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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Self-Renunciation # 1

Self Renunciation # 1 (or "You Are Not Your Own")

The Apostle Paul teaches this important duty, by the following awakening and impressive appeal: "Don't you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body" (1 Cor. 6:19-20). What is intended in these words is, that through the vicarious sufferings and death of Christ, as an atonement to Divine justice for human transgressions - all who believe in Him are freed from the curse of the law, and the dominion of sin, and are both justified and sanctified. The Christian is thus a bought man, a captive redeemed by price. It is in this sense the whole church is called the "purchased possession," (Eph. 1:14. Yes, and what an idea! I repeat it - a believer is a purchased man! And at what price has he been bought! All the jewels which adorn and enrich the crown and scepter of the British monarch; with all the others that compose the regalia of all the sovereigns of the Eastern or Western world, are of no more worth in the redemption of the poorest widow in the church of God, than the dust of the street. Nothing but the blood of the Son of God could purchase a single soul. What then must be the value of the soul; and on, what must be the worth of its salvation.

How obvious is the inference! "You are not your own, for you were bought at a price!" How is it possible you should be your own - if you have been bought? In what sense a Christian is not his own, is explained to you by another portion of Scripture - "None of us lives to himself," (Romans 14:7). Do enter very seriously, and solemnly, and deeply, into these two impressive passages -

"None of us lives to himself."

It is for you to recollect that the renunciation of SELF, as well as of SIN, was one of the solemn transactions of that scene, and that time, when you bowed by faith at the foot of the Cross, received mercy through Jesus Christ, and yielded yourselves to God. You then abjured - not only self-righteousness, but self-seeking, self-pleasing, self-living. Self, as a supreme object, was in every view of it renounced. Self, until then, had been your loftiest air; self-love your highest affection; but then you transferred your aim and your affection to another object. The Christian has no right to ask what he will do with himself; or to what he will give himself; or how he will employ himself. He is no longer at liberty to inquire how he shall spend his energies, his time, his property, his labor, and his influence; for he is not his own, he is bought with a price.

He is not to live for fame - and please himself with the applause of his fellow creatures. Nor is he to live for riches - and please himself with increasing wealth. Nor is he to live for health - and please himself with the glowing energies of a sound body. Nor is he to live for taste - and please himself with the pursuit of literature, science, or the arts. Nor is he to live for social  enjoyment - and please himself with an agreeable circle of friends. Nor is he to live for ease -and please himself with unmolested quiet. In short, he is not to consider himself as his own master to please himself supremely in any way, nor his own property to employ himself on his own account, and for his own benefit. He is not to image that personal gratification is to be his end and aim,for the accomplishment of which he may lay down his own schemes, select his own course, and pursue his own methods, as if he had an independent and sovereign right over himself.

Self is "the old man" to be crucified with Christ; the body of sin to be destroyed; the corrupt nature to be put away; the law in our members to be resisted; the lusts of the mind to be subdued. Self is the enemy of God to be fought against; the rival interest with Christ in our soul to be put down; the means by which the devil would hold us in alienation from holiness to be opposed. Self is the most subtle, the most stubborn, the most tenacious foe with which grace has to contend, in the soul of the believer. It lives, and works, and fights, when many other corruptions are mortified. Self is the last stronghold, the very citadel of satan in the heart, which is reduced to the obedience of faith.

~John Angell James~

(continued with # 2)

Think Like God Thinks (and more)

Think Like God Thinks (and more)

"Search me, O God...try me, and know my thoughts" (Psalm 139:23).

If God knows that your intention is to worship Him with every part of your being, He has promised to cooperate with you. On His side is the love and grace, the promises and the atonement, the constant help and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

On your side there is determination, seeking, yielding, believing. Your heart becomes a chamber, a sanctuary, a shrine in which there may be continuous, unbroken fellowship and communion with God. Your worship rises to God moment by moment.

We have all found that God will not dwell in spiteful and proud and selfish thoughts. He treasures our pure and loving thoughts, our meek and charitable and kindly thoughts. They are the thoughts like His own!

As God dwells in your thoughts, you will be worshiping - and God will be accepting. He will be smelling the incense of your high intentions even when the cares of life are intense and there is activity all around you.

This leaves us no argument. We know what God wants us to be. He wants us to be worshipers.

Lord, I worship You this morning. I look forward to our fellowship throughout the busy activities of this day. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~
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Our Highest Happiness

"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:17).

Let me call it to your attention that the happiness of all moral creatures lies in the giving of obedience to God, the Creator.

The psalmist cries out in Psalm 103:20; "Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word."

The angels in heaven find their complete freedom and highest happiness in obeying the commandments of God. They do not find it a tyranny - they find it a delight!

Here is something that we should know and realize: Heaven is a place of surrender to the whole will of God, and it is heaven because it is such a place.

I thank God that heaven is the world of God's obedient children. Whatever else we may say of its pearly gates, golden streets and jasper walls, heaven is heaven because children of the Most High God find they are in their normal sphere as obedient moral beings.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your patience with me as I learn to obey You more fully in my daily walk with You. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~
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Activity Is Not Enough

"And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart...and rest a while" (Mark 6:3).

Those who try to give warnings to the Christian church are never very popular. Still, I must voice the caution that our craze for "activity" brings very few enriching benefits into our Christian circles. Look into the churches, and you will find groups of half-saved, half-sanctified, carnal people who know more about social niceties than they do about the New Testament.

It is a fact that many of our church folks are activists - engaged in many religious journeys - but they do not seem to move up any closer to Jesus in heart and in spirit.

This modern religious emphasis on activity reminds me of the Japanese mice I have seen in the pet store windows. They are called waltzing mice- but they do not waltz. They just run continually!

Many of our churches hope to have a part in "something big and exciting." But God calls us back - back to the simplicity of the faith; back to the simplicity of Jesus Christ and His unchanging Person!

Dear Lord, help me to find some quiet moments in the midst of today's schedule to focus my thoughts on Your goodness and mercy. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Who Will Come to Jesus? (and more)

Who Will Come to Jesus? (and more)

"Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).

God's invitation to men is broad but not unqualified. The words "whosoever will may come" throw the door open, indeed, but the church is carrying the gospel invitation far beyond its proper bounds, turning it into something more human and less divine than that found in the sacred Scriptures.

What we tend to overlook, is that the word "whosoever" never stands by itself. Always its meaning is modified by the word "believe" or "will" or "come."

According to the teachings of Christ no one will or can come and believe unless there has been done within him a prevenient work of God enabling him to do so.

In the sixth chapter of John, Jesus teaches us that no one can come of himself; he must first be drawn by the Father. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing," Jesus said (6:63).

Before any man or woman can be saved, he or she must feel a consuming spiritual hunger. Where a hungry heart is found, we may be sure that God was there first - "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" (John 15:16).

Heavenly Father, I pray today for evangelists and missionaries around the world who are representing You in teeming cities and remote areas. Through them, I ask that You will draw many people to Yourself who have never heard the gospel message. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~
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Christ Came to Save

"For God sent his Son into the world to condemn the world" (John 3:17).

Millions who have rejected the Christian gospel have generally been too busy and too involved to ask themselves a simple question: "What really is God's intention toward me?"

They could have found the plain and simple answer given by the Apostle John: "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3:17).

This is a gravely significant message from the heart of God Himself! Yet, even in the full light it provides, people are indifferent. Upon our eyes there seems to have fallen a strange dimness; within our ears, a strange dullness. It is a wonder, and a terrible responsibility, that we should have this message in our possession and be so little stirred about it!

I confess that it is very hard for me to accept the fact that it is now very rare for anyone to come into the house of God, silently confessing: "Dear Lord, I am ready and willing to hear what you will speak to me today!"

Dear Lord, how grateful I am that You do not condemn, but by Your Spirit You do convict. Help me to hear and act upon Your promptings today. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~
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We Are Not Orphans

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord" (Psalm 37:23).

I once wrote in an editorial that Christian believers are not orphans in this world, making the point that the divine Shepherd goes before us and that we travel an appointed way.

A reader wrote to question my allusion to our traveling an "appointed" way, asking: "I was brought up a Methodist In your comments, do you mean this to be foreordination? That is what the Presbyterians believe. Just what did you mean?"

I replied that I had not meant to go down that deep into doctrine - that I had not been thinking of foreordination, predestination or the eternal decrees.

"I was just satisfied that if a consecrated Christian will put himself in the hands of God, even the accidents may be turned into blessings," I told him.

Anyway, I am sure the Methodist brother can go to sleep at night knowing that he does not have to become a Presbyterian to be certain that God is looking after him!

Dear Lord, in these quiet moments this morning, prepare my mind and heart for the encounters You've arranged for me today. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Truth Is A Person (and more)

Truth Is A Person (and more)

"Then said Jesus...And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32).

Let me say boldly that it is not the difficulty of discovering truth, but the unwillingness to obey it, that makes it so rare among men.

Our Lord said, "I am...the Truth" (John 14:6). And again He said, "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). Truth, therefore, is not hard to find for the very reason that it is seeking us!

So we learn that Truth is not a thing for which we must search, but a Person to whom we must hearken! In the New Testament, multitudes came to Jesus for physical help, but only rarely did one seek Him out to learn the Truth. The whole picture in the Gospels is one of a seeking Saviour, not one of seeking men.

The Truth was hunting for those who would receive it, and relatively few did, for "many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14).

Thank You for this truth, Lord, that You came "to seek and to save that which was lost."I don't want to keep this truth tucked in my back pocket. Give me the opportunities to share Your good news with someone today. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~
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Christ Is Not Divided

"Jesus answered...If a man love me, he will keep my words" (John 14:23).

Much of our full gospel literature and much of our preaching tend to perpetuate a misunderstanding of what the Bible says about obedience and Christian discipleship.

I think the following is a fair statement of what I was taught in my early Christian experience and before I began to pray and study and anguish over the whole matter:

"We are saved by accepting Christ as our Saviour."
"We are sanctified by accepting Christ as our Lord."
"We may do the first without doing the second."

What a tragedy that in our day we often hear the gospel appeal made in this way:

"Come to Jesus! You do not have to obey anyone. You do not have to give up anything. Just come to Him and believe in Him as Saviour!"

The fact that we hear this everywhere does not make it right! To urge men and women to believe in a divided Christ is bad teaching - for no one can receive a half or a third or a quarter of the divine Person of Christ!

Heavenly Father, You are a wonderful Saviour and Lord deserving my full obedience to all of Your teachings. Forgive me, Lord, for the times that I've obeyed only a portion of Your Word. Show me the areas in my life in which I am weak. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~
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Who Hears The Call of God?

"Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life" (John 6:68).

Who can deny that there are certain persons who, though still unconverted, nevertheless differ from the crowd, marked out by God, stricken with an interior wound and susceptible to the call of God?

In the prayer of Jesus in John 17:11, He said, "Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou has given me." Surely no man is ever the same after God has laid His hand upon him. He will have certain marks, perhaps some not easy to detect.

First might be a deep reverence for divine things. A sense of the sacred must be present or there can be no receptivity to God and truth.

Another mark is great moral sensitivity. When God begins to work in a man to bring him to salvation, He makes him acutely sensitive to evil.

Another mark of the Spirit's working is a mighty moral discontent. It does take a work of God in a man to sour him on the world and to turn him against himself; yet until this has happened he is psychologically unable to repent and believe!

Lord, I pray that Your Spirit will continue to make me sensitive to the "divine things" at work in this immoral world so that I may make a difference for Christ among my network of relationships. Amen.

~A. W. Tozer~

Saturday, May 26, 2018

God Reveals Himself (and others)

God Reveals Himself (and others)

"I saw also the Lord...Then said I, Woe is me! I am undone" (Isaiah 6:1, 5).

I often wonder how so many people can live with a continuing hope that they will in some way be able to commune with God through their intellectual capacities. Where will they realize that if they could possibly "discover" God they realize that with the intellect, they would be equal to God?

Isaiah is a dramatic example of God's revelation of Himself to mankind. Isaiah could have tried for a million years to reach God by means of his intellect. But brainpower is not the means by which we find God!

Brethren, it is true that all of us would still be far from God if He had not graciously and in love revealed Himself to us. In the space of a short second of time, the Lord who loves us can reveal Himself to the willing spirit of a man or woman. It is only then that an Isaiah, or any one of us, can say with humble assurance, "I know Him!"

A committed Christian, then, should have upon him an element that is beyond psychology- beyond all natural laws and into spiritual laws!

Lord, thank You for what we can know about You through the various encounters we read in the Bible. Lord, I want to be prepared in my heart to hear Your voice when You speak. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~
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Jesus Said He Was God

"But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever" (Hebrews 1:8).

The more we study the words of our Lord Jesus Christ when He lived on earth among us, the more certain we are about who He is.

Some critics have scoffed: "Jesus did not claim to be God. He only said He was the Son of Man".

It is true that Jesus used the term, "Son of Man" frequently. But He testified boldly, even among those who were His sworn enemies, that He was God. He said with great forcefulness that He had come from the Father in heaven and that He was equal with the Father.

Bible-believing Christians stand together on this. They may differ about the mode of baptism, church policy or the return of the Lord. But they agree on the deity of the eternal Son. Jesus Christ is of one substance with the Father - begotten, not created (Nicene Creed).

In our defense of this truth, we must be very careful and bold - belligerent, if need be!

Christ is the brightness of God's glory and the express image of God's Person!

Lord Jesus, the only hope the world has is that You are One with the Father. You are God Almighty! You are our Messiah! I worship You today and every day. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~
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Both Lord and Christ

"God hath made the same Jesus...both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).

No Christian believer should ever forget what the Bible says about the Person and the offices of the eternal Son, the Christ of God.

"God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). Jesus means Saviour; Lord means Sovereign; Christ means Anointed One.

The Apostle Peter did not proclaim Jesus only as Saviour - he preached to them Jesus as Lord and Christ and Saviour, never dividing His Person or His offices.

Remember, also, the declaration of Paul: "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus...thou shalt be saved!" (Romans 10:9).

Three times in the passage to the Roman Christians telling how to be saved, Paul calls Jesus "Lord." He says that faith in the Lord Jesus plus confession of that faith to the world brings salvation to us!

Sovereign Lord, You are the One I choose to serve. Help me to meditate on this truth as I journey through some mundane tasks today. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~


Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Divine Voice Calls (and others)

A Divine Voice Calls (and others)

"And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9).

There is a divine voice that continues to call. It is the voice of the Creator God, and it is entreating us. Just as the shepherd went everywhere searching for his sheep, just as the woman in the parable went everywhere searching for her coin, so there is a divine search with many variations of the voice that entreats us, calling us back.

If we were not lost, there would be no Father's voice calling us to return, calling us back. So, I say again that we have not been given up.

Think of the Genesis account: Adam fleeing from the face of God, hiding among the trees of the garden. It was then that the sound of God's gentle voice was heard, saying "[Adam,] where are you?"

I would remind you that His seeking voice has never died out. The echo of that voice is sounding throughout the widening years. It has never ceased to echo and reecho from peak to peak, from generation to generation, from race to race, and continent to continent, and off to islands and back to the continent again. Throughout all of man's years, "Adam, where are you?" has been the faithful call.

I pray earnestly, O God, that I may not be found among those with hardened hearts, no longer able to hear Your voice. Please speak to me today...I'm listening. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~
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Our God: All Sufficient

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).

Have we modern men and women never given thought or meditation concerning the eternal nature of God? Who are we to imagine that we are "bailing out" the living God when we drop a$10 bill in the Sunday offering plate?

Let us thank God for the reality of His causeless existence. Our God only is all-sufficient, uncreated, unborn, the living and eternal and self-existent God!

I refer often to the great worshiping heart of Frederick William Faber, who in these words celebrated his vision of God's eternal self-existence:

Father! the sweetest, dearest Name,
That men or angels know!
Fountain of life, that had no fount
From which itself could flow.

Thy vastness is not young or old,
Thy life hath never grown;
No time can measure out Thy days,
No space can make Thy throne!

Dear Heavenly Father, my daily problems must seem so trivial to You, the eternal God. Yet You invite Your children to bring their cares and concerns to You. Praise be to God! Amen

~A. W. Tozer~
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Sharing God's Nature

"Precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).

Our heavenly Father disciplines us for our own good, "that we might be partakers of his holiness" (Hebrews 12:10). God's motives are always loving!

I have known people who seemed to be terrified by God's loving desire that we should reflect His own holiness and goodness. As God's faithful children, we should be attracted to holiness, for holiness is Godlikeness - likeness to God!

God encourages every Christian believer to follow after holiness. We know who we are and we know who God is. He does not ask us to be God and He does not ask us to produce the holiness that only He Himself knows. Only God is holy absolutely: All other beings can be holy only in relative degrees.

Actually, it is amazing and wonderful that God should promise us the privilege of sharing in His nature. He remembers we were made of dust. So He tells us what is in His being as He thinks of us: "It is My desire that you grow in grace and in the knowledge of Me. I want you to be more like Jesus, My eternal Son, every day you live!"

Lord, thank You for allowing us to share in Your divine nature. I want to become even more like You, but I need Your Spirit's help and encouragement. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Ministry of the Church (and others)

Ministry of the Church (and others)

"The house of God which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15).

Not all of the pooled efforts of any church can make a Christian out of a lost man!

The Christian life begins with the individual; a soul has a saving encounter with God, and the new life is born.

All else being equal, every individual Christian will find in the communion of a local church the most perfect atmosphere for the fullest development of his spiritual life. There he will also find the best arena for the largest exercise of those gifts and powers with which Go may have endowed him.

Unfortunately, the word "church" has taken on meanings which it did not originally have. The meaning of the word for the true Christian was fixed by our Lord and His apostles, and no man and no angel has authority to change it!

The universal Church is the body of Christ, the Bride of the Lamb, the habitation of God through the Spirit, the pillar and the ground of the Truth.

Without doubt the most important body on earth is the Church of God, which He purchased with His own blood!

Heavenly Father, equip and empower Your Church to fight the plague of evil rampant in our generation. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~
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A Believing Remnant

"Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace" (Romans 11:5).

What is God trying to do with His believing people? - the Bible calls us a remnant according to grace, believers taken out of the great, teeming swarm of so-called religious people in today's world.

I am inclined to join others in wondering if the Lord is postponing His coming because He is trying to get His Bride ready.

For years it has been the popular idea in evangelical Christianity that the whole body of believers in Christ would rise like a flock of frightened birds when the Lord comes. But A. B. Simpson and William MacArthur and others in the past generation said, "Oh no! The Lord will take with Him those who are prepared and ready for His coming!"

I do not presume to give an answer satisfying to everyone in our churches. But I know that many Christians are too smug about this, saying in effect: "I am converted to Christ through grace, so I can live as I please!"

Of some things we cannot be dogmatic; but we know this for sure - God has no halfway house between heaven and hell where He takes us to fumigate us!

Dear Lord, today I pray for my pastor and my local church. Help us as a congregation not to be surprised on the day of Your return! Amen

~A. W. Tozer~
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Christ Will Rule

"I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

I am not surprised that I still meet people who do not believe that Jesus Christ is going to return to earth. In fact, some of them, armed with their own Bibles and interpretations, are insistent on setting me straight.

One gentleman has written saying that I have it all wrong, and that Paul did not mean what I had said he meant, as I applied Paul's statement to everyday life.

It took time to write a reply: "When it comes to saying what he meant, Paul's batting average has been pretty good up to now. So, will string along with what Paul plainly, clearly said."

I did not figure I needed someone to straighten me out - particularly someone who had decided the Bible does not mean what it says.

No one is going to argue me out of my faith in what God has revealed and what God has said. As far as I am concerned, it is a fact that Jesus is coming again! The question I do raise is this: Are we prepared spiritually for His coming? Are we tolerating conditions in our midst that will cause us embarrassment when He does come?

Dear Lord, grant me courage to live today - indeed, every day of my life - as though You were coming back this afternoon. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~