02:  Oswald Chambers and the Higher Christian Life

02: Oswald Chambers and the Higher Christian Life

The Higher Christian Life

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Following in the Footsteps of Others

When we read the testimonies of those great spiritual heroes of days gone past and hear them describe the time leading up to their baptism in the Holy Spirit and their living the Higher Christian Life, a certain pattern begins to emerge.  Granted, all their individual experiences are different, since God chooses to reveal Himself in the way He chooses to each of His children.  So we obviously can’t put God in a box and demand He deals with everyone the way He deals with us.  There is no cookie-cutter scheme that works for everyone.  Yet, in examining these individual accounts, we do see a pattern that each person seems to go through.  Much like the pattern of salvation found in Romans 8:29-30.  Consider the steps God undertakes to reconcile each of us to Himself.

First, there is the sovereign act of God accomplished before we were created and of which we were totally unaware.  The Scripture says, “For whom He foreknew” (Rom. 8:29a), which means God placed His favor and choice on us before we even knew His name.  And long before we ever took our first breath.  It was an act of His will and not of our own.  And it takes some measure of spiritual maturity to understand this momentous event.  We tend to always look forward from the day we “believed in Jesus and asked Him into our hearts.”  But this is a look back.  It is best explained in Ephesians 1:3-5:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as (what) He chose us in Him (when) before the foundation of the world, (why) that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, (how) having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, (on what basis) according to the good pleasure of His will.

Next, God predetermined the outcome and future of those He previously had chosen and upon those He granted His favor.  Scripture says, “He also predestined” (Rom. 8:29b) those “whom He foreknew” to something.  But what is that exactly?  God has predetermined those He chose in Him to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29c).  We are to become like Jesus.  And we will become just like Jesus.  Once again, this was all determined without our knowledge or consent.  It was part of God’s sovereignty in our salvation.

Then, to those “He foreknew” and “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,” God begins the process of drawing them unto Himself.  This is known as a “calling” or, theologically, an “effectual call.”  This is when we become aware of God and what He offers and the horrid sinfulness in our own life.  In our testimonies, it goes something like this:

“I knew I was lost, and I needed God to forgive my sins and change my life.  And I became aware of the fact that is exactly what Jesus said He would do.  It was amazing.  What I once thought was foolish now made perfect sense.  And I knew I needed to give my life to Him.”

Finally, there is justification, “these He also justified” (Rom. 8:30a).  This is the point in the pattern of our salvation that we become aware of the fact we are now saved.  And we usually mark this down as the first day of our new life, not yet understanding our new life was determined by God in eternity past, “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

And as a final bonus, “and whom He justified (all those who are saved in Him), these He also glorified” (Rom. 8:30b).  Now, that’s quite a pattern God has established for receiving saving faith provided by His Son.  Would you not agree?


A Common Pattern for Receiving the Fullness of the Spirit

In much the same way, we see a common pattern in those who deeply desire to receive the fullness of the Spirit, or the baptism of the Spirit, or the Higher Christian Life, or whatever you choose to call it.  And this pattern creeps into almost everyone’s testimony who has been granted this blessing.

Let me lay out the key points almost everyone’s experience in the deeper life of the Spirit has in common.

One, salvation must take place in the individual and they must be born again by faith in the completed work of Christ.   On Sunday, this was Assumption One.

Two, there comes a deep awareness of failure, of falling short of what we are to be in the Lord.  It’s as if we come to know there is more to this life with Christ than what we are experiencing, yet we are powerless to live a life of overcoming victory on our own, no matter how hard we try.  And the resulting guilt and failure makes one miserable.

Three, there is a definite meeting with Christ, a time of total commitment, of absolute surrender in Him that is necessary for Him to accomplish in us what we are unable to do on our own.  Usually, this is brought on by a particular verse or spiritual crisis the Lord uses to bring us from where we are (pride, independence, self-sufficiency) to where He wants us to be (broken, repentant, dependent, surrendered).

Four, there follows a faith commitment, an appropriation by faith on the basis of His Word to believe His promise regarding the Holy Spirit regardless of our past experiences.  And this is the same kind of faith we placed in Him that resulted in our salvation.  Only now, it results in our deliverance from the power of sin and the infusion of His power for ministry.

And finally, there is the wonderful manifestation of “rivers of living water” (John 7:37-39) Jesus said would flow out of the heart of one now living the Higher Christian Life.  And from this point on, you will find yourself ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit and not the power of our fallen flesh.  And God will become more to you than He ever has before.  As D.L. Moody said regarding this experience, “I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience (the baptism of the Holy Spirit) if you should give me all the world – it would be as the small dust of the balance.”


Oswald Chambers and the Higher Christian Life

Today, we will look at the testimony of Oswald Chambers, the minister who is the author of My Utmost for His Highest.  And when we do, see if you can pick out the pattern above in Oswald’s testimony of his life with the Holy Spirit.

By the way, Oswald Chambers said after his experience with the Higher Christian Life, “After He comes in, all you see is ‘Jesus only, Jesus ever.'”

Have a Christ-filled day and I will talk with you again tomorrow.

The Higher Christian Life

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01:  Discovering The Higher Christian Life

01: Discovering The Higher Christian Life

The Higher Christian Life

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Welcome to the Abundant Life in Christ

Yesterday was a wonderful day together as we committed ourselves to strive after what the saints of old called the “Higher Christian Life” and Jesus described as the “Abundant Life” found only in Him.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” – John 10:10.

The context of this verse is Jesus revealing Himself as the “good shepherd” who “gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11), in contrast to a “hireling” (John 10:13) or “thieves and robbers” (John 10:8) who care little for the sheep.   And the ones He promised “abundant life” are the sheep, you and I by inference, who only enter into salvation through the “door” (John 10:9), defined as Jesus Christ.

I know it sounds confusing, but this is what Jesus is saying in this passage:

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I (the Good Shepherd, Jesus) have come that they (the sheep, you and I) may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (perissós – over and above, superabundant, much, great, beyond measure)” – John 10:10.

But what does this promise really mean?


Are You Experiencing a Life Beyond Measure?

This the where things get personal.  If you are like me, and most believers that I know, our spiritual life has been a series of ups and downs, peaks and valleys, two steps forward followed by two steps back, and is less than what we would call abundant.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about our salvation or the grace of God so lavished upon us by the sacrifice of His Son.  I’m talking about living a life of holiness, a life of sanctification, living as someone “set apart” for God’s holy purpose, a life surrendered to Him only to be selfishly reclaimed whenever things get tough, or painful, or boring.  And for me, this is less than what Jesus promised and less than I am willing to live with.

So what do we do?

First, we realize that maybe, just maybe, there is more to this Christian life than what we have been experiencing.  Then, we look for confirmation of that fact.  Are there people that we respect, people we can trust, that are experiencing more of this elusive “abundant life” than we are?  And if so, how did they experience the life with Christ we only dream about?  What can they teach us?  And, more importantly, what are we willing to learn from them?


The Higher Christian Life

Which brings us to today’s podcast.  In setting a foundation for what is to come, we are going to look at the testimony of a few heroes of the faith who can testify to the Higher Christian Life (a phrase quite popular in the last century that has fallen out of vogue today).  And these men and women can be trusted by their words and what the Lord accomplished in their lives.

We will hear from D.L Moody (today’s podcast), Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, Amy Carmichel, John Bunyan, Charles Finney, and so many more that should be familiar to each of you.  And the purpose of this is to establish a foundation in each of us that maybe there is more to the Christian life than we presently know.  And, if so, “I want all of You, Lord!”

Remember, I will be sending these out on a daily basis so we, as the body of Christ and as a family, can grow together in our faith and in the image of Him (Rom. 8:29) until:

we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:13-16).

As a final note, some of these will be longer (like this one) and some shorter.  But commit to joining with us each day as we strive to be more like Him and grow together.


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Faith Must Be Tested

Faith Must Be Tested

As a church we’ve been studying about faith, especially trying to answer the question, How do we learn to live by faith?  And if you remember, last Sunday we talked about learning how to trust God in all His promises.  But there are other ways whereby our faith can grow.  One of them is by having our faith tested.

As Augustine once said, “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”  Couldn’t agree more.

I realized that our church now is under some trials and tribulations.  It seems Covid-19 has infected almost every family in our church and it appears it may be another week or so before things can get back to normal.  So what I wanted to do is send you just a bit of daily encouragement by following up with what we talked about the last Sunday we were together.

And our text is going to be found in 1 Peter 1:3-9.  So let’s jump right in.


Our Faith Must Be Tested

Peter is speaking about joy and rejoicing in the midst of trials and tribulations.  His words tell us much about faith and the reason for the bad things that God allows to happen to His children.

1 Peter 1:3-9 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, (why) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

Untested faith is just a pipe dream.  It’s something that we do, something we accept, something that we say.  But once faith is tested it becomes alive to us as something we can rely on and grow as the Lord brings even more circumstances into our life in order to test our faith.  Our faith must be tested to grow.

So join us as we look into what it means to have our faith tested in order for it to become strong and invincible in Him.

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Our Uncertain Times

Our Uncertain Times

The following article is from Jan Markell with Olive Tree Ministries.  She speaks with such wisdom regarding the uncertain times in which we live and the failure of the church to be the church.  I pray you will read this and vow to be different.  After all, from a Biblical perspective, we are not living in uncertain times, but in exciting, prophetic times.

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So many write to me expressing shock, and even horror, at the tide of our times here in 2020.  They see America crumbling under the weight of sin, debt, violence, immorality, and strong delusion.  Right is wrong, black is white, evil is good, and good is evil.


We Are In the Center of the Storm

People of faith are in the bulls-eye so to speak!  Churches are inconvenient.  The remnant of true believers is growing smaller while the Laodicea churches are mushrooming!  Many churches have not even re-opened yet, and some are saying they won’t until 2021!

Many don’t even know how to think about the future much less plan for it.  People write about “uncertainty”.  Will things get worse?  Probably.  How can we plan ahead if the turmoil is going to continue?


A Word Fitly Spoken

Then a pastor sent me this e-mail:

“We don’t live in uncertain times.  Not at all! These times are as certain as any time in all of human history, and the God of the universe laid out this time in great detail, point by point, and in fact, with all the detail needed by His people, to live in times of absolute certainty!  So no, there’s nothing uncertain about the times we live in to the believer who is seeking to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”


It’s All Aligning

He is right!  The Bible outlined all the “things to come” in great detail and they are shaping up:

•  The global government has to form and it is in the process.  All governments will become more authoritarian along the way! With the new CDC report that just 6% of Covid deaths are directly attributed to the virus, the “pandemic” was but the crisis the globalists couldn’t let go to waste.
•  God is sending a final warning to a sinful world.
•  For the Church, God is shaking us up, trying to wake us up so that we will look up!  There is Tribulation stage-setting going on such as today’s lawlessness— a precursor of what is to come when the Church is gone.
•  We are in the predicted last days’ perilous times (2 Timothy 3).
•  America is going to lose international power so that the European power player can arise.
•  Politics are important but they won’t save America.  Government will be quite dysfunctional until Jesus rules from Jerusalem.  Only a nation “under God” can be blessed and we have one political party that is at war with God.  They want government to be god.
•  There are terrible consequences when a nation goes astray and succumbs to a Romans 1 mentality.  The Church is still here to put a lid on total chaos and some delusion as well.  Just wait until we are gone.


Are the Pulpits Still Silent?

I have referenced an April LifeWay poll before but it takes on even more meaning now.  It revealed that a “vast majority of pastors see end times in our current events.”  Are they talking about this from their pulpits and re-assuring their people?  I do not think so.

Are they sharing about our glorious future, giving assurance to people?  How about talking about the “blessed hope” now that hope in the world is fading?

I am not optimistic that they are! Rather, are they telling people that they can have their best life now?  Hasn’t that all been proven to be a lie?  Are they giving some end-time warnings?

A whopping 97% of those polled by LifeWay Research believe Jesus Christ will literally and personally return to earth again and 55% expect Jesus to return in their lifetime.  This makes for tremendous sermon material! It also calms the mind and soul in troubled times.

Pastors, please don’t be silent!  Some people are losing things precious to them: businesses, jobs, even lives, or the lives of loved ones.  Depression and suicides are at all-time highs.


The Most Certain Times in All of Human History!

Are they, then, re-assuring their people as my pastor friend did?  Let me quote him again.  He said, “We don’t live in uncertain times. Not at all!  These times are as certain as any time in all of human history, and the God of the universe has laid out this time in great detail, point by point, and in fact, with all the detail needed by His people to live in times of absolute certainty.”

A secular talk show host said that “A blanket of darkness has been thrown over us.”  But the believer cannot and must not think that way!  An opportunity has been handed to us!  Desperate people are more inclined to listen.

Things really aren’t falling apart. In fact, they are orchestrated. To suggest something is falling apart is to say they are out of God’s control. Nothing could be further from the truth as it concerns the last days.  It’s just that your average Christian does not know the road map through the final days even though the Bible spends almost one-third of its pages talking about them!

In fact, everything is falling into place. Stay cool. Look up. The King is coming. It may be today! And you can’t throw a blanket of darkness over anyone with an eternal perspective.

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Global Upheaval

Global Upheaval

For years I have followed Hal Lindsey and have listened to his take on world events.  Now, at 90, he still has his finger on the pulse of what is happening all around us and how it fits into Biblical prophecy.  This short post is no exception.  I received the following yesterday and wanted to share it with you.  It is titled, Global Upheaval, and speaks of the sinister, satanic foundation behind much of what is happening globally today.  Read and be blessed— and forewarned.


Global Upheaval

The world changes.  Sometimes it changes quickly.  The two world wars of the 20th century created massive upheavals, as did the Black Death pestilence of the 14th century.  Some upheavals are caused by new technologies, such as the printing press, the internal combustion engine, the telephone, or gunpowder.  Sometimes political revolutions cause fast and massive change, and sometimes big changes come from simple ideas, including bad ones.

Today, several of those things are happening at once.  With Covid-19 as a trigger, we see revolutions all around us.  Technical revolutions that should have been for our good have been subverted.  Ideas that history has repeatedly proven wrong and dangerous, are rising with a new sense of inevitability.

One of the unique things about this year is that these massive societal upheavals are global.  Most of history’s revolutions have been localized, but the changes going on now are going on everywhere.  And they are all moving in a specific direction— the direction laid out in the Bible thousands of years ago.

For decades now, government and corporate surveillance of citizens has been growing, but mostly hidden.  The pandemic has made the invasion of privacy suddenly seem laudable.  To keep the virus in check, the world is rapidly building the infrastructure of the Antichrist.  That means building a surveillance infrastructure that will allow governments to watch every move their citizens make and be able to use Artificial Intelligence to interpret those moves.

Covid’s economic destruction is wreaking havoc on capitalism everywhere, making citizens of all nations increasingly dependent on government.  That’s what antichrist will need— a population full of people depending on government rather than their own hard work and creativity.

To bring new benefits and more relief to the public, governments are printing money hand over fist.  This can only go on so long before it brings its own disaster.  The mark of the beast as described in Revelation 13:16-18 means that, in the future, world leaders will give control of the entire global economy to the Antichrist and his cohort, the False Prophet.  They will do that either because of a global economic collapse or their fear of one.  (But it won’t work for long because the Bible describes at least two more economic disasters after Antichrist comes to power.)

Bible prophecies also say that near the time of Christ’s return, there will be increased levels of anti-Semitism and of the persecution of Christians.  Back in the 1960s and 70s, ideas like free speech and inclusiveness were primary tenets of campus liberalism.  Not anymore.  Today we have something popularly known as “cancel culture.”

And if you want to be canceled fast, just quote one of the Bible’s less popular passages— Old Testament or New.  Another way to do it is to identify with Israel, or tell the real story of Israel’s formation.  People are losing their jobs because of Sunday School lessons taught 20 years ago.

How should we respond to these things?  Like Christians.  In Matthew 5:44, Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  But you will not respond in love if you are hysterical with fear.  So, follow an instruction given in the Bible hundreds of times—  “Fear not.”  In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

Live in His peace.  Love your neighbor.  Pray with expectation.  He’s coming soon!

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To read the article, Global Upheaval, on Hal Lindsey’s website, click – HERE

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