Oswald’s Chamber

Chamber. A room, usually private, in a house or apartment, particularly a bedroom.

Here within Oswald’s Chamber, I offer a collection of truths which have had the greatest impact on me from having studied Oswald Chambers’ classic devotional, My Utmost for His Highest (1935).

This Scottish evangelist and teacher of the early twentieth-century had a way of poking at the ribs of conviction with his words.

During various of his lectures, his dutiful wife Gertrude (who he affectionately referred to as “Biddy”) scribed bits of wisdom in shorthand. Sadly, he died at the age of 43 in November of 1917, from a pulmonary hemorrhage following an emergency appendectomy. Some time later, Gertrude collected her notes from 365 selections which were then compiled for publication. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oswald_Chambers

Penned in ink inside the cover of my own copy of My Upmost for His Highest is a note written by one of my older sisters who gave the devo to me as a ‘Just because’ gift:

You were the best present Mom and Dad ever gave me.

Don’t you know affirmation like that makes a girl want to dig inside the pages? I did. I do. And will continue.

The readings have repeatedly redirected wayward thinking, convicted me to the deepest places, and empowered me in my desire to be a Christ-follower.

How interesting that Oswald’s last name is the same at that referring to a private room. I imagine he labored for hours in prayer and studied scripture in a private chamber of his own.

And as you peruse Oswald’s Chamber, may something you find here ignite your heart, stir your soul, and transform your mind in such a way that it leads to action.

January

1~ He has asked us to yield to Him. Paul says, “My determination is to be my utmost for His highest.” (Ah. So this is where we get the title) To get there is a question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point. An overwhelming consideration for ourselves is the thing that keeps us from that decision.

4~ When God brings that blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait. The blank space may come to teach you what sanctification means. Don’t jump ahead or around….Whenever there is doubt — don’t.

11~ If we obey God it will mean that other people’s plans are upset and they will gibe us with it, “You call this Christianity?” We must let the cost be paid.

14~ Whether or not I hear God’s call depends upon the state of my ears; and what I hear depends upon my disposition.

19~ As soon as God becomes real, other people become shadows.

27~ How much evil has begun to threaten you today? What kind of mean little imps have been looking in and saying – Now what are you going to do next month, this summer? “Be anxious for nothing,” Jesus says.

February

5~ Phil 1:17 Paul was being poured out like a drink offering. Am I willing to serve God without any pat on the back from others? Are you willing to spend and be spent; not seeking to be ministered unto, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work and remain saints because it is beneath their dignity.

7~ Luke 24:21 Spiritual lust makes me demand an answer from God. The meaning of prayer is that we get a hold of God, not of the answer.

8~ I Thess 5:23 “May God Himself…sanctify you through and through…” Are we prepared for God to do in us all that He separated us for?

9~ He doesn’t grow weary or tired and gives strength to those of us who do. I’ve no right to say – “O Lord I am so exhausted.” Be exhausted for God, but remember that your supply comes from Him.

14~ The discipline of heeding: We must listen to God in darkness and keep our mouth shut. We’ll receive a precious message to share with others when we get back into the light.

22~ Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Spiritual tenacity. We must choose to believe that our hero (God) will never be defeated, His plans will not be worsted.

29~ Luke 18:41. When the blind man heard that Jesus was among the crowd passing by he shouted all the more despite others telling him to be quiet. Do not deify common sense…If it is an impossibility, it is the thing we have to ask….(because) God will do the absolutely impossible.

March

7~ Because of tribulation, not in spite of it, I can experience the fullness of joy.

8~ Galatians 2:20. We must relinquish all pretense, all claim of being worthy of God’s consideration…The Lord asks us to offer Him, not goodness, or endeavor, but real solid sin. In exchange, He gives real solid righteousness.

10~ Let God have perfect liberty when you speak. Before God’s message can liberate other souls, the liberation must be real in you.

14~ The first thing to do in examining the power that dominates me is to take hold of the unwelcome fact that I am responsible for being thus dominated…        Yield not to sin or you become a slave. Even in the slightest way.

24~ John 3:30. He must become greater; I must become less. Watch for all you’re worth until you hear the Bridegroom’s voice in the life of another. Never mind what havoc it brings, what upsets, what crumblings of health, rejoice with divine hilarity when once His voice is heard. You may often see Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it….Be a friend of the Bridegroom, not a distraction away from Christ.

28~ FaItH is NOT intelligent understanding but a deliberate commitment to a Person where I see no way.

30~ Worship and intercession must go together when praying for another. ..We hurl our own petitions at God’s throne and dictate to Him as to what we wish Him to do….Ask God to give you His mind about the ones for whom you pray.

31~ Take care lest you play the hypocrite by spending all your time trying to get others right before you worship God yourself….We don’t want to become criticizing centers.

April

3~ Never be afraid when God brings back the past. Let memory have its way. It is a minister of God with its rebuke and chastisement and sorrow. God will turn the ‘might have been’ into a wonderful culture for the future.

6~ The cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it. The cross is the gateway to lifeGod and sinful man crash at the point of the cross and the way to life is opened – but the crash is on the heart of God.

10~ Make the moral decision that sin in you must be put to death.

14~ Get rid of the whine in you“Oh, he, or she, has nothing to bear.” Lift the veil. The fact that the peace and the light and the joy of God are there is proof that the burden is there, too. The burden God places squeezes the grapes and out comes the wine.

18~ A ready person never needs to get ready. The tiniest thing or the great big thing. It makes no difference.

24~ Spiritually awakened or wholly devoted?

27~ Do I seek something for myself or seek God? When you draw near to God, you cease asking for things. Pray in order that you may get to know Him more.

May

3~ Discernment is God’s call to intercession, never to fault finding

6~ It takes God a long time to get us out of the way of thinking that unless everyone sees as we do they must be wrong. This is never God’s view…Never water down the truth of God. Let is have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, Go and make disciples, not make converts to your own opinions.

11~ I get huffed when I have to deal with peculiar people. Just think how disagreeable I have been to God yet His love is inexhaustible.

12~ Your god may be your little Christian habit, the habit of set prayer times or Bible reading. Watch how your Father will upset those times if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes.

15~ By my God have I leaped over a wall…God is the Master Engineer. He allowed the difficulties to come in order to see if you can vault over them properly…May God not find the whine in use anymore, but may He find us full of spiritual pluck and athleticism.

19~ God does not keep a man immune from trouble; He says — “I will be with him in trouble.” …We are more than conquerors in all these things.

22~ The purpose of God is not to answer our prayers, but by our prayers we come to discern the mind of God….The things we are going through are either making us sweeter, better, nobler men and women or they are making us more captious and fault-finding, more insistent upon our own way….it depends entirely upon the relationship we are in to God.

23~ Whenever we put other things first, there is confusion…It is not only wrong to worry, it is infidelity, because worrying means that we do not think that God can look after the practical details of our lives.

June

8~ You are not to spend all your time in the smooth waters just inside the harbor bar, full of delight, but always moored; you have to get out through the harbor bar into the great deeps of God and…begin to have spiritual discernment.

10~ It is a humbling thing to knock on God’s door – you have to knock alongside the crucified thief, but just keep knocking.

11~ ‘Come to Me and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28) doesn’t mean He tucks me in bed, sings me to sleep but rather gets me out of bed, out of languor and exhaustion…and imbues me with the spirit of life

12~ God writes the new name on those places only in our lives where He has erased the pride and self-sufficiency and self-interest… Humility before men may be unconscious blasphemy before God.

13~ The saint realizes that it is God Who engineers circumstances, consequently there is no whine.

17~ Every wrong we see in others God locates in us…Stop having a measuring rod for other people….There is always one fact more in every man’s case about which we know nothing….When we see what’s in us as a sinner, that which grace has covered, it becomes impossible to criticize another.

19~ Jesus did not say — ‘Make converts to your way of thinking‘, but ‘Look after My sheep, seeing that they’re nourished in the knowledge of Me’. If I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity though men treat me as a doormat. 

22~ Life serves back in the coin you pay. God looks not only at the act but the possibility. The reason we see hypocrisy and fraud and unreality in others is because they are all in our own hearts. All those things and other evils would have been manifested in me but for the grace of God, therefore I have no right to judge.

25~ My attitude as a saint to sorrow and difficulty is not to ask that they may be prevented, but that I may preserve the self God created me to be through every fire of sorrow…Our Lord was saved not from the hour, but out of the hour. The fires of sorrow. The way to find your self is in the fires of sorrow….and God will make you nourishment for other people.

29~ Matthew 5:30, ‘If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off…’ See that you do not use your limitations to criticize someone else.

30~ Our insistence in proving that we are right is nearly always an indication that there has been some point of disobedience.

July

4~ It’s easy to say ‘Rest in the Lord’ or ‘Wait patiently for Him’... until the nest is upset….Do not fret, it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37:8) Or, “Bridle your anger, trash your wrath, cool your pipes — it only makes things worse, it springs from a determination to have your own way…Fussing always ends in sin’. (The Message).

6~ To have been given a vision but then go in your hurry to see it realized apart from God is to invite Him to take you into the valley of hardship until you surrender to Him. We try to batter ourselves into shape and escape His means of battering us into His ideal.

9~ We can’t be holy but we can ask for God to make us holy. No wonder Jesus Christ lays such emphasis on the sin of unbelief. Because…if we really believed that God meant what He said –what should we be like! 

11~ Phil 3:10 “I want to know Christ…” The Holy Spirit is determined that we shall realize (know) Jesus Christ in every domain of life, and He will bring us back to the same point again and again until we do.

14~ When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but make it an occasion to exhibit the Son of God. To the saint personal insult becomes the occasion of revealing the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus.

18~ There is nothing miraculous about the things we can explain. When I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and say – I will not, He will never insist, but I have begun to sign the death warrant of the Son of God in my soul; I’m backing away from the recreating power of His Redemption.

28~ It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials; through every cloud He brings, he wants us to unlearn something. Unless we can look the darkest, blackest fact full in the face without damaging God’s character, we do not yet know Him.

August

2~ The Christian life is not deliverance from trouble, it is deliverance in trouble, which is very different. God does not give us overcoming life; He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is in the strength.

10~ No healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he chooses God’s will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not. No saint dare interfere with the discipline of suffering in another saint. The saints who do us good are those who strengthen and mature us. They never pity or sympathize because that only hinders, weakens, enervates. Be merciful to God’s reputation.

16~ It is possible to know all about doctrine and yet not know Jesus.

23~ The great battle in private prayer is wandering thoughts…mental woo-gathering. We have to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful prayer.

26~ Are you painfully disturbed just now, distracted by the waves and billows of God’s providential permission…finding no well of peace or joy or comfort? Then look up and receive the undisturbedness of the Lord Jesus. If you try to worry it out, you obliterate Him and deserve all you get. When one confers with Jesus Christ, the perplexity goes, because He has no perplexity and our only concern is to abide in Him.

27~ John 12:35. Walk in the light before darkness overtakes you. If you say you are sanctified then show it. The experience must be shown in the life. Beware of any belief that makes you self-indulgent; it came from the pit , no matter how beautiful it sounds. You may know all about the doctrine of sanctification, but are you running it out into the practical issues of your life?

28~ Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished. It’s not a question of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a man’s disposition.

29~ Faith must be tested, because it can be turned into a personal possession only through conflict.

30~ Wherever you are you are put there by God. It is the work that God does through us that counts, not what we do for Him.

September

1~ The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness.  God is not an eternal blessing-machine for men; He did not come to save men out of pity; He came to save men because He had created them to be holy…Holiness means unsullied walking with the feet, unsullied talking with the tongue, unsullied thinking with the mind – every detail of the life under the scrutiny of God.

6~ God rarely allows a soul to see how great a blessing he is. Keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you round the obstacle or remove it. The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never get your eyes on the obstacle or on the difficulty… Nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.

10~ Crises always reveal character.

11~ Watch the kind of people God brings around you, and you will be humiliated to find that this is His way of revealing to you the kind of person you have been to Him.

14~  Spiritual muddle. We must see like children; when we try to be wise we see nothing. The tiniest thing we allow in our lives that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit is quite sufficient to account for spiritual muddle.  Spiritual muddle is only made plain by obedience. Immediately we obey, we discern.

23~ Jerusalem. It was the place where our Lord reached the climax of His Father’s will upon the cross. Nothing must deter us from going up to our Jerusalem.

25~ Matthew 5:41. On making disciples…“I have chosen you.” That is the way the grace of God begins. The Lord’s making of a disciple is supernatural. God doesn’t ask to do the things that come easy; He asks us to do the things we are perfectly fitted to do by His grace.

30~ God can never make us wine if we object to the fingers He uses to crush us with. If ever we are going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed; you cannot drink grapes. Do I become like a marble in his hands?

October

1~ We  have all had times on the mount when we have been things from God’s standpoint and have wanted to stay there, but…the test of our spiritual life is the power to descend. If we have the power to rise only, something is wrong. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in. Spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mount.

5~ God nowhere holds a man responsible for having the heredity of sin. Rather, if we refuse to accept that Jesus Christ came to deliver me from it, and I refuse to let Him do so, from that moment I begin to get the seal of condemnation.

8~  Matthew 11:28. “Come to Me.” You must put the axe at the root of the thing which is preventing you from getting through. God has stood with outstretched hands not only to take you, but for you to take Him.

11~ Has God trusted you with a silence? God’s silences are His answers. God will give you the blessings you ask if you will not go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into a marvelous understanding of Himself. God has trusted you in the most intimate way possible…because He saw that you could stand a bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, praise Him.

12~ The test of a man’s religious life and character is not what he does in the exceptional moments of life, but what he does in the ordinary times, where there is nothing tremendous or exciting on… Don’t give in because the pain is bad just now, get on with it.

17~ Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work. Prayer is the working of the miracle of Redemption in me which produces the miracle of Redemption in others by the power of God. You labor at prayer and results happen all the time from His standpoint. What an astonishment it will be to find…the souls that have been reaped by you, simply because you had been in the habit of taking your orders from Jesus Christ.

20~ Romans 5:8. He completed everything for my salvation and sanctification. No wonder Paul says nothing is able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39)

23~ Have we come to the place where God can withdraw His blessings and it does not affect our trust in Him? When once we see God at work, we will never bother our heads about things that happen, because we are actually trusting in our Father in Heaven Whom the world cannot see.

28~ I am not saved by believing. I (come to) realize I am saved by believing. It is not repentance that saves me, repentance is the sign that I realize what God has done in Christ Jesus. The danger is to put the emphasis on the effect instead of on the cause.

November

1~ If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart.

2~ The Lord does not give me rules. He makes His standard very clear and if my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without any hesitation. If I hesitate, it is because I love someone else in competition with Him… myself. When I stand face to face with God I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed.

5~ We never realize at the time what God is putting us through; we go through it more or less misunderstandingly; then we come to a luminous place and say, “Why, God has girded me, through I did not know it?”

7~ the circumstances of a saint’s life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. Never put your hand in front of the circumstances and say — ‘I am going to be my own providence here’.

10~ Don’t be a clog. (hindrance) to God’s use of you by seeking great things for yourself.  All He asks is that I trust Him…He can crumple me up or exalt me. He can do anything He chooses. He simply asks me to have implicit faith in Himself and in His goodness.

11~ If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him. If the providential order of God for you is a hard time of difficulty, go through with it, but never choose the scene of your martyrdom. God is working for His highest ends until His purpose and man’s purpose become one.

15~ It takes a long time to realize the danger of being an amateur providence, that is, interfering with God’s order for others.

16~ If you are rightly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the sublime height where no one ever things of noticing you, all that is noticed is that the power of God comes through you all the time.

22~ It is not your devotion to God that makes you refuse to be shallow, but your wish to impress other people with the fact that you are not shallow, which is a sure sign that you are a spiritual prig. Beware of becoming a walking rebuke to other people because they are more shallow than you are. Beware of posing as a profound person; God became a baby. To be shallow is not a sign of being wicked, not is shallowness a sign that there are no deeps; the ocean has a shore.

23~ God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.

30~ Never bother your head as to whether what you say sounds humble before men or not, but always be humble before God, and let Him be all  in all.

December

2~ Christian perfection, It is a snare to imagine that God wants to make us perfect specimens of what He can do; God’s purpose is to make us one with Himself. If it was God’s will to bruise His own, so why should He not bruise you? I am called to live in perfect relation to God so that my life produces a longing after God in other lives; not admiration for myself. Thoughts about myself hinder my usefulness to God. God is not after perfecting me to be a specien in His showroom; He is getting me to the place where He can use me. Let Him do what He likes.

9~ Galatians 5:24. Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence. Die to self, crucify the sinful nature. 

14~ Whenever you obey God, His seal is always that of peace….which is not natural, but the peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, tarry till it does or find out the reason why it does not. Any problem — and there are many — that is alongside me while I obey God increases my ecstatic delight because I know that my Father knows, and I am going to watch and see how He unravels this thing.

15~ Go through the winepress of God where the grapes are crushed.

16~ We are not to put up a fight with God, not to wrestle with God, but to wrestle before God with things. If you do wrestle with God, you will be crippled all the rest of your life.

18~ The idea is not that we do work for God, but that we are so loyal to Him that He can do Him work through us. “I reckon on you for extreme service, with no complaining on your part and no explanation on Mine.”

20~ If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross of Christ is a farce, there was no need for it. What the world needs is not “a little bit of love” but a surgical operation. We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ on the Cross, not to give wonderfully beautiful discourses.

21~ Never nourish an experience which has not God as its Source and faith in God as its result.

24~ When you really see Jesus, I defy you to doubt Him. If you see Him I defy you to trouble your mind, it is a moral impossibility to doubt when He is there. His words are real. “My peace I give unto you” is a peace all over, from the crown of the head to the sole of the feet.

25~ He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate, God coming into human fles, coming into it from outside. His life is the Highest and the Holiest entering in at the Lowliest door.

31~ Isaiah 52:12. Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ. Leave the irreparable past in His hands and step out into the Irresistible future with Him.