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Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Habitation of the Spirit

"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:4)

The true Christian fears God with a trembling reverence and yet he is not afraid of God at all. He draws nigh to God with full assurance of faith and victory and yet at the same time is trembling with holy awe and fear.

To fear and yet draw near - this is the attitude of faith and love and yet the holy contradiction classifies him as a fanatic, too!

Today, as in all the centuries, true Christians are an enigma to the world, a thorn in the flesh of Adam, a puzzle to angels, the delight of God and habitation of the Holy Spirit.

Our fellowship ought to take in all of the true children of God, regardless of who and where and what, if they are washed in the blood, born of the Spirit, walking with God the Father, begotten unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and rejoicing in the salvation to be revealed!

As we become occupied with Christ and abide in His fellowship, His glorious likeness is reproduced in us, and we stand before the world, not only living epistles but living likenesses, of our blessed Lord.

~A. W. Tozer~

Change May Be Strange

"How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:2)

We must admit that the true Christian is a rather strange person in the eye of the unbeliever. I use the adjective "true" in regard to the Christian not only to point out the necessity for the new birth but to indicate, also, the Christian who is living according to his new birth. I speak here of a transformed life pleasing to God, for if you want to be a Christian, you must agree to a very much different life.

The life of obedience to Jesus Christ means living moment by moment in the Spirit of God and it will be so different from your former life that you will often be considered strange. The true Christian may seem a strange person indeed to those who make their observations only from the point of view of this present world, which is alienated from God and His gracious plan of salvation.

Consider now this glorious contradiction. The Christian is dead and yet he lives forever. He died to himself and yet he lives in Christ. The reason he lives is because of the death of another.

If we truly want to follow God, we must seek to be other-worldly. Every man must choose his world.

~A. W. Tozer~

Thirst for the Fountain of Life

Psalm 36:9
With Thee is the fountain of life.
 
There are times in our spiritual experience when human counsel or sympathy, or religious ordinances, fail to comfort or help us. Why does our gracious God permit this? Perhaps it is because we have been living too much without Him, and He therefore takes away everything upon which we have been in the habit of depending, that He may drive us to Himself. It is a blessed thing to live at the fountain head. While our skin-bottles are full, we are content, like Hagar and Ishmael, to go into the wilderness; but when those are dry, nothing will serve us but "Thou God seest me." We are like the prodigal, we love the swine-troughs and forget our Father's house. Remember, we can make swine-troughs and husks even out of the forms of religion; they are blessed things, but we may put them in God's place, and then they are of no value. Anything becomes an idol when it keeps us away from God: even the brazen serpent is to be despised as "Nehushtan," if we worship it instead of God. The prodigal was never safer than when he was driven to his father's bosom, because he could find sustenance nowhere else. Our Lord favours us with a famine in the land that it may make us seek after Himself the more. The best position for a Christian is living wholly and directly on God's grace-still abiding where he stood at first-"Having nothing, and yet possessing all things." Let us never for a moment think that our standing is in our sanctification, our mortification, our graces, or our feelings, but know that because Christ offered a full atonement, therefore we are saved; for we are complete in Him. Having nothing of our own to trust to, but resting upon the merits of Jesus-His passion and holy life furnish us with the only sure ground of confidence. Beloved, when we are brought to a thirsting condition, we are sure to turn to the fountain of life with eagerness.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Friday, November 29, 2013

Too Busy to Be Gloomy

"Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ... Wherein ye greatly rejoice" (1 Peter 1:5-6)

The life of the normal, believing child of God can never become a life of gloom and pessimism. In every age we will have some people whose concept of Christianity is a kind of gloomy resignation to the inevitable. But it is the Holy Spirit who has promised the ability for the Christian to rejoice in God's promises day by day.

Peter states it as a paradox: the obedient Christian greatly rejoices even in the midst of great heaviness, trials and suffering. God's people know that things here are not all they ought to be, but they are not spending any time in worrying about it. They are too busy rejoicing in the gracious prospect of all that will take place when God fulfills all of His promises to His redeemed children!

Whatever else trouble is in the world for, it is here for this good purpose: to develop strength. Every day we are blessed with new opportunities for the development of strength of soul.

What harm can happen to him who knows that God does everything, and who loves beforehand everything that God does?

~A. W. Tozer~

Emotions Under Control

"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18)

Peter and Paul join in urging us to practice and display the loftiest fruits of the Spirit of God with the Spirit Himself in control of our emotions and our affections, our worship and our praise. Yes, brothers, the Spirit will make the believing child of God generous but He will never make him foolish! He will make him happy but He will never make him silly! The Spirit will warm the inner life of the Christian's being but he will never lead him to do the things that would cause him to hang his head in shame afterward.

I say, "Thank God" for the kind of enduring joy which comes to the believer whose emotional life is in the keep of the Spirit. I stand with the dear child of God whose reason is sanctified and who refuses to be swept from his mooring in the Word of God either by the latest popular vogue in religious fad or the ascendancy of the most recent sensational personality in gospel circles.

Even the the Holy Spirit does not take away our mental poise or expect us to surrender our common sense and will or yield ourselves to any hypnotic influence.

~A. W. Tozer~

Come and Dine

John 21:12
Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine.
 
 
In these words the believer is invited to a holy nearness to Jesus. "Come and dine," implies the same table, the same meat; ay, and sometimes it means to sit side by side, and lean our head upon the Saviour's bosom. It is being brought into the banqueting-house, where waves the banner of redeeming love. "Come and dine," gives us a vision of union with Jesus, because the only food that we can feast upon when we dine with Jesus is Himself. Oh, what union is this! It is a depth which reason cannot fathom, that we thus feed upon Jesus. "He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him." It is also an invitation to enjoy fellowship with the saints. Christians may differ on a variety of points, but they have all one spiritual appetite; and if we cannot all feel alike, we can all feed alike on the bread of life sent down from heaven. At the table of fellowship with Jesus we are one bread and one cup. As the loving cup goes round we pledge one another heartily therein. Get nearer to Jesus, and you will find yourself linked more and more in spirit to all who are like yourself, supported by the same heavenly manna. If we were more near to Jesus we should be more near to one another. We likewise see in these words the source of strength for every Christian. To look at Christ is to live, but for strength to serve Him you must "come and dine." We labour under much unnecessary weakness on account of neglecting this percept of the Master. We none of us need to put ourselves on low diet; on the contrary, we should fatten on the marrow and fatness of the gospel that we may accumulate strength therein, and urge every power to its full tension in the Master's service. Thus, then, if you would realize nearness to Jesus, union with Jesus, love to His people and strength from Jesus, "come and dine" with Him by faith.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Overflowing Worship

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16)

There is another kind of divine working that may occur without our being aware of it, or at least, without our recognizing it for what it is. This is that wondrous operation of God known in theology as "prevenient grace." It may be simple "conviction," or a strange longing which nothing can satisfy, or a powerful aspiration after eternal values, or a feeling of disgust for sin and a desire to be delivered from its repulsive coils. These strange workings within are the stirrings of the Holy Spirit but are rarely identified as such by the soul that is undergoing the experience.

But there are two acts of God within the life of the seeking man that are never done without his knowledge. One is the miracle of the new birth and the other is the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The workings of God in the  hearts of redeemed men always overflow into observable conduct. Certain moral changes will take place immediately in the life of the new convert. A moral revolution without will accompany the spiritual revolution that has occurred within.

Try your heart by your practice, and you practice by your heart.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Discipline of Right Thinking

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8)

The Holy Spirit knows us well and enforces the exhortation to gird up our minds, to pull up our spiritual standards, to eliminate carelessness in word and thought and deed, and in  activities and interest!

Now, let us think of what Peter must have had in mind when he added the words, "be sober," to the discipline of right thinking.

Sobriety is that human attitude of mind when calm reason is in control. The mind is balanced and cool and the feeling are subject to reason and this statement is proof enough for me that the Holy Spirit will never urge believers into any kind of spiritual experience that violates and dethrones reason.

All of us are aware of instances where men and women have taken part in unreasonable and unseemly acts and then excused them on the grounds that they were moved by the Spirit.

Frankly, I must doubt that! I doubt that the Holy Spirit ever moves to dethrone reason in any man's mind.

Wherever the Holy Spirit comes, He will always be found witnessing to Jesus and honoring the Son of God.

~A. W. Tozer~

He Refines Them


 
"God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Gal. 6:14).
 
They were living to themselves; self with its hopes, and promises and dreams, still had hold of them; but the Lord began to fulfill their prayers. They had asked for contrition, and had surrendered for it to be given them at any cost, and He sent them sorrow; they had asked for purity, and He sent them thrilling anguish; they had asked to be meek, and He had broken their hearts; they had asked to be dead to the world, and He slew all their living hopes; they had asked to be made like unto Him, and He placed them in the furnace, sitting by "as a refiner and purifier of silver," until they should reflect His image; they had asked to lay hold of His cross, and when He had reached it to them it lacerated their hands.
 
They had asked they knew not what, nor how, but He had taken them at their word, and granted them all their petitions. They were hardly willing to follow Him so far, or to draw so nigh to Him. They had upon them an awe and fear, as Jacob at Bethel, or Eliphaz in the night visions, or as the apostles when they thought that they had seen a spirit, and knew not that it was Jesus. They could almost pray Him to depart from them, or to hide His awfulness. They found it easier to obey than to suffer, to do than to give up, to bear the cross than to hang upon it. But they cannot go back, for they have come too near the unseen cross, and its virtues have pierced too deeply within them. He is fulfilling to them His promise, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32).
 
***
 
But now at last their turn has come. Before, they had only heard of the mystery, but now they feel it. He has fastened on them His look of love, as He did on Mary and Peter, and they can but choose to follow.
 
Little by little, from time to time, by flitting gleams, the mystery of His cross shines out upon them. They behold Him lifted up, they gaze on the glory which rays from the wounds of His holy passion; and as they gaze they advance, and are changed into His likeness, and His name shines out through them, for He dwells in them. They live alone with Him above, in unspeakable fellowship; willing to lack what others own (and what they might have had), and to be unlike all, so that they are only like Him.
 
Such, are they in all ages, "who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth."
 
Had they chosen for themselves, or their friends chosen for them, they would have chosen otherwise. They would have been brighter here, but less glorious in His Kingdom. They would have had Lot's portion, not Abraham's. If they had halted anywhere--if God had taken off His hand and let them stray back--what would they not have lost? What forfeits in the resurrection? But He stayed them up, even against themselves. Many a time their foot had well nigh slipped; but He in mercy held them up. Now, even in this life, they know that all He did was done well. It was good to suffer here, that they might reign hereafter; to bear the cross below, for they shall wear the crown above; and that not their will but His was done on them and in them.

~L. B. Cowman~

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Study, Then Do

"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein .. to do... all that is written therein" (Joshua 1:8)

The great American evangelist, Charles Finney, went so far as to declare bluntly that it is sinful to teach the Bible without moral application. He asked what good is accomplished merely to study a course in the Bible to find out what it says, if there is to be no obligation to do anything as a result of what has been learned?

There can be a right and a wrong emphasis in conducting Bible classes. I am convinced that some Bible classes are nothing more than a means whereby men become even more settled in their religious prejudices.

Only when we have moral application are we in the Bible method! When we give ourselves seriously to Bible study, we discover the Holy Spirit's method. "This is what God did, and this is what God did. Therefore, this is what you ought to do!" That is always the Bible way.

Let's partake the art of Bible meditation. Let us open our Bibles, spread them out on a chair and meditate on the Word of God. It will open itself to us, and the Spirit of God will come and brood over it. Put away the questions and answers and the filling in of blank lines and in faith say, "Father, here I am. Begin to teach me!"

~A. W. Tozer~

The Hour to be Serious

"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end" (1 Peter 1:13)

The spirit of the prophet is always subject to the prophet. When the Spirit of God moves into a man's heart, He will never make a fool out of him. He will make the man happy but He will never make him silly.

He may make him sad with the woe and the weight of the world's grief but He will never let him become a gloomy cynic. The Holy Spirit will make him warm-hearted and responsive but He will never cause him to do things of which he will be ashamed later.

Peter was not promoting or predicting a cold and lifeless and formal spirituality in the Christian Church when he advised believers to gird up the loins of their minds and be sober. He was saying to the early Christians as he hopes to say to us now; "Brethren, if ever there was an hour when we needed to be serious about our Christian faith, this is the hour!"

There is nothing so delightful as this consciousness of the very life and heart of Christ within us, the trust that springs spontaneously within our breast, the prayer that prays itself, and the song that sings its joyous triumph even when all around is dark and strange.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Number One Cause for Spiritual Drought


By far the Scriptures teach that the number one cause for spiritual drought is sin.  And the number one cure for drought, according to the Scriptures, is repentance.

In 2 Chronicles 6:26-27, King Solomon is clear in this prayer,
When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance.

Notice that the heavens were shut up, there was no rain, because of sin.  But when the people confessed God's name and turned and repented, Solomon prayed, "God, hear and open the heavens once again and send rain."

This prayer is particularly significant because Solomon is praying at the dedication of the temple.  Scripture declares to us in 2 Corinthians 6:16You are the temple of the living God.
The Old Testament temple was just a type and a shadow pointing to better things—to the era in which God would no longer dwell in buildings made with mortar and stone, but take up residence in human hearts.

That's you and me!  As 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are not our own.  We have been bought with a price, and God's expectation is that we glorify Him in our bodies.  You and I are God's temple.

If there is sin in your life, turn from it and turn to God, so that you can experience the refreshing rain of God's blessing in your life.

~Bayless Conley~

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Attitude Is Everything

"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" (Romans 14:19)

I think God looks beyond the situation to the spirit and attitude. I think He is more concerned with how we react to abuse and mistreatment than to the fact that we have been abused by someone.

Some of us have had experiences of being "told off" most eloquently by people with a very descriptive flow of language; but the eloquence is lost completely insofar as God is concerned.

If you are His child taking some abuse or persecution for His sake, His great concern is the attitude that you will show in return.

Will you reveal a stubborn spirit intent upon revenge? If you resist the Spirit of God asking you to demonstrate the love and grace of Jesus Christ, your Saviour, you can be sure of one thing: God will resist you!

He who does not seek and find God everywhere, and in everything, finds Him nowhere and in nothing. And he who is not at the Lord's service in everything,is at His service in nothing.

~A. W. Tozer~

The True Essence of Faith

"Now we have received ... the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (1 Corinthians 2:12)

The witness of the Spirit is a sacred inner thing which cannot be explained. It is altogether personal and cannot be passed from one to another. The outward ear cannot hear what it says. Much less can the worldly onlooker know what is taking place.

The Holy Spirit whispers its mysterious Presence to the heart, and the heart knows without knowing how it knows. Just as we know we are alive by unmediated knowledge and without recourse to proof, so we know we are alive in the Holy Spirit. The witness is in the hidden regions of the spirit, too deep for proof, where external evidence is invalid and "signs" are of no use.

When all is said, it may easily be that the great difference between professing Christians (the important difference in this day) is between those who have reduced Christianity to an intellectual formula and those who believe that the true essence of our faith lies in the supernatural workings of the Spirit in a region of the soul not accessible to mere reason.

Show me a man who makes the law of God the rule, and the glory of God the end of his conduct, and I will show you one whose heart has been sanctified by the Spirit of grace.

~A. W. Tozer~

Knowledge of Christ Will Be Personal

Philippians 3:8
I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.
 
Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person's acquaintance with Him. No, I must know Him myself; I must know Him on my own account. It will be an intelligent knowledge-I must know Him, not as the visionary dreams of Him, but as the Word reveals Him. I must know His natures, divine and human. I must know His offices-His attributes-His works-His shame-His glory. I must meditate upon Him until I "comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." It will be an affectionate knowledge of Him; indeed, if I know Him at all, I must love Him. An ounce of heart knowledge is worth a ton of head learning. Our knowledge of Him will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Saviour, my mind will be full to the brim-I shall feel that I have that which my spirit panted after. "This is that bread whereof if a man eat he shall never hunger." At the same time it will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I shall want to know. The higher I climb the loftier will be the summits which invite my eager footsteps. I shall want the more as I get the more. Like the miser's treasure, my gold will make me covet more. To conclude; this knowledge of Christ Jesus will be a most happy one; in fact, so elevating, that sometimes it will completely bear me up above all trials, and doubts, and sorrows; and it will, while I enjoy it, make me something more than "Man that is born of woman, who is of few days, and full of trouble"; for it will fling about me the immortality of the everliving Saviour, and gird me with the golden girdle of His eternal joy. Come, my soul, sit at Jesus's feet and learn of Him all this day.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Mysterious Presence

"My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest" (Exodus 33:14)

Serious, honest persons have turned away from the whole idea of holiness because of those who have claimed it and then lived selfish and conceited lives.

But, brethren, we are still under the holy authority of the apostolic command. Men of God have reminded us in the Word that God does ask us and expect us to be holy men and women of God, because we are the children of God, who is holy. The doctrine of holiness may have been badly and often wounded - but the provision of God by His pure and gentle and loving Spirit is still the positive answer for those who hunger and thirst for a life and spirit well-pleasing to God.

When a good man with this special quality and mysterious Presence is morally right and walking in all the holy ways of God and carries upon himself without even knowing it the fragrance of a kingdom that is supreme above the kingdoms of this world, I am ready to accept that as being of God and from God!

This is the true divine order: first, reconciliation, then holiness . It is required of those who have been redeemed at such cost and brought into this place of privilege, that they should be holy even as He is holy.

~A. W. Tozer~

God's Presence - Wonderfully Real

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6)

There are qualities in God that can never be explained to the intellect and can only be known by the heart, the innermost being. That is why I say that I do believe in feeling.

I believe in what the old writers called religious affection - and we have so little of it because we have not laid the groundwork for it. The groundwork is repentance and obedience and separation and holy living!

I am confident that whenever this groundwork is laid, there will come to us this sense of the other-worldly Presence of God and it will become wonderfully, wonderfully real.

The deeper life is a continual discovery of how
fully Jesus satisfies the deep yearnings of our hearts.

Do we long to be holy? The indwelling Christ offers Himself to us as our holiness!

Do we long to know our Father, God? Christ is the Revealer of the Father!

Do we long for power that enables a fruitful ministry? Christ, by His Holy Spirit, is that power!

~A. W. Tozer~

Consider Your Calling


Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. 1 Corinthians 1:1-2

What do you picture when you hear the word “saint”? A deceased person, a statue, candles and incense? Years ago, my definition would have been, “One who is worthy to be prayed to.” I also associated sainthood with death, as if it was an oxymoron to be a “living and breathing saint.” But in Paul’s opening to the Corinthian church, his definition is very different. First, he begins this letter by addressing himself and bringing attention to his calling as an apostle. An apostle means “a sent one.” Paul then goes on to say that he was “sent” to the Corinthian church to remind them of their calling—sainthood.The Corinthian church seemed far from sainthood. As a church they struggled with pride, immorality, idolatry, envy, jealousy—just to name a few. Paul knew what they were like, which is why he wrote them this letter. So why did he tell them they were called to be saints?

According to the Bible, a saint is one separated from the world and consecrated to God; a believer in Christ (Psalm 16:3; Romans 1:7; Romans8:27; Philippians 1:1; Hebrews 6:10). Becoming a saint starts right here on earth, the minute you accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. Mans’ ways of statues and candles and incense or even good works are not God’s ways of being set apart to do His will. Paul was reminding the Corinthians that they are now saints because of Jesus, but they were not acting according to their calling. Their lifestyle contradicted their declaration of knowing, loving and living for God.

This contradiction happens to us too. We become saints because of believing in Jesus’ work on the cross and then we have the ability to live for Him by the filling of the Holy Spirit. Our sainthood does not rest in our works but in our belief.  Our beliefs should represent the way we live, not inconsistent like the Corinthians. 
Today, ask the Lord if your calling in Christ (being called a saint) is consistent with your every day life. Are you living every day to please Him?  Are your priorities consistent with a life of holiness? Do you really understand your calling? Consider the areas in your lifestyle that you know are not pleasing to the Lord. Then write a prayer specifically asking Him to help you be who He wants you to be.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Humility Invaded by the Presence

"By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life" (Proverbs 22:4)

Bring your life into line morally so that God can make it holy; then bring your spiritual life into line that God may settle upon you with the Holy Spirit - with that quality of the Wonderful and the Mysterious and the Divine.

You do not cultivate it and you do not even know it, but it is there and it is this quality of humility invaded by the Presence of God which the church of our day lacks. On, that we might yearn for the knowledge and Presence of God in our lives from moment to moment, so that without human cultivation and without toilsome seeking there would come upon us this enduement that gives meaning to our witness! It is a sweet and radiant fragrance and I suggest that  in a few of our churches it may be strongly sensed and felt.

O God, let Thy glory be revealed once more to men: through me if it please Thee, or without me or apart from me, it matters not. Restore Thy Church to the place of moral beauty that becomes her as the Bride of Christ: through me, or apart from me; only let this prayer be answered. O God, honor whom Thou wilt. Let me be used or overlooked or ignored or forgotten. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

What's Happened to Morality?

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Timothy 3:5)

The question being discussed by many these days - why religion is increasing and morality slipping, all at the same time - find its answer in the error of religious intellectualism. Men have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof.

The text alone will not elevate the moral life. To become morally effective, the truth must be accompanied by a mystic element, the very element supplied by the Spirit of Truth. The Holy Spirit will not be banished to a footnote without taking terrible vengeance against His banishers.

The mysterious presence of the Spirit is vitally necessary if we are to avoid the pitfalls of religion. As the fiery pillar led Israel through the wilderness, so the Spirit of Truth must lead us all our journey through. One text alone could improve things mightily for us if we would but obey it: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).

Evangelical obedience expresses not merely the form, but the power of godliness. God neither requires nor will accept obedience which does not spontaneously flow from supreme love to Himself.

~A. W. Tozer~


Our Incomparable Companion



Most of us don’t like being alone for extended periods of time. In fact, we are not designed to live in isolation. Even at the very beginning, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). But sometimes situations in life leave us separated from others. Or perhaps we simply feel lonely, even though we live with our mate or family. But whatever your situation may be, if you are a believer, you’re never alone.

Knowing His followers could feel abandoned after His crucifixion and ascension, Jesus promised to send them a Helper who would never leave them—the Spirit of truth. The same One who came to them at Pentecost still abides within every believer. He has been sent to walk alongside us as our comforter, enabler, and guide.

The Holy Spirit, unlike human companions, is perfectly adequate to meet our every need. Since He knows us intimately, He can comfort us in pain and loss when no one else can. Anytime we find ourselves in a quandary, He knows exactly what we ought to do. Since the future is laid bare before His eyes, He’s aware of all the details that concern us. What’s more, He promises to guide us each step of the way, calming our fears and overcoming our inadequacies.

Because we were created for God, only through His Spirit are we made complete. He is the ultimate solution to man’s aloneness: He’s always available and will never forsake or forget you. When others let you down, the Comforter is present to lift you up with the reminder that you’re not alone.

~Charles Stanley~

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Sense of the Presence

"When he came down from the mount ... Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him" (Exodus 34:29)

I have met a few of God's saints who appeared to have this holy brightness upon hem, but they did not know it because of their humility and gentleness of spirit. I do not hesitate to confess that my fellowship with them has meant more to me than all of the teaching I have ever received.

I do stand deeply indebted to every Bible teacher I have had through the years, but they did little but instruct my head. The brethren I have known who had this strange and mysterious quality and awareness of God's Person and Presence instructed my heart!

Do we understand what a gracious thing it is to be able to say of a man, a brother in the Lord, "He is truly a man of God"? He doesn't have to tell us that, but he lives quietly and confidently day by day with the with the sense of this mysterious, awe-inspiring Presence that means more than all the glib tongues in the world!

Nothing is necessary for you in maintaining a triumphant Christian life but just to put yourself in where the power is. Come unto God, unite yourself to God, and the doing power you have is infinite! - and none the less yours because it is His.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Fruit of Loving Obedience

"And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart ... to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul" (Deuteronomy 30:6)

Obedience is both the evidence and the definition of our love for Christ and the condition for receiving the Holy Spirit. We demonstrate our love not simply in an intellectual comprehension of Christ's teachings but by applying them to our lives.

A young married man once called on me expressing a desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Prompted by the Spirit, I said, "God and do the next thing God tells you to do!" He left my study hurt that I had not taken more time with him.

For several weeks I did not see the fellow. When he called again, I knew by looking that God had fulfilled the desire of his heart. He confided that at the time he had called on me, he and his wife were estranged. The "next thing God told him to do" was to go to the city where his wife was staying and be reconciled to her. He obeyed the voice of God, and his obedience resulted in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As one preacher put it, "Obedience is always followed by blessing!"

God being who He is must have obedience from His children. Man being who he is must render that obedience.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Face of God


The psalmist says in Psalms 30:7,
You hid Your face, and I was troubled.

One thing we should never want to experience is for God to hide His face, because the face of God represents His favor, friendship, and fellowship.
Now there is only one thing that causes God to hide His face from us.  It is found in Isaiah 59:1-2,
Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.

Sin is the one thing that causes God's face to be hidden.  The Bible says we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, which means the sin of mankind had hidden God's face.
But that is not the end of the story, thank goodness!  In Isaiah 50:6 we are told,
"I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting."

Because Jesus did not hide His face from shame and spitting, because He took your place and died for your sins, God's face can shine upon you.

He could have hidden His face; He could have avoided the whole crucifixion, but He didn't. He bore a shame that was not His as God the Father laid the sin of the world on Him.

Because Jesus did not hide His face, the face of God need not be hidden from any of us. The light of God's countenance can shine upon every one of us, and we can indeed be the friends of God. 

Thank you, Jesus, for what you did!

~Bayless Conley~

Friday, November 22, 2013

As Holy As I Want to Be

"I dwell in the high and holy place ... to receive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isaiah 57:15)

Among revival-minded Christians I have heard the saying, "Revivals are born after midnight."

This is one of those proverbs which, while not quite literally true, yet points to something very true.

If we understand the saying to mean that God does not hear our prayer for revival made in the daytime, it s of course not true. If we take it to mean that prayer offered when we are tired and worn-out has greater power than prayer made when we are rested and refreshed, again it is not true.

Yet there is considerable truth in the idea that revivals are born after midnight, for revivals come only to those who want them badly enough. It may be said without qualification that every man is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wants to be.

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou Art,
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

~A. W. Tozer~

In Spirit and In Truth

"Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth" (John 9:31)

We need to double our efforts to tell the world that God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

It must be by the Holy Spirit and truth. We cannot worship in the spirit alone, for the spirit without truth is helpless.

We cannot worship in truth alone, for that would be theology without fire.

Worship must be in spirit and in truth!

It must be the truth of God and the Spirit of God. When a person, yielding to God and believing the truth of God, is filled with the Spirit of God, even his faintest whisper will be worship.

I can offer no worship wholly pleasing to God if I know that I am harboring elements in my life that are displeasing to Him. I cannot truly and joyfully worship God on Sunday and not worship Him on Monday. I repeat my view of worship - no worship is wholly pleasing to God until there is nothing in me displeasing to God.

~A. W. Tozer~

Honor God Himself

The journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honor - Judges 4:9

Barak preferred the inspiration of Deborah's presence to the invisible but certain help of Almighty God. It was Jehovah who had commanded him to draw his forces toward the River Kishon, and had promised to deliver Sisera into his hand. But he seemed unable to rise to the splendor of the situation. If only he could have Deborah beside him he would go, but otherwise not. He is mentioned in Heb. 11. as one of the heroes of faith; but his faith lay rather in Deborah's influence with God than in his own. Thus he missed the crown of that great day of victory. It is the mark of the carnal Christian that he has no direct dealings with God for himself, but must needs deal with Him through the medium of another's prayers, and words, and leadership. Barak must have Deborah. It is faith, though greatly attenuated and reduced by the opaqueness of the medium through which it passes. Such do not attain "unto the first three." God cannot honor them as He does those who have absolutely no help or hope save in Himself. "Them that honor Me I will honor; and those that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed." If God tells you to go alone to a work, be sure and obey. Go, at whatever cost. Dare to stand by yourself if God is with you. In such hours we realize what Jesus meant when He said, ,'Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou taken up and cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he saith cometh to pass, he shall have it." Yet if you are unbelieving, your unbelief cannot make God's faith of none effect. He abideth faithful. He cannot deny Himself.He will still deliver Israel.

~F. B. Meyer~

Thursday, November 21, 2013

An Obligation to Adore

"O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for He is our God" (Psalm 95:6-7)

If the Holy Spirit should come again upon us as in earlier times, visiting church congregations with the sweet but fiery breath of Pentecost, we would be greater Christians and holier souls.

Men and women continue to try to persuade themselves that there are many forms and ways that seem right in worship. But God in His revelation has told us that He is spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. God takes the matter of worship out of the hands of men and puts it in the hands of the Holy Spirit.

It is impossible for any of us to worship God without the impartation of the Holy Spirit. It is the operation of the Spirit of God within us that enables us to worship God acceptably through that Person w call Jesus Christ, who is Himself God. So worship originates with God and comes back to us and is reflected from us, as a mirror. God accepts no other kind of worship.

God is the Being whom we are under the greatest obligations to adore, because He is supremely adorable; a Being whom we are under the greatest obligations to love, because He is infinitely lovely.

~A. W. Tozer~

Walking in Holy Ways

"Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy for I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 20:7)

Men of God have reminded us in the Word that God does ask us and expect us to be holy men and women of God, because we are the children of God, who is holy.

The doctrine of holiness may have been badly and often wounded - but the provision of God by His pure and gentle and loving Spirit is still the positive answer for those who huger and thirst for a life and spirit well-pleasing to God.

When a good man with this special quality and mysterious Presence is morally right and walking in all the holy ways of God and carries upon himself without even knowing it the fragrance of a kingdom that is supreme above the kingdoms of this world, I am ready to accept that as being of God and from God!

Holiness depends upon contact with God. Anything that breaks or impairs this vital contact, however slight it may be, interrupts our communion with Christ and brings defeat instead of victory into our lives.

~A. W. Tozer~

He Answered Her Not a Word

Matthew 15:23
But He answered her not a word.
 
 
Genuine seekers who as yet have not obtained the blessing, may take comfort from the story before us. The Saviour did not at once bestow the blessing, even though the woman had great faith in Him. He intended to give it, but He waited awhile. "He answered her not a word." Were not her prayers good? Never better in the world. Was not her case needy? Sorrowfully needy. Did she not feel her need sufficiently? She felt it overwhelmingly. Was she not earnest enough? She was intensely so. Had she no faith? She had such a high degree of it that even Jesus wondered, and said, "O woman, great is thy faith." See then, although it is true that faith brings peace, yet it does not always bring it instantaneously. There may be certain reasons calling for the trial of faith, rather than the reward of faith. Genuine faith may be in the soul like a hidden seed, but as yet it may not have budded and blossomed into joy and peace. A painful silence from the Saviour is the grievous trial of many a seeking soul, but heavier still is the affliction of a harsh cutting reply such as this, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." Many in waiting upon the Lord find immediate delight, but this is not the case with all. Some, like the jailer, are in a moment turned from darkness to light, but others are plants of slower growth. A deeper sense of sin may be given to you instead of a sense of pardon, and in such a case you will have need of patience to bear the heavy blow. Ah! poor heart, though Christ beat and bruise thee, or even slay thee, trust Him; though He should give thee an angry word, believe in the love of His heart. Do not, I beseech thee, give up seeking or trusting my Master, because thou hast not yet obtained the conscious joy which thou longest for. Cast thyself on Him, and perseveringly depend even where thou canst not rejoicingly hope.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

T-R-U-S-T


In our last devotional, we talked about the need to trust God.  You may wonder, what does trust really mean?  Let me help you understand by using the word T-R-U-S-T as an acronym.
"T" stands for trust…which means that if you are going to trust Him, you have to take Him at His word.  Even if it seems like it is not true, you take Him at His word.  If we will take Him at His word, He will guide us through the course of life and bring us across the finish line safely.
"R" stands for rest.  The Bible tells us to rest in the Lord.  1 Peter 5:7 says, Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.  Do not worry.  Worry is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but you don't get anywhere.
"U" stands for understanding.  Proverbs 3:5 says, Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  Sometimes things just won't make sense to your understanding.
"S" stands for speech
The final "T" stands for thanksgiving.  We offer thanks to God in advance.  Philippians 4:6 says, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  When we offer thanks to God, it is an expression of our faith. 
That's T-R-U-S-T!

~Bayless Conley~

Friday, November 8, 2013

Off Line woes!

Off line woes!

The big moving day is drawing near. Starting today, I will be 

off 

line for maybe a week, or week and a half, to get ready for the 

move to another house, and then, after the move, come back 

online with a new service provider (new home phone, TV 

hookup, etc.) This morning I have to disconnect the computer 

and get all of that packed and ready for the movers. Thankfully

my son, Joe Sewell, is co-administrator of my Christian

groups 

on Facebook. He will handle any problems that might occur. He 

will also "accept" those who want to join the groups and, of 

course, "ban" any who post unacceptable posts to the groups. I 

will miss you all and will be very happy when I get back online 

and see your friendly faces! God bless you all! May His grace 

and generous mercy flow down abundantly upon you.

Kathy - Disciple of Christ

Thursday, November 7, 2013

No Copyright on Holiness

"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love ... to the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness" (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)

True holiness is a sense of awareness of the other world, a mysterious quality and difference that has come to rest upon some. Now, if a man should have that sense and not be morally right, then I would say that he is experiencing a counterfeit of the devil.

Whenever satan has reason to fear a truth very gravely, he produces a counterfeit. He will try to put that truth in such a bad light that the very persons who are most eager to obey it are frightened away from it. satan is very sly and very experienced, and pawns his parody off as the real thing and soon frightens away the serious-minded saints.

I regret to say that some who have called themselves by a kind of copyrighted name of holiness have allowed the doctrine to harden into a formula which has become a hindrance to repentance, for this doctrine has been invoked to cover up frivolity and covetousness, pride and worldliness.

The Spirit cannot fill whom He cannot separate, and whom He cannot fill, He cannot make holy, and whom He cannot make holy, He cannot make happy!

~A. W. Tozer~

Holiness - Something Beyond

"According as he hath chosen us that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Ephesians 1:4)

Genuine holiness can be put into the place of testing without fear. Whenever there is a breakdown of holiness, that is proof there never was any real degree of holiness in the first place.

Personally, I truly have been affected in my heart by reading the testimonies and commentaries of humble men of God whom I consider to be among the great souls of Christian Church history.

I have learned from them that the word and idea of holiness as originally used in the Hebrew did not have first of all the moral connotation. It did not mean that God first of all was pure, for that was taken for granted!

The original root of the word "holy" was of something beyond, something strange and mysterious and awe-inspiring. When we consider the holiness of God we talk about something heavenly, full of awe, mysterious and fear-inspiring. Now, this is supreme when it relates to God, but it is also marked in men of God and deepens as men become more like God.

Holiness is not a condition wrought in us. It is simply the Holy One in us ruling, filling, and we - obeying.

~A. W. Tozer~

Launch Out Into the Deep

Luke 5:4
Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
 
We learn from this narrative, the necessity of human agency. The draught of fishes was miraculous, yet neither the fisherman nor his boat, nor his fishing tackle were ignored; but all were used to take the fishes. So in the saving of souls, God worketh by means; and while the present economy of grace shall stand, God will be pleased by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. When God worketh without instruments, doubtless He is glorified; but He hath Himself selected the plan of instrumentality as being that by which He is most magnified in the earth. Means of themselves are utterly unavailing. "Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing." What was the reason of this? Were they not fishermen plying their special calling? Verily, they were no raw hands; they understood the work. Had they gone about the toil unskillfully? No. Had they lacked industry? No, they had toiled. Had they lacked perseverance? No, they had toiled all the night. Was there a deficiency of fish in the sea? Certainly not, for as soon as the Master came, they swam to the net in shoals. What, then, is the reason? Is it because there is no power in the means of themselves apart from the presence of Jesus? "Without Him we can do nothing." But with Christ we can do all things. Christ's presence confers success. Jesus sat in Peter's boat, and His will, by a mysterious influence, drew the fish to the net. When Jesus is lifted up in His Church, His presence is the Church's power-the shout of a king is in the midst of her. "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." Let us go out this morning on our work of soul fishing, looking up in faith, and around us in solemn anxiety. Let us toil till night comes, and we shall not labour in vain, for He who bids us let down the net, will fill it with fishes.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

True Holiness is Positive

"It shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it" (Isaiah 35:8)

What does the word "holiness" really mean? Is it a negative kind of piety from which so many people have shied away? No, of course not!

Holiness in the Bible means moral wholeness - a positive quality which actually includes kindness, mercy, purity, moral blamelessness and godliness. It is always to be thought of in a positive, white intensity of degree. Whenever it is written that God is holy it means that God is kind, merciful, pure and blameless in a white, holy intensity of degree.

When used of men, it does not mean absolute holiness as it does of God, but it is still the positive intensity of the degree of holiness - and not negative.

This is why true Bible holiness is positive - a holy man can be trusted. A holy man can be tested.

The Holy Spirit is an infinite force that makes our life powerful, and enables us to accomplish all for which we are called as the disciples of Christ. It is power over sin, power over self, power over the world ... power to be, to do.

~A. W. Tozer~

A Disturbing Verse

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14)

The word "holy" is used to describe the character of angels, the nature of heaven and the character of God. It is written that angels are holy and those angels who gaze down upon the scenes of mankind are called the watchers and holy ones.

It is said that heaven is a holy place where no unclean thing can enter in.

God Himself is described by the adjective "holy" - Holy Spirit, Holy Lord and Holy Lord God Almighty. These words are use of God throughout the Bible, showing that the highest adjective that can be ascribed to God, the highest attribute that can be ascribed to God is that of holiness, and, in a relative sense, even the angels in heaven partake of the holiness of God.

We note in the Bible, too, that the absence of holiness is given as a reason for not seeing God. This text does have a meaning and it ought to disturb us until we have discovered what it means and how we may meet its conditions.

The divine antidote for the satanic poison of sin is holiness. Holiness is an attribute of God and a requirement of the people of God.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Summer Will Come


 
"Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you" (Isa. 30:18).
 
Where showers fall most, there the grass is greenest. I suppose the fogs and mists of Ireland make it "the Emerald Isle"; and whenever you find great fogs of trouble, and mists of sorrow, you always find emerald green hearts; full of the beautiful verdure of the comfort and love of God. O Christian, do not thou be saying, "Where are the swallows gone? They are gone; they are dead." They are not dead; they have skimmed the purple sea, and gone to a far-off land; but they will be back again by and by.
 
Child of God, say not the flowers are dead; say not the winter has killed them, and they are gone. Ah, no! though winter hath coated them with the ermine of its snow; they will put up their heads again, and will be alive very soon. Say not, child of God, that the sun is quenched, because the cloud hath hidden it. Ah, no; he is behind there, brewing summer for thee; for when he cometh out again, he will have made the clouds fit to drop in April showers, all of them mothers of the sweet May flowers. And oh! above all, when thy God hides His face, say not that He hath forgotten thee. He is but tarrying a little while to make thee love Him better; and when He cometh, thou shalt have joy in the Lord, and shalt rejoice with joy unspeakable. Waiting exercises our grace; waiting tries our faith; therefore, wait on in hope; for though the promise tarry, it can never come too late. --C. H. Spurgeon
 
***
 
"Oh, every year hath its winter,
And every year hath its rain--
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.
 
"When new leaves swell in the forest,
And grass springs green on the plain,
And alders' veins turn crimson--
And the birds go north again.
 
"Oh, every heart hath its sorrow,
And every heart hath its pain--
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.
 
"'Tis the sweetest thing to remember,
If courage be on the wane,
When the cold, dark days are over--
Why, the birds go north again."

~L. B. Cowman~