should never even be a consideration in real surrender.”


I regret that some of the preaching, teaching and devotional reading we've received over the years emphasizes what we gain from God, rather gaining God Himself.


 That sets us up for expectations of personal gratification.


Instead, God's intention is for us to reciprocate His love and self-giving, and walk with God in a relationship of offering our all-in-all to one another. Just like Jesus did when He laid down His life for us.


This is the means whereby we share in the joy and peace of God Himself.


Father, thank You for the mutual, self-giving economy of Your Kingdom. Thank You for all You've poured out for us because of Your personal interest in us. Please help us grow in our intentions to do the same for You.



4. “True surrender will always go beyond natural devotion.”


Natural devotion has to do with curiosity, infatuation, personal satisfaction and gain, etc. It's what many friendships and marriages begin with.


But natural devotion quickly subsides as we lose interest and grow discontent. Our fading natural devotion doesn’t have the horsepower to sustain a long-term, self-giving relationship.


Including our God-walk.


Not so with total surrender: “Beware of stopping anywhere short of total surrender to God.” Surrender is an act of my will for God’s sake, not mine. Which is precisely what Jesus did as He gave Himself up for us.


Thank God for the horsepower of total surrender. May it be the driving force of our God-walk today.


Heavenly Father, please forgive me for often relating to You based on my natural affections. I realize the casual nature of that kind of devotion. Please help me take next steps in walking in total surrender to You, just as You do for me.






1. “If we lose the ‘heavenly vision’ God has given us, we alone are responsible.”


I wonder what the “heavenly vision” is?


Have you ever had a moment of inspiration from a mountaintop experience with God, a moving message or blog, a powerful time of fellowship with other Christ-followers, etc.? In that moment we sensed God speaking to our soul, and experienced a glimpse of what it would be like to walk in the fullness of God.


Then, as time passed, that inspiration faded, and we found ourselves precisely where we began. We did nothing with that inspiration, so it withered on the vine.


What if we had stepped into the ideal we imagined? Perhaps it would have been a step forward in our God-walk, to be followed by the next moment of inspiration, and the next and the next. But we missed out because we didn't.


Surely, as we intentionally turn our face to Jesus, there will be other moments of inspiration. As we do, let’s determine to be “obedient to the heavenly vision,” whatever it may require of us.


Surely this is what it means to follow Jesus.


Lord Jesus, thank You for those moments of great inspiration, where You are so near and visible. Please help us live into what we imagined in those moment. Please forgive us for neglecting to do so in the past. Please grace us to respond differently going forward.



2. “Be obedient to the heavenly vision in the details of our everyday life.”


Oswald is good at reminding us that our lives are not subdivided into the spiritual and non-spiritual. Instead, every moment of every day is lived out in the context of the Kingdom of God.


There may be times when God calls us to do great things: Perhaps it's a costly sacrifice, a hard conversation, giving our leadership, lending our support and energies, etc.


But the most common way of living for Jesus is in the everyday. It's the way we relate with people, how we speak and do, our affect and attitudes, our willingness to start and complete hard things, etc.


These are the proving grounds of our obedience to the heavenly vision.


Heavenly Father, please forgive us for undervaluing the everyday. Please help us offer ourselves to you “60 seconds out of every minute, and 60 minutes out of every hour.” Please use us for Your glory today, even in the little things.



3. “The only way to be obedient to the heavenly vision is to give our utmost for His highest—our best for God’s glory.”


The God-walk is not a lazy person's way. It's why we're called “disciples.” We discipline our hearts, minds, bodies and emotions for the Kingdom of God.


Like the very best friendships, marriages and family relationships, we value those people by giving them our very best time, attention and efforts.


So it is with our God-walk. “My utmost for His highest” is our motto and our goal. No slacking, no self-pity, no shortcuts. We are all-in for the glory of God.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the language of “our utmost for Your highest.” Thank You for the way it constantly reminds us that You’re worthy of our very best, 24/7/365. May the flames of our passion for our God never flicker or dim, but only grow to consume us more and more.



3. “We get caught up in the practical busy work, only to miss the fulfillment of the heavenly vision.”


I have great respect for Brother Lawrence and others in the monastic tradition. Their way is to discover and worship God in the most menial of tasks, including scrubbing toilets and washing dishes.


The discipline of their practice is to experience God even in the menial, practical, busywork that consumes most of our existence. They learn to see even the smallest works of their hands as critical components in God's Kingdom purposes.


Let's not get distracted by practical busywork today. Let’s recognize our labors as significant in the eyes of God.


Father, please help us to see You in everything we do. Please help us appreciate each moment as a means of serving and fellowshipping with You. Thank You for the opportunities to do so today. Thank You.



4. “God plants His Saints through the whirlwind of His storms.”


It's not the sunny days that cause a tree to grow roots, but the windy, stormy days that seem to threaten their existence.


Surely the same is true of us. It's the battering and bruising of life that causes us to send our roots deeply into the Word of God, prayer and fellowship with our Savior. If it weren't for those challenges, we would not learn endurance.


Thank God for the occasional sunny day. It's wonderful to stretch our arms wide and receive in those gracious moments. But thank God also for the storms that prepares to go the distance.


Father, please help us endure today's challenges, that we might be fit and of use to You. Thank You for the endurance You’re working in us. Thank You for the strength we're developing as we walk out our hardships. Thank You for Your faithfulness throughout.



5. “If you allow God to plant you, you’ll bear much fruit.”


“Bloom where you're planted” is a common idiom. But it's not uncommon to wish we were planted elsewhere.


“If you select your own spot to be planted, you’ll be an unproductive, empty pod.” We may think we know best, but that's not always the case.


It's highly likely our circumstances are of our own design. We're reaping as we've sown.


But it's also possible God has planted us in our difficult context. It’s not for our immediate pleasure, but for His Kingdom purposes. We can endure knowing our faithfulness and fruitfulness will ultimately bring about His pleasure—and, in turn, ours.


Lord God, plant us where You will. Please help us receive our assignment with determination to produce much fruit for Your Kingdom and glory. And all by Your grace.






1. “We’re saved to be God's sons and daughters, not just instruments for His use.”


What a beautiful sentiment. Indeed, we’re God's workers. But we’re also His workmanship, created in Christ and adopted by faith in Christ, to become God's sons and daughters. Hallelujah!


And what a joy it is. It's an incredible privilege to be a child of God, and we use our daily life as a means of living, speaking, proclaiming and appreciating this amazing gift.


Heavenly Father, thank You that we can call You Father, and thank You for calling us Your children. It is the joy of our life to belong to You.



2. “The message must be part of us. Jesus was His Own message.”


This is great. It means my message is unique to me. It’s the expression of my heart, personality, sense of humor and more. I get to use all of that as I share my story of Jesus.


“Our lives must be a holy example of the reality of our message.” What a great motivator this is. People take their cues from me. If I speak truth without living truth, I hinder the message. Conversely, if I live the message of the Gospel well, it makes it more and more accessible to others.


Lord Jesus, please help me own the message of Your work in my life. Please help me share and proclaim it with all that's in me, and live in such a way as to show others how real You are.



3. “It takes a heart broken by conviction of sin, baptized by the Holy Spirit, and crushed into submission to God's purpose, to make a person's life a holy example of God's message.”


Goodness, that's a mouthful. And, quite the process. It's not automatic or random. It's God's work within me as I permit God to do so.


This means I must recognize and grieve my sin as a personal trespass against my Holy God. I must permit the Spirit of God to infiltrate more deeply as He recreates me from the inside out. And I must permit God to use everyday hardships as a means of helping me become more submitted to the will of God.


To the extent I give myself to this process, God's message will be evident in my life.


Father, this is certainly easier said than done. I’m eager for my life to be “a holy example of Your message,” but I’m not as eager about the long and arduous process of transformation. But I’m willing for You to shape, fashion and mold me, so You might receive greater glory, and others might come to know You. By Your grace, O God.



4. The purpose of Pentecost was not to teach the disciples something, but to make them the incarnation of what they preached.”


This is powerful. Sometimes we think the way forward with God is simply to learn more about God and His ways. But that’s not the case.


For instance, I can know all about anatomy, the importance of diet and exercise, etc., but it's not until I practice that stuff that it has positive effect on my body, mind and spirit.


In the same way, God is not simply educating me, but is transforming me. It’s the process of spiritual formation, and God is doing it day-by-day as I seek His face, follow the nudges of His Spirit, and endure with faithfulness.


Afterall, God did the same with Jesus.


Holy Father, please continue to “conform me to the image of Your Son” (Romans 8:29). Do what You must to shape my mind, soul and spirit. Forge me and batter me into shape. Please give me the grace to receive it with joy. And all for Your glory. Thank You.



5. “Before God's message can liberate other people, His liberation must first be real in you.”


This makes perfect sense. I can't sell others on something I don't buy myself. I can’t convince others of God's freedom, deliverance and new life if those things aren’t evident in me.


And, when these things become my own, I can share them with great enthusiasm and vibrancy. I eagerly help other beggars find bread. I’m liberated to help others find liberation.


Lord Jesus, I want to practice what I preach. I want You to do in me what I proclaim You can do in others. Please help me “freely give as I have freely received” (Matthew 10:8). I want to be authentic. Please do what You must to make it so.







1. “Our Lord’s words often hit home for us when He speaks in the simplest way.”


We may think the ways of God are complicated and complex. However, “Unless you become like little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 18:3).


God's ways are far simpler than we make them out to be. Not simple in doing, but simple in comprehending.


Jesus simply asks us to walk with Him in full and complete surrender and devotion, living out our daily lives in loving obedience, eagerly given to His Kingdom purposes for our lives and our world.


Is it possible we complicate the way of Jesus as a way of creating a diversion?

Lord Jesus, our simple Savior, thank You for Your simple words and Your simple way. May we become simple enough to believe, receive and follow.



2. “We must continually maintain an adventurous attitudes towards Jesus.”


Without a doubt, following Jesus is forever a Great Adventure, with surprises around every bend.


And why wouldn’t we be surprised by Jesus’ leadership in our lives? “His ways are past finding out” (Romans 11:33). How can we possibly comprehend, understand or predict where He might take us next?


How much of the Great Adventure do I miss because of my unwillingness to risk? In what ways have I compromised my God-walk with my own sensibilities?


One day, as we stand before His throne, I wonder if we’ll realize what could have been?


Lord Jesus, thank You for the Great Adventure of walking with You. How would You have us serve You today? Please give us grace to take the risk and dive headlong.



3. “Many turned back from walking with Jesus; Not into sin, but away from Him.”


Refraining from sin is admirable. But it's not the same as walking with Jesus.


Walking with Jesus is more than being kind and good-hearted. It means setting aside our druthers and following His leadership, no matter where it may take us.


I certainly want to be a righteous man; I want my life to reflect my Savior. But am I also willing to let Him drive the bus? That means letting go of my control, direction and aspirations.


But who knows better than our Heavenly Father what will truly satisfy the depths of our soul? Surely anything less than walking with Jesus is a compromise, no matter how good it may be.


Lord Jesus, what a dreadful thought of compromising what could have been had we walked with You. Instead, what a thrilling notion to experience daily Kingdom living in the very center of Your will for our lives. Holy Savior, please help us walk with You every moment of every day, not turning aside to distractions or our druthers, but satisfied only by being in step with You.



4. “All that’s required for oneness with Jesus is living our natural life in absolute dependence upon Him.”


Once again, do we complicate our God-walk? Is it truly as easy as simply walking in absolute dependence on Jesus?


I think of those in my life who demonstrate the greatest surrender and serenity in their God-walk. It’s those who recognize the greatness of Jesus and their great need for Jesus.


Because, if there's any hint of self-sufficiency, it’s preventing us from knowing God’s all-sufficiency.


Lord Jesus, awaken us to how needful we are and how completely dependent we are upon You. Thank You for every heartbeat, every breath and every moment of our existence. Our heart’s desire is be one with the One Who made us for Himself.



5. “The secret of walking with Jesus is to show no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead.”


In speaking of the simplicity of walking with Jesus, Oswald now names the great difficulty of doing so.


Those in the Scriptures who demonstrated the greatest faith are those who seemed least concerned about uncertainties, and simply stepped out to follow God's leadership.


It seems so simple until God asks us to do the same. Then it tends to get incredibly complicated. What about this? What about that? Our minds run a million equations as we weigh our cares and concerns against the uncertainty of following Jesus.


Yet, it’s when we risk and step out in faith to follow Jesus that we often find His greatest assurance. We sense His nearness and rest confidently in His all-sufficient grace.


As we seek to follow Jesus, we have a heightened sense that He has us, holds us and will never let us go. Surely wherever He's taking us His best, because we’ll be with Him there.


Lord Jesus, we can become so concerned with uncertainties, and they often prevent us from laying aside our cares and stepping into the unknown with You. Thank You for the honor and simplicity of walking with You. May this be our way today.






1. “To become one with Jesus will not only mean giving up our sin, but surrendering our way of looking at things.”


I'm so sure my way of looking at things is correct. How can I be wrong? Am I not the reference point for right and wrong, true and false, fact and fiction, good and evil?


Our pushback to the things of God is often along the lines of pride and arrogance. When we can’t understand, we’re offended rather than being humbled. Something inside rises up to defend our inability to understand, rather than humbly asking God to open our eyes to His Truth.


Perhaps this is what I love most about Oswald Chambers: He challenges my thinking. It's not his theology or philosophy, but his perspective on the Scriptures and God's ways. He often sees something I don't see.


And it typically points back to me and my unwillingness.


Lord Jesus, Your ways are not my ways. They are foreign and strange. They frighten and offend me because they are not always sensible. Please help me loosen my grip on my way of seeing things. Please open my eyes to things unseen.



2. “The Lord wants us to present to Him, not our goodness, honesty and efforts to do better, but real, solid sin.”


Good intentions are certainly a good thing. But our intentions to be a better person must also be met with our willingness to bring our sin to the cross.


It’s the only way we receive a clean slate: “What God gives us in exchange for our sin is real, solid righteousness.” We don't tidy ourselves up. Our acknowledgement and repentance of sin is permission for Jesus to cleanse us and clothe us in His righteousness.


It's offensive to us when Jesus tells us we can’t do this on our own. We're convinced we surely can. Yet nothing we do today can make up for yesterday. Yesterday's refuse must be cleansed by the blood of Jesus.


“We must give up our claims of being worthy of God's consideration.” We think we’re worthy because of our good intentions. If we could see the soiled condition of our soul we’d surely throw ourselves upon the mercy of God and readily receive His forgiveness and grace.


Lord Jesus, thank You for bearing with us through our good intentions. By Your grace, may we continually humble ourselves before You, recognize our sin, and permit You to wash us clean. May our intention be honesty with You about our sin and Your forgiveness.



3. “God will show us what we need to surrender next.”


This is certainly God's way. He's never finished recreating us.


Even the most seasoned saint is still being sanctified. We’re a continual work in progress as God conforms us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:39).


I wonder what God might ask me to surrender to Him today? I wonder how His request will be met? Do I trust Him enough to believe He's working to bring about His very best in my life?


Father, please help me trust Your motivations and give myself to Your process. May I please be met with the grace to surrender as You call for more and more of me.



4. “We will suffer the sharp pain of disillusionment before we fully surrender.”


Moving nearer and nearer to Jesus brings a greater vision of His Holiness, and a clearer perspective of my unrighteousness.


In His presence, I find I'm not all that.


Surely this is the “sharp pain of disillusionment” that accompanies full surrender to Jesus. “Are we willing to surrender our grasp?” That is, our sense of worthiness, goodness, morality, sensibility, wisdom, understanding and more?


But disillusionment also brings a vision of who we can be in Christ. When we see ourselves for who we are compared to Who He is, something switches in our soul. We're no longer satisfied with us. We only want more of Him.


Heavenly Father, please bring on the disillusionment. “May the things of earth grow strangely dim in the Light of Your glory and grace.” May our disillusionment be overwhelmed with our astonishment at Who You.






1. “Some things seem likely to separate us from the love of God, but nothing can.”


This is where we must discern between how we might feel and what is our reality.


Indeed, challenges of life can “disrupt our close fellowship with God,” but, “none of them is able to come between the love of God and the saint.” Because the love of God withstands and overcomes every obstacle.


Beloved, God’s doesn’t count on us. God loves us out of Who He is, not out of who we are. We don’t earn or deserve God’s love; we simply receive it.


As such, God’s love is never deterred or diminished. It’s endless, coming from His endless capacity to love. And God directs it toward every human being ever conceived.




Heavenly Father, we receive Your love, unmerited and undeserved. We’ll count on it, every moment of every day, no matter what. Thank You for loving us, regardless. Thank You for being You.



2. “The underlying foundation of the Christian faith is the undeserved, limitless miracle of God’s love exhibited on the cross of Calvary.”


Do I know this love? Do I trust this love? Have I permitted this love to embrace me? As I do, I find “the freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).


Without this sense, we will always live under the burden of trying to please and appease God, which inhibits us from simply being a child with our Father.


But when we’re able to receive God's unconditional love, we can laugh and play with our God. We can enjoy His mirth. We can even receive His correction, knowing He loves us and is cultivating the very best in us.


Thank God for His marvelous ways, and thank God for the demonstration of His love by Christ’s cross. How can we ever doubt?


Father, thank You for Your boundless love toward us. We open our hearts today and receive Your unmerited affection and care. Please forgive us for ignoring, diminishing or thinking less of Your love. May it be our foundation, every moment of every day.



3. “We are super-victors with a joy that comes from experiencing the very things which look as if they’re going to overwhelm us.”


Every day we face our dreadful imaginations. We conjure images of the worst scenarios. We pull the covers over our heads in fear and trepidation.


Instead, knowing our infinite God goes before us, let’s step out in faith and audacity, trusting God to be Who God truly is.


And, as we do, we’ll find great joy in experiencing His all sufficient grace in the midst of that which used to hold us captive in fear and trepidation. Those daily challenges are precisely the things that help us know our God in greater ways. Hallelujah!


Heavenly Father, thank You that “we are more than conquerors through Him Who loves us” (Romans 8:37). Thank You that You go before us today. Thank You that, as the wind and the waves appear to be prevailing, You will show us Your victory. You've done it countless times before. Help us trust You again today.



4. “A saint doesn't know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it.”


This seems like the craziest statement ever uttered. But our experiences demonstrate its truth.


We relish our personal stories of God's incredible faithfulness when odds were stacked against us. We've been there, felt the heat and fear, yet experienced God’s faithful care and deliverance in those dreadful moments.


And we can't wait to tell others.


Although we don't seek tribulation and hardships, or wish them on others, it’s in those moments we often find ourselves closer to God than ever.


That's because “our joy is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can change.” This is the reality in which we live today. Praise Jesus!


Lord, thank You for Your unrelenting love. Thank You for proving Yourself over and over. Thank You for the stories we can tell of Your great grace and mercy when we’ve been in over our heads. As we find ourselves in those situations today, may we draw on our own experiences of Your prevailing grace.






1. “It requires the grace of Almighty God to take the next step in our devotion to Him.”


Oswald is speaking of those seasons in our God-walk when we lack natural enthusiasm and the encouragement of others. In those moments “we have no vision from God,” and can’t seem to lift our eyes to Heaven.


There are times when it’s impossible in our own strength to take next steps. We’re drained and unmotivated. That’s when we must press in and draw upon the supernatural grace of God to do what we’re not naturally inspired to do.


Maybe we're in that place today. Many live in a toxic environment that’s not conducive to faith. Perhaps we’re incredibly discouraged and God’s the last thing on our minds.


As Christ-followers, we've all been there. Beloved, let’s pray from personal experience for those who might be there now:


Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit, we call upon You for Your grace and mercy in the lives of those who are presently struggling and despondent; for those who are discouraged to the bone and cannot see You clearly; for those who are pressed down and oppressed. We ask for a breakthrough of Your Amazing Grace. Draw their eyes upward, revive their hearts, increase the oxygen of Your Spirit in their bloodstream. Please help them take the next step out of their darkness and into Your marvelous Light. Thank You, our Mighty God.



2. “We must experience the essence of the Incarnation by working it out with God's hands.”


The essence of the Incarnation is Christ in us by His Holy Spirit. As Christ’s followers, we're permitting Christ Himself to live through us.


This must become our go to, especially in times of great heaviness and heartache. We can’t, but our God can. That which we are incapable of doing in our natural strength, God can do in His supernatural strength.


We’re learning to let Christ live through us—seeing through His eyes, walking in the faith Christ provides, standing in His strength, and more.


These aren’t signs of weakness. This is the essence of crucifying ourself and giving Christ His rightful place on the throne of our hearts. It’s permitting Jesus to rule and reign in us, and bring about His glorious victories through His mighty strength.


Lord Jesus, Incarnation of God in us, please work within and through us today. Please do for us what we can’t do for ourselves. We call upon Your supernatural grace and power—the very life of Christ dwelling in us—to do what we find impossible. Thank You for being Lord of our lives.



3. “When we have no vison from God, we lose interest, and our everyday life becomes trivial tasks.”


This is the liability of taking our eyes off of Jesus and going it alone.


As human beings, we were made for greater things. There’s no pursuit on planet Earth, no pleasure or accomplishment, that will ultimately satisfy our hearts. Only God Himself can do this.


Without a constant pursuit of Jesus, we simply lose interest in the things of God, and we’re liable to become buried in the everyday and trivial tasks of life. Despondency can overtake us, and we find ourselves joining the ranks of the discontent, unsatisfied and unfulfilled.


Thank God for His higher calling, His abundant living, the gift of His life-giving Spirit within us, and our citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven. We exist because of, for the purposes of, and by the good pleasure of our God in Heaven. Hallelujah!


Father, we lift our eyes to You today. Please help us visualize our place in Your Kingdom. Please help us to draw upon Your life-giving Spirit as we step into a new day. Thank You for meaning, purpose, and Your grace-filled fellowship.



4. “The thing that really testifies for God is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others.”


This describes the quality I admire in so many saints. They press on, day after day, without fanfare or flourish, unbeknownst to others, but in full view of the God they trust.


Thank God for their demonstration. They are an inspiration of dedication and discipline. And surely, if they can do it, by the grace of God, so can we.


Lord Jesus, we don’t need to be seen by others to be affirmed and encouraged. We know You see us, strengthen us and walk with us. May our daily inspiration come from a sense of Your good pleasure. May that alone be sufficient as we persevere.






1. “Joy comes from seeing the complete fulfillment of the specific purpose for which I was created and born again.”


Wow. How profound. “For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross...” (Hebrews 12:2).


I sense the joy of the Lord when I know I’ve been obedient. It's worth more than anything else. It certainly helps me imagine one day the joy of hearing God's say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”


What could be better than responding to God daily? I can't imagine.


Lord Jesus, help me be about Your Father's business. I can become so easily distracted. I can foolishly look for fulfillment in the wrong places, when all along it comes from simply following You. Thank You for such joyous pleasure.



2. “Consider your life valuable only for the purpose of fulfilling that to which you were called.”


The Christian ethic is, every human life is of sacred worth, because every soul is created in the image of God. We dearly hold to this consistent life ethic.


But beyond being alive, what gives my life value is that I was created for God’s purposes, and I get to live into those purposes on a daily basis. Every day I’m on a mission for God.


What a tremendous reason to get out of bed in the morning.


But to what is God calling me? In general, I’m called to die to myself daily and make myself fully available to Jesus. I won’t know the specifics until I sense His nudges, but I can determine now to act when He does.


Father, thank You for making us for Yourself. And thank You that we get to live out our life in union and obedience to our Creator. Thank You for our moment by moment interactions. They bring such joy, purpose and meaning to our lives.



3. “I will show him how many things he must suffer for My Name’s sake.”


This Scripture passage names the object of our faith and obedience:  It's our God Himself.


As Psalm 31:15 implies, we exist for God's purposes: “Our times are in His hands.” We were created for God’s purposes, and by living into God’s purposes we find our purpose and meaning.


We were joyfully created by our joyful God to spend time an eternity in His joyful dance. Everything else in heaven and on earth pales in comparison.


Welcome to the God-walk, beloved. This is how we get to spend our days. Hallelujah!


Heavenly Father, we offer our lives to You for Your Name’s sake today. Have us.  Do with us as You will. Nothing brings us more joy or satisfaction.



4. “The need is not the same as the call.”


This Oswald-ism has stuck with me for decades.


If I merely respond to human needs, I will give myself endlessly. There are more demands in this world than anyone can possibly fulfill in 1000 lifetimes.


Instead, I give myself to God’s leadership. The needs around me are simply opportunities to exercise God’s call. I'm demonstrating my faithfulness and obedience, which is the greatest gift I can give Him.


Simultaneously, the time and energy I expend with my obedience, combined with the God's outpouring of mercy and grace, produces effectual service as I interact with others. Not only am I experiencing the joy of obedience in fellowship with God, but also the satisfaction of knowing my life is significant, and my efforts are making a difference in our world.


What a great way to live.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the sense of Your ownership You place upon my life. I love belonging to You. Please help me swiftly respond to Your leadership today.






1. “It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and a call, because then you are not bothered by what He requires.”


This is a critical dimension of Christian faith. If my idea of serving God is to simply do stuff for God, I will do according to my liking and common sense or best judgment. That's very different from listening to God’s still, small voice and being obedient even in the smallest matters.


If our goal is to follow God’s still, small voice, we will find it does not leave us, but is perpetual in its persistence. God won't twist our arm, but once we become aware of God's nudges, we find them there all the time.


We’re learning to know them, and learning to know when we’re ignoring them.


Holy Spirit, thank You for Your gentle way. Thank You for making us aware of Your leadership. May we meet Your leadership with instant obedience, even if it's not what we would choose. We’re determined to choose You more and more.



2. “What do I count in my life as ‘dear to myself?’”


Perhaps “I consider the time I decide to give to God’s service as dear.” If this is the case, I will track and keep account of the time I spend. I will tally the cost and equate it as my devotion to God.


Oswald uses Paul as an example of one who considered his time as dear, not because he was keeping track of the time he gave God, but because his time for serving God was so limited. “He refused to use his energy on anything else.” Paul recognized how little time he had to give everything he had to Jesus.


Surely the same is true of our time, energies, resources, relationships, future plans, etc. If we hold these things dear, then we count any of God’s impingements upon them as a sacrifice to God. Instead, Oswald challenges us to see all our holdings as riches to spend for God's glory and purposes.


That's quite a change in mindset.


Lord Jesus, I certainly count my fleeting life as dear, along with my limited resources and more. I'm liable to attempt to preserve these things rather than spend them for You. Do change my mind. May I readily pour out my most precious treasures as love gifts to You.



3. “Paul displays an almost noble annoyance at being asked to consider himself.”


We certainly don't worship Paul. But it's interesting that God gives us Paul as an example of a life lived solely for Jesus.


My human nature considers myself in every equation. What are my preferences, gains, costs or sacrifices? How much time and energy will it take? Will I have anything left over for myself?


I love the descriptor, “noble annoyance.” We can't fake that. Nor is it a prideful display. Instead, it's a determined demonstration of where our heart and priorities lie.


In short, it speaks of profound devotion to Jesus.


Lord Jesus, I'm challenged by this notion. I would love such a thing to be said about me. Please continue helping me detach from myself from lesser things that I might be more completely devoted to You.



4. “Our ordinary and reasonable service to God may actually compete against our total surrender to Him.”


I can see how this is so. I can feel very justified in my “ordinary and reasonable service to God.” That is, the decisions I make day in and day out as I seek to live a moral and upright life.


In turn, I may feel my obligations to God are quite and sufficiently satisfied. If this is the case, I may be oblivious to God's specific leadership. After all, I've already done what is required.


But God’s looking for more than an ethical life and obedience to His commands. He’s seeking a surrendered life, wholly given to Him and His purposes. Because God is ultimately after our fellowship with God in mutual givenness to one another.


A relationship out of obligation rings hollow. A relationship built upon loving surrender and deference is optimum. And this is what we’re offered in Christ.


Lord Jesus, to the best of our ability, and by the grace of Your Holy Spirit, we surrender our hearts to You today. We want to be pliable in Your hands. We want to relate with You in the realm of reciprocal self-giving.



5. “Never consider whether or not you are of use to God, but always consider that ‘you are not your own.’”


Usefulness is not the goal of my God-walk. Detaching from my life and attaching to the life of God is the goal of my God-walk.


To recognize “I am not my own” is not to devalue and throw away my life. Instead, it’s to offer my life as a love-gift to Jesus. As I do so, I recognize the preciousness of this exchange, and grow in my appreciation of Jesus giving His precious life for me.


How beautiful.


Lord Jesus, thank You for the amazing arrangement You provide for relating with You. Thank You for the pleasure of giving ourselves to You as You give Yourself to us, that we might joyfully flourish together in Your abundant life. May this vision for what-could-be motivate us to do so.






1. “When we receive the Life of Christ through the Holy Spirit, He unites us with God.”


I love the notion of “the Life of Christ through the Holy Spirit” within us. God isn’t simply improving our existing life. God has birthed His Life in us, and we have the moment-by-moment and lifelong privilege of partaking of that Life.


It’s not as if an alien has taken up residence in us. Instead, we were created to house the Holy Spirit in the first place. We were designed for union with God and to be empowered by God’s Life within.


Beloved, let’s not simply sip of that Life during our times of need. Let’s nurture it and permit it to subsume our natural life. This is the “abundant life” Jesus spoke of (John 10:10), and He makes it all possible by His cross and Spirit.


Welcome to the God-Life, children of God. It’s what we’re made for.


Father, thank You for the gift of Your Life in us. Please help us provide a hospitable environment so Jesus can flourish within us. Thank You for the joy of sharing in Your glorious Life.



2. “We are united with God by His Spirit in exactly the same way Jesus was.”


This is difficult to imagine. Surely the Father and Son have a union that we can never experience. But that's not the teaching of Jesus: “Father, may they be one even as You and I are one, I in them and You in Me” (John 17:22-23).


Apparently God's intention is for us to be united with Him just as His Son is united with Him. That doesn’t make us Divine. Instead, it brings us into the relationship God created for us in the beginning.


The Father is eager and willing. Am I?


Heavenly Father, may we be fully united with You and Your Son by Your Holy Spirit. May we wholeheartedly give ourselves to this union and become one with You and one another.



3. “Pour yourself out. Feed My sheep.”


Oswald is direct. “Don't testify about how much you love Me.” Instead, we’re to demonstrate our love for Jesus by pouring ourselves out for His sheep.


Unfortunately, we’re liable to see Jesus’ sheep as needy nuisances: “Jesus has some extraordinarily peculiar sheep.” They can be unkempt, dirty, awkward, pushy and wayward. But Jesus calls us to love and feed them anyway, just like He does.


Beloved, it’s one thing to love Jesus. It’s another thing altogether to love His sheep. But the former comes with the latter: We love Jesus by loving His sheep.


Lord Jesus, thank You for Your way. Please enlarge my heart for Your sheep. And please enlarge the hearts of others as they contend with loving me.



4. “It's impossible to exhaust God's love.”


My love runs out very quickly. I'm so thankful God’s love never does.


God calls us to love others with the inexhaustible love of God wherewith we are loved. And God makes that love available to me by His Holy Spirit.


That means I have no excuse for not loving others. They may try my patience, but the Holy Spirit is able to supply me with God's unlimited patience. The same is true with God’s compassion, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and love.


God calls me to relate with others by drawing from the endless well of His Spirit within me.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the high calling to love, not by girding up my strength and resolve, but by receiving from the abundance of Your love. Please help me Your conduit of love to others.



5. “If I love my Lord, I have no business being guided by my natural emotions.”


I certainly have my preferences. Just like everyone else, I’m drawn to some people more than I am others. And I certainly find some people easier to love than others.


But Oswad says I don't get to pick and choose. God isn’t asking me to love others using my natural inclinations. God calls me to be a conduit of His love to everyone He places in my path.


Jesus demonstrated an incredible ability to love everyone He met, and He extends that capability to us by His Holy Spirit. May Christ’s compelling to love compel us today.


Father, thank You for loving me beyond natural human emotion. Thank You for loving me unconditionally and supernaturally. Please fill me with that kind of love for others.






1. “Nothing can cut through to the center of our being except the Word of God.”


What an amazing depiction.


We all know hurt. Perhaps it's pain from regret, betrayal, foolishness, disobedience, acting in anger, etc. Our heart ache because of what we've done.


But the Spirit of God touches us even more deeply. God's Word gets to the very center of our being, deeper than any other experience or emotion. It's the place God has made for Himself, and in that place we resonate with His Holy Spirit.


This is why the Word of God is essential. When God speaks His Word to us, He speaks in that inner place. And as we grow in Christ, we’re developing a greater sensitivity to respond.


Father, thank You for Your Word to us. Thank You for the way our anatomy can differentiate Your Word, conviction and love from every other thought and feeling. Thank You for that precious place where we commune with You. Please help us become more and more comfortable interfacing with You there.



2. “When Jesus asked Peter, ‘Do you love Me,’ Peter was awakened to the fact that, at the center of his personal life. he was devoted to Jesus.”


This is so amazingly redemptive. Jesus wasn’t chastening Peter, but was helping Peter see Peter’s love for Jesus.


Indeed, Peter denied Christ three times, but that didn’t mean Peter didn't love Jesus. It meant Peter fell to temptation in that moment. We have the capacity for both—even simultaneously.


Peter was surely in great grief and despondency because he had betrayed his Lord. But Jesus came, not to correct him, but to help him over that impasse. Jesus helped Peter recognize that, indeed, he did love Jesus. And when Jesus pointed it out, Peter's love for Jesus prevailed and overcame his despair and humiliation.


Praise Jesus for revealing our hearts to ourselves.


Lord Jesus, I’m often tempted to throw in the towel when I foolishly disobey or betray You. Thank You for calling me out of my darkness and into Your marvelous Light again and again. I feel I do love You, Lord Jesus. May that love only grow and grow as You nurture it. Thank You.



3. “‘Lord you know all things.’ Our Lord's questions always reveal the true me to myself.”


Indeed, Jesus knows all things. We can be thankful He does. And, we can be thankful He helps us know ourselves.


We assume we know ourselves well. But there is plenty of bias and deception going on in our soul. Thank God for His loving Truth as He reveals things to us about ourselves.


Thankfully He never does so to humiliate or punish. Instead, He’s bringing things to the surface to skim them off and refine us. We’re always better because Jesus has revealed our hearts.


Lord Jesus, thank You for Your X-ray vision. Thank You for knowing me better than I know myself. I welcome Your examinations. And I welcome Your continuing work to sanctify me and make me more like You.



4. “On rare occasions, God will back us into a corner where He will hurt us with His piercing questions.”


I can trust God if He must use pain to get my attention.


I've asked God time and again to break my legs if it would keep me from wrecking my marriage, reputation, eternity, etc. I welcome His pain as He must to save me from myself.


It takes a great deal of love to ask piercing and personal questions, because we know the pain it inflicts on the other. It's why we often sidestep and bite our tongue.


But God doesn’t take the easy road. He steps in to hurt and heal with surgical precision and loving care. He’s bringing about the very best in our lives. Thank You, Lord.


Father, do as You must to get my attention. I know You mean no harm, but only my well-being. Please do what only You can do to help me recognize my need for You. Thank You for making me more and more dependent upon You.






1. “True love never simply declares itself. It’s confessed in everything we do, not merely by our words.”


This is a powerful statement.


It's a simple matter to speak the words, “I love you.” In fact, we can even do so as a means of getting our way with another person.


It's another thing altogether to declare and confess our love with everything we think, say and do. Those things are powerful evidence of our love for another. And certainly of our love for Jesus.


It's important that we frame our God-walk in terms of our love for God. Our goal is not to simply believe and receive, but to reciprocate God's love in every aspect of our lives.


Lord Jesus, we want to move from believing in Your to loving You. Not simply speaking the words, but confessing and declaring our love for Your with our lives. Thank You for doing the same for us every day, and certainly in the cross of Jesus our Lord.



2. “Experiencing the ‘hurt’ of Jesus’ question: ‘Do you love Me?’”


Surely we can imagine the pain Peter felt when Jesus asked Peter if Peter loved Him. Just a few days earlier Peter had humiliated himself by denying Christ three times—even after Jesus had predicted Peter would do so!


I hate feeling like a schmuck.


After Jesus “hurt” Peter with His question, “Do you love Me,” surely Peter lived, walked and ministered differently for the rest of his life. He couldn’t undo the past, but he could walk in the assurance that Jesus’ love for him would never run dry. And with the determination that Jesus would never have to ask that question again.


I feel that pain every time I deny, disobey and doubt Jesus, and when I’ve ignored Him, questioned His motives or failed to share Him with others. The pain I experience isn’t God’s punishment. Instead, it’s my own heart recognizing I don't love Jesus to the degree I might.


Thank God, Jesus loves me even when I don't fully love Him.


Lord Jesus, thank You for the hurt of Your question. It's a gentle excruciation, and an unforgettable reminder of what’s truly important. May my desire to love You as You love me be my greatest motivation.



3. “The Word of God inflicts hurt on us more than sin ever could, because sin dulls our senses.”


This is so insightful.


Indeed, sin dulls my God-sensitivities. In fact, I’m choosing to ignore conviction of the Holy Spirit if I choose to live in my sin. Lord, have mercy.


All the while, the Word of God, which is “sharper than any two edged sword,” continues to quietly stir and unsettle my soul. It's God's kind and ongoing reminder that I’m compromising what I could have. God will forever evade my attempt to avoid His conviction, and continue to persistently, consistently and lovingly woo me towards repentance.


Father, thank You for the “hurt” of Your Word when I’m disobedient. Thank You for the holy discomfort in my soul that draws me back to You. Once again I return to Your gracious embrace.



4. “When God speaks to us, the pain is so intense that no deception can remain.”


I find it unsettling that I can be so deceived. “The heart is deceptive above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). Not only am I a scoundrel and can deceive others, but I am quite deceivable.


The Bible calls the wicked one, “the deceiver” (Revelation 12:9). I may feel incapable of being deceived, but that notion in and of itself is a deception.


Thankfully, the Word of God brings God's Light, conviction and grace. It exposes deceptions, both the ways in which I may be deceived, and my efforts to deceive others.


In the presence of Jesus, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The conviction of the Holy Spirit comes upon me in an undeniable way, and convinces me of the truth about God, myself and others, It graciously permits me to detect where I've been deceived, and offers me grace to be forgiven and redeemed.


Thank God for the “pain” of having my deceptions revealed.


Lord Jesus, I fancy myself as wise and not easily deceived. Yet I realize my heart is quite deceivable and fully capable of deceiving others. Lord, please have mercy. May Your Word continually root out deceit and set me free.