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Oswald Chambers

Oswald and Biddy Chambers

Oswald_Chambers_1906Oswald Chambers was born in Scotland in 1874 and was educated at London’s Royal College of Art and the University of Edinburgh. Although gifted in the arts, he felt at the age of 22, that God was calling him to become a minister. After studying and later teaching in a small theological college in Dunoon, he moved into a preaching ministry that spanned Britain, America and Japan. In 1908, Oswald Chambers boarded a ship bound for America. He had been asked to look out for a young lady, who was also travelling to America in search of work and adventure.

Gertrude Hobbs (later to become Mrs. Oswald Chambers) suffered annual bouts of bronchitis as a child. She left school early to help her mother at home, and to allow her older sister and brother to continue their education. She studied Pitman shorthand and by the time she was old enough to work full time, she could take dictation at the phenomenal rate of 250 words per minute – faster than most people talk! Now in 1908, she was on a ship bound for America and she was getting to know a man who intrigued her.

sc122-039web(1)When the voyage ended, they parted company, but began to write to each other. They soon realized that they had deep feelings for each other and eventually they married in 1910.

Bible College

sc122-040webAlthough they both felt that it was God’s will for them to begin a Bible College, initially it seemed that this was not to be. Oswald took many regional classes, and as Biddy (Oswald’s pet name for his wife) took shorthand notes of his lectures, they realized that they could at least offer correspondence classes.

However, in early December 1910, a large house became available on Northside, Clapham Common, London. Things moved rapidly and within a very short time, Oswald and Biddy moved in, ready to welcome the first resident students.

Biddy also welcomed many missionaries and visitors to her home, which was always open to those who needed rest and recuperation. She was to continue with this ministry for most of her life.

Egypt

Egypt_Study_HutWhen World War I broke out, Oswald began to feel God was calling him to move on. He wondered how he should serve his country at that time. His prayer was “Lord, I praise You for this place I am in, but the wonder has begun to stir in me – is this Your place for me? Hold me steady doing Your will. It may be only restlessness; if so, calm me to strength that I sin not against You by doubting.”

Oswald & Biddy With KathleenHearing God’s call on the matter, he left London to become Chaplain to the troops in Egypt in October 1915, and Biddy and their 2½ year old daughter, Kathleen, followed in December 1915.

Biddy soon took up her ministry of hospitality and Oswald continued his teaching ministry to the troops. At first skeptical, the soldiers soon began to love and respect the Chambers family.

Oswald died of complications following an operation to remove his appendix in 1917. The telegram which his wife sent home to his family in England simply read: “Oswald, in His presence.” 100 men escorted the gun carriage bearing the coffin. Only officers were the bearers. All of them walked the whole funeral route with arms reversed – a special tribute to a well-loved and respected man. Biddy’s chosen song at the funeral was “I to the hills will lift mine eyes.”

Oswald Chambers British War Medal – WWI 1914 – 1918

Presented to Oswald Chambers in 1916 (1 year before his death)

 My Utmost

Biddy_and_KathleenBiddy returned to England with her 4 year old daughter, Kathleen. She finally settled in London and began the painstaking work of transcribing her notes – taken during her husband’s lectures throughout their married life. She began to send out the transcriptions to friends and acquaintances – anyone who asked. The pamphlets were combined into book form and eventually Oswald Chambers Publications was born.

“My Utmost for His Highest” was first published in 1927, and has remained continually in print ever since. Thousands of people have been blessed and challenged as they have regularly read this daily devotional.

Biddy died in 1966, knowing that she had fulfilled the ministry which God has entrusted to her. Oswald Chambers Publications Association seeks to continue that ministry.

Kathleen

Biddy and Kathleen lived in Muswell Hill, London and after Biddy died Kathleen continued to live in the same house until her death in 1997. The house was constantly filled with visitors.

Kathleen chose nine months of quotations for the book Run Today’s Race; her mother had started this shortly before her death. Kathleen was a great encouragement to the Trustees of the Association and the work continues today much as she would have wanted.

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My Utmost For His Highest

Holiness or Hardness Toward God?

Oswald Chambersby Oswald Chamber

 

He…wondered that there was no intercessor… —Isaiah 59:16

The reason many of us stop praying and become hard toward God is that we only have an emotional interest in prayer. It sounds good to say that we pray, and we read books on prayer which tell us that prayer is beneficial— that our minds are quieted and our souls are uplifted when we pray. But Isaiah implied in this verse that God is amazed at such thoughts about prayer.

Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other. Intercession means raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person for whom we are praying (see Philippians 2:5). Instead of worshiping God, we recite speeches to God about how prayer is supposed to work. Are we worshiping God or disputing Him when we say, “But God, I just don’t see how you are going to do this”? This is a sure sign that we are not worshiping. When we lose sight of God, we become hard and dogmatic. We throw our petitions at His throne and dictate to Him what we want Him to do. We don’t worship God, nor do we seek to conform our minds to the mind of Christ. And if we are hard toward God, we will become hard toward other people.

Are we worshiping God in a way that will raise us up to where we can take hold of Him, having such intimate contact with Him that we know His mind about the ones for whom we pray? Are we living in a holy relationship with God, or have we become hard and dogmatic?

Do you find yourself thinking that there is no one interceding properly? Then be that person yourself. Be a person who worships God and lives in a holy relationship with Him. Get involved in the real work of intercession, remembering that it truly is work— work that demands all your energy, but work which has no hidden pitfalls. Preaching the gospel has its share of pitfalls, but intercessory prayer has none whatsoever.
by Oswald Chambers