Friday, December 18, 2015

Auntie's Full Shelf Challenge 19

BookMy Utmost for His Highest.

Author: Oswald Chambers

Info: Copyright 1935.  Grand Rapids: Discovery House Publishers.

Where acquired: Borrowed from a friend.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 hashtags): # 1/2

What it's about:  This is a year's worth of daily devotionals.  Each daily entry features a scripture passage and the author's expounding on the passage.  This volume has been deemed a classic that all Christians should read.  Well, I'm a Christian, so I guess I'm supposed to read it. I made my first attempt more than 20 years ago, but became very frustrated after about 60 days and gave up.  This year, I finished it.

Favorite Quotes

"If we imagine we have to put on our Sunday moods before we come near to God, we will never come near Him. We must come as we are." - p. 136

"At your Bethel you will find yourself at your wits’ end and at the beginning of God’s wisdom. When you get to your wits’ end and feel inclined to succumb to panic, don’t; stand true to God and He will bring His truth out in a way that will make your life a sacrament. Put into practice what you learned with your Elijah, use his cloak and pray. Determine to trust in God and do not look for Elijah any more." - p.  164

"God nowhere holds a man responsible for having the heredity of sin. The condemnation is not that I am born with a heredity of sin, but if when I realize Jesus Christ came to deliver me from it, I refuse to let Him do so, from that moment I begin to get the seal of damnation. “And this is the judgment” (the critical moment) 'that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light.'" - p. 206

"Never be sympathetic with the soul whose case makes you come to the conclusion that God is hard. God is more tender than we can conceive, and every now and again He gives us the chance of being the rugged one that He may be the tender One." - p. 263

What I Liked:
  • Chambers writing style is very intellectual.  In other words, he uses more complex language than other such reading material and one must actually ponder over what was said.  It's is quite understandable, but not an easy read. 
  • The readings were short.
What I didn’t like: 
  • The author is an absolute killjoy and I wonder if he was suffering from manic depression when he wrote it.  Anything that seems the most enjoyable, including our walk with Christ, he scoffs at.  It seems Chambers had forgotten I Timothy 6:17 - "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy."  Apparently Nehemiah 1:8 - "...for the joy of the Lord is your strength." wasn't in his Bible.  He's also forgotten his own words, "wherever the joy of God is not present, the death sentence is at work." (December 8th reading) By these writings, if he'd had his way, Chambers would prefer all Christians ball in the fetal position in a corner and cry, rather than show any joy.  This book could make you hate God, yourself, and others.
  • Chambers often uses the phrase "give up our rights to ourselves."  What does that even mean?  Plus, he makes God out to be a bully, ready to shame and humiliate His children into obedience. 
  • Many of the scripture passages are taken WAY out of context.  I had many experiences of asking myself, "What did I just read?"  Chambers explanations didn't make them any clearer.
  • There are quoted passages with no reference cited, so we have no way to know where the quote came from.  There are also reference abbreviations that are explained nowhere in the text.
To sum up:  I honestly don't see what all the hype is about this devotional.  That was a year where I could have been reading something more productive, more encouraging, and more faith strengthening (like the other devotional I will finish at the end of this year.  Instead, I spent too much time suffering through most of the entries.  I finally hurried through the last two weeks worth of reflections so I could be done with this mess. 

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