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Friday, February 28, 2014

Blessings Through Obedience

"So will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong" (Zechariah 8:13)

Christ is to His people so many wonderful things and brings to them such a wealth of benefits as the mind cannot comprehend nor the heart find words to express.

These treasures are both present and to come. The Spirit of Truth, speaking through Paul, assures us that God has in Christ blessed us with all spiritual blessings. These are ours as sons of the new creation and are made available to us now by the obedience of faith.

Peter, moved by the same Spirit, tells us of an inheritance guaranteed us by the resurrection of Christ, an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled and unfading, reserved in heaven for us.

There is no contradiction here, for one apostle speaks of present benefits and the other of benefits yet to be conferred upon us at the coming of Christ. And both exhaust human speech to celebrate the many blessings which we have already received.

As soon as thou givest thyself to God from thy whole heart, and seekest neither this nor that, ... thou shalt find thyself united and at peace.

~A. W. Tozer~

Confront With Kindness

"Be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Timothy 4:2)

It is quite natural, and even spiritual, to feel sorrow and heaviness when we see the professed followers of Christ walking in the ways of the world. And our first impulse may easily be to go straight to them and upbraid them indignantly.

But such methods are seldom successful. The heat in our spirit may not be from the Holy Spirit, and if it is not then it can very well do more harm than good.

In this as in everything else Christ is our perfect example. A prayerful, face-down meditation on the life of Christ will show us how to oppose with kindness and reprove with charity. And the power of the Holy Spirit within us will enable us to follow His blessed example.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit will always bring a spirit of love ... and ... sweetness and charity toward all men.

~A. W. Tozer~

John's Doubts


And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?" - Matthew 11:2-3


John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus. Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1, he was prophesied as the messenger who would prepare the way for the Messiah. He was the one anointed in his mother’s womb and filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41), and appointed by God to bear witness of Jesus, the Son of God. John the Baptist was the one who baptized Jesus and witnessed the Holy Spirit’s descent upon Him like a dove (John 1:32). This same John the Baptist is now wondering if this Jesus is the real Messiah. Should he look for someone else? What happened to John? What went wrong with his faith?

The Messiah was expected to come to earth and to set up His kingdom. Jesus, therefore, was the long-awaited King of the Jews. Everyone who believed in Him fully expected the prophecies of His earthly reign to be fulfilled in their day. But Jesus would answer John’s question showing a much different purpose for His coming than what John and the Jewish people expected. Jesus sent back the message that, “The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:5). Jesus did not come the first time to set up His kingdom; He humbled Himself and died on a cross for our sins. He came as the final sacrifice. Jesus came to serve, not to be served. So John’s expectations were not met, thus, he began to question (or doubt) if Jesus was the true Messiah.

How often do we put Jesus in our box and look to Him to meet our expectations? What happens when Jesus does not meet us the way we think He should? It is in those moments that our faith is tested the most. As humans, we tend to have very short memories. We forget so quickly how real the Lord has been to us, only to experience those moments when we wonder if He was ever real at all. Pray that your faith is strengthened in times of testing. Pray that you do not forget all that Jesus has done in your life. Pray that you never doubt that He is the true Son of God.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Here's How It Works

"Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)

Here's how the file card works when it gets into the Christian life and begins to create mental habits: It divides the Bible into sections fitted to the days of the year, and compels the Christian to read according to rule. No matter what the Holy Spirit may e trying to say to a man, still he goes on reading where the card tells him, dutifully checking it off each day.

Inevitably the calendar crowds out the Spirit and the face of the clock hides the face of God. Prayer ceases to be the free breath of a ransomed souls and becomes a duty to be fulfilled. And even if under such circumstances he succeeds in making his prayer amount to something, still he is suffering tragic losses and binding upon his soul a yoke from which Christ died to set him free.

It is the privilege of every Christian to live so fully in God that he never gets out of the experienced Presence for one moment. The whole life becomes a prayer ... thoughts become mental prayers, deeds become prayers in action and even sleep may be but unconscious prayer.

~A. W. Tozer~

Beware the File-Card Mentality

"Pure religion and undefiled is this, To visit the fatherless and widows ... and to keep himself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27)

The essence of true religion is spontaneity, the sovereign movings of the Holy Spirit upon and in the free spirit of redeemed men. This has through the years of human history been the hallmark of spiritual excellency, the evidence of reality in a world of unreality.

When religion loses its sovereign character and becomes mere form, this spontaneity is lost also, and in its place come precedent, propriety, system - the file-card mentality.

Back of the file-card mentality is the belief that spirituality can be organized. Then is introduced into religion those ideas which never belong there - numbers, statistics, the law of averages, and other such natural human things.

And creeping death always follows.

There are churches so completely out of the hands of God that if the Holy Spirit withdrew from them they wouldn't find it out for many months.

~A. W. Tozer~

After the Storm


And there arose a great storm (Mark 4:37).

Some of the storms of life come suddenly: a great sorrow, a bitter disappointment, a crushing defeat. Some come slowly. They appear upon the ragged edges of the horizon no larger than a man's hand, but, trouble that seems so insignificant spreads until it covers the sky and overwhelms us.
Yet it is in the storm that God equips us for service. When God wants an oak He plants it on the moor where the storms will shake it and the rains will beat down upon it, and it is in the midnight battle with elements that the oak wins its rugged fibre and becomes the king of the forest.
When God wants to make a man He puts him into some storm. The history of manhood is always rough and rugged. No man is made until he has been out into the surge of the storm and found the sublime fulfillment of the prayer: "O God, take me, break me, make me."
A Frenchman has painted a picture of universal genius. There stand orators, philosophers and martyrs, all who have achieved pre-eminence in any phase of life; the remarkable fact about the picture is this: Every man who is pre-eminent for his ability was first pre-eminent for suffering. In the foreground stands that figure of the man who was denied the promised land, Moses. Beside him is another, feeling his way -- blind Homer. Milton is there, blind and heart-broken. Now comes the form of one who towers above them all. What is His characteristic? His Face is marred more than any man's. The artist might have written under that great picture, "The Storm."
The beauties of nature come after the storm. The rugged beauty of the mountain is born in a storm, and the heroes of life are the storm-swept and the battle-scarred.
You have been in the storms and swept by the blasts. Have they left you broken, weary, beaten in the valley, or have they lifted you to the sunlit summits of a richer, deeper, more abiding manhood and womanhood? Have they left you with more sympathy with the storm-swept and the battle-scarred?
--Selected
The wind that blows can never kill
The tree God plants;
It bloweth east, it bloweth west,
The tender leaves have little rest,
But any wind that blows is best.
The tree that God plants
Strikes deeper root, grows higher still,
Spreads greater boughs, for God's good will
Meets all its wants.
There is no storm hath power to blast
The tree God knows;
No thunderbolt, nor beating rain,
Nor lightning flash, nor hurricane;
When they are spent, it doth remain,
The tree God knows,
Through every tempest standeth fast,
And from its first day to its last
Still fairer grows.
~L. B. Cowman~

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Blissful Center

"He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity ... Behold, God exalteth by his power" Job 36:10, 22)

The work of God is not finished when the first act of inward adjustment has been done. The Spirit would go on from there to bring the total life into harmony with that "blissful center."  This is wrought in the believer by the Word and by prayer and discipline and suffering.

It could be done by a short course in things spiritual if we were more pliable, less self-willed and stubborn; but it usually takes some time before we learn the hard lessons of faith and obedience sufficiently well to permit the work to be done within us with anything near to perfection.

In bringing many sons unto glory God works with whatever He has in whatever way He can and by whatever means He can, respecting always His own gift to us, the freedom of our wills. But of all means He uses, the Bible is the best.

The threefold purpose of the Bible is to inform, to inspire faith and to secure obedience. The Holy Scriptures will do us good only as we present an open mind to be taught, a tender heart to believe and a surrendered will to obey.

~A. W. Tozer~

A New Person In An Old World

"And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God" (Micah 5:4)

The Christian who has dedicated his life to God and has shouldered his cross need not be surprised at the conflict in which he at once finds himself engaged. Such conflict is logical; it results from the nature of God and of man and of Christianity.

He will, for instance, discover that the ways of God and the ways of men are not equal. He will find that the skills he learned in Adam's world are of very little use to him in the spiritual realm. His tried and proven methods for getting things done will fail him when he attempts to apply them to the work of the Holy Spirit. The new Adam will not surrender to the old Adam nor gear His new creation to the methods of the world. God will not share His glory with another. The seeking Christian must learn the hard way that it is "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6).

Oh, how long we struggle!
Oh, how hard we try!
Helplessly we labor,
Helplessly we sigh
Till Thy Spirit gives us
Power from on high.

~A. W. Tozer~

Seeking God's Will



Parents train their children to do many tasks—from knowing which clothes match to handling money. Perhaps the most important skill we can teach is how to follow God’s direction.
We are blessed that our omniscient and mighty Father is willing to make His way known to us. He wants to reveal exactly what to do in every situation. In fact, He promises this: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Ps. 32:8). Let’s explore how to discern God’s will at each crossroad of life.

The first step is to make sure that we have repented of all sin. Listening to God while holding onto iniquity in our heart is like using a foggy and unreadable compass. After confessing and repenting, we can ask for direction.

Next, we should read Scripture regularly with a seeking, open heart. The Bible is like a lamp on a dark path (Ps. 119:105). The last step involves God’s indwelling Holy Spirit—the wonderful gift that the heavenly Father has given each of His children. The Spirit provides truth and guidance as we read the Word and pray. We should listen patiently for His leading, which is often communicated quietly to our hearts as we spend time with Him.

When asking the Lord to reveal His will, we shouldn’t expect instant answers. The discipline of waiting builds character, and besides, rushing the process may lead to a path that misses God’s best. Take the time to seek Jesus’ plan for your life, remembering He'll provide all you need to follow Him.

~Charles Stanley~

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Warm Hearts and Cool Heads

"We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens" (Hebrews 8:1)

The warmest hearts and the coolest heads anywhere at any time should always belong to the Christians. There are sound reasons for this. The Christian is seated "above." His fortunes do not depend upon earthly circumstances, but upon Christ who has conquered everything.

For the warmth of his heart the Christian has the love of God which is "shed abroad" by the Holy Spirit, while from his vantage point in the "heavenly places" he is able to look down calmly upon the excited happenings of men. In his flesh he may be a part of the human scene, but in his spirit he is far above it all and is never at any time too much moved by what he sees.

Since he is a part of God's eternal purpose, he knows he must win at last, and he can afford to be calm even when the battle seems to be temporarily going against him. The world has no such "blissful center" upon which to rest and is therefore constantly shifting about, greatly elated today, terribly cast down tomorrow and wildly excited the next day.

We know that in the natural world the mightiest forces are those we do not see. So in the spiritual world faith is the power to attach ourselves to God.

~A. W. Tozer~

A Thankful Heat and Tongue

Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name" (2 Samuel 22:50)

All good and beneficial things the world affords are gifts of Almighty God and come to us out of His lovingkindness. Add to these all the wealth of grace which comes to us through blood atonement: revelation, redemption, mercy, the gift of eternal life and in the indwelling Holy Spirit. For all this, for everything we are in debt to God forever. We can never repay our heavenly Father for the least of His goodness

In view o all these things, a thankless man must be a bad man if for no other reason than that he is thankless. Ingratitude is a major sin.

The man of enlightened mind will always feel deeply humbled when he considers God's goodness and his own insignificance. He is likely to be very modest about demanding anything further; he will be too conscious that he already enjoys far more than the circumstances warrant.

There are holy tongues, yielded to the Holy Spirit and under the control of the fire of Pentecost. The good tongue is often a silent tongue. We all talk too much. Hand your tongue over to God; ask Him to take it and help you to remember it is not your own.

~A. W. Tozer~

Lord, Save Me!

Matthew 14:30
Beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
 
Sinking times are praying times with the Lord's servants. Peter neglected prayer at starting upon his venturous journey, but when he began to sink his danger made him a suppliant, and his cry though late was not too late. In our hours of bodily pain and mental anguish, we find ourselves as naturally driven to prayer as the wreck is driven upon the shore by the waves. The fox hies to its hole for protection; the bird flies to the wood for shelter; and even so the tried believer hastens to the mercy seat for safety. Heaven's great harbour of refuge is All-prayer; thousands of weather-beaten vessels have found a haven there, and the moment a storm comes on, it is wise for us to make for it with all sail. Short prayers are long enough. There were but three words in the petition which Peter gasped out, but they were sufficient for his purpose. Not length but strength is desirable. A sense of need is a mighty teacher of brevity. If our prayers had less of the tail feathers of pride and more wing they would be all the better. Verbiage is to devotion as chaff to the wheat. Precious things lie in small compass, and all that is real prayer in many a long address might have been uttered in a petition as short as that of Peter. Our extremities are the Lord's opportunities. Immediately a keen sense of danger forces an anxious cry from us the ear of Jesus hears, and with Him ear and heart go together, and the hand does not long linger. At the last moment we appeal to our Master, but His swift hand makes up for our delays by instant and effectual action. Are we nearly engulfed by the boisterous waters of affliction? Let us then lift up our souls unto our Saviour, and we may rest assured that He will not suffer us to perish. When we can do nothing Jesus can do all things; let us enlist His powerful aid upon our side, and all will be well.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Monday, February 24, 2014

Not Good or Bad, But Alive

"Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Romans 8:9)

There are religious persons who have the name of Christ but whose spirit is the spirit of Adam. They belong to the old order which perishes, not to the new order of life in Christ Jesus. The point is not that they are good or bad but that they are dead. Their direction is wrong; they are on their way to the grace, not on the way out of it.

It is not that I plant, but what I plant that matters. A man could plant glass beads for a lifetime and have nothing to show for his trouble.

Christ makes the difference between death and life, always and everywhere. He is the Prince of Life, and whatever He touches lives. The fabled Midas had a magic power which made everything he touched turn to gold. It is not fable, but wondrously true and real, that the power to give life belongs to Christ. Nothing He touches can ever die, and whatever is dead has only to be touched by Him and it lives again forever.

We who bear the name of Christ should give ourselves no rest till we are sure that we possess the Spirit of Christ. Without that Spirit no man can speak a living word or do an immortal deed.

~A. W. Tozer~

Coddled or Crucified?

"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Romans 6:6)

The spiritual giants of old would not take their religion the easy way nor offer unto God that which cost them nothing. They sought not comfort but holiness, and the pages of history are still wet with their blood and their tears.

We now live in softer times. Woe unto us, for we have become adept in the art of comforting ourselves without power. Those who will justify themselves in that kind of dodging are not likely to be much affected by anything I can say or write.

But to those who will hear I would say with all the urgency at my command: Though the Cross of Christ has been beautified by the poet and the artist, the avid seeker after God is likely to find it the same savage implement of destruction it was in the days of old. The way of the Cross es still the pain-wracked path to spiritual power and fruitfulness.

So do not seek to hid from it. Do not accept an easy way. Do not allow yourself to be patted to sleep in a comfortable church, void of power and barren of fruit.

Let the Cross slay you utterly. Seek God. Seek to be holy and fear none of those thing which thou shalt suffer.

~A. W. Tozer~

More Than Conquerors

In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Romans 8:37).

This is more than victory. This is a triumph so complete that we have not only escaped defeat and destruction, but we have destroyed our enemies and won a spoil so rich and valuable that we can thank God that the battle ever came. How can we be "more than conquerors"? We can get out of the conflict a spiritual discipline that will greatly strengthen our faith and establish our spiritual character. Temptation is necessary to settle and confirm us in the spiritual life. It is like the fire which burns in the colors of mineral painting, or like winds that cause the mighty cedars of the mountain to strike more deeply into the soil. Our spiritual conflicts are among our choicest blessings, and our great adversary is used to train us for his ultimate defeat. The ancient Phrygians had a legend that every time they conquered an enemy the victor absorbed the physical strength of his victim and added so much more to his own strength and valor. So temptation victoriously met doubles our spiritual strength and equipment. It is possible thus not only to defeat our enemy, but to capture him and make him fight in our ranks.
The prophet Isaiah speaks of flying on the shoulders of the Philistines (Isa. 11:14). These Philistines were their deadly foes, but the figure suggested that they would be enabled not only to conquer the Philistines, but to use them to carry the victors on their shoulders for further triumphs. Just as the wise sailor can use a head wind to carry him forward by tacking and taking advantage of its impelling force; so it is possible for us in our spiritual life through the victorious grace of God to turn to account the things that seem most unfriendly and unfavorable, and to be able to say continually, "The things that were against me have happened to the furtherance of the Gospel."
--Life More Abundantly
A noted scientist observing that "early voyagers fancied that the coral-building animals instinctively built up the great circles of the Atoll Islands to afford themselves protection in the inner parts," has disproved this fancy by showing that the insect builders can only live and thrive fronting the open ocean, and in the highly aerated foam of its resistless billows. So it has been commonly thought that protected ease is the most favorable condition of life, whereas all the noblest and strongest lives prove on the contrary that the endurance of hardship is the making of the men, and the factor that distinguishes between existence and vigorous vitality. Hardship makes character.
"Now thanks be unto God Who always leads us forth to triumph with the Anointed One, and Who diffuses by us the fragrance of the knowledge of Him in every place" (2 Cor. 2:14, literal translation).
~L. B. Cowman~

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Never-Failing Presence

"And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting" (Acts 2:2)

Pentecost did not come and go; Pentecost came and stayed. Chronologically the day may be found on the historic calendar; dynamically it remains with us still in all its fullness of power.

Our insensibility to the presence of the Holy Spirit is one of the greatest losses our unbelief and preoccupation have cost us. We have made Him a tenet in our creed, we have enclosed Him in a religious word, but we have known Him very little in personal experience.

satan has hindered us all he could by raising conflicting opinions about the Holy Spirit, by making Him a topic of hot and uncharitable debate between Christians. In the meanwhile, our hearts crave Him, and we hardly know what the craving means.

It would help us if we could remember that the Holy Spirit is Himself God, the very true nature of the Godhead subsisting in a form that can impart Himself to our consciousness. It is His light upon the face of Christ which enables us to know Him.

Augustine says it is amazing that anyone should live apart from God, apart from whom he cannot live at all.

~A. W. Tozer~

Not How Happy, But How Holy

"What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid" (Romans 6:15)

A selfish desire for happiness is as sinful as any other selfish desire. Its root is in the flesh which can never have any standing before God. People are coming more and more to excuse every sort of wrongdoing on the grounds that they are "just trying to secure a little happiness."

The effect of this modern hedonism is felt also among the people of God. The gospel is too often presented as a means toward happiness, to peace of mind or security. There are even those who use the Bible to "relax" them, as if it were a drug.

How far wrong all this is will be discovered easily by the simple act of reading the New Testament through once with meditation. There the emphasis is not upon happiness but upon holiness. God is more concerned with the state of people's hearts than with the state of their feelings. Undoubtedly the will of God brings final happiness to those who obey, but the most important matter is not how happy we are but how holy.

The whole matter of personal holiness is highly important to God! Morally, we dare not ignore this commandment, "Be ye holy."

~A. W. Tozer~

Nothing But Joy


Reckon it nothing but joy... whenever you find yourself hedged in by the various trials, be assured that the testing of your faith leads to power of endurance (James 1:2-3) Weymouth


God hedges in His own that He may preserve them, but oftentimes they only see the wrong side of the hedge, and so misunderstand His dealings. It was so with Job (Job 3:23). Ah, but Satan knew the value of that hedge! See his testimony in Job 1:10.
Through the leaves of every trial there are chinks of  light to shine through. Thorns do not prick you unless you lean against them, and not one touches without His knowledge. The words that hurt you, the letter which gave you pain, the cruel wound of your dearest friend, shortness of money -- are all known to Him, who sympathizes as none else can and watches to see, if, through all, you will dare to trust Him wholly.

The hawthorn hedge that keeps us from intruding,
Looks very fierce and bare
When stripped by winter, every branch protruding
Its thorns that would wound and tear.
But spring-time comes; and like the rod that budded,
Each twig breaks out in green;
And cushions soft of tender leaves are studded,
Where spines alone were seen,
The sorrows, that to us seem so perplexing,
Are mercies kindly sent
To guard our wayward souls from sadder vexing,
And greater ills prevent.
To save us from the pit, no screen of roses
Would serve for our defense,
The hindrance that completely interposes
Stings back like thorny fence.
At first when smarting from the shock, complaining
Of wounds that freely bleed,
God's hedges of severity us paining,
May seem severe indeed.
But afterwards, God's blessed spring-time cometh,
And bitter murmurs cease;
The sharp severity that pierced us bloometh,
And yields the fruits of peace.
Then let us sing, our guarded way thus wending
Life's hidden snares among,
Of mercy and of judgment sweetly blending;
Earth's sad, but lovely song.

~L. B. Cowman~

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Function Joyfully

"In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Psalm 16:11)

My Christian brother or sister, thank God always for the blessed gifts of sensitivity and conscience and human choice He has given you. Are you being faithful as a Christian believer where He has placed you?

If God has called you out of darkness into His light, you should be worshiping Him. If He has shown you that you are to show forth the excellencies, the virtues, the beauties of the Lord who has called you, then you should be humbly and gladly worshiping Him with the radiance and the blessing of the Holy Spirit in your life.

It is sad that we human do not always function joyfully for God in the place He has marked out for us. We may even allow trifling things and minor incidents to disturb our fellowship with God and our spiritual witness for him who is our Saviour.

Outward trials and troubles do not cease because the soul is baptized with the Holy Spirit. The disciples abounded in affliction after their sanctification, although they also abounded in joy.

~A. W. Tozer~

Be Thou Exalted

"And he is before all things, and by him all things consist... That in all things he might have the preeminence" (Colossians 1:17-18)

Father, I want to know Thee, but my cowardly heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there.

Lord, how excellent are Thy ways, and how devious and dark are the ways of man. Show us how to die, that we may rise again to newness of life. Rend the veil of our self-life from the top down as Thou didst rend the veil of the Temple. We would draw near in full assurance of faith. We would dwell with Thee in daily experience here on this earth so that we may be accustomed to the glory when we enter Thy heaven to dwell with Thee there.

Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor; above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes. Let me sink that Thou mayest rise above.

~A. W. Tozer~

I Shall See God

Job 19:26
In my flesh shall I see God.
 
Mark the subject of Job's devout anticipation "I shall see God." He does not say, "I shall see the saints"-though doubtless that will be untold felicity-but, "I shall see God." It is not-"I shall see the pearly gates, I shall behold the walls of jasper, I shall gaze upon the crowns of gold," but "I shall see God." This is the sum and substance of heaven, this is the joyful hope of all believers. It is their delight to see Him now in the ordinances by faith. They love to behold Him in communion and in prayer; but there in heaven they shall have an open and unclouded vision, and thus seeing "Him as He is," shall be made completely like Him. Likeness to God-what can we wish for more? And a sight of God-what can we desire better? Some read the passage, "Yet, I shall see God in my flesh," and find here an allusion to Christ, as the "Word made flesh," and that glorious beholding of Him which shall be the splendour of the latter days. Whether so or not it is certain that Christ shall be the object of our eternal vision; nor shall we ever want any joy beyond that of seeing Him. Think not that this will be a narrow sphere for the mind to dwell in. It is but one source of delight, but that source is infinite. All His attributes shall be subjects for contemplation, and as He is infinite under each aspect, there is no fear of exhaustion. His works, His gifts, His love to us, and His glory in all His purposes, and in all His actions, these shall make a theme which will be ever new. The patriarch looked forward to this sight of God as a personal enjoyment. "Whom mine eye shall behold, and not another." Take realizing views of heaven's bliss; think what it will be to you. "Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty." All earthly brightness fades and darkens as we gaze upon it, but here is a brightness which can never dim, a glory which can never fade-"I shall see God."

~Charles Spurgeon~

Friday, February 21, 2014

On Losing the "Oh!"

"Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God" (Psalm 83:1)

Theology seeks to reduce what may be known of God to intellectual terms, and as long as the intellect can comprehend it can find words to express itself.

When God Himself appears before the mind, awesome, vast and incomprehensible, then the mind sinks into silence and the heart cries out "O Lord God!" There is the difference between theological knowledge and spiritual experience, the difference between knowing God by hearsay and knowing Him by acquaintance.

We Christians should watch lest we lose the "OH!" from out hearts. There is real danger these days that we shall fall victim to the prophets of poise and the purveyors of tranquility, and our Christianity be reduced to a mere evangelical humanism that is never disturbed about anything nor overcome by and "trances of thought and mountings of the mind."

When the calm listing of requests and the courteous giving of proper thanks takes the place of the burdened prayer that finds utterance difficult we should beware the next step, for our direction is surely down whether we know it or not.

The chief thing is not to listen to yourself, but silently to listen to God.

~A. W. Tozer~

A Life In Harmony

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Colossians 3:17)

The Bible is among other things a book of revealed truth. That is, certain facts are revealed that could not be discovered by the most brilliant mind. These facts are of such a nature as to be past finding out. They were hidden behind a veil, and until certain men who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit took away that veil no mortal man could know them.

This lifting of the veil of unknowing from undiscoverable things we call divine revelation.

The Bible, however, is more than a volume of hitherto unknown facts about God, man and the universe. It is a book of exhortation based upon those facts. By far the greater portion of the book is devoted to an urgent effort to persuade people to alter their ways and bring their lives into harmony with the will of God as set forth in its pages.

Out of His goodness, God made us. Out of His goodness, He keeps us. When the man had sinned, He redeemed us again out of His goodness.

~A. W. Tozer~

They Were Forbidden of the Holy Spirit

They were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the Word in Asia (Acts 16:6).

It is interesting to study the methods of His guidance as it was extended towards these early heralds of the Cross. It consisted largely in prohibitions, when they attempted to take another course than the right. When they would turn to the left, to Asia, He stayed them. When they sought to turn to the right, to Bithynia, again He stayed them. In after years Paul would do some of the greatest work of his life in that very region; but just now the door was closed against him by the Holy Spirit. The time was not yet ripe for the attack on these apparently impregnable bastions of the kingdom of Satan. Apollos must come there for pioneer work. Paul and Barnabas are needed yet more urgently elsewhere, and must receive further training before undertaking this responsible task.
Beloved, whenever you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to shut against you every door but the right one. Say, "Blessed Spirit, I cast on Thee the entire responsibility of closing against my steps any and every course which is not of God. Let me hear Thy voice behind me whenever I turn to the right hand or the left."
In the meanwhile, continue along the path which you have been already treading. Abide in the calling in which you are called, unless you are clearly told to do something else. The Spirit of Jesus waits to be to you, O pilgrim, what He was to Paul. Only be careful to obey His least prohibition; and where, after believing prayer, there are no apparent hindrances, go forward with enlarged heart. Do not be surprised if the answer comes in closed doors. But when doors are shut right and left, an open road is sure to lead to Troas. There Luke awaits, and visions will point the way, where vast opportunities stand open, and faithful friends are waiting.
--Paul, by Meyer
Is there some problem in your life to solve,
Some passage seeming full of mystery?
God knows, who brings the hidden things to light.
He keeps the key.
Is there some door closed by the Father's hand
Which widely opened you had hoped to see?
Trust God and wait--for when He shuts the door
He keeps the key.
Is there some earnest prayer unanswered yet,
Or answered NOT as you had thought 'twould be?
God will make clear His purpose by-and-by.
He keeps the key.
Have patience with your God, your patient God,
All wise, all knowing, no long tarrier He,
And of the door of all thy future life
He keeps the key.
Unfailing comfort, sweet and blessed rest,
To know of EVERY door He keeps the key.
That He at last when just HE sees 'tis best,
Will give it THEE
.
~L. B. Cowman~

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sunday and Monday

"I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever" (Psalm 145:1-2)

My brother or sister, if we are believing children of God in whom the Holy Spirit nurtures continual joy, delight and wonder, we will not need a storm on the mountain to show us how glorious our Lord really is.

It is a delusion to think that because we suddenly feel expansive and poetic in the presence of the storm or stars or space that we are spiritual. I need only remind you that drunkards or tyrants or criminals can have those "sublime" feelings, too. Let us not imagine that they constitute 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 cannot worship God with a glad song on Sunday and then knowingly displease Him in my business dealings on Monday and Tuesday.

I you will not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him n one day a week.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Name and the Nature

"Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool, for he is holy" (Psalm 99:5)

Study the Bible carefully with the help of the Holy Spirit and you will find that the name and the nature of Jesus are one. It is not enough to know how to spell Jesus' name. If we have come to be like Him in nature, if we have come to the place of being able to ask in accordance with His will, He will give us the good things we desire and need. We do not worship in name only. We worship God as the result of a birth from above in which God has been pleased to give us more than a name. He has given us a nature transformed.

Why should we delude ourselves about pleasing God in worship? If I live like a worldly and carnal tramp all day and then find myself in a time of crisis at midnight, how do I pray to a God who is holy? How do I address the One who has asked me to worship Him in spirit and in truth? Do I get on my knees an call on the name of Jesus because I believe there is some magic in than name?

I have come to believe that no worship in wholly pleasing to God until there is nothing in us displeasing to God.

~A. W. Tozer~

Contentmet


I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians4:11).

Paul, denied of every comfort, wrote the above words in his dungeon.

A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac.

And so on all through the garden. Coming to a heart's-ease, he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. "Well, heart's-ease, I'm glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened." "No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heart's-ease, I am determined to be the best little heart's-ease that I can."

Others may do a greater work,
But you have your part to do;
And no one in all God's heritage
Can do it so well as you.

They who are God's without reserve, are in every state content; for they will only what He wills, and desire to do for Him whatever He desires them to do; they strip themselves of everything, and in this nakedness find all things restored an hundredfold.

~L. B. Cowman~

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sinning with Silence

"He was in the world ... and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not" (John 1:10-11)

At this hour in world history the state of religion is such that the Church is in grave danger of losing [the spiritual treasures of God's wisdom]. Her gold is being turned to copper and her diamonds to glass. The religion of Cain is now in the ascendency - and marching under the banner of the Cross.

Even among those who make a great noise about believing the Bible, that Bible has virtually no practical influence left. Fiction, films, fun, frolic, religious entertainment, Hollywood ideals, big business techniques and cheap, worldly philosophies now overrun the sanctuary. The grieved Holy Spirit broods over the chaos but no light breaks forth. "Revivals" come without rousing the hostility of organized sin and pass without  raising the moral level of the community or purifying the lives of professing Christians. Why?

Could it be that too many of God's true children are sinning against God by guilty silence? When those whose eyes are opened by the touch of Christ become vocal and active God may begin to fight again on the side of truth.

~A. W. Tozer~

In Silence or In Storn

"The desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee" (Isaiah 26:8)

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

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

Two of Spurgeon's greatest sermons were "God in the Silence" and "God in the Storm."  The heart that knows God can fin God anywhere. I surely join with Spurgeon in the truth that a person filled with the Spirit of God, a person who has met God in a living encounter can know the joy of worshiping Him, whether in the silences of life or in the storms of life. There really is no argument. We know what God wants us to be. He wants us to be worshipers!

It is not the man who spends his time in the crowd and merely reflects the opinion, spirit and attainments of men who most benefits the world, but the man who listens to and speak of things that have their birth beyond and far above the street.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Path of Life



Life is like an untraveled trail with complex twists and turns. Appealing activities can be detours that lead to the quicksand of sin. And engaging philosophies may form side paths that end up in a mire of muddled thinking. Even the best route isn’t all sun-dappled meadows and quiet riverside lanes. We may at times have to journey over hard terrain or shadowed valleys. The only way to be sure we’re walking right is to follow one who knows the way perfectly.

God is the perfect, full-service Guide. No one can go wrong by keeping to the pathways He selects. Consider that He lovingly and intentionally created you for this time and this place. The Lord watches over your steps because He desires to see your purpose fulfilled and His plan come to fruition through you (Prov. 3:5-6). Therefore, He promises to counsel those who follow Him (Ps. 25:12). When God warns His children away from a tempting sidetrack, it is because He foresees the dangers that lurk on that road.

There’s a correlation between ignoring God’s guidance and ending up in trouble: the one who stumbles off course has trusted his own “sense of direction”—his emotions, desires, or personal version of morality. He’s been pursuing what feels good or looks right instead of seeking the Lord’s will.

God has mapped out the path before you. He is aware of every obstacle and miry pit, and He knows exactly which sidetracks will tempt you. What’s more, He has committed to walk beside you as a Guide and Comforter so that you never face the twists and turns of this life alone.

~Charles Stanley~

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cheap Substitute for the Real Thing

"They measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise" (2 Corinthians 10:12)

We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone.

Large and influential sections of the world of fundamental Christianity have gone overboard for practices wholly unscriptural, altogether unjustifiable in the light of historic Christian truth and deeply damaging to the inner life of the individual Christian.

They have imitated the world sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Spirit. The glowworm has taken the place of the bush that burned, and scintillating personalities now answer to the fire that fell at Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus also called the Spirit of Truth, has not come into the world to fool around; He will be found wherever the Lord's people meet, and in confirming the Word and the Person of Jesus Christ, He will demand moral action!

~A. W. Tozer~

Steady Inward Fire

"I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy" (Acts 2:18)

God dwells in a state of perpetual enthusiasm. He is delighted with all that is good and lovingly concerned about all that is wrong.

He pursues His labors always in a fullness of holy zeal. No wonder the Spirit came at Pentecost as the sound of a rushing mighty wind and sat in tongues of fire on every forehead. In so doing He was acting as one of the Persons of the blessed Godhead.

Whatever else happened at Pentecost, one thing that cannot be missed by the most casual observer was the sudden upsurging of moral enthusiasm.

Those first disciples burned with a steady, inward fire. They were enthusiastic to the point of complete abandon.

With the disciples baptism in the Spirit, their whole demeanor changed. The sadness left their hearts. The minor key left their worship. Their self-imposed righteousness was turned into life in the Spirit.

~A. W. Tozer~

Just the Time to Trust

Lord, there is none beside thee to help. (2 Chronicles 14:11, RV).

Remind God of His entire responsibility. "There is none beside thee to help." The odds against Asa were enormous. There was a million of men in arms against him, besides three hundred chariots. It seemed impossible to hold his own against that vast multitude. There were no allies who would come to his help; his only hope, therefore, was in God.
It may be that your difficulties have been allowed to come to so alarming a pitch that you may be compelled to renounce all creature aid, to which in lesser trials you have had recourse, and cast yourself back on your Almighty Friend. Put God between yourself and the foe.
To Asa's faith, Jehovah seemed to stand between the might of Zerah and himself, as one who had no strength. Nor was he mistaken. We are told that the Ethiopians were destroyed before the Lord and before His host, as though celestial combatants flung themselves against the foe in Israel's behalf, and put the large host to rout, so that Israel had only to follow up and gather the spoil. Our God is Jehovah of hosts, who can summon unexpected reinforcements at any moment to aid His people. Believe that He is there between you and your difficulty, and what baffles you will flee before Him, as clouds before the gale.
--F. B. Meyer
When nothing whereon to lean remains,
When strongholds crumble to dust;
When nothing is sure but that God still reigns,
That is just the time to trust.
'Tis better to walk by faith than sight,
In this path of yours and mine;
And the pitch-black night, when there's no outer light
Is the time for faith to shine.
Abraham believed God, and said to sight, "Stand back!" and to the laws of nature, "Hold your peace!" and to a misgiving heart, "Silence, thou lying tempter!" He believed God.
~L. B. Cowman~

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Jesus Knows What Is Best

I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure (Genesis 33:14).

What a beautiful picture of Jacob's thoughtfulness for the cattle and the children! He would not allow them to be overdriven even for one day. He would not lead on according to what a strong man like Esau could do and expected them to do, but only according to what they were able to endure. He knew exactly how far they could go in a day; and he made that his only consideration in arranging the marches. He had gone the same wilderness journey years before, and knew all about its roughness and heat and length, by personal experience. And so he said, "I will lead on softly." "For ye have not passed this way heretofore" (Josh.3:4.).
We have not passed this way heretofore, but the Lord Jesus has. It is all untrodden and unknown ground to us, but He knows it all by personal experience. The steep bits that take away our breath, the stony bits that make our feet ache so, the hot shadeless stretches that make us feel so exhausted, the rushing rivers that we have to pass through -- Jesus has gone through it all before us. "He was wearied with his journey." Not some, but all the many waters went over Him, and yet did not quench His love. He was made a perfect Leader by the things which He suffered. "He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." Think of that when you are tempted to question the gentleness of His leading. He is remembering all the time; and not one step will He make you take beyond what your foot is able to endure. Never mind if you think it will not be able for the step that seems to come next; either He will so strengthen it that it shall be able, or He will call a sudden halt, and you shall not have to take it at all.
--Frances Ridley Havergal
In "pastures green"? Not always; sometimes He
Who knowest best, in kindness leadeth me
In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.
So, whether on the hill-tops high and fair
I dwell, or in the sunless valleys, where
The shadows lie, what matter? He is there.
~L. B. Cowman~

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The War Never Ends

"Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11)

It is the Spirit of Christ in us that will draw satan's fire. The people of the world will not much care what we believe and they will stare vacantly at our religious forms, but there is one thing they will never forgive us - the presence of God's Spirit in our hearts.

They may not know the cause of that strange feeling of antagonism which rises within them, but it will be nonetheless real and dangerous. satan will never cease to make war on the Man-child, and the soul in which dwells the Spirit of Christ will continue to be the target for his attacks.

Immediately after a person has received the witness of the Spirit, the adversary charges down upon the soul. It is well for all such assaulted individuals to remember that just as soon as the Son of God received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the banks of the Jordan, that He was immediately afterwards driven into the wilderness and there tempted forty days by the devil. He conquered by faith and in the use of the Word of God. We can do the same.

~A. W. Tozer~

Master Your Anger


So the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." Genesis 4:6-7

The classic story of Cain and Abel unfolds in Genesis chapter four. Two brothers (from the real first family) each presented the Lord with their offerings. Cain offered the Lord fruit and Abel offered a first-born from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel's offering but rejected Cain's. Cain became angry and jealous of his brother's favor with the Lord. Today's verses give us insight as to how the Lord responded to Cain's anger. In essence, He warned Cain to be careful because sin was lying in wait for him. The Lord was giving Cain a choice to let it go, try again and be accepted, or to give in and allow sin to control him. Cain chose the latter option, which resulted in him killing his brother Abel and running from the Lord for the rest of his life.  Sin did come to control him as the Lord warned!

Has anger ever led you to do things you would later regret? Has jealousy or envy stirred you to the point of sinning against someone close to you? These sins will eventually lead to destruction, unless we stop them from taking control of us. We must all take notice of the Lord's advice and beware of the sin that lies at our door. Sin leads to death if left to its own desires. If we allow sin to rule over us, then our actions will result in serious consequences. The Lord gives us this warning as a reminder that we "should rule over it." As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit who will make us aware of these dangers and will lead us away from dangerous temptations.  He will help us to "rule over sin."

No one is immune to the emotions involving jealousy, envy or covetousness. But even if we are tempted with them, we do not have to be ruled or mastered by them. When we find ourselves in a situation that stirs these types of feelings or thoughts, we must start praying immediately. We must confess our thoughts to the Lord and be honest with Him, then ask Him to help us to let go of them. When we turn those things over to the Lord, He will give us the strength through His Spirit to turn the tables and rule over them. Left on its own, sin destroys. Do not give in to its desires. Listen to the Lord and let Him be your Master. 

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Friday, February 14, 2014

Of Faith and Fear

"This is the victory that overcmeth the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4)

No matter what the circumstances, we Christians should keep our heads. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind. It is a dismal thing to see a son of heaven cringe in terror before the sons of earth. We are taught by the Holy Spirit in scriptures of truth that fear is a kind of prison for the mind and that by it we my spend a lifetime in bondage.

To recoil from the approach of mental or physical pain in natural, but to allow our minds to become terrorized is quite another thing. The first is a reflex action; the latter is the result of sin and is a work of the devil to bring us into bondage. Terror is or should be foreign to the redeemed mind.

True faith delivers from fear by consciously interposing God between it and the object that would make it afraid. The soul that lives in God is surrounded by the divine Presence so that no enemy can approach it without first disposing of God, a palpable impossibility.

This is the victory that overcometh low spirits, a sinking heart, whispers of the devil and all the discouragements of this lower world - even our faith.

~A. W. Tozer~

Fruit, Not Trees

"Either make the tree good, and his fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit" (Matthew 12:33)

Rightly understood, faith is not a substitute for moral conduct but a means toward it. The tree does not serve in lieu of fruit but as an agent by which fruit is secured. Fruit, not trees, is the end God has in mind in yonder orchard; so Christlike conduct is the end of Christian faith.

To oppose faith to works is to make the fruit the enemy to the tree; yet that is exactly what we have managed to do. And the consequences have been disastrous.

A miscalculation in laying the foundation of a building will throw the whole superstructure out of plumb, and the error that gave us faith as a substitute for action instead of faith in action has raised up in our day unsymmetrical and ugly temples of which we may well be ashamed and for which we shall surely give a strict account in the day when Christ judges the secrets of our hearts.

If there is true faith within, there will be obedience to God without. They walk together and they go down together. When faith fails, disobedience sets in.

~T. W. Tozer~

In The Father's Hand

The land whither ye go to possess it is a land of hills and valleys and drinketh water of the rain of heaven; a land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even to the end of the year. (Deuteronomy 11:11-12)

Today, dear friends, we stand upon the verge of the unknown. There lies before us the new year and we are going forth to possess it. Who can tell what we shall find? What new experiences, what changes shall come, what new needs shall arise? But here is the cheering, comforting, gladdening message from our Heavenly Father, "The Lord thy God careth for it."
All our supply is to come from the Lord. Here are springs that shall never dry; here are fountains and streams that shall never be cut off. Here anxious one, is the gracious pledge of the Heavenly Father. If He be the Source of our mercies they can never fail us. No heat, no drought can parch that river, "the streams whereof make glad the city of God."
The land is a land of hills and valleys. It is not all smooth nor all down hill. If life were all one dead level the dull sameness would oppress us; we want the hills and the valleys. The hills collect the rain for a hundred fruitful valleys. Ah, so it is grace and brings down the shower of blessing; the hills, the bleak hills of life that we wonder at and perhaps grumble at, bring down showers. How many have perished in the wilderness, buried under its golden sands, who would have lived and thriven in the hill-country; how many would have been killed by the frost, blighted with winds, swept desolate of tree and fruit but for the hill- stern, hard, rugged, so steep to climb. God's hills are a gracious protection for His people against their foes!
We cannot tell what loss and sorrow and trial are doing. Trust only. The Father comes near to take our hand and lead us on our way today. It shall be a good, a blessed new year!
He leads us on by paths we did not know;
Upward He leads us, though our steps be slow,
Though oft we faint and falter on the way,
Though storms and darkness oft obscure the day;
Yet when the clouds are gone,
We know He leads us on.
He leads us on through all the unquiet years;
Past all our dreamland hopes, and doubts and fears,
He guides our steps, through all the tangled maze
Of losses, sorrows, and o’er clouded days;
We know His will is done;
And still He leads us on.
~L. B. Cowman~