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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

If I Miss ....

"In my Father's house are many mansions if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2)

If I miss the love and the mercy and the grace of God in this life, who is to be blamed? Certainly not the God who sits on the throne. He made full provision for my salvation. Certainly not the Lamb who stands before the throne. He died for my sins and rose again for my justification. Certainly not the radiant, flaming Holy Spirit who has accosted men and women all over the world, mediating to them the saving gospel of Christ.

Hear the words John heard on rocky Patmos as the Revelation of Jesus Christ concluded:

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be ... Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come ... And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

If I miss God's great salvation, has this life been worth the struggle? Personally, I think not!

If we go to heaven it is because we have a nature that belongs there.

~A. W. Tozer~

Come to the Water

"Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst" (John 4:14).

I thank God for Christian men and women who want to know the facts and the truths as they have come from God. Thank God, they are not just looking for someone to give them a relaxing religious message! There are the facts - the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses. There is a purging element in Christianity. Then there is the Holy Spirit, the blessed Spirit of God, who brings us the peace and tranquility of the waters of Shiloah.

The loving God invites us to the stream, the only perennial stream in the world, the only stream that never runs dry, the only stream that never overflows and destroys.

There flows from Calvary a stream
For every sinner's pain,
And he that drinketh, Jesus said,
Shall never thirst again.

This stream from Calvary still flows
To bless and cleanse and heal,
And h that drinketh, Jesus said,
New life and rest shall feel.

~A. W. Tozer~

Confronting the Darkness


Charles Colson speaks of a modern "return to the Dark Ages." When I think of the original Dark Ages, I think of a period when culture was in decline and the progress of knowledge was static.
But today we read of the problem of the explosion of knowledge. It is a time when information and communications are big business. We hear the cry from the universities that knowledge in every field of investigation is increasing so rapidly that no one can assimilate it, even in the most narrow of specialties. The age of the "expert" is over. The word expert must now be defined in relative terms.

If knowledge is light and the light is exploding in magnitude, how can we speak of a new Dark Ages? The darkness is in the heart. It is a darkness produced by a shroud covering the face of God.

Thirty years ago, I read a book written by the Jewish philosopher and theologian Martin Buber. Buber's book had an ominous title: The Eclipse of God. That is the eclipse of our age. A shadow has passed over the glory of God. We are a people who will not have God in our thinking. We have returned to Plato's cave, in which we prefer the dancing shadows on the wall of ungrounded opinion over the light of truth.

Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God

Ask God to dispel the darkness in your own mind, soul, and spirit through His marvelous light.

For Further Study

Hosea 4:1: "Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel, for the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: ‘There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land.'"

Luke 11:52"Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered." 

Habakkuk 2:14"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

~R. C. Sproul~

Monday, December 30, 2013

God Sees All, Knows All

"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Revelation 2:7)


We have lived with unholiness so long that we are almost incapable of recognizing true holiness. The people of God in the churches of Jesus Christ ought to be a holy people. But ministers have largely given up preaching Bible-centered sermons on holiness. Maybe they would not know what to do with hearers who fell under the convicting power of God's Word. Preachers today would rather give their congregations tranquilizers!

Our lord is a holy Lord, and His eyes are as a flame of fire. His x-ray eyes can see right through everything! We can hide nothing from God. He sees all and knows all. But apparently we have a hard time with that fact - preachers and lay people alike. We seem to think our respectability should be accepted by our Lord as spirituality.

The basic principle in a spiritual life lies in its control The Holy Spirit works to bring the Christian to refuse the further reign of self and to choose the sovereignty of Christ over his life by yielding to Him as Lord.

You cannot get power from God until you give up "self" and receive holiness.

~A. W. Tozer~

Anything You Need

"Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24)

God holds no mental reservations about any of us when we become His children by faith. When He forgives us, He trusts us as though we had never sinned. When satan comes around to taunt me about my past sins, I remind him that everything that had been charged against me came from him, and now everything I have - forgiveness and peace and freedom - I have freely received from my Lord Jesus Christ!

As long as you remain on this earth, God has not completed His work in you. The Spirit of God will help you discern when the chastening hand of God is upon you. But if it is the devil trying to tamper with your Christian life and testimony, dare to resist him in the victorious power of the living Christ.

He has said to us, "Whatever your need, just come to the throne of grace. Anything you need, you may have!" Why not believe Him and exercise the dominion He has given you?

We are compared with what we could be, not just what we should be. Anything we ought to be we can be. Anything that God has declared that we should be we can be.

~A. W. Tozer~

To Whom Be Glory For Ever

Romans 11:36
To whom be glory for ever. Amen
 
 
"To whom be glory for ever." This should be the single desire of the Christian. All other wishes must be subservient and tributary to this one. The Christian may wish for prosperity in his business, but only so far as it may help him to promote this-"To Him be glory for ever." He may desire to attain more gifts and more graces, but it should only be that "To Him may be glory for ever." You are not acting as you ought to do when you are moved by any other motive than a single eye to your Lord's glory. As a Christian, you are "of God, and through God," then live "to God." Let nothing ever set your heart beating so mightily as love to Him. Let this ambition fire your soul; be this the foundation of every enterprise upon which you enter, and this your sustaining motive whenever your zeal would grow chill; make God your only object. Depend upon it, where self begins sorrow begins; but if God be my supreme delight and only object,
 
"To me 'tis equal whether love ordain
My life or death-appoint me ease or pain."

Let your desire for God's glory be a growing desire. You blessed Him in your youth, do not be content with such praises as you gave Him then. Has God prospered you in business? Give Him more as He has given you more. Has God given you experience? Praise Him by stronger faith than you exercised at first. Does your knowledge grow? Then sing more sweetly. Do you enjoy happier times than you once had? Have you been restored from sickness, and has your sorrow been turned into peace and joy? Then give Him more music; put more coals and more sweet frankincense into the censer of your praise. Practically in your life give Him honour, putting the "Amen" to this doxology to your great and gracious Lord, by your own individual service and increasing holiness.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Waiting, Patiently Waiting!

And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness…an angel of the Lord...saying....now come, I will send thee into Egypt" (Acts 7:30-34).

Often the Lord calls us aside from our work for a season, and bids us be still and learn ere we go forth again to minister. There is no time lost in such waiting hours.
 
Fleeing from his enemies, the ancient knight found that his horse needed to be re-shod. Prudence seemed to urge him on without delay, but higher wisdom taught him to halt a few minutes at the blacksmith's forge by the way, to have the shoe replaced; and although he heard the feet of his pursuers galloping hard behind, yet he waited those minutes until his charger was refitted for his flight. And then, leaping into his saddle just as they appeared a hundred yards away, he dashed away from them with the fleetness of the wind, and knew that his halting had hastened his escape.
 
So often God bids us tarry ere we go, and fully recover ourselves for the next stage of the journey and work.
--Days of Heaven upon Earth
 
Waiting! Yes, patiently waiting!
Till next steps made plain shall be;
To hear, with the inner hearing,
The Voice that will call for me.
 
Waiting! Yes, hopefully waiting!
With hope that need not grow dim;
The Master is pledged to guide me,
And my eyes are unto Him.
 
Waiting! Expectantly waiting!
Perhaps it may be today
The Master will quickly open
The gate to my future way.
 
Waiting! Yes, waiting! still waiting!
I know, though I've waited long,
That, while He withholds His purpose,
His waiting cannot be wrong.
 
Waiting! Yes, waiting! still waiting!
The Master will not be late:
He knoweth that I am waiting
For Him to unlatch the gate.

~L. B. Cowman~

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Instant Obedience

In the selfsame day, as God had said unto him" (Gen. 17:23).

Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience. Every time God calls us to any duty, He is offering to make a covenant with us; doing the duty is our part, and He will do His part in special blessing.
 
The only way we can obey is to obey "in the selfsame day," as Abraham did. To be sure, we often postpone a duty and then later on do it as fully as we can. It is better to do this than not to do it at all. But it is then, at the best, only a crippled, disfigured, half-way sort of duty-doing; and a postponed duty never can bring the full blessing that God intended, and that it would have brought if done at the earliest possible moment.
 
It is a pity to rob ourselves, along with robbing God and others, by procrastination. "In the selfsame day" is the Genesis way of saying, "Do it now."
--Messages for the Morning Watch
 
Luther says that "a true believer will crucify the question, 'Why?' He will obey without questioning." I will not be one of those who, except they see signs and wonders, will in no wise believe. I will obey without questioning.
 
"Ours not to make reply,
Ours not to reason why,
Ours but to do and die."
 
Obedience is the fruit of faith; patience, the bloom on the fruit.

~L. B. Cowman~

Friday, December 27, 2013

Persistence Pays Off


“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”Luke 18:1-5


Has rejection caused you to give up on an opportunity or a person? Are you tired of trying to do the right thing, without experiencing positive results? It is precisely at this point of frustration and fear that God calls us to persevere in prayer and continue to graciously engage individuals and circumstances. Those who give up—give up on God.

Like an oscillating fan your faith may waver back and forth between confidence and uncertainty, so hit the button of belief and stay focused on the Lord. Go forward by faith to love an estranged relationship—call the company who went with a competitor and see how you might still serve them—reach out until your requests are not ignored anymore.

A faithful man or woman in the hands of God has the attention of heaven and earth. When you are on His assignment, rejection has to first go through Almighty God’s agenda. It's not the individual full of energy at the outset who outlasts others, it’s the wise ones who conserve their vigor over the long haul—strengthened by their Savior’s stamina.

The fortitude of faith is what forges great relationships and gets long-term results. Anyone can start a race with excitement and anticipation, but few are the runners who climb the hills, overcome the adversity of the elements and finish the course. You may not be the fastest—you may not finish first—but by God’s grace you will finish well.

Most of all stay persistent in prayer. Respond to God as the violin responds to the bow of the master. The Lord makes beautiful music on the strings of a life surrendered to Him. Persist through the pain of rejection and to the pressures of responsibility—all the while remaining in an attitude of prayer. Persistent prayer to Jesus produces His best outcome. Persistence pays off when you are prepared to move forward on behalf of your Master.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

Thursday, December 26, 2013

More and More, Less and Less

"And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22)

In our churches today we are leaning too heavily upon human talents and educated abilities. We forget that the illumination of the Holy Spirit of God is a necessity, not only in our ministerial preparation, but in the administrative and leadership functions of our churches.

We need an enduement of the Spirit of God! We sorely need more of His wisdom, His counsel, His power, His knowledge. We need to reverence and fear the Almighty God. If we knew the full provision and the spiritual anointing that Jesus promised through the Holy Spirit, we would be far less dependent on so many other things.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists - and most of the other "ologists" - have their place in our society. I do not doubt that. But many of these professionals now have credentials in the church, and I fear that their counsel is put above the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I have said it before, and I say it now: We need the Holy Spirit more and more, and we need human helps less and less!

The Holy Spirit is the source of all spiritual power. He and He alone can make us count for God and humanity, and the great purpose of our existence.

~A. W. Tozer~

Honoring the Holy Spirit

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" (Revelation 2:29)

There is a question that should be answered in every Christian church: Are we honoring the Holy Spirit of God? That is, are we allowing Him to do what He wants to do in our midst today?

More than once in the Revelation John mentions the seven-fold Spirit of God and His presence before the heavenly throne. Jesus did not begin His earthly ministry until at His water baptism  the living Spirit of God had become all  of those things to Him.

I have reason to suspect that many people are trying to give leadership in Christian churches today without ever having yielded to the wise and effective leading of the Holy Spirit. He truly is the Spirit of wisdom, understanding and counsel. He alone can bring the gracious presence of the living God into our lives and ministries.

Jesus has left to us the same power which He possessed. He has bequeathed to the Church the very Holy Spirit that lived and worked in Him. Let us accept this mighty gift.

~A. W. Tozer~

All Things Are Possible To Him Who Believeth

All things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23).

The "all things" do not always come simply for the asking, for the reason that God is ever seeking to teach us the way of faith, and in our training in the faith life there must be room for the trial of faith, the discipline of faith, the patience of faith, the courage of faith, and often many stages are passed before we really realize what is the end of faith, namely, the victory of faith.
 
Real moral fibre is developed through discipline of faith. You have made your request of God, but the answer does not come. What are you to do?
 
Keep on believing God's Word; never be moved away from it by what you see or feel, and thus as you stand steady, enlarged power and experience is being developed. The fact of looking at the apparent contradiction as to God's Word and being unmoved from your position of faith make you stronger on every other line.
 
Often God delays purposely, and the delay is just as much an answer to your prayer as is the fulfillment when it comes.
 
In the lives of all the great Bible characters, God worked thus. Abraham, Moses and Elijah were not great in the beginning, but were made great through the discipline of their faith, and only thus were they fitted for the positions to which God had called them.
 
For example, in the case of Joseph whom the Lord was training for the throne of Egypt, we read in the Psalms:
 
"The word of the Lord tried him." It was not the prison life with its hard beds or poor food that tried him, but it was the word God had spoken into his heart in the early years concerning elevation and honor which were greater than his brethren were to receive; it was this which was ever before him, when every step in his career made it seem more and more impossible of fulfillment, until he was there imprisoned, and all in innocency, while others who were perhaps justly incarcerated, were released, and he was left to languish alone.
 
These were hours that tried his soul, but hours of spiritual growth and development, that, "when his word came" (the word of release), found him fitted for the delicate task of dealing with his wayward brethren, with a love and patience only surpassed by God Himself.
 
No amount of persecution tries like such experiences as these. When God has spoken of His purpose to do, and yet the days go on and He does not do it, that is truly hard; but it is a discipline of faith that will bring us into a knowledge of God which would otherwise be impossible.

~L. B. Cowman

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

From Inquire to Desire

"For the Lord knoweth they way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish" (Psalm 1:6)

It is not enough to inquire about the power of the crucified life and the Spirit-filled life. It is not enough to want to - it must be desired and claimed above everything else. There must be an abandonment to Jesus Christ to realize it. The individual must want the fullness of Christ with such desire that he will turn his back on whatever else matter in his life and walk straight to the arms of Jesus!

So much for the case of the rich young ruler. His veil was taken away and he turned from Jesus Christ. He was still the hypocrite, still a covetous man, a money-lover, a breaker of the law. Above all, he was still a sinner, and Christless.

He had to pay a great price to keep what he loved most. We have no idea in terms of money and land and possessions what the rich young ruler paid in his refusal to follow Jesus.

The secret of a Christlike life lies partly in the deep longing for it. We grow like the ideals that we admire. We reach unconsciously at last the things we aspire to. Ask God to give you a high conception of the character of Christ and an intense desire to be like Him and you will never rest until you reach your ideal.

~A. W. Tozer~

Love - God In Human Form

"Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee" (Psalm 31:19)

The Holy Spirit helps us recognize the kind of love we received from Jesus Christ, who has freed us from our sins by His blood. Have you yet learned that love is not a thing of reason? Love tries to be reasonable, but it seldom succeeds. There is a sweet wisdom in love that is above reason - it rises above it and goes far beyond it. Who could ever imaging that God of all the universe condensing Himself into human form and, out of His love, dying for His alienated people? It seems an unreasonable thing to do, but it was reasonable in that it was the supreme wisdom of the mighty God!

The saintly Lady Julian, centuries ago, cherished this love that is ours in Christ. She wrote: "Out of His goodness, God made us. Out of His goodness, He keeps us. When man had sinned, He redeemed us again out of His goodness. Then do you not suppose that god will give His children the best of everything out of His goodness?"

God is not justice. God is not wisdom. God is not power. God has all these attributes but none of them is great enough to constitute His essence. But love is His very nature and in love all other attributes find their completeness.

~A. W. Tozer~

It Is the Lord


We went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place" (Ps. 66:12).

Paradoxical though it be, only that man is at rest who attains it through conflict. This peace, born of conflict, is not like the deadly hush preceding the tempest, but the serene and pure-aired quiet that follows it.
 
It is not generally the prosperous one, who has never sorrowed, who is strong and at rest. His quality has never been tried, and he knows not how he can stand even a gentle shock. He is not the safest sailor who never saw a tempest; he will do for fair-weather service, but when the storm is rising, place at the important post the man who has fought out a gale, who has tested the ship, who knows her hulk sound, her rigging strong, and her anchor-flukes able to grasp and hold by the ribs of the world.
 
When first affliction comes upon us, how everything gives way! Our clinging, tendril hopes are snapped, and our heart lies prostrate like a vine that the storm has torn from its trellis; but when the first shock is past, and we are able to look up, and say, "It is the Lord," faith lifts the shattered hopes once more, and binds them fast to the feet of God. Thus the end is
confidence, safety, and peace.
 
The adverse winds blew against my life;
My little ship with grief was tossed;
My plans were gone--heart full of strife,
And all my hope seemed to be lost--
"Then He arose"--one word of peace.
"There was a calm"--a sweet release.
 
A tempest great of doubt and fear
Possessed my mind; no light was there
To guide, or make my vision clear.
Dark night! 'twas more than I could bear--
"Then He arose," I saw His face--
"There was a calm" filled with His grace.
 
My heart was sinking 'neath the wave
Of deepening test and raging grief;
All seemed as lost, and none could save,
And nothing could bring me relief--
"Then He arose"--and spoke one word,
"There was a calm!" IT IS THE LORD.

~L. B. Cowman~

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

God Provides

So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”Mark 14:13-15


Often God’s provision includes specific instructions of what we need to do or not do. Jesus instructed His disciples to find a man with a water pot and follow him to his master's house. The Lord had already moved the heart of the generous master to have an upper room prepared for Christ’s work. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is at work all around us in preparation for God’s people. Many times He uses people as a channel for His provision. He blesses them to bless others.

So, we first listen intently to the Spirit’s instruction, before we move forward to discover where He is working. Wait and don’t worry that the timing may be too late. A premature provision lacks the fulfillment that patient prayer brings. If we short cut the Spirit’s work we strive in our own strength and we trade God’s glory for our ego. Also, waiting gives other giving hearts time to position their stuff for sharing. Yes, God provides in His way, so we celebrate Christ’s salvation!

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.1 Timothy 6:17

Furthermore, God’s provision is normally a process of trust and obedience. We meet one new relationship that leads to another resourceful acquaintance, who has been praying about how they can support their Savior’s work. The Holy Spirit directs us as we move by faith from one genuine God fearer to another. Like a multicolor, intricate tapestry the Lord weaves His people together on the loom of His love. The Spirit brings us together in a spirit of generosity for His purposes.

Most of all, place your hope in Christ, who richly provides you with everything for your enjoyment. Do not feel guilty because God gave you more stuff than other good souls. Use your platform of belongings to brag on Jesus and be hilariously generous. The genuine joy you find in aggressive giving will be someone else’s nervous laughter. Keep both hands open to be a pass through of trust for God’s blessings. He provides for you to be His gracious provision for others!

If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

Monday, December 23, 2013

Transformed To His Image

"Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2)

Some people seem to think that Jesus came only to reclaim us or restore us so that we could regain the original image of Adam. Christ did infinitely more in His death and resurrection than just undoing he damage of the fall. He came to raise us into the image of Jesus Christ. The first man Adam was a living soul, the second man Adam was a life-giving Spirit. The first man Adam was made of the earth earthly, but the second man is the Lord from heaven!

Redemption in Christ, then, is not to pay back dollar-for-dollar or to straighten man out and restore him into Adamic grace. The purpose and work of redemption in Christ Jesus is to raise man as much above the level of Adam as Christ Himself is above the level of Adam. We are to gaze upon Christ, not Adam, and in so doing are being transformed by the Spirit of God into Christ's image.

We choose to be transformed to His image,
but we cannot create that image by our own morality or struggles after righteousness. We must be created anew in His likeness by His own Spirit, and stamped with His resemblance by His heavenly seal impressed directly upon our hearts from His hand.

~A. W. Tozer~

On The Heavenly Plain

"And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6)

Earth may have been good enough for that creature who was created from the dust and clay, but it is not good enough for the living soul who is redeemed by royal blood!

Earth was fit and proper to be the eternal dwelling place for that creature who was made by God's hand, but it is not appropriate nor sufficient to be the eternal dwelling place of that redeemed being who is begotten of the Holy Spirit. Every truly born-again Christian has been lifted up - lifted up from the level of the fallen Adamic race to the heavenly plane of the unfallen and victorious Christ. He belongs up there!

The children of God are partakers of the divine nature. From bearing the "image of the earthly," they now bear the "image of the heavenly." God has imparted to them a portion of His own loveliness. He has formed them new creatures.

And I shall see Him face to face
And tell the story - saved by grace:
And I shall see Him face to face
And tell the story - saved by grace.

~A. W. Tozer~

He Shall Choose Our Inheritance

Psalm 47:4
He shall choose our inheritance for us.
 
 
Believer, if your inheritance be a lowly one you should be satisfied with your earthly portion; for you may rest assured that it is the fittest for you. Unerring wisdom ordained your lot, and selected for you the safest and best condition. A ship of large tonnage is to be brought up the river; now, in one part of the stream there is a sandbank; should some one ask, "Why does the captain steer through the deep part of the channel and deviate so much from a straight line?" His answer would be, "Because I should not get my vessel into harbour at all if I did not keep to the deep channel." So, it may be, you would run aground and suffer shipwreck, if your divine Captain did not steer you into the depths of affliction where waves of trouble follow each other in quick succession. Some plants die if they have too much sunshine. It may be that you are planted where you get but little, you are put there by the loving Husbandman, because only in that situation will you bring forth fruit unto perfection. Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there. You are placed by God in the most suitable circumstances, and if you had the choosing of your lot, you would soon cry, "Lord, choose my inheritance for me, for by my self-will I am pierced through with many sorrows." Be content with such things as you have, since the Lord has ordered all things for your good. Take up your own daily cross; it is the burden best suited for your shoulder, and will prove most effective to make you perfect in every good word and work to the glory of God. Down busy self, and proud impatience, it is not for you to choose, but for the Lord of Love!

"Trials must and will befall-
But with humble faith to see
Love inscribed upon them all;
This is happiness to me."

~Charles Spurgeon~

Sunday, December 22, 2013

When God Looks on Us with Favor



Believers are always under the canopy of God’s grace and love. Nothing we do can change that. At the same time, our behavior and heart condition do determine whether we receive the fullness of His blessings. Today’s passage teaches us how to experience the Father’s favor.
First, He desires that we have a contrite heart and a humble spirit (Ps. 51:17). For that to be the case, all aspects of our lives must be surrendered to Jesus. Yet some dreams, desires, and people are difficult to release into His hands.

Anything we do not give over to His authority is evidence of pride, the exact opposite of what our Father wants in His children. Remember that “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Lack of submission proves that we think our way is better than His plan.

Second, God tells us to tremble at His Word (Isa. 66:2). Scripture—the unfolding revelation of Jesus Himself—is living and powerful to teach and transform us. Consider how we treat this treasure. Do we devote time each day to know what the Bible says and how to apply its principles? Do we hunger for more of the Word in our lives so we can know its Author better? One measure of our reverence is obedience: to honor the Lord, we must obey Him.

We all desire God’s favor. Are you living in a manner that positions you to receive His full blessings? Prayerfully consider whether you have submitted all areas of your life—from finances and health to relationships and work habits—to Jesus Christ. Recognize His authority in all things, and revere His Word.

~Charles Stanley~

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Come! Come Quickly!

"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8)

The people of God ought to be the happiest people in all the wide world! People should be coming to us constantly and asking the source of our joy and delight - redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, our yesterdays behind us, our sin under the blood forever and a day, to be remembered against us no more forever. God is our Father, Christ is our Brother, the Holy Spirit our Advocate and Comforter. Our Brother has gone to the Father's house to prepare a place for us, leaving with us the promise that He will come again!

Don't send Moses, Lord, don't send Moses! He broke the tablets of stone. Don't send Elijah for me, Lord! I am afraid of Elijah - he called down fire from heaven.

Don't send Paul, Lord! He is so learned that I feel like a little boy when I read his epistles.

Oh, Lord Jesus, come Yourself! I am not afraid of You. You took the little children as lambs to Your fold. You forgave the woman taken in adultery. You healed the timid woman who reached out in the crowd to touch You. We are not afraid of You!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!  Come quickly!

~A. W. Tozer~

Intimate Acquaintance

Colossians 2:6
So walk ye in Him.
 
 
If we have received Christ Himself in our inmost hearts, our new life will manifest its intimate acquaintance with Him by a walk of faith in Him. Walking implies action. Our religion is not to be confined to our closet; we must carry out into practical effect that which we believe. If a man walks in Christ, then he so acts as Christ would act; for Christ being in him, his hope, his love, his joy, his life, he is the reflex of the image of Jesus; and men say of that man, "He is like his Master; he lives like Jesus Christ." Walking signifies progress. "So walk ye in Him"; proceed from grace to grace, run forward until you reach the uttermost degree of knowledge that a man can attain concerning our Beloved. Walking implies continuance. There must be a perpetual abiding in Christ. How many Christians think that in the morning and evening they ought to come into the company of Jesus, and may then give their hearts to the world all the day: but this is poor living; we should always be with Him, treading in His steps and doing His will. Walking also implies habit. When we speak of a man's walk and conversation, we mean his habits, the constant tenour of his life. Now, if we sometimes enjoy Christ, and then forget Him; sometimes call Him ours, and anon lose our hold, that is not a habit; we do not walk in Him. We must keep to Him, cling to Him, never let Him go, but live and have our being in Him. "As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him"; persevere in the same way in which ye have begun, and, as at the first Christ Jesus was the trust of your faith, the source of your life, the principle of your action, and the joy of your spirit, so let Him be the same till life's end; the same when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and enter into the joy and the rest which remain for the people of God. O Holy Spirit, enable us to obey this heavenly precept.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Friday, December 20, 2013

Coming Together - A Blessed Fellowship

"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10)

The church of Jesus Christ, His believing body on earth, recognizes that "our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20). The believing Christian agrees that he or she is a migrant and a pilgrim.

To these believers, God has imparted His own nature. They have a distinct sense of belonging to one another while they live - almost as exiles - in an unfriendly world. These earthly citizens of heaven speak a common language - that of their constitution, which is the Bible, the Word of God. They love to sing the songs of Zion, for they are loyal to the same Lord and King. Thus the Christians come together where the life of the assembly is the life of Christ.

This is the Bible pattern. God the Father is there. Christ the Son is present. The Holy Spirit indwells each member. The spirit within us can experience and taste the glories of God in a blessed fellowship now. Such is the joyful purpose of the Church!

~A. W. Tozer~

Thankful for Grace

"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9)

The inspired Word of God insists that the reality and the blessings from the heart of the living Christ are not reserved for some future and heavenly age.

We can meet God and His Spirit in blessed reality now! We can know and commune with our Lord Jesus Christ in our heart of hearts now! We may know the joy of sensing all around us God's innumerable company and the fellowship with the church of the Firstborn now!

As committed Christians, we know what we believe and we know what God has done for us. We want to make it plain to our own day and age that we are highly privileged to be part of a Christian church in God's plan and in God's will. We are thankful for the dimensions of His grace and love.

It is possible for those who will indeed draw on their Lord's power to live a life in which His promises are taken as they stand, and found to be true. It is possible to cast every care on Him, daily, and to be at peace amidst the pressure. It is possible to see the will of God in everything. These are things divinely possible.

~W. W. Tozer~

I Graven Thee

Isaiah 49:16
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.
 
 
No doubt a part of the wonder which is concentrated in the word "Behold," is excited by the unbelieving lamentation of the preceding sentence. Zion said, "The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me." How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief! What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God's favoured people? The Lord's loving word of rebuke should make us blush; He cries, "How can I have forgotten thee, when I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands? How darest thou doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?" O unbelief, how strange a marvel thou art! We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of His people. He keeps His promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt Him. He never faileth; He is never a dry well; He is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapour; and yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and distu rbed with fears, as if our God were the mirage of the desert. "Behold," is a word intended to excite admiration. Here, indeed, we have a theme for marvelling. Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain so great a nearness to the heart of infinite love as to be written upon the palms of His hands. "I have graven thee. "It does not say, "Thy name." The name is there, but that is not all: "I have graven thee." See the fulness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there. Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when He has graven thee upon His own palms?

~Charles Spurgeon~

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Biblical Verses About Justice

The biblical examples of divine justice may anger or offend us. At the very least, they are sometimes confounding in the face of what we have learned about amerciful and patient God of love. Perhaps we have difficulty because we do not understand the linkage between four vital, biblical concepts: holiness, justice,sin, and grace.

We may not grasp the seriousness of holiness by failing to see the purity God requires; we may have an unbalanced perspective of justice; we may misunderstand the deadliness of sin; and we may see little need for grace for ourselves. The stories of Nadab and Abihu, Uzza, and Ananias and Sapphira are clearly not examples of divine mercy.

Before we can understand divine mercy, we must first understand the seriousness of sin and the necessity of divine justice. Divine justice is linked to righteousness: God's justice is according to righteousness. Evil justice in God does not exist because His every judgment is according to His righteousness, for there is absolutely no unrighteousness in Him. The justice of God is always an expression of His perfect, righteous, holy character.

Biblically, justice refers to "conformity to a rule or norm." If life and salvation were a game, we would say that God plays by the rules. He sets them and never deviates from them. The norm of justice is His own holy character. What God does is always consistent with who and what He is. His righteousness is absolutely pure; there is no shadow of turning in Him (James 1:17). He is utterly incapable of an unholy, unrighteous act. We call people "crooks" because they are crooked. God is absolutely "straight." Genesis 18:23-25 speaks of this very issue:
And Abraham came near and said, "Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
Never did a man ask a more rhetorical question. Abraham had no idea how far such an act was from God. There was never even the most remote possibility that God would kill the innocent along with the guilty! For God to do that, He would have to cease being holy and righteous—He would have to stop being God! God is the Supreme Judge of all the earth. As man's sordid histories show, if He is unjust, there is no hope that justice will ever prevail.
We know human judges can be corrupt, take bribes, and be partial. God, though, is never corrupt, cannot be bribed, refuses to show partiality, never acts out of ignorance, has every fact necessary for judgment, and never makes mistakes. Nadab, Abihu, Uzza, Saul, and Ananias and Sapphira all got what they deserved. There is no injustice with God.

God's justice is never divorced from His righteousness. He never condemns the innocent; never clears the guilty; never punishes with undue severity; never fails to reward righteousness. His justice is perfect justice.
What Abraham fails to address in his question is sin. Mankind utterly fails to appreciate the seriousness of sin. God's Word clearly states that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and that sin is the transgression of God's law (I John 3:4, KJV). From the beginning in the Garden of Eden, God proclaims to mankind in the persons of Adam and Eve, ". . . in the day that you eat of it [sin], you shall surelydie" (Genesis 2:17).

He does not say they would die immediately, but die they did. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). We have all earned this judgment by the way we live. Is God unjust because He warns Adam and Eve? No, the problem is that man in his pride thinks he deserves better.
However, God does not always act with justice—sometimes He acts with mercy. Mercy is not justice, but neither is it injustice, since injustice violates righteousness. Mercy manifests kindness and grace, doing no violence to righteousness. We may see non-justice in God, which is mercy, but we never see injustice in Him.
John W. Ritenbaugh 

 
To us, the concept of justice contains the notion of fairness, almost as if fairness and justice are the same thing. At first glance, it does not seem as though God ever even considered fairness in His dealings with Nadab and Abihu, Ananias and Sapphira, Uzza, and several others as well.

Justice is defined by Webster as "the maintenance or administration of what is just." In actual practice, it is the restoration of equality, which is where we get our idea of fairness being connected with justice. Just is defined as "reasonable; conforming to a standard of correctness; acting on conformity with what is morally upright or good."

Synonyms for just are "fair" and "upright," which is very close to the Bible's usage. The Bible's definition of justice is "conformity to a rule or standard." However, the Bible's norm or standard is God's own holy characternot a set of laws or statutes a human might have in mind, as we relate to the governments of men. Biblically, then, justice is measured against God's holy character, which is reflected verbally in His law, or more broadly, in His Word.
John W. Ritenbaugh


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Unpardonable Sin

"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)

There have been many backslidden Christians who have agonized over the possibility of having committed the unpardonable sin. I have discovered a very helpful rule in this matter. I believe it holds good throughout the whole Church of God around the world. Anyone who is concerned about having committed the unpardonable sin may be sure he or she has not!

Any person who has ever committed that dark and dread unpardonable sin fills no guilt and confesses no worry. Jesus dealt with the Pharisees but His warning caused them no worry. They still believed themselves to b entirely righteous! They felt no need for repentance, no sorrow for sin, no guilt for unbelief. "Do not worry about us," was their attitude. "We do not have any problem!"

Returning to our rule for Christians with guilt and concern, the very fact that a person is worried and concerned indicates that the Spirit of God is still working in his or her life.

God not only forgives great sins as readily as little ones, but once He has forgiven them He starts anew right there and never brings up the old sins again.

~A. W. Tozer~

Too Hard for Jehovah?


Is there anything too hard for Jehovah? (Gen. 18:14).

Here is God's loving challenge to you and to me today. He wants us to think of the deepest, highest, worthiest desire and longing of our hearts, something which perhaps was our desire for ourselves or for someone dear to us, yet which has been so long unfulfilled that we have looked upon it as only a lost desire, that which might have been but now cannot be, and so have given up hope of seeing it fulfilled in this life.
That thing, if it is in line with what we know to be His expressed will (as a son to Abraham and Sarah was), God intends to do for us, even if we know that it is of such utter impossibility that we only laugh at the absurdity of anyone's supposing it could ever now come to pass. That thing God intends to do for us, if we will let Him.
"Is anything too hard for the Lord?" Not when we believe in Him enough to go forward and do His will, and let Him do the impossible for us. Even Abraham and Sarah could have blocked God's plan if they had continued to disbelieve.
The only thing too hard for Jehovah is deliberate, continued disbelief in His love and power, and our final rejection of His plans for us. Nothing is too hard for Jehovah to do for them that trust Him
~L. B. Cowman~

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Get God's Attention


For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity. Jeremiah 29:11-14


The verse above from Jeremiah 29 may be one of the most popular sections of Scripture within the whole Bible. For me personally, it was one of the first that I ever committed to memory. So often, there are times in my life when I just need to hear that the Lord is thinking about me and that He wants to give me “a future and a hope.” Many times, I have difficulty grasping the truth of that statement. The God of the universe, the Lord of heaven and earth, actually has time to think about me? Is that really possible? Not only is it possible but also there is so much more: He wants us to call upon Him, pray to Him, seek Him, find Him, search for Him. God Himself wants us to want Him.

One morning I got up early to pray and knew I needed to spend some time on my knees, literally. As I positioned myself on the floor, my dog soon discovered where I was and proceeded to demand my attention. He began nudging me, licking my face and pressing his body into a position where I could no longer deny his presence. He was insistent to the point that I continued in prayer while petting my dog. I must admit he is irresistible in his persistence and extremely affectionate. In those moments, I sensed the Lord impress upon my heart that He was doing the same thing to me. I knew in that moment that the Lord wanted me to give Him the same kind of attention. He wanted me to know that His love is unconditional, irresistible and affectionate. And He just wants to be loved back. He wants my prayers, but He also wants my never-ending desire to seek and search for Him, to never settle when I may not sense His presence. He is always with me, but sometimes I need to press into Him and not give up until I get His attention.
Just like my dog knew how to get my attention, knowing that I would respond with love and affection, the Lord knows how to get our attention and our response should be the same. But we need to learn how to respond to Him. We need to call upon Him, seek Him and press into Him. We need to give Him our love and affection. He just wants our hearts but He also wants us to sense His nudging. The next time your child or your pet demands your attention, especially in the areas of love and affection, just remember that the Lord is seeking the same kind of attention from you. And no one gives it back better than He does.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~