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Oswald Chambers wrote one of Christianity’s greatest books, but he never knew it.
He had early displayed the gifts of an artist, and his future seemed assured by a scholarship to the leading art centers of Europe. But, being won to Christ by Charles Spurgeon, he declined the scholarship and enrolled in Dunoon Bible Training College, telling his family, “Do not be sorry that I cannot go for a university curriculum, maybe I shall be best without it. I will to the limit of my power educate myself for His sake.” He further explained in his diary: “From my childhood, the persuasion has been that of a work strange and great, an experience deep and peculiar.”
While at Dunoon, Chambers heard Dr. F. B. Meyer speak about the Holy Spirit. He returned to his room feeling he knew nothing of spiritual power, and he was miserable. “Nothing but the grace of God and the kindness of friends kept me out of an asylum,” he said. “I knew that if what I had was all the Christianity there was, the thing was a fraud.”
Then he found a verse of Scripture—Luke 11:13: As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks.
“I claimed the gift of the Spirit in dogged committal on Luke 11:13,” he said. “I had no vision of heaven or angels. I was dry and empty as ever, no power or realization of God. Then I was asked to speak at a meeting, and forty souls came to the front.” Chambers had found a power and peace in ministry that impacted the world both during and after his life.
He died suddenly in Egypt on November 15, 1917, while serving British troops during World War I, and was buried in Cairo under a headstone bearing the words of Luke 11:13. Only later did his widow, Gertrude Hobbs, compile his manuscripts, notes, lectures, and sermons into the classic My Utmost for His Highest, a book that challenges Christians to this day.
Which one of you would give your child a scorpion if the child asked for an egg? As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks. (Luke 11:12,13)
Robert J. Morgan, On This Day: 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). Nov. 15.
ALSO ON THIS DAY
1621 – In his bull, Aeterni Patris Gregory XV prescribes that in the future only three modes of the papal election are to be allowed: scrutiny, compromise, and quasi-inspiration. A later bull “Decet Romanum Pontificem” contains a ceremonial which regulates these three modes of election in every detail.
1794 – John Witherspoon, the Scottish-born pastor-educator, who had become president of Nassau Hall (Princeton University) died. Because of his influence in the American Revolution, it was said of him “the American colonies have run off with a Presbyterian pastor.” He was the only clergyman to sign the American Declaration of Independence.
1869 – Elisabeth of Wied, whose pen name is “Carmen-Sylva,” marries Karl I. In 1881 she became the first Queen of Romania when that nation became a monarchy. She is involved in many charitable endeavors, wrote hymns and novels, and collected Romanian folklore.
*Information retrieved from Christianhistoryinstitute.org.