Google+ Followers

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pleasant Fruits

Song of Solomon 7:13
Pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.
 
The spouse desires to give to Jesus all that she produces. Our heart has "all manner of pleasant fruits," both "old and new," and they are laid up for our Beloved. At this rich autumnal season of fruit, let us survey our stores. We have new fruits. We desire to feel new life, new joy, new gratitude; we wish to make new resolves and carry them out by new labours; our heart blossoms with new prayers, and our soul is pledging herself to new efforts. But we have some old fruits too. There is our first love: a choice fruit that! and Jesus delights in it. There is our first faith: that simple faith by which, having nothing, we became possessors of all things. There is our joy when first we knew the Lord: let us revive it. We have our old remembrances of the promises. How faithful has God been! In sickness, how softly did He make our bed! In deep waters, how placidly did He buoy us up! In the flaming furnace, how graciously did He deliver us. Old fruits, indeed! We have many of them, for His mercies have been more than the hairs of our head. Old sins we must regret, but then we have had repentances which He has given us, by which we have wept our way to the cross, and learned the merit of His blood. We have fruits, this morning, both new and old; but here is the point-they are all laid up for Jesus. Truly, those are the best and most acceptable services in which Jesus is the solitary aim of the soul, and His glory, without any admixture whatever, the end of all our efforts. Let our many fruits be laid up only for our Beloved; let us display them when He is with us, and not hold them up before the gaze of men. Jesus, we will turn the key in our garden door, and none shall enter to rob Thee of one good fruit from the soil which Thou hast watered with Thy bloody sweat. Our all shall be Thine, Thine only, O Jesus, our Beloved!

~Charles Spurgeon~

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Life Is Precious

Ecclesiastes 9:4
A living dog is better than a dead lion.
 
Life is a precious thing, and in its humblest form it is superior to death. This truth is eminently certain in spiritual things. It is better to be the least in the kingdom of heaven than the greatest out of it. The lowest degree of grace is superior to the noblest development of unregenerate nature. Where the Holy Ghost implants divine life in the soul, there is a precious deposit which none of the refinements of education can equal. The thief on the cross excels Caesar on his throne; Lazarus among the dogs is better than Cicero among the senators; and the most unlettered Christian is in the sight of God superior to Plato. Life is the badge of nobility in the realm of spiritual things, and men without it are only coarser or finer specimens of the same lifeless material, needing to be quickened, for they are dead in trespasses and sins. A living, loving, gospel sermon, however unlearned in matter and uncouth in style, is better than the finest discourse devoid of unction and power. A living dog keeps better watch than a dead lion, and is of more service to his master; and so the poorest spiritual preacher is infinitely to be preferred to the exquisite orator who has no wisdom but that of words, no energy but that of sound. The like holds good of our prayers and other religious exercises; if we are quickened in them by the Holy Spirit, they are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, though we may think them to be worthless things; while our grand performances in which our hearts were absent, like dead lions, are mere carrion in the sight of the living God. O for living groans, living sighs, living despondencies, rather than lifeless songs and dead calms. Better anything than death. The snarlings of the dog of hell will at least keep us awake, but dead faith and dead profession, what greater curses can a man have? Quicken us, quicken us, O Lord!

~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The New Birth - Unexplainable

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I insist that the new birth was provided in the love and grace and wisdom of God in order to draw a sharp line between those who acquire Christianity by any other method and those who have experienced regeneration.

Some professing Christians are still trying to find natural and reasonable explanations for that which God has said He would do miraculously by His Spirit.

Let me warn you that if you are a Christian believer and you have found a psychologist who can explain to you exactly what happened to you in the matter of your faith, you have been unfrocked! The honest psychologist can only stand off respectfully and say, "Behold the works of the Lord."

He can never explain it!

The humblest Christian is called to live a miracle, a life that is a moral and spiritual life with such intensity and such purity that no human being can do it - only Jesus Christ can do it.

The genuine child of God is someone who cannot be explained by human reasoning.

~A. W. Tozer~

A Sound, Then a Voice, Then a Word

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:1)

It is important that we get still to wait on God. And it is best that we get alone, preferably with our Bible outspread before us. Then if we will we may draw near to God and begin to hear Him speak to us in our hearts.

I think for the average person the progression will be something like this: First a sound as of a Presence walking in the garden. Then a voice, more intelligible, but still far from clear.

Then the happy moment when the Spirit begins to illuminate the Scriptures, and that which had been only a sound, or at best a voice, now becomes an intelligible word, warm, and intimate and clear as the word of a dear friend.

Then will come life and light, and best of all, ability to see and rest in and embrace Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord and All.

O God and Father, I repent of my sinful preoccupation with visible things. The world has been too much with me. Thou hast been here and I knew it not. I have been blind to Thy presence. Open my eyes that I may behold Thee in and around me. For Christ's sake, Amen.

~A. W. Tozer~

Fall Upon Your Knees and Grow There

I will give myself unto prayer (Ps. 109:4).

We are often in a religious hurry in our devotions. How much time do we spend in them daily? Can it not be easily reckoned in minutes? Who ever knew an eminently holy man who did not spend much of his time in prayer? Did ever a man exhibit much of the spirit of prayer, who did not devote much time in his closet?

Whitefield says, "Whole days and weeks have I spent prostrate on the ground, in silent or vocal prayer." "Fall upon your knees and grow there," is the language of another, who knew whereof he affirmed.

It has been said that no great work in literature or science was ever wrought by a man who did not love solitude. We may lay it down as an elemental principle of religion, that no large growth in holiness was ever gained by one who did not take time to be often, and long, alone with God.

--The Still Hour
'Come, come,' He saith, 'O soul oppressed and weary,
Come to the shadows of my desert rest;
Come walk with Me far from life's babbling discords,
And peace shall breathe like music in thy breast.'

~L. B. Cowman~

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's Time to Stand Up!

"Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?" (Matthew 5:13)

Many Christians spend a lot of time and energy in making excuses, because they have never broken through into a real offensive for God by the unlimited power of the Holy Spirit.

The world has nothing that we want - for we are believers in a faith that is as well authenticated as any solid fact of life. The truths we believe and the links in the chain of evidence are clear and rational.

I contend that the church has a right to rejoice and that this is no time in the world's history for Christian believers to settle for a defensive holding action!

We Christians must stop apologizing for our moral position and start making our voices heard, exposing sin as the enemy of the human race and setting forth righteousness and true holiness as the only worthy pursuits for moral beings.

I have no doubt that historians will conclude that we of the twentieth century had intelligence enough to create a great civilization but not the moral wisdom to preserve it.

~A. W. Tozer~

God's Book - Fresh as the Dew

"Ye received the word of God...not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God" (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

There isn't anything dated in the Book of God. When I go to my Bible, I find dates but no dating. I mean that I find the sense and the feeling that everything here belongs to me.

When the Holy Spirit wrote the epistles, through Peter and Paul and the rest, He wrote them and addressed them to certain people and then made them so universally applicable that every Christian who reads them today in any part of the world, in any language or dialect, forgets that they were written to someone else and says, "This was addressed to me. The Holy Spirit had me in mind. This is not antiquated and dated. This is the living Truth for me - now!"

Brethren, this is why the Word of the Lord God is as fresh as every new sunrise, as sweet and graciously fresh as the dew on the grass the morning after the clear night - because it is God's Word to man!

God has given us the Book, brother, and the Book comes first. If it can't be shown in the Book, then I don't want anyone coming to me all aquiver and trying to tell me anything. The Book - you must give me the Word!

~A. W. Tozer~

Here am I! Send Me


Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." - Isaiah 6:8

The prophet, Isaiah, was blessed with an incredible experience…he found himself in the throne room of God. He saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up and the train of His robe filled the temple. He saw glowing celestial beings, or seraphim, around and above the throne. And then, Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord say to him, "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?"  Without hesitation, Isaiah shouted out, “Here am I! Send me.” His life would be forever changed.

Isaiah had a tough ministry as a prophet. The people did not want to hear what he had to say. His prophecies foretold of destruction and doom. Why would anyone want to hear such dreadful predictions about their ultimate desolation? Isaiah did not have a glamorous life and he did not die in an honorable manner. Jewish tradition says that he was sawn in half when he was about 90 years old. He answered the call of God but the call on his life brought much pain and suffering. For people today to answer the call of God there must be an awareness and acceptance of the pain and suffering that comes with the call. It is a tough place to live, especially in a world engrossed in comforts and pleasures.

Many Christians today are afraid to say, “Here am I! Send me.” They are afraid to surrender and to really take up their cross and follow Jesus. The price is high…very high. When the flame starts getting too hot to handle, they step back and cool off. I know because I have been there. So, why be an “Isaiah” if we do not have to be? We can be saved, live a nice life and wake up in heaven. Why go through all of this other stuff? There is only one reason, one answer, to that question: to have the experience of standing before the throne of God and hearing His voice. To experience His presence in such an intimate way that you feel as though you are melting at His feet. To see His glory and majesty as Isaiah did. Once you have tasted and seen, you will never ask “why” again. The pain and the suffering cannot compare to the glory of the Lord.
But first you must be willing to step out and be sent. Are you ready? Do you want more? If so, then start praying. Read the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah to learn more about their lives and how God called them. You will never know all God has for you until you let go and ask Him to send you out. As Christians, this is our great commission. 

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Am I Really Converted?

"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (James 2:26)

I believe in the deeper Christian life and experience - oh yes!  But I believe we are mistaken when we try to add the deeper life to an imperfect salvation, obtained imperfectly by an imperfect concept of the whole thing.

Under the working of the Spirit of God through such men as Finney and Wesley, no one would ever dare to rise in a meeting and say, "I am a Christian" if he had not surrendered his whole being to God and had taken Jesus Christ as his Lord.

Today, we let them say they are saved no matter how imperfect and incomplete the transaction, with the proviso that the deeper Christian life can be tacked on at some time in the future.

Can it be that we really think that we do not owe Jesus Christ our obedience?

We have owed Him obedience ever since the second we cried out to Him for salvation, and if we do not give Him obedience I have reason to wonder if we are really converted!

I am satisfied that when a man believes on Jesus Christ he must believe on the whole Lord Jesus Christ - not making any reservation!

~A. W. Tozer~


Admire Him!

"Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart" (Psalm 37:4)

Admiration ... is appreciation of the excellency of God. Man is better qualified to appreciate God than any other creature because he was made in His image and is the only creature who was. This admiration for God grows and grows until it fills the heart with wonder and delight.

"In our astonished reverence we confess Thine uncreated loveliness," said the hymn writer. "In our astonished reverence."

The God of the modern evangelical rarely astonishes anybody. He manages to stay pretty much withing the constitution. Never breaks over our bylaws. He's a very well-behaved God and very denominational and very much one of us, and we ask Him to help us when we're in trouble and look to Him to watch over us when we're asleep. The God of the modern evangelical isn't a God I could have much respect for. But when the Holy Spirit shows us God as He is we admire Him to the point of wonder and delight.

O Lord, You're beautiful,
Your face is all I seek,
And when Your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.

~A. W. Tozer~

Don't Be Offended


 
"Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me" (Luke 7:23).
 

It is sometimes very difficult not to be offended in Jesus Christ. The offenses may be circumstantial. I find myself in a prison-house--a narrow sphere, a sick chamber, an unpopular position--when I had hoped for wide opportunities. Yes, but He knows what is best for me. My environment is of His determining. He means it to intensify my faith, to draw me into nearer communion with Himself, to ripen my power. In the dungeon my soul should prosper.
 
The offense may be mental. I am haunted by perplexities, questions, which I cannot solve. I had hoped that, when I gave myself to Him, my sky would always be clear; but often it is overspread by mist and cloud. Yet let me believe that, if difficulties remain, it is that I may learn to trust Him all the more implicitly--to trust and not be afraid. Yes, and by my intellectual conflicts, I am trained to be a tutor to other storm-driven men.
 
***
 
The offense may be spiritual. I had fancied that within His fold I should never feel the biting winds of temptation; but it is best as it is. His grace is magnified. My own character is matured. His Heaven is sweeter at the close of the day. There I shall look back on the turnings and trials of the way, and shall sing the praises of my Guide. So, let come what will come, His will is welcome; and I shall refuse to be offended in my loving Lord. --Alexander Smellie
 
***
 
Blessed is he whose faith is not offended,
When all around his way
The power of God is working out deliverance
For others day by day;
Though in some prison drear his own soul languish,
Till life itself be spent,
Yet still can trust his Father's love and purpose,
And rest therein content.
 
Blessed is he, who through long years of suffering,
Cut off from active toil,
Still shares by prayer and praise the work of others,
And thus "divides the spoil."
 
Blessed are thou, O child of God, who sufferest,
And canst not understand
The reason for thy pain, yet gladly leavest
Thy life in His blest Hand.
 
Yea, blessed art thou whose faith is "not offended"
By trials unexplained,
By mysteries unsolved, past understanding,
Until the goal is gained.

~L. B. Cowman~

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Art of Worship

"Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" (Psalm 29:2)

Worship is the missing jewel in modern evangelicalism. We're organized, we work; we have our agendas. We have almost everything, but there's one thing that the churches, even the gospel churches, do not have: that is the ability to worship. We are not cultivating the art of worship. It's the one shining gem that is lost to the modern church, and I believe that we ought to search for this until we find it.

I think I ought to talk a little more about what worship is and what it would be like if it were in the church. Well, it's an attitude, a state of mind, a sustained act, subject to degrees of perfection and intensity. As soon as He send the Spirit of His Son into our hearts we say "Abba" and we're worshiping. That's one thing. But its' quite another thing to be worshipers in the full New Testament sense of the word and up to our possibilities.

God wants us to worship Him. He doesn't need us, for He couldn't be a self-sufficient God and need anything or anybody, but He wants us. When Adam sinned it was not he who cried, "God, where art Thou?" It was God who cried, "Adam, where art thou?"

~A. W. Tozer~

Worship and Work In the Spirit

"God is a Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24)

Only the Holy Spirit can enable a fallen man or woman to worship God acceptably. As far as that's concerned, only the Holy Spirit can pray acceptably; only the Holy Spirit can do anything acceptably. My brethren, I don't know your position about the gifts of the Spirit, but I believe that all the gifts of the Spirit not only ought to be but have been present in His Church all down the centuries.

You cannot account for Augustine and Chrysostom and Luther and Charnock and Wesley and Finney except they were men gifted by the Holy Spirit.

I believe that the Holy Spirit distributes His gifts severally as he will. The Church has been propagated by the Holy Spirit, so we can only worship in the Spirit, we can only pray in the Spirit, and we can only preach effectively in the Spirit, and what we do must be done by the power of the Spirit.

We do not need many gifts but one ... The Holy Spirit is wisdom, power, holiness, faith, love ... all comprehended in the one living Presence that comes to abide in the heart that is yielded wholly to Him.

~A. W. Tozer~

Deeper


"Not much earth" (Matthew 13:5).

Shallow! It would seem from the teaching of this parable that we have something to do with the soil. The fruitful seed fell into "good and honest hearts." I suppose the shallow people are the soil without much earth--those who have no real purpose, are moved by a tender appeal, a good sermon, a pathetic melody, and at first it looks as if they would amount to something; but not much earth--no depth, no deep, honest purpose, no earnest desire to know duty in order to do it. Let us look after the soil of our hearts.
When a Roman soldier was told by his guide that if he insisted on taking a certain journey it would probably be fatal, he answered, "It is necessary for me to go; it is not necessary for me to live."
This was depth. When we are convicted something like that we shall come to something. The shallow nature lives in its impulses, its impressions, its intuitions, its instincts, and very largely its surroundings. The profound character looks beyond all these, and moves steadily on, sailing past all storms and clouds into the clear sunshine which is always on the other side, and waiting for the afterwards which always brings the reversion of sorrow, seeming defeat and failure.
When God has deepened us, then He can give us His deeper truths, His profoundest secrets, and His mightier trusts. Lord, lead me into the depths of Thy life and save me from a shallow experience!
***
On to broader fields of holy vision;
On to loftier heights of faith and love;
Onward, upward, apprehending wholly,
All for which He calls thee from above.
--A. B. Simpson
~L. B. Cowman~

Friday, October 25, 2013

Worshiper First, Worker Second

"You shall worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Matthew 4:10)

I think that God has given me a little bit of a spirit of a crusader and I am crusading where I can that Christians of all denominations and shades of theological thought might be restored again to our original purpose.

We're here to be worshipers first and workers only second. We take a convert and immediately make a worker out of him. God never meant it to be so. God meant that a convert should learn to be a worshiper, and after that he can learn to be a worker.

Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel" (Mark 16:15). Peter wanted to go at once, but Christ said, "Don't go yet. Wait until you are endued with power." (Luke 24:49).

Power for service? Yes, but that's only half of it; maybe that's only one tenth of it. The other nine-tenths are that the Holy Spirit may restore to us again the spirit of worship. Out of enraptured, admiring, adoring, worshiping souls, then, God does His work. The work done by a worshiper will have eternity in it.

What God asks from us is worship... The homage He claims is the devotion of our hearts.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Cross on the Hill - And In My Heart

"And they that are Christ's have crucified he flesh with the affections and lusts" (Galatians 5:24)

One time a young man came to an old saint and said to him, "Father, what does it mean to be crucified?" The old man thought for a moment and said, "Well, to be crucified means three things. First, the man who is crucified in facing only one direction." I like that - facing only one direction - and that is the direction of God and Christ and the Holy Spirit. The direction of sanctification and the direction of the Spirit-filled life.

And the old man scratched his scraggly gray hair and said, "One thing more, son, about a man on a Cross. He's not going back." The fellow going out to die on the cross doesn't say to his wife, "Good bye, honey. I'll be back shortly after five."

When you go out to die on the cross you bid good bye - you're not going back! Get a man converted who knows that if he joins Jesus Christ he's finished, he's not going back - then you have a real Christian indeed.

In every Christian's heart there is a cross and a throne, and the Christian is on the throne till he puts himself on the cross.

~A. W. Tozer~

Take Time to Stop


Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10

"Be still" is a phrase often commanded by parents. Children have an abundance of energy that seems to have no limits at times, regardless of where they may be. The command to "be still" usually comes when either the energy level has reached a fevered pitch or when the environment is not conducive to an overabundance of activity, such as riding in a car or sitting in church. However, getting a child to be still from just speaking the words is most often a futile attempt at best; sometimes, more serious action is required.

As children of God, we are not so different. We tend to lead overactive lives filled with busyness and activities that seem to have few boundaries themselves. The difference is that, as adults, we have no one telling us to "be still" and slow down. We think the busier we are, the better we are for us and for those around us. Most of us even feel better just by staying active and over stimulated.  Our society not only endorses this behavior but also has, for the most part, created the standards for it. How many of us would like to be known as weak, feeble, or slack? We most likely would be insulted by such words. But God says that we are to "be still," which is defined in Hebrew with such words. God is the One who tells us not to put anything above or before Him in our lives, even our energy levels and activities.

Just as with a child, sometimes our attention must be captured by God using more drastic actions. I heard the Lord telling me to slow down but it took physical changes in my life before I began to listen and obey. All God wants is more of us. He wants to be with us and He wants our undivided attention when we are with Him. It is a command to "be still," to be weak and to be at rest, before our God. Take time today to stop and be still before the Lord. Pray that you can "know" that He is your Lord and Savior and that you can be with Him in stillness and peace. If you hear Him telling you to be still, then listen and obey and do not wait: start today.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Obedience

"Obey My voice ... and I will be your God" (Jeremiah 11:4)

God gave this command to Israel when He gave them the law. But Israel had no power to keep the law. So God gave them a "new covenant" to enable His people to live a life of obedience. We read (Jeremiah 31:33), "I will write My law in their hearts" (32:40), "I will put My fear in their heart, that they shall not depart from Me" (Ezekiel 36:27), "I will cause you to walk in My statutes." These wonderful promises gave the assurance that obedience would be their delight.

Let us hasten to what the Lord Jesus says about obedience (John 14:21-23). "He that keepeth My commandments, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and We will make our abode with him." And in John 15:10, "If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love." These words are an inexhaustible treasure. Faith can firmly trust Christ to enable us to live such a life of love and of obedience.

No father can train his children unless they are obedient. No teacher can teach a child who continues to disobey him. No general can lead his soldiers to victory without prompt obedience. Pray God to imprint this lesson on your heart: the life of faith is a life of obedience. As Christ lived in obedience to the Father, so we too need obedience for a life in the love of God.

Alas, the thought is too common: "I cannot be obedient, it is quite impossible." Yes, impossible to you, but not to God. He has promised "to cause you to walk in His statutes." Pray and meditate on these words, and the Holy Spirit will enlighten your eyes so that you will have power to do God's will.

Dear Father, let my fellowship with Thee and with the Lord Jesus Christ has as its one aim and object - a life of quiet, determined, unquestioning obedience. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

Beathing Out and Breathing In

"The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate" (Proverbs 8:13)

Our attachment to the Person of Christ must exclude all that is contrary to Christ. These are the days when we are trying to be 100 percent positive. But the Scripture says of Jesus, "Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: (Psalm 45:7). If He had to hate in order to love, so do you and I.

To be 100 percent positive would be as fatal as to inhale steadily all your life without exhaling. You can't do that.

When the Church inhales the Holy Spirit she must exhale everything that is contrary to Him.

I don't believe any man or woman can love until they are able to hate. I don't think they can love righteousness unless they hate sin; for the Scripture leaves  us with the belief that in order to accept there are some things we must reject. In order to affirm there are the things you have to deny; in order to say "yes" you have to be able to say "no".

Jesus, breathe Thy Spirit on me,
Teach me how to breathe Thee in,
Help me pour into Thy bosom
All my life of self and sin.

~A. W. Tozer~

Learn to Be Gentle


Today we are going to look at the sixth commandment of marriage, based on the sixth commandment God gave to Israel in Exodus 20:13,
"You shall not murder."

While you might think this commandment is not too applicable, I believe it is vital.  It is telling you not to destroy your spouse!

Jesus helps us understand this principle in Matthew 5.  He said, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.'  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment."

Jesus went right to the root of murder:  anger and hatred.  If you are going to have a good, healthy, lasting marriage, you need to learn to be gentle.  People who are easily angered…who are violent or have an explosive temper…destroy relationships.

If you are dating someone who blows up easily, you ought to take it as a warning sign.  If they get mad at things at the drop of a hat, that anger can be turned on you very easily.
Anger erodes relationships.  If you have a hot temper, get it under control, or the devil will control you through it.

Another way anger is expressed is by going stone cold…using silence and angry moodiness to punish your mate.  Again, not a healthy thing for a marriage.  If you anger quickly and forgive slowly, you are a hard person to live with.  Work at being quick to forgive, and make the controlling of your anger a serious matter of prayer.  God will help you. 

If you do not master your temper, it will master you.  And it will not only decay and destroy a marriage relationship, it will harm every other meaningful relationship you have in life.

~Bayless Conley~

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Word and Prayer

"Quicken Me, O Lord, according to Thy Word" (Psalm 119:107)

Prayer and the Word of God are inseparable and should always go together in the quiet time of the inner chamber. In His Word God speaks to me; in prayer I speak to God. If there is to be true fellowship, God and I must both take part.  If I simply pray, without using God's Word, I am apt to use my own words and thoughts. What really gives prayer its power is that I take God's thoughts from His Word and present them before Him. Then I am enabled to pray according to God's Word. How indispensable God's Word is for all true prayer.

When I pray, I must seek to know God aright. It is through the Word that the Holy Spirit gives me right thoughts of Him. The Word will also teach me how wretched and sinful I am. It reveals to me all the wonders that God will do for me and the strength He will give me to do His will. The Word teaches me how to pray - with strong desire, with a firm faith and with constant perseverance. The Word teaches me not only what I am, but what I may become through God's grace. And above all, it reminds me each day that Christ is the great Intercessor and allows me to pray in His Name.

O Christian, learn this great lesson, to renew your strength each day in God's Word, and so pray according to His will.

Then we turn to the other side - Prayer. We need prayer when we read God's Word - prayer to be taught of God to understand His Word, prayer that through the Holy Spirit I may rightly know and use God's Word - prayer that I may see in the Word that Christ is all in all and will be all in me.

Dear Father, it is in the blessed inner chamber, that I may approach Thee in Christ through the Word and prayer. There I offer myself to Thee and Thy service and am strengthened by the Holy Spirit, so that Thy love may be shed abroad in my heart and I may daily walk in that love. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

You Can Have What You Want

"I am come that they might know life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10)

There are two kinds of lives ...the fallow and the plowed ....

The man of fallow life is contented with himself and the fruit he once bore. He does not want to be disturbed. He smiles in tolerant superiority at revivals, fastings, self-searchings. He is steady, "faithful," always in his accustomed place. But he is fruitless. The curse of such a life is that it is fixed. "To be" has taken the place of "to become."

The plowed life is the life that has, in the act of repentance, thrown down the protecting fences and sent the plow of confession into the soul. Th urge of the Spirit, the pressure of circumstances and the distress of fruitless living have combined thoroughly to humble the heart.

Such a life has put away defense, and has for forsaken the safety of death for the peril of life.

God gives us what we want. If you want a little of His grace, you may get it. If you want to be halfhearted, you may. But if you want to be wholly His and have all His fullness, His great heart is just longing to find room and vent for His love.

~A. W. Tozer~

Your Crown of Glory


 
"They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb... and they loved not their lives unto the death" (Rev. 12:11).
 
When James and John came to Christ with their mother, asking Him to give them the best place in the kingdom, He did not refuse their request, but told them it would be given to them if they could do His work, drink His cup, and be baptized with His baptism.
 
Do we want the competition? The greatest things are always hedged about by the hardest things, and we, too, shall find mountains and forests and chariots of iron. Hardship is the price of coronation. Triumphal arches are not woven out of rose blossoms and silken cords, but of hard blows and bloody scars. The very hardships that you are enduring in your life today are given by the Master for the explicit purpose of enabling you to win your crown.
 
Do not wait for some ideal situation, some romantic difficulty, some far-away emergency; but rise to meet the actual conditions which the Providence of God has placed around you today. Your crown of glory lies embedded in the very heart of these things--those hardships and trials that are pressing you this very hour, week and month of your life. The hardest things are not those that the world knows of. Down in your secret soul unseen and unknown by any but Jesus, there is a little trial that you would not dare to mention that is harder for you to bear than martyrdom.
 
***
 
There, beloved, lies your crown. God help you to overcome, and sometime wear it.  
 
***
 
"It matters not how the battle goes,
The day how long;
Faint not! Fight on!
Tomorrow comes the song."

~L. B. Cowman~

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Faith

"Only believe" (Mark 5:36)

We have here a lesson of the greatest importance, namely this, that when alone in the inner chamber, we must send up our petitions trusting implicitly in the love of God and in the power of the Lord Jesus. Take time to ask yourself the question: Is my heart full of a great and steadfast faith in God's love? If this is not the case, do not begin to pray at once. Faith does not come of itself. Consider quietly how impossible it is for God to lie. He is ready with infinite love to give you, a blessing. Take some text of Scripture in which God's power and faithfulness and love are revealed. Appropriate the words, and say: "Yes, Lord, I will pray in firm faith in Thee and in Thy great love."

It is a mistake to limit the word "faith" to the forgiveness of sins and to our acceptance as children of God. Faith includes far more. We must have faith in all that God is willing to do for us. We must have faith each day according to our special needs. God is infinitely great and powerful; Christ has so much grace for each new day that our faith must reach out afresh each day according to the need of the day.

When you enter into the inner chamber, even before you begin to pray, ask yourself: "Do I really believe that God is here with me, and that the Lord Jesus will help me to pray, and I may expect to spend a blessed time in communion with my God?"

Jesus often taught His disciples how indispensable faith was to true prayer. He will teach us this lesson too. Remain in fellowship with Him. Christ says to you and to me as to Martha: "Said I not unto thee that if thou wouldst believe, thou shouldst see the glory of God."

Blessed Lord Jesus, strengthen my faith in Thy almighty power. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

The Fruit of Obedience

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22)

Look at the fruits of obedience as described in the New Testament: The house of the obedient man is builded upon a rock (Matthew 7:24).

"He shall be loved by the Father and shall have the manifestation of the Father and the Son, who will come unto him and make their abode with him" (John 14:21-23).

"He shall abide in the love of Christ (15:10)... He is set free from sin and made a servant of righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18). The Holy Spirit is given to him" (Acts 5:32).

"He is delivered from self-deception and blessed in his deeds (James 1:22-25). His faith is perfected" (2:22).

"He is confirmed in his assurance toward God and given confidence in prayer, so that what he asks is given to him" (1 John 3:18-22).

What does all this add up to? Just that the power of God is at our disposal, waiting for us to call it into action by meeting the conditions which are plainly laid down.

We have a power within us to do what we are commanded to do. What is it we lack? The power? No; the will.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Tragedy of a Wasted Life


 
 
Death is inevitable, but at times it surprises us. Perhaps you know someone who died unexpectedly.
 
Today's parable is a warning about such situations. It tells of a man who acquired comfort and wealth but thought only of his time on earth. Death came without warning, and he could take nothing with him. God called him a fool for living focused on "self."
 
Though rich in the world's eyes, the man had no relationship with God and hadn't invested anything in Christ's kingdom. All the treasures he stored here were worthless once he died. What's worse, without Jesus, he would be separated from God forever. What a tragic waste of life.
 
As I think about this person's choices, two questions come to mind that are important for all of us to contemplate. First, if you were to die today, would you go to heaven? Salvation is a free gift for those who trust in Jesus as the acceptable sacrifice for our sin. He is the only way--no excuses or even sincere beliefs in other "ways" will work. And Jesus promises that when believers die, they immediately find themselves in His presence (2 Cor. 5:6).
 
Second, what is your life accomplishing? Are you driven by selfish purposes, storing security and wealth for yourself? Or is your motivation to further God's kingdom?
 
Like the man in this parable, we don't know when we will die. We do know, however, that death is inescapable. Though dying is an unpleasant topic, eternity is a long time and worthy of our attention. It's definitely a wise investment to make sure of your salvation and to invest in God's kingdom.

~Charles Stanley~

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Inner Chamber

"When thou prayest enter into thin inner chamber" (Matthew 6:6)

Have you ever thought what a wonderful privilege it is that everyone each day and each hour of the day has the liberty of asking God to meet him in the inner chamber and to hear what He has to say? We should imagine that every Christian uses such a privilege gladly and faithfully.

"When thou prayest," says Jesus, "enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret." That means two things. Shut the world out, withdraw from all worldly thoughts and occupations, and shut yourself in alone with God to pray to Him in secret. Let this be your chief object in prayer, to realize the presence of your heavenly Father. Let your watchword be: Alone with God.

This is only the beginning. I must take time to realize His presence with me and pray to my Father who seeth in secret, in the full assurance that He knows how I long for His help and guidance and will incline His ear to me.

Then follows the great promise: "Thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." My Father will see to it that my prayer is not in vain. All through the occupations of a busy day, the answer to my prayer will be granted. Prayer in secret will be followed by the secret working of God in my heart.

As the Lord Jesus has given us the promise of His presence and shows us the way to the inner chamber, He will assuredly be with us to teach us to pray. It is through Him that we have access to the Father. Be childlike and trustful in your fellowship with Christ. Prayer in fellowship with Jesus cannot be in vain.

Blessed Father, I confess each sin, I bring to Thee my every need. I offer my prayer to Thee in the name of Christ. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

Getting Rid of the Handles

"There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth" (Luke 15:10)

In the things-which-God-cannot-do category is this: God cannot do our repenting for us. In our efforts to magnify grace we have so preached the truth as to convey the impression that repentance is a work of God. This is a grave mistake. God has commanded all men to repent. It is a work which only they can do. It is morally impossible for one person to repent for another. Even Christ could not do this. He could die for us, but He cannot do our repenting for us.

God in His mercy may "incline" us to repent and by His inworking Spirit assist us to repent; but before we ca be saved we must of our own free will repent toward God and believe in Jesus Christ.

Repentance involves moral reformation. The wrong practices are on man's part, and only man can correct them. Lying, for instance, is an act of man, and one for which he must accept full responsibility. When he repents he will quit lying. God will not quit for him; he will quit for himself.

Anyplace where a person sins, he puts handles on his soul for satan to grasp. Repentance gets rid of the handles!

~A. W. Tozer~

Take Your Inheritance

And the children of Joseph took their inheritance - Joshua 16:4


What a wonderful wealth of blessing these children of Joseph came into! There were the precious things of heaven, the dew, and the deep that couched beneath; the precious fruits of the sun and of the growth of the moons; the metals of the ancient mountains and the everlasting hills; the precious things of the earth, and the fullness thereof; and, above all, the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush (Deu 33:13-16). Surely they were blessed with all manner of bless-ings - more than they had asked or thought! The rich gifts of God's grace! An inheritance which could not have been won by their prowess or arms, but was the free gift of God's love - to be taken and enjoyed!

These things happened to them as types; the spiritual counterparts of all are ours in Christ. He is precious - nay, priceless: His promises are exceeding great and precious. The blood by which we were redeemed is precious, has meanings not yet explored; the very trial of our faith is precious as the gold taken from the everlasting hills. How much preciousness there is for us who believe! (1Pet 2:7, R. V.). But we are poor, and wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked, because we have not taken our inheritance.

We need to do more than ask for it. He that asketh should not rest satisfied till he receiveth. We must take by a faith which claims, appropriates, employs. Open your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, that He may cause you to receive and enjoy all His precious gifts. In Christ all things are yours: go in and possess; take your inheritance; believe that you do receive; thank Him, and go on your way rejoicing.

~F. B. Meyer~

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Jesus

"Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21)

As the Lord Jesus was a person, He had His own individual name. His mother, His disciples, all His friends called Him by this name - Jesus. But they probably thought little of what that name meant. And how little do the majority of Christians know what a treasure is contained in that Name - Jesus - "He shall save His people from their sins."

Many think of His death on the Cross, they think of His work in heaven as Intercessor, but do they, or do we,  realize that He is a living Person in heaven who thinks of us each day and longs to reveal Himself? And He desires us each day to bring Him our love and adoration.

Christians pray to Christ to save them from their sins, but they know very little how the blessed work is done. The living Christ reveals Himself to us, and through the power of His love, the love of sin is expelled. It is through personal fellowship with Him that Jesus saves us from our sins. I must come as an individual, with my heart and all the sin that is in it, to Jesus as an Almighty personal Saviour in whom God's holiness dwells. And as He and I commune together in the expression of mutual love and desire by the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart, His love will expel and conquer all the sin.

O Christian, learn the blessedness of each day in fellowship with Jesus. Finding the secret of happiness and holiness, your heart will long for the hour of prayer as the best hour of the day. As you learn to go apart with Him alone each day, you will experience His presence with you, enabling you all through the day to love Him, to serve Him, and to walk in His ways.

Blessed Father, through this unbroken fellowship with Thee, let me learn the secret of the power of a truly godly life. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

Fire In The Bush

"But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare ... to Israel his sin" (Mich 3:8)

The greatest proof of our weakness these days is that there is no longer anything terrible or mysterious about us. We now have little that cannot be accounted for by psychology and statistics.

In the early Church they met together on Solomon's porch, and so great was the sense of God's presence that "durst no man join himself to them" (Acts 5:13). The world saw fire in that bush and stood back in fear; but no one is afraid of ashes.

Today they even slap the professed bride of Christ on the back and get coarsely familiar. If we ever again impress unsaved men with a wholesome fear of the supernatural we must have once more the dignity of the Holy Spirit; we must know again that awe-inspiring mystery which comes upon men and churches when they are full of the power of God.

The Holy Spirit is pure, for He is the Spirit of wisdom. He is true, for He is the Spirit of truth. He is like Jesus, for He is the Spirit of Christ. He is like the Father, for He is the Spirit of the Father. He wants o be Lord of your life.

~A. W. Tozer~

Can Thy Believe Thy Lord?

Mark 9:23
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe.
 
A certain man had a demoniac son, who was afflicted with a dumb spirit. The father, having seen the futility of the endeavours of the disciples to heal his child, had little or no faith in Christ, and therefore, when he was bidden to bring his son to Him, he said to Jesus, "If Thou cast do anything, have compassion on us, and help us." Now there was an "if" in the question, but the poor trembling father had put the "if" in the wrong place: Jesus Christ, therefore, without commanding him to retract the "if," kindly puts it in its legitimate position. "Nay, verily," He seemed to say, "there should be no 'if' about My power, nor concerning My willingness, the 'if' lies somewhere else." "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." The man's trust was strengthened, he offered a humble prayer for an increase of faith, and instantly Jesus spoke the word, and the devil was cast out, with an injunction never to return. There is a lesson here which we need to learn. We, like this man, often see that there is an "if" somewhere, but we are perpetually blundering by putting it in the wrong place. "If" Jesus can help me-"if" He can give me grace to overcome temptation-"if" He can give me pardon-"if" He can make me successful? Nay, "if" you can believe, He both can and will. You have misplaced your "if." If you can confidently trust, even as all things are possible to Christ, so shall all things be possible to you. Faith standeth in God's power, and is robed in God's majesty; it weareth the royal apparel, and rideth on the King's horse, for it is the grace which the King delighteth to honour. Girding itself with the glorious might of the all-working Spirit, it becomes, in the omnipotence of God, mighty to do, to dare, and to suffer. All things, without limit, are possible to him that believeth. My soul, canst thou believe thy Lord to-night?

~Charles Spurgeon~

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fellowship with God

"He that loveth Me shall be loved of my Father, I will love Him" (John 14:21)

The Three Persons in the Godhead are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each one knows Himself as different from the others. God desires to reveal Himself as a Person. Each one of us is an individual, knowing himself as distinct from others and standing in certain relations to others. God will reveal Himself to us as a Person, and it is our holy calling to enter into fellowship with Him.

God greatly desires this fellowship with man. But sin has come between man and his God. Even in the Christian who thinks he knows God, there is often great ignorance and even indifference to this personal relationship of love to God.

People believe that at conversion their sins are forgiven, that God accepts them  so that they may go to heaven, and that they should try to do God's will. But the idea is strange to them that even as a father and his child on earth have pleasure in fellowship, so they may and must each day have this blessed fellowship with God.

God gave Christ His Son to bring us to Himself. But this is only possible when we live in close fellowship with Jesus Christ. Our relationship to Christ rests on His deep, tender love to us. We are not able of ourselves to render Him this love. But the Holy Spirit will do the work in us. For this we need to separate ourselves each day from the world and turn in faith to the Lord Jesus, that He may shed abroad His love in our hearts, so that we may be filled with a great love to Him.

Dear soul, meditate quietly on this thought. Read the words of Christ in John 14:21, "He that loveth Me shall be loved of my Father. I will love Him." Take time to believe in this personal fellowship. Tell Him of you love.

Blessed Father, Thou hast loved me dearly; most earnestly do I desire to love Thee above all. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

God Is The Deeper Life

"Let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord" (Jeremiah 9:24)

The deeper life has been called the "victorious life," but I do not like that term. It appears to me that it focuses attention exclusively upon one feature of the Christian life, that of personal victory over sin, when actually this is just one aspect of the deeper life - an important one, to be sure, but only one.

That life in the Spirit that is denoted by the term "deeper life" is far wider and richer than mere victory over sin, however vital that victory may be. It also includes the thought of the indwelling of Christ, acute God-consciousness, rapturous worship, separation from the world, the joyous surrender of everything to God, internal union with the Trinity, the practice of the presence of God, the communion of saints and prayer without ceasing.

No one seems to want to know and love God for Himself! God is the deeper life! Jesus Christ Himself is the deeper life. That means that there is less of me and more of God - thus my spiritual life deepens, and I am strengthened in the knowledge of His will.

~A. W. Tozer~

satan's Strategy


All of us make tracks through the valley of failure. The question is, How are you going to respond? Plenty of people give up and exchange a vibrant kingdom-serving life for a defeated existence. But failure need not be an end. It's a chance for a new beginning living in Christ's strength.

Peter had a life-altering failure. Jesus warned that Satan had asked permission to "sift" the disciple like wheat (Luke 22:31)—vigorous shaking is required to separate wheat kernels from debris. The Enemy wanted to shake Peter's faith hard in hopes that he'd fall away from Jesus like chaff.

Peter fervently believed the promise he'd made to Jesus: "Even though all may fall away, yet I will not" (Mark 14:29). But Satan knows a few things about the power of fear. What's more, he realized that the disciple would be wounded by his own disloyalty. A man with tattered pride can't help but question his usefulness.

When Satan sifts believers, his goal is to damage our faith so much that we're useless to God. He wants us shelved far from the action of the Lord's kingdom. Therefore, he goes for our strengths—the areas where we believe ourselves to be invincible, or at least very well protected. And when the Devil succeeds, we are disappointed and demoralized. But we don't have to stay that way.

If we are willing, God can use failure to do spiritual housecleaning. Peter laid down his pride and instead put on the Holy Spirit's courage. Thereafter, he risked humiliation, persecution, and death to proclaim the gospel. Failure was the catalyst that brought forth greater faith and true servanthood.


On the Enemy
"The Devil often transforms himself into an angel to tempt men, some for their instruction, some for their ruin."
—Augustine of Hippo
"The deceit, the lie of the Devil consists of this, that he wishes to make man believe that he can live without God's Word."
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"The existence of the Devil is so clearly taught in the Bible that to doubt it is to doubt the Bible itself."
—Archibald G. Brown
"The Devil can counterfeit all the saving operations and graces of the Spirit of God."
—Jonathan Edwards
"The Enemy will not see you vanish into God's company without an effort to reclaim you."
C. S. Lewis
"For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel."
—Martin Luther
"That there is a Devil is a thing doubted by none but such as are under the influences of the Devil."
—Cotton Mather
"The more God uses us, the more Satan will attempt to harass us."
—Dr. Charles F. Stanley
"The Devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still."
—A. W. Tozer
"The Devil does not tempt unbelievers and sinners who are already his own."
—Thomas à Kempis  

~Charles Stanley~