Time and My Utmost for His Highest

The time reading in My Utmost for His Highest  on December 31 is one of my favorites.

I’ve been writing about My Utmost for His Highest, Biddy and Oswald every Friday in 2017. I’m concluding the year with Oswald’s reflection on time.

Time, My Utmost for His Highest, Mrs. Oswald Chambers, Oswald Chambers, December 31 Utmost reading, forgiveness, how to think about the past and future

Photo by Eduardo Olszewski on Unsplash

(Here’s the full list of blog posts–nearly 80).

Dr. Ken Boa noted that My Utmost for His Highest stands the test of time because Oswald didn’t use contemporary stories. All examples were taken from Scripture.

(You can always read My Utmost for His Highest in either the classic or updated version, at  www.utmost.org. The quotations included in this post come from the website.)


Many of us get to the end of the year and see only regrets, difficulties and heartache.

(That certainly was true for many in northern California where I live).

The first paragraph speaks to that hurt:

Our present enjoyment of God’s grace is apt to be checked by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders.

But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual culture for the future.

God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present.

We use those memories to help us move forward into the future.

Fortunately, God waits for our hearts to be turned to him and the memories of our past often serve as the prompt.

“If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

Many churches provide watch services to enable folks to confess sin–so we can enter a new year in peace.


Oswald Chambers led watch services in Egypt on December 31 that focused on prayer. That is why he could say

“God’s hand reaches back to the past, settling all the claims against our conscience.”

Time, My Utmost for His Highest, Mrs. Oswald Chambers, Oswald Chambers, December 31 Utmost reading, forgiveness, how to think about the past and future

Photo by Jeff Golenski on Unsplash

Each day, each new year, was an opportunity to see what God would do.

On December 31, 1916, he wrote a simple message of encouragement on his blackboard at the service: “Finish, 1916.”

When the clock struck midnight, he turned over the board to display his hope for the new year:

“1917, a great New Year to you all. ‘And God shall wipe away all tears.’ Revelation 21:4.”

We don’t need to fear the future, according to Oswald, because

“God will send His forces out where we have failed to do so. He will keep watch so that we will not be tripped up again by the same failures.”

Of course, we need to be listening for God’s voice and direction–and obeying them–to avoid those failures.


Always pragmatic in faith, Oswald Chambers didn’t shy away from truth.

“Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us.

It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future.

Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.”

We need to be conscious of the truths we learned–often the hard way–from the past. But we don’t need to let them overshadow our present.

We give them to God, accept His forgiveness, and move forward into today and thence tomorrow.

The final paragraph includes my favorite line. I used it to conclude both books I wrote about Biddy and Oswald Chambers.

“Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”

What a terrific way to view time and the new year!

Utmost Responses

I write a response to each day’s My Utmost for His Highest reading on my Facebook writer page.

It’s similar to the above and can be useful if you’re struggling to understand what each day’s reading means.

(I’m often there myself, which is why figuring them out each morning has been very helpful for me!)

If you’d like to join the conversation, check it out here.


Michelle Ule’s blog in 2018.

This concludes the 8th year of my blogging twice a week.

At the request of loved ones and the recommendation from my literary agent, I will be concluding this twice-a-week schedule today.

From here on, I’ll be blogging only once a week.

I’ll reserve the final week of the month to post a story related to Oswald and Biddy Chambers in 2018.

For the first five months, that will be posts about the group of students I call “The BTC Regulars.”

I’ll be following what became of some of those students who studied under Oswald Chambers for at least two years.

My hope is to demonstrate how the Word of God does not return void. These individuals led a full, rich life as missionaries, using the skills taught by Oswald Chambers.

The remaining posts each month will center around my interests: history, research, Christianity, books and family stories. I hope you’ll continue to read my posts.


Time, My Utmost for His Highest, Mrs. Oswald Chambers, Oswald Chambers, December 31 Utmost reading, forgiveness, how to think about the past and future

Michelle’s newsletter

You also can get a sense of what I’m doing in my writing life–which is what’s behind this change–by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.

Here’s a link to the December 2017 edition, for a sample.

Here’s the link to subscribe–it’s free, of course!

Michelle’s Newsletter

It comes out mid-month.

God bless you–and happy new year!



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