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Friday, January 31, 2014

Dealing with the Root

"Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Hebrews 12:15)

Strange as it may seem, harmony within our own hearts depends mostly upon our getting into harmony with God. Morning comes not by our pushing out the darkness but by waiting for the coming of the sun.

Church difficulties are spiritual also and admit of a spiritual answer. Whatever may be wrong in the life of any church may be cleared up by recognizing the quality of the trouble and dealing with it at the root.

Prayer, humility and a generous application of the Spirit of Christ will cure just about any disease in the body of believers. Yet this is usually the last thing we think about when difficulties arise. We often attempt to cure spiritual ills with carnal medicines, and the results are more than disappointing.

What God wants today in His Church and in His work is not so much that the world shall see the power of the Church as the power of her Lord and the presence of Him who goes forth with His weakest servants and becomes their mighty Victor.

~A. W. Tozer~

Flowers and Fruit Do Not Grow in Thin Air!

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Galatians 5:22-23)

I would like to be able to ask every Christian in the world this question: Are you really interested in God's producing in you the beautiful fruits and fragrances of the Holy Spirit?

For every affirmative answer, I would quickly recommend: Then look to our own willingness to be regular in the habits of a holy life - for flowers and fruit do not grow in thin air! They grow and come up out of a root and 'the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit" (Proverbs 12:12).

For every beautiful garden that you see, whose fragrance comes out to welcome you, has its roots down into the hard earth. The beautiful flowers and blooms will grow and appear and flourish only when there are deep roots and strong stalks. If you take the roots away, the blossom and flower will endure perhaps one day. The sun will scorch them and they will be gone.

What is the special likeness of Christ that He would reproduce in me? What are the features of His life that He calls me to imitate? What pattern would He set before me in my work, my circumstances, my difficulties? What are the inspirations of grace that He would urge me to cultivate and cherish?

~A. W. Tozer~

Art Thou Found Wanting?

Proverbs 27:23
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.
 
 
Every wise merchant will occasionally hold a stock-taking, when he will cast up his accounts, examine what he has on hand, and ascertain decisively whether his trade is prosperous or declining. Every man who is wise in the kingdom of heaven, will cry, "Search me, O God, and try me"; and he will frequently set apart special seasons for self-examination, to discover whether things are right between God and his soul. The God whom we worship is a great heart-searcher; and of old His servants knew Him as "the Lord which searcheth the heart and trieth the reins of the children of men." Let me stir you up in His name to make diligent search and solemn trial of your state, lest you come short of the promised rest. That which every wise man does, that which God Himself does with us all, I exhort you to do with yourself this evening. Let the oldest saint look well to the fundamentals of his piety, for grey heads may cover black hearts: and let not the young professor despise the word of warning, for the greenness of youth may be joined to the rottenness of hypocrisy. Every now and then a cedar falls into our midst. The enemy still continues to sow tares among the wheat. It is not my aim to introduce doubts and fears into your mind; nay, verily, but I shall hope the rather that the rough wind of self-examination may help to drive them away. It is not security, but carnal security, which we would kill; not confidence, but fleshly confidence, which we would overthrow; not peace, but false peace, which we would destroy. By the precious blood of Christ, which was not shed to make you a hypocrite, but that sincere souls might show forth His praise, I beseech you, search and look, lest at the last it be said of you, "Mene, Mene, Tekel: thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting."

~Charles Spurgeon~

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Know Your Gift

"Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular" (1 Corinthians 12:27)

The task of the church is too great for any one person to compass and too varied for the skill of any one person to accomplish.

God has met this difficulty by dividing the task and giving to every man gifts that enable him to do his part. By distributing the work, He lightens the burden for all and makes possible the smooth carrying out of His purposes among men. That is undoubtedly the reason behind the gifts of the Spirit given to the various members of the Christian community. Here, as elsewhere, the manifold wisdom of God is revealed.

Blessed is the man who knows his gift and who seeks to exercise it toward the other members of the body of Christ "as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4:10).

The Holy Spirit desires to take us and control us and use us as instruments and organs through whom He can express Himself in the body of Christ. The Spirit of God, His presence and His gifts are not simply desirable in our Christian congregations; they are absolutely imperative.

~A. W. Tozer~

Things Seen and Unseen

"The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Indeed it may be truthfully said that everything of lasting value in the Christian life is unseen and eternal. Things seen are of little real significance in the light of God's presence. He pays small attention to the beauty of a woman or the strength of a man. With Him the heart is all that matters. The rest of the life comes into notice only because it represents the dwelling place of the inner eternal being.

The solution to life's problems is spiritual because the essence of life is spiritual. it is astonishing how many difficulties clear up without any effort when the inner life gets straightened out.

If half the time we spend trying to fix up outward things were spent in getting our hearts right, we would be delighted with the result.

Christ will not dwell in our hearts, if we fill our hearts with thing which He hates. To do willfully and knowingly what God hates, destroys faith, and hope, and love.

~A. W. Tozer~
Joel 2:13
Rend your heart, and not your garments.
 
 
Garment-rendering and other outward signs of religious emotion, are easily manifested and are frequently hypocritical; but to feel true repentance is far more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will attend to the most multiplied and minute ceremonial regulations-for such things are pleasing to the flesh-but true religion is too humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of the carnal men; they prefer something more ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly. Outward observances are temporarily comfortable; eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and self-righteousness is puffed up: but they are ultimately delusive, for in the article of death, and at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven. HEART-RENDING is divinely wrought and solemnly felt. It is a secret grief which is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, soul-moving work of the Holy Spirit upon the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a matter to be merely talked of and believed in, but keenly and sensitively felt in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating, and completely sin-purging; but then it is sweetly preparative for those gracious consolations which proud unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them alone. The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally hard as marble: how, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: a dying Saviour's voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation.

~Charles Spurgeon~


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

For the Solitary Heart

"Now to him that is of power to stablish you ... to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen" (Romans 16:25, 27)

The man that will have God's best becomes at once the object of the personal attention of the Holy Spirit. Such a man will not be required to wait for the rest of the church to come alive. He will not be penalized for the failures of his fellow Christians, nor be asked to forgo the blessing till his sleepy brethren catch up.

God deals with the individual heart as exclusively as if only one existed.

If this should seem to be an unduly individualistic approach to revival, let it be remembered that religion is personal before it can be social.

The plain Christian of today must experience personal revival before he can hope to bring renewed spiritual life to his church.

It is a matter for the solitary heart.

It is certainly not speculative that God is able to manifest Himself most in the lives of those who passionately love Him (John 14:21). And He will do that.

~A. W. Tozer~

Marks of Love

"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity" (1 Corinthians 13:13)

While the all-important distinction between the human and the spiritual love of Jesus is one that must be "discerned," and one which can scarcely be explained, we yet venture to point out some marks which may distinguish the two.

Reverence, for one thing, will always be present in the heart of the one who loves Christ in Spirit. The Spirit gives a holy solemnity to every thought of Jesus, so that it is psychologically impossible to think of the true Christ with humor or levity. Neither can there be any unbecoming familiarity. The Person of Christ precludes all such.

Then, self-abasement is always found in the heart that loves Jesus with true spiritual love. When Paul saw Jesus, he fell on his face. John fell down as dead, and every soul that ever saw and felt the terror and wonder of His glorious Presence, has known some such experience of self-abasement.

It is most important that we know whether our relation to Jesus is divine or human. It will pay us to find out now.

Love is the loveliest thing in this world and the thing that speaks most for God in your life. Everybody can understand it.

~A. W. Tozer~

Continue in Prayer

And there was Anna, a prophetess... which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day (Luke 2:36,37).

No doubt by praying we learn to pray, and the more we pray the oftener we can pray, and the better we can pray. He who prays in fits and starts is never likely to attain to that effectual, fervent prayer which availeth much.
Great power in prayer is within our reach, but we must go to work to obtain it. Let us never imagine that Abraham could have  interceded so successfully for Sodom if he had not been all his lifetime in the practice of communion with God. Jacob's all-night at Peniel was not the first occasion upon which he had met his God. We may even look upon our Lord's most choice and wonderful prayer with his disciples before His Passion as the flower and fruit of His many nights of devotion, and of His often rising up a great while before day to pray.
If a man dreams that he can become mighty in prayer just as he pleases, he labors under a great mistake. The prayer of Elias which shut up heaven and afterwards opened its floodgates, was one of long series of mighty prevailings with God. Oh, that Christian men would remember this! Perseverance in prayer is necessary to prevalence in prayer.
Those great intercessors, who are not so often mentioned as they ought to be in connection with confessors and martyrs, were nevertheless the grandest benefactors of the Church; but it was only by abiding at the mercy-seat that they attained to be such channels of mercy to men.
We must pray to pray, and continue in prayer that our prayers may continue.
--C. H. Spurgeon
~L. B. Cowman~

Monday, January 27, 2014

Draw It In, Give It Out

"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5)

The human heart can love the human Jesus as it can love the human Lincoln, but the spiritual love of Jesus is something altogether different from the infinitely superior to the purest love the human heart can know.

Indeed it is not possible to love Jesus rightly except by the Holy Spirit. Only the Third Person of the Trinity can love the Second Person in a manner pleasing to the Father. The spiritual love of Jesus is nothing else but the Spirit in us loving Christ the Eternal Son.

Christ, after the flesh, receives a great deal of fawning attention, but love that is not the outflow of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not true spiritual love and cannot be acceptable to God. We do Christ no honor when we do no more than to give Him the best of our human love. He is not rightly loved until the Spirit within us does the loving.

We are not love, and we never expect to love by our own impulses. But Jesus is the heart of love. Jesus is love itself, and Jesus is ours. His love is ours. We draw it in and give it out.

~A. W. Tozer~

Glorious Future, Blessed Tomorrow

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus"  (Philippians 3:14)

The normal Bible direction is not backward, it is always forward. Jacob returned to the altar, but in doing so he did not go back, he went forward. The Prodigal Son did not say, "I will go back"; he said, "I will arise and go to my father."

From where he was going to his father's house was a forward step in his moral activities. It represented no retreat, but a distinct advance over his previous conduct.

The will of God is always the proper goal for every one of us. Where God is must be the place of desire. Any motion toward God is a forward motion. Even repentance is not a retreat toward the past but a decided march into a more glorious future. Restitution is not a return to yesterday but a step into a blessed tomorrow.

If we find that we have gone back, then we should immediately reverse the direction and again go forward.

God's purpose in all His dealings with us is to make us grow into something higher. The greatest calamity that can come to a soul is to be satisfied with its present condition.

~A. W. Tozer~

Pressure and Power


All these things are against me (Gen. 42:36).

All things work together for good to them that love God (Rom. 8:28).

Many people are wanting power. Now how is power produced? The other day we passed the great works where the trolley engines are supplied with electricity. We heard the hum and roar of the countless wheels, and we asked our friend, "How do they make the power?"
"Why," he said, "just by the revolution of those wheels and the friction they produce. The rubbing creates the electric current."
And so, when God wants to bring more power into your life, He brings more pressure. He is generating spiritual force by hard rubbing. Some do not like it and try to run away from the pressure, instead of getting the power and using it to rise above the painful causes.
Opposition is essential to a true equilibrium of forces. The centripetal and centrifugal forces acting in opposition to each other keep our planet in her orbit. The one propelling, and the other repelling, so act and re-act, that instead of sweeping off into space in a pathway of desolation, she pursues her even orbit around her solar centre.
So God guides our lives. It is not enough to have an impelling force--we need just as much a repelling force, and so He holds us back by the testing ordeals of life, by the pressure of temptation and trial, by the things that seem against us, but really are furthering our way and establishing our goings.
Let us thank Him for both, let us take the weights as well as the wings, and thus divinely impelled, let us press on with faith and patience in our high and heavenly calling.
--A. B. Simpson
In a factory building there are wheels and gearings,
There are cranks and pulleys, beltings tight or slack--
Some are whirling swiftly, some are turning slowly,
Some are thrusting forward, some are pulling back;
Some are smooth and silent, some are rough and noisy,
Pounding, rattling, clanking, moving with a jerk;
In a wild confusion in a seeming chaos,
Lifting, pushing, driving--but they do their work.
From the mightiest lever to the tiniest pinion,
All things move together for the purpose planned;
And behind the working is a mind controlling,
And a force directing, and a guiding hand.
So all things are working for the Lord's beloved;
Some things might be hurtful if alone they stood;
Some might seem to hinder; some might draw us backward;
But they work together, and they work for good,
All the thwarted longings, all the stern denials,
All the contradictions, hard to understand.
And the force that holds them, speeds them and retards them,
Stops and starts and guides them--is our Father's hand.

--Annie Johnson Flint 
~L. B. Cowman~

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Seize the Day

"That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh" (2 Corinthians 4:11)

Today is our day. No one at any time has ever had any spiritual graces that we at this time cannot enjoy if we will meet the terms on which they are given. If these times are morally darker, they but provide a background against which we can shine the brighter.

Our God is the God of today as well as of yesterday, and we may be sure that wherever our tomorrows may carry us, our faithful God will be with us as He was with Abraham and David and Paul.

Those great men did not need us then, and we cannot have them with us now. Amen. So be it. And God be praised. We cannot have them, but we can have that which is infinitely better - we can have their God and Father, and we can have their Saviour, and we can have the same blessed Holy Spirit that made them great!

The surest method of arriving at a knowledge of God's eternal purposes about us is to be found in the right use of the present moment. It is our business to piece it together; and to live it into one orderly vocation.

~A. W. Tozer~

Energy From Indwelling Power

"He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also guicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Romans 8:11)

Our Lord is able to work with a minimum of weariness because He was a man completely possessed by the Holy Spirit. As a man He did not grow tired and had to sleep and rest and refresh Himself, but the strain and the exhaustion that He would otherwise have suffered were spared Him by the constant quickening of the Holy Spirit.

Peter explained that Christ "went about doing good, and healing all there were oppressed of the devil," after God had "anointed [Him] with the Holy Spirit and with power" (Acts 10:38).

It is possible to work far beyond the normal strength of the human constitution and yet experience little or no fatigue because the energy for the work has been provided, not by the burning up of human tissue, but by he indwelling Spirit of power. This has been realized by a few unusual souls, and the pity is that they are "unusual."

To live in the Spirit is to receive the life of the Holy Spirit in our physical being and to find in Him the source of constant stimulus and strength for our mind and all the functions of our body.

~A. W. Tozer~

Teach Us To Pray

His disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray... and he said unto them, "When ye pray, say... Thy kingdom come" (Luke 11:1-2).

When they said, "Teach us to pray," the Master lifted His eyes and swept the far horizon of God. He gathered up the ultimate dream of the Eternal, and, rounding the sum of everything God intends to do in the life of man, He packed it all into these three terse pregnant phrases and said, "When you pray, pray after this manner." What a contrast between this and much praying we have heard.
When we follow the devices of our own hearts, how runs it? "O Lord bless me, then My family, My church, My city, My country," and away on the far fringe as we close up, there is a prayer for the extension of His Kingdom throughout the wide parish of the world.
The Master begins where we leave off. The world first, my personal needs second, is the order of this prayer. Only after my prayer has crossed every continent and every  far-flung island of the sea, after it has taken in the last man in the last backward race, after it has covered the entire wish and purpose, of God for the world, only then am I taught to ask for a piece of bread for myself.
When Jesus gave His all, Himself for us and to us in the holy extravagance of the Cross, is it too much if He asks us to do the same thing? No man or woman amounts to anything in the kingdom, no soul ever touches even the edge of the zone of power, until this lesson is learned that Christ's business is the supreme concern of life and that all personal considerations, however dear or important, are tributary thereto.
--Dr. Francis
When Robert Moffat, the veteran African missionary and explorer, was asked once to write in a young lady's album, he penned these lines:
My album is a savage breast,
Where tempests brood and shadows rest,
Without one ray of light;
To write the name of Jesus there,
And see that savage bow in prayer,
And point to worlds more bright and fair,
This is my soul's delight.
"And His Kingdom shall have no frontier" (Luke 1:33, the old Moravian version).
The missionary enterprise is not the Church's afterthought; it is Christ's forethought.
~L. B. Cowman~

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Appraise, Then Act

"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Many tender-minded Christians fear to sin against love by daring to inquire into anything that comes wearing the cloak of Christianity and breathing the name of Jesus. They dare not examine the credentials of the latest prophet to hit their town lest they be guilty of rejecting something which may be of God. This is supposed to indicate a high degree of spirituality. But in sober fact it indicates no such thing. It may indeed be evidence of the absence of the Holy Spirit.

Gullibility is not synonymous with spirituality. Faith is not a mental habit leading its possessor to open his mouth and swallow everything that has about it the color of the supernatural. Faith keeps its heart open to whatever is of God, and rejects everything that is not of God, however wonderful it may be.

"Try the spirits" is a command of the Holy Spirit to the Church (1 John 4:1). We may sin as certainly by approving the spurious as by rejecting the genuine. To appraise things with a heart of love and the to act on the results is an obligation resting upon every Christian in the world

Can you renounce everything which is inconsistent with the glory of God and the highest good of your fellowmen?

~A. W. Tozer~

The Absence of Love

"I will love thee, O Lord, my strength" (Psalm 18:1)

The thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians may tell us what Christ is like, but let us not forget that it also tells us what we must be like to avoid spiritual tragedy. Let us not turn our back on this critically important teaching.

Without love, the kind described by Paul, my whole Christian life is a barren fig tree. It's a neat trick to apply Paul's words to Christ only; but it isn't honest, and it is dangerous.

It is the Holy Spirit who sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts (Romans 5:5) and love is declared to be a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). But if our daily lives reveal that the fruit is not there we dare not assume that it is - "because the Bible says so."

The absence of love as described in First Corinthians 13 is proof of the absence of the Spirit, or at least that He is inoperative within us. That's the only honest conclusion. We can't afford to be less than candid about the whole thing.

The gospel breathes the spirit of love. Love is the fulfilling of its precepts, the pledge of its joy, and the evidence of its power.

~A. W. Tozer~

A Sorrowful Truth!

Hosea 5:7
They have dealt treacherously against the Lord.
 
 
Believer, here is a sorrowful truth! Thou art the beloved of the Lord, redeemed by blood, called by grace, preserved in Christ Jesus, accepted in the Beloved, on thy way to heaven, and yet, "thou hast dealt treacherously" with God, thy best friend; treacherously with Jesus, whose thou art; treacherously with the Holy Spirit, by whom thou hast been quickened unto life eternal! How treacherous you have been in the matter of vows and promises. Do you remember the love of your espousals, that happy time-the springtide of your spiritual life? Oh, how closely did you cling to your Master then! saying, "He shall never charge me with indifference; my feet shall never grow slow in the way of His service; I will not suffer my heart to wander after other loves; in Him is every store of sweetness ineffable. I give all up for my Lord Jesus' sake." Has it been so? Alas! if conscience speak, it will say, "He who promised so well has performed most ill. Prayer has oftentimes been slurred-it has been short, but not sweet; brief, but not fervent. Communion with Christ has been forgotten. Instead of a heavenly mind, there have been carnal cares, worldly vanities and thoughts of evil. Instead of service, there has been disobedience; instead of fervency, lukewarmness; instead of patience, petulance; instead of faith, confidence in an arm of flesh; and as a soldier of the cross there has been cowardice, disobedience, and desertion, to a very shameful degree." "Thou hast dealt treacherously." Treachery to Jesus! what words shall be used in denouncing it? Words little avail: let our penitent thoughts execrate the sin which is so surely in us. Treacherous to Thy wounds, O Jesus! Forgive us, and let us not sin again! How shameful to be treacherous to Him who never forgets us, but who this day stands with our names engraven on His breastplate before the eternal throne.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Forgotten Yesterday, An Unborn Tomorrow

"The Lord searcheth all hearts and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee" (1 Chronicles 28:9)

If you trace the word everlasting in the Hebrew language, you will find that it can mean "time out of mind," or it can mean "always," or it can mean "to the vanishing point." It can also mean "to the beginningless past".

From everlasting to everlasting, God is God! From the beginningless past to the endless future, God is God! That is what the Holy Spirit says about the person and the eternal nature of God.

Now, if you have one of those mousetrap minds - open and shut - you will dismiss it and leave it, or tuck it away in your memory among the unused items in the attic of your soul.

But if the Holy Spirit i allowed to bring His radiance to it, there can be great meaning; for we are between the everlasting vanishing point of a forgotten yesterday and the equally everlasting vanishing point of an unborn tomorrow.

If you accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, you will have all the power of God back of you to defend you; all the will of God on your side; all the justice and righteousness of God pledged to your defense, as well as all the infinite love and mercy of God to welcome and bless you.

~A. W. Tozer~

Setting Up A Quota System

"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake" (2 Corinthians 4:5)

I have thanked God many times for the sweet, winsome ways of the Holy Spirit in dealing with the heart of this untaught lad when I was only seventeen. We had a neighbor by the name of Holman. One day I was walking up the street with this friendly neighbor. Suddenly, he put his hand on my shoulder.

"You know," he said, "I have been wondering about you. I have been wondering if you are a Christian, if you are converted. I just wanted the chance to talk it over with you."

"No, Mr. Holman," I answered, "I am not converted, but I thank you for saying this to me. I am going to give it some serious thought."

Some Christians set up a quota system for their witnessing. I would hate to think that I was Mr. Holman's quota for the day! Witnessing is a matter in which we need the guidance and concern of God through His Holy Spirit.

When seeking to bring the lost to Christ we must pray continually that they may receive the gift of seeing. And we must pit our prayer against that dark spirit who blinds the hearts of men.

~A. W. Tozer~

Shut Doors


Thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons" (2 Kings 4:4).

They were to be alone with God, for they were not dealing with the laws of nature, nor human government, nor the church, nor the priesthood, nor even with the great prophet of God, but they must needs be isolated from all creatures, from all leaning circumstances, from all props of human reason, and swung off, as it were, into the vast blue inter-stellar space, hanging on God alone, in touch with the fountain of miracles.
 
Here is a part in the programme of God's dealings, a secret chamber of isolation in prayer and faith which every soul must enter that is very fruitful.
 
There are times and places where God will form a mysterious wall around us, and cut away all props, and all the ordinary ways of doing things, and shut us up to something Divine, which is utterly new and unexpected, something that old circumstances do not fit into, where we do not know just what will happen, where God is cutting the cloth of our lives on a new pattern, where He makes us look to Himself.
 
Most religious people live in a sort of treadmill life, where they can calculate almost everything that will happen, but the souls that God leads out into immediate and special dealings, He shuts in where all they know is that God has hold of them, and is dealing with them, and their expectation is from Him alone.
 
Like this widow, we must be detached from outward things and attached inwardly to the Lord alone in order to see His wonders.  --Soul Food
 
In the sorest trials God often makes the sweetest discoveries of Himself.  --Gems
 
"God sometimes shuts the door and shuts us in,
That He may speak, perchance through grief or pain,
And softly, heart to heart, above the din,
May tell some precious thought to us again."

~L. B. Cowman~

Thursday, January 23, 2014

In The Image of God

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10).

Every person who is born into the world begins to see God in some ways as soon as he or she is old enough to comprehend. If that person does not repent and experience the renewal of regeneration through the working of the Holy Spirit, he or she is lost and will be lost forever. I believe that with all my heart.

But I also believe that human beings, made in the image of God, continue to keep upon themselves something of that image of deity. It is that residual image that permits God to incarnate Himself in us without incongruity or inconsistency.

So it was that the eternal Son, Himself Son, could become flesh in Jesus Christ without inconsistency.

"You matter to the living and loving God of all creation. Above everyone else in the whole universe, He cares for you and calls to you and has gracious plans for you! What a message for the sinner!

That He should leave His place on high 
And come for sinful man to die,
You count it strange?
So once did I Before I knew my Saviour!

~A. W. Tozer~

One Way To Truth

"The Entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple" (Psalm 119:130)

It is apparent that we cannot know God by the logic of reason. Through reason we can only know "about" God. Through the light of nature, our moral reason may be enlightened, but the deeper mysteries of God remain hidden to us until we have received illumination from above.

John the Baptist gave his questioners a brief sentence that I have called the hope and despair of mankind. He said, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (John 3:27).

He was not referring to men's gifts. He was speaking of spiritual truth. Divine truth is of the nature of the Holy Spirit, and for that reason it can be received only by spiritual revelation. 

We will go far to simplify our religious concepts and unify our lives if we remember this: truth is a spiritual entity and can be grasped in its inner essence only as the Spirit of Truth enlightens our hearts and teaches us.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Weather Man


Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. - Hosea 6:3

Wherever you live, rain is a big deal.  If we have little rain or a lot of rain within the year, the weather makes a huge impact on us.  The weather conditions command our daily attention as we graph and chart the amount of rain. We have entire television stations dedicated to the weather around the world. When a natural weather disaster hits, all other news stops to report the extent of the damage. We pay a lot of attention to the weather as we depend on this information to plan our day.

There is nothing wrong with following the weather patterns, but Hosea is stating that as surely as we acknowledge the sun and rain coming, we need to acknowledge the coming of the Lord. Jesus rebuked the people for acknowledging the signs of the weather but not acknowledging the signs of the Lord. In Luke 12:54-56, Jesus said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, 'It's going to rain,' and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, 'It's going to be hot,' and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time?”

Are we sensitive to His ways? Are we in tune with His will? Do we study His Word daily for direction and guidance in our day as much as we tune into the weather? Could Jesus rebuke us today for the same things? Even though the rain seems to be later than expected some years, we do get rain. We might think that Jesus is late in His coming too. But surely He will come. If we are not acknowledging Him, He may not acknowledge us. And even if Jesus doesn’t come here during our life time, it is inevitable that we will go to Him some day.

Who do you worship? Who do you serve? Just by examining your need to know the weather in comparison to your need to know the Lord should shed some light on what your priorities are. When we acknowledge the Lord in everything, we are able to interpret His signs because we become sensitive to His ways over our own. We give so much attention to the weather but Jesus truly is the ultimate Weather Man, whether we acknowledge Him or not.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Correct Doctrine Plus ...

"Who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16)

When we see God with the eyes of our hearts, God is fulfilling His purpose to appear to us. To those who ask how this can be, I answer that He can appear to us because we are made in God's image.

In the Old Testament, the writer of the Proverbs taught that true spiritual knowledge is the result of a visitation of heavenly wisdom. It is a kind of baptism of the Spirit of Truth that comes to God-fearing men. This wisdom always is associated with righteousness and humility. It is never found apart from godliness and true holiness of life.

We need to learn and to declare again the mystery of wisdom from above. Truth consists not merely in correct doctrine but in correct doctrine to which is added the inward enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.

Truth, to be understood, must be lived; Bible doctrine is wholly ineffective until it has been digested and assimilated by the total life.

~A. W. Tozer~

Pleasures and Treasures

"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:2)

Let the Bible experts split up however they will, let them divide and subdivide it, then tack on a couple of Greek verbs. But when they are through, I will still believe that the kingdom of God is the realm of the Holy Spirit into which men and women enter when they are born from above.

Yes, that invisible world that God has revealed is more real, more lasting, more eternal than this world we are in now. That is why God has given us the prophets and His revelation in His Word. He wants us to be able to look in on the coming world.

Of all the calamities that have been visited upon this world and its inhabitants, the willing surrender of the human spirit to materialistic values is the worst!

We who were made for higher worlds are accepting the ways of this world as the ultimate. That is a tragedy of staggering proportions.

Moses turned his back on the pleasures and treasures of Egypt. Would we, could we turn our backs on the cash, the comforts, the conveniences we have in order to be the people of God??

~A. W. Tozer~

Watch Your Stubbornness


“For Israel is stubborn like a stubborn calf; Now the Lord will let them forage like a lamb in open country." - Hosea 4:16


Giving my dog a bath gives me a good glimpse at a stubborn animal. He instinctively knows when I am getting ready to bathe him. Once he is convinced that I am coming to get him, he tries to hide. At that point, talking to him will not get him to change his mind. He must be dragged by the collar to the hose outside (hot and cold water, of course). It is not like he isn't spoiled and usually gets what he wants, but a bath is what is best for him, and for those around him. When the bath is over, he is the happiest, most energetic dog I have ever seen. He seems to like the after effect much more than the process he has to go through to get there.

The Lord compared Israel to a stubborn calf. They would not listen to the Lord's commands and would not obey His Word. Regardless of how much God blessed them, they still returned to their wicked ways. Regardless of how much they saw God's hand taking care of them, rescuing them, and providing for them, they had a short memory of those things. They were constantly returning to their sinful practices of worshiping other gods and pursuing their fleshly desires. Stubborn and stiff-necked is how God referred to them as He looked upon their rebellious ways.

I wonder how often the Lord looks at us the same way. How often do we rebel against what God has for us because we do not want to go through the process (or the bath we need)? For me, even though I revel in the after effects of God's touch, I still resist that necessary cleansing of the sin in my life. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves too comfortable with being unclean. Once that begins to happen, we may also find ourselves slipping into practices that do not glorify God, just as the Israelites did. When you know the Lord is coming to get you for that special time of bathing, just let Him have His way with you. The process will go much faster and you will feel so much better when you surrender to Him. I keep giving my dog the same advice even though he is not catching on. But we should.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Getting Priorities in Order

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"  (Romans 11:33)

Our Lord knows us very well. Yet He has given us the power of choice. I believe our Lord Jesus, by the Spirit of God, keeps whispering to us, "Watch out! It is very easy to put today's world first and spiritual treasures second - or last!"

We must make our choice in response. What will it be?

I confess that I feel a compulsion to cry out in prayer: "My Lord, I have so many earthly treasures! I must continually give thanks to Thee, my God, for Thy blessings. But I know that I am going to have to leave these tings, to give them all up some day. Therefore, I do deliberately choose to earnestly seek spiritual treasures, putting them above all else. They are the only treasures that will not perish."

He would have us continue to decide for Himself and His kingdom.

In the kingdom of God the surest way to lose something is to try to protect it, and the best way to keep it is to let it go.

~A. W. Tozer~

Majesty, Worship His Majesty

"Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honor and majesty" (Psalm 104:1)

There is neither preacher nor teacher anywhere in the world who can say, "Let me tell you all about God!" God told Moses and Israel, and He tells us, "Always there will be the cloud about Me. Always there will be  a veil covering My person. While you are on My earth, you will sense this obscurity, for I Am who I Am!"

And I can say this from personal experience: After you have known God and walked with Him by faith for fifty years, growing daily in His grace and the knowledge of Him, you will still see  a cloud on Mount Sinai. You will still sense the obscurity. Your mind and your spirit will still bow before Him. Your day of full comprehension is yet to come.

Innate within us is the need to kneel in reverence before something. When God appears to us, and, stunned and overcome, we are bumped to our knees, we have a right start in the life of the Spirit!

in the contemplation of God's majesty, all eloquence is done."

~A. W. Tozer~

Being Double-Minded


"he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." - James 1:8 

After we ask for His wisdom, we may still be apprehensive to step forward in faith. We might need to look for further confirmation on the matter. Now, we need to make sure that we are sensitive to His confirmation, assuring His Will over our own will. We are instructed in Matthew 18:16 that at the testimony of two or more witnesses, every Word may be established. He will confirm His Will to you. God can use various means to confirm His message to our hearts; always start in His Word then continue to ask Him to bring things to your mind. When you have received the same message several times and you know in your spirit that the Lord is impressing His Word upon your heart, then rest in His counsel and have confidence in knowing that He is speaking to you, to guide you in His ways.

But we still have the choice to choose His ways or not. James 1:5-8 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."

If we know how God is leading and we still chose to wrestle, struggle, doubt, worry and fret—we become double-minded. It would have been better to just make your own decision and live with the consequences. Instead, ask for wisdom, believe He gives it without reproach and receive His answers in faith.

Let's say something goes terribly wrong after going through this process. I have seen this happen also. We need to remember that God rewards those who diligently seek Him and God rewards faith. If you went through this process of seeking His will over your own, and you stepped out in faith, then rest with the results. Those results are now God's burden and we all know that His burden is easy. Always remember: God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Oh Lord, thank You for allowing me to find You when I search for You with all my heart. Please give me wisdom, knowledge and discernment as I desire to do Your will over my own. And I will trust You with the results.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Monday, January 20, 2014

A High and Holy Concept of God

"O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together" (Psalm 34:3)

Mankind has succeeded quite well in reducing God to a pitiful nothing! The God of the modern context is no God at all. He is simply a glorified chairman of the board, a kind of big businessman dealing in souls. The God portrayed in much of our church life today commands very little respect!

We must get back to the Bible and to the ministration of God's Spirit to regain a high and holy concept of God. Oh, this awesome, terrible God!

To know the Creator and the God of all the universe is to revere Him. It is to bow down before Him in wonder and awesome fear.

God wants to be an experience to us. We need to sense the possibility of being caught between the upper and lower millstones, knowing we can be ground to powder before Him. We need to know what it is to rise in humility out of our grief and nothingness, to know God in Jesus Christ forever and ever, to glorify Him and enjoy Him while the ages roll on. [AMEN!]

~A. W. Tozer~

The Test of Truth

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock" (Matthew 7:24)

Every activity now being carried on in the name of Christ must meet the last supreme test: Does it have biblical authority back of it? Is it according to the letter and the Spirit of the Scriptures? Is its spiritual content divinely given?

That it succeeds proves nothing. That it is popular proves less. Where are the proofs of its heavenly birth? Where are its scriptural credentials? What assurance does it give that it represents the operation of the Holy Spirit in the divine plan of the ages? These questions demand satisfactory answers.

No one should object to an honest examination of his work in the pure light of Scripture. No honest man will shrink from the light, nor will he defend beliefs and practices that cannot be justified by the test of truth. Rather he will eagerly seek to build according to the pattern shown him in the mount.

While the moral quality of any act is imparted by the condition of the heart, there may be a world of religious activity which would seem to have little or no moral content. Such religious conduct stems from the current cult of commotion and possesses no sound inner life.

~A. W. Tozer~

For They Are Worthy

Revelation 3:4
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
 
 
We may understand this to refer to justification. "They shall walk in white"; that is, they shall enjoy a constant sense of their own justification by faith; they shall understand that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them, that they have all been washed and made whiter than the newly-fallen snow. Again, it refers to joy and gladness: for white robes were holiday dresses among the Jews. They who have not defiled their garments shall have their faces always bright; they shall understand what Solomon meant when he said "Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart. Let thy garments be always white, for God hath accepted thy works." He who is accepted of God shall wear white garments of joy and gladness, while he walks in sweet communion with the Lord Jesus. Whence so many doubts, so much misery, and mourning? It is because so many believers defile their garments with sin and error, and hence they lose the joy of their salvation, and the comfortable fellowship of the Lord Jesus, they do not here below walk in white. The promise also refers to walking in white before the throne of God. Those who have not defiled their garments here shall most certainly walk in white up yonder, where the white-robed hosts sing perpetual hallelujahs to the Most High. They shall possess joys inconceivable, happiness beyond a dream, bliss which imagination knoweth not, blessedness which even the stretch of desire hath not reached. The "undefiled in the way" shall have all this-not of merit, nor of works, but of grace. They shall walk with Christ in white, for He has made them "worthy." In His sweet company they shall drink of the living fountains of waters.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Holiness Is God

"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands ... and purify your hearts" (James 4:8)

God Himself is the holiness and the purity we need. Some people think of holiness as something they have for a time, but suddenly God allows them to lose it. Holiness in the Christian life is nothing else but the Spirit of God dwelling, filling, satisfying the surrendered, committed, trusting believer.

When will we admit and confess that holiness comes with the presence of God? When will we believe that a true encounter with God brings purity of heart?

Christ is not just our Sanctifier. He is our sanctification. He Himself is our holiness. If Christ lives within our hearts, then just as the fire dwelt within the burning bush in living encounter and experience, so we will be cleansed and pure. How could it be otherwise if Christ who is holy and pure lives out His life in us?

We must consent to the work of cleansing. We must pass sentence upon our sinful heart and give God the right to cleanse it. God will not take one step till we have handed ourselves over to Him unreservedly.

~A. W. Tozer~

Holy Wounds

"Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42)

There are people within the ranks of Christianity who have  been taught and who believe that Christ will shield His followers from  wounds of every kind.

If the truth were known, the saints of God in every age were only effective after they had been wounded. They experienced the humbling wounds that brought contrition, compassion and a yearning for the knowledge of God. I could only wish that more among the followers of Christ knew what some of the early saints meant when they spoke of being wounded by the Holy Spirit.

Think for a moment about the apostle Paul. I suppose there is no theologian living or dead who quite knows what Paul meant when he said, "From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus" (Galatians 6:17). Every commentary has a different idea. I think Paul referred to the wounds he suffered because of his faith and godly life.

If you are to sit with Christ upon His throne, you must go with Him through His Gethsemane.

~A. W. Tozer~

Strength In The Lord

“I will strengthen them in the Lord and in his name they will walk,’ declares the Lord.” Zechariah 10:12

The Lord is strength for the journey of life. Fatigue and discouragement can assault us like a bandit on a deserted dirt road. Life is constantly swinging its bruising punches. Before long we can become beat down with no energy to continue. We know in our heads we are a child of the King, but our hearts feel no royal resilience. Fatigue requires faith.

Weariness is an opportunity for the Lord to strengthen you. He uses His people to energize and encourage one another. We are all needy and it is just a matter of time before we all have to learn how to receive. The Lord wraps His strength around the gift of a prayer warrior—someone who storms heaven on your behalf is a strength giver.

Do not let divorce, death or disappointment exclude you from the Lord’s strength. Work will get you down. People will let you down. Failure will knock you down. Your greatest fears may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. Fight fear with fear. Let the fear of God strengthen you, as it fortifies your faith in Him.

“Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11).

The greatest energy drainer may be serving God in our own strength. This is one of Satan’s most effective schemes. He wants to occupy us in good activity void of eternal energy. Serving God and others in our own strength means we are driven by what we can do for God, rather than what He can do through us. It’s the difference in being energized in our service or being drained by our service. Christ’s strength comes from being still.

He strengthens your soul daily as you sit quietly before Him. His whisper of affirmation motivates you to walk with Him. It is learning to trust in Him, not striving for Him. This total trust replenishes your soul like an ice-cold sports drink to a cyclist ascending the tallest mountain in the blazing hot Tour de France. His spirit gives life and endurance.

When you received Christ you received His strength. Strength already resides within you. He is available to you. Your Savior has no fuel crisis to reckon with, as His supernatural resources are infinite. You cannot go for encouragement too many times. Walk in His name and be energized by Him. His Holy Spirit infuses strength so be strong in the Lord!

“Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers” (Acts 9:31).

Prayer: Does my strength reside in my righteous Savior or in my own exhausting efforts?

Related Readings: Psalm 105:4; Isaiah 12:2; Luke 10:27; 1 Thessalonians 3:13

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

Saturday, January 18, 2014

It's A Choice

"Choose you this day whom ye will serve ... God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other Gods" (Joshua 24:15-16).

It is the spark of God within a person that troubles him or her. That spark is placed within by the Spirit of God. Conviction. Longing. Desire. That spark within does not save. But that spark must be there to lead the person on to salvation.

Why is it that some men and women seem never to have any awareness of that spark from God? They may be nice people, nice neighbors, nice friends. But they live every day without any spark of discontent, without any spark of need for God.

God has made us with the right to make our own choices. We were not created to be robots. God made us in His own image, but with the right and the ability to choose. We are free moral agents.

When our first parents made the wrong choices, the human race became alienated from God. Since that time, every person has been faced with choices and decisions.

Happiness is nothing but that inward sweet delight, which will arise from the harmonious agreement between our wills and the will of God.

~A. W. Tozer~


Real Living

"Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all" (1 Timothy 4:15)

Let me observe that some Christians think they can be disciples of Christ without ever a thought about the necessity of self-discipline and genuine commitment to Him. We must face the fact that many today are notoriously careless in their living. This attitude finds its way into the church. We have liberty, we have money, we live in comparative luxury. As a result, discipline practically has disappeared.

What would a violin solo sound like of the strings on the musician's instrument were all hanging loose, not stretched tight, not "disciplined"? Being an artist, the musician would not attempt to being sound from that violin until each string had been tuned and tested and all was in perfect harmony.

In things that matter with God - important things - we need to be disciplined, pulled together, attuned to the Spirit until we are in harmony with all of God's planning for us.

The Spirit of Life dwells and fills men, permeates their being, sanctifies their nature, quickens their powers, vitalizes their mortal bodies and radiates their life. Pentecost turned anemic believers into exuberant saints.

~A. W. Tozer~

Ask!

Matthew 7:7
Ask, and it shall be given you.
 
We know of a place in England still existing, where a dole of bread is served to every passerby who chooses to ask for it. Whoever the traveller may be, he has but to knock at the door of St. Cross Hospital, and there is the dole of bread for him. Jesus Christ so loveth sinners that He has built a St. Cross Hospital, so that whenever a sinner is hungry, he has but to knock and have his wants supplied. Nay, He has done better; He has attached to this Hospital of the Cross a bath; and whenever a soul is black and filthy, it has but to go there and be washed. The fountain is always full, always efficacious. No sinner ever went into it and found that it could not wash away his stains. Sins which were scarlet and crimson have all disappeared, and the sinner has been whiter than snow. As if this were not enough, there is attached to this Hospital of the Cross a wardrobe, and a sinner making application simply as a sinner, may be clothed from head to foot; and if he wishes to be a soldier, he may not merely have a garment for ordinary wear, but armour which shall cover him from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. If he asks for a sword, he shall have that given to him, and a shield too. Nothing that is good for him shall be denied him. He shall have spending-money so long as he lives, and he shall have an eternal heritage of glorious treasure when he enters into the joy of his Lord. If all these things are to be had by merely knocking at mercy's door, O my soul, knock hard this morning, and ask large things of thy generous Lord. Leave not the throne of grace till all thy wants have been spread before the Lord, and until by faith thou hast a comfortable prospect that they shall be all supplied. No bashfulness need retard when Jesus invites. No unbelief should hinder when Jesus promises. No cold-heartedness should restrain when such blessings are to be obtained.

~Charles Spurgeon~