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Monday, March 31, 2014

In Praise of Virtue

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and o angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal" (1 Corinthians 13:1)

We naturally shy away from superlatives and from comparisons which praise one virtue at the expense of another, yet I wonder whether there is on earth anything as exquisitely lovely as a brilliant mind aglow with the love of God?

Such a mind sheds a mild and healing ray which can actually be felt by those who come near it. Virtue goes forth from it and blesses those who merely touch the hem of its garment. One has, for instance, but to read "The Celestial Country" by Bernard of Cluny to understand what I mean. There is a sensitive and shining intellect warm with the fire of the inliving Spirit writes with a vast and tender sympathy of those longings for immortality.

This same feeling of near-inspiration is experienced also in the letters of Samuel Rutherford, in the "Te Deum", in many of the hymns of Watts and Wesley and occasionally in a work of some lesser-known saint whose limited gifts may have been for one joyous moment made incandescent by the fire of the indwelling Spirit.

Those who love the divine character necessarily desire to promote the divine glory.  [Absolutely]

~A. W. Tozer~


The Holy Spirit is Intellectual

"They received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11)

The flame of the Holy Spirit is also "intellectual." Reason, say the theologians, is one of the divine attributes. There need be no incompatibility between the deepest experiences of the Spirit and the highest attainments of the human intellect.

It is only required that the Christian intellect be fully surrendered to God and there need be no limit to its activities beyond those imposed upon it by its own strength and size.

How cold and deadly is the unblessed intellect. A superior brain without the saving essence of godliness may turn against the human race and drench the world with blood, or worse, it may loose ideas into the earth which will continue to cures mankind for centuries after it has turned to dust again.

But a Spirit-filled mind is a joy to God and a delight to all men of good will.

God's method is first to fill the man with the facts of salvation and then send the baptism of fire upon him ... God's order is facts and fire.

~A. W. Tozer~

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Holy Spirit is a Spiritual Flame

"For the good that I would do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do" (Romans 7:19)

The Holy Spirit is also a spiritual flame. He alone can raise our worship to true spiritual levels. For we might as well know once for all that morality and ethics, however lofty, are still not Christianity.

The faith of Christ undertakes to raise the soul to actual communion with God, to introduce into our religious experiences a supra-rational element as far as above mere goodness as the heavens are above the earth.

The joy of the first Christians was not the joy of logic working on facts. They did not reason, "Christ is risen from the dead; therefore we ought to be glad." Their gladness was as great a miracle as the resurrection itself; indeed these were and are organically related. The moral happiness of the Creator had taken residence in the hearts of redeemed creatures and they could not but be glad.

The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.

~A. W. Tozer~

Be Ye Holy

"Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep" (James 4:8-9)

Whoever would be filled and indwelt by the Holy Spirit should first judge his life for any hidden iniquities; he should courageously expel from his heart everything which is out of accord with the character of God as revealed by the Holy Scriptures.

As the base of all true Christian experience must lie a sound and sane morality. No joys are valid, no delights legitimate where sin is allowed to live in life or conduct. No transgression of pure righteousness dare excuse itself on the ground of superior religious experience.

To seek high emotional states while living in sin is to throw our whole life open to self-deception and the judgment of God. "Be ye holy" is not a mere motto to be framed and hung on the wall. It is a serious commandment from the Lord of the whole earth.

The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy. The holy heart alone can be the habitation of the Holy Spirit.

~A. W. Tozer~

Learning to Be Content

Philippians 4:11
I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.
 
These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. "Ill weeds grow apace." Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener's care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us. Paul says, "I have learned . . . to be content;" as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content," he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave-a poor prisoner shut up in Nero's dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul's infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree. Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Holiness Is a Moral Flame

"God hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling ... according to his own purpose and grace" (2 Timothy 1:9)

One of the most telling blows which the enemy ever struck at the life of the Church was to create in her a fear of the Holy Spirit. No one who mingles with Christians in these times will deny that such a fear exists. Few thee are who without restraint will open their whole heart to the blessed Comforter. He has been and is so widely misunderstood that the very mention of His name in some circles is enough to frighten many people into resistance. Perhaps we may help to destroy its power over us if we examine that fire which is the symbol of the Spirit's Person and presence.

The Holy Spirit is first of all a "moral flame." It is not an accident of language that He is called the Holy Spirit, for whatever else the word "holy" may mean it does undoubtedly carry with it the idea of moral purity. And the Spirit, being God, must be absolutely and infinitely pure. With Him there are not (as with men) grades and degrees of holiness. He is holiness itself, the sum and essence of all that is unspeakably pure.

Holiness is Christ, our Sanctification, enthroned as Life of our life. It is Christ, the Holy One, in us, living, speaking, walking.

~A. W. Tozer~

Bask Into the Heart of God

"...for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are... And ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's" (1 Corinthians 3:17, 23)

Deity indwelling men! That, I say, is Christianity, and no man has experienced rightly the power of Christian belief until he has known this for himself as a living reality. Everything else is preliminary to this.

Incarnation, atonement, justification, regeneration - what are these but acts of God preparatory to the work of invading and the act of indwelling the redeemed human soul? Man, who moved out of the heart of God by sin, now moves back into the heart of God by redemption. God, who moved out of the heart of man because of sin, now enters again His ancient dwelling to drive out His enemies and once more make the place of His feet glorious.

Regeneration is like building a house and having the work done well. Sanctification is having the owner come and dwell in the house and fill it with gladness and life and beauty.

Shut in with Thee, O Lord, forever,
My wayward feet no more to roam;
What power from Thee my soul can server?
The center of God's will my home.

~A. W. Tozer~

Our Heavenly Father's Unconditional Love



Scripture tells us that love is the very essence of who God is (1 John 4:7). So if you don't believe that He loves you unconditionally, you'll never really know Him or have genuine peace about your relationship with Him.

How do you define "love"? It is Jesus unselfishly reaching out to mankind, giving Himself to us and bringing good into our life regardless of whether or not we accept Him. Romans 5:8 tells us that His care and concern are so immeasurable that He laid down His life for us while we were still His enemies. In fact, the Bible says that He first began to express His love toward us before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:3-5). That means your actions had absolutely nothing to do with His love for you!

God's commitment to us has absolutely no conditions or restrictions and isn't based on whether we love Him back. Nor does He have more love for "good" people who may strike us as more worthy. He loves us even in our sin, even when we don't repent. Does that give us license to disobey? No. It gives us power to live holy lives, walk obediently with Him, and learn to love Him the way He deserves. To follow Him is to receive the love He has been offering all along.
Every single moment, whether awake or asleep, we all live under the canopy of the Lord's wondrous, absolute love for us. But to fully experience that love, you must receive it. Say yes to this amazing gift that God wants to pour out on you. Bask in it, and let it overflow to those around you.

~Charles Stanley~

Friday, March 28, 2014

People of the Fire

"He that cometh after me is mightier than I ... he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire" (Matthew 3:11)

With the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost the same imagery (fire) was continued. "And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them" (Acts 2:3). That which came upon the disciples in that upper room was nothing less than God Himself.

To their mortal eyes He appeared as fire, and may we not safely conclude that those Scripture-taught believers knew at once what it meant? The God who had appeared to them as fire throughout all their long history was now dealing in them as fire. He had moved from without to the interior of their lives. The Shekinah that had once blazed over the mercy seat now blazed on their foreheads as an external emblem of the fire that had invaded their natures.

This was Deity giving Himself to ransomed men. The flame was the seal of a new union. They were now men and women of the Fire.

A new heart comes with regeneration, the pure heart by the baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire. We are born into one and baptized into the other.

~A. W. Tozer~

Only the Spirit

"Receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And immediately ... he received sight forthwith" (Acts 9:17-18)

We may be sure of one thing, that for our deep trouble there is no cure apart from a visitation, yes, an invasion of power from above.

Only the Holy Spirit Himself can show us what is wrong with us and only the Spirit can prescribe the cure.

Only the Holy Spirit can save us from the numbing unreality of Spiritless Christianity.

Only the Holy Spirit can show us the Father and the Son.

Only the inworking of the Holy Spirit's power can discover to us the solemn majesty and the heart ravishing mystery of the Triune God.

This is what the Holy Spirit brings to us, the vision of the Lord, power to see divine things as God sees them. Not only does He give knowledge of the truth, but He gives the realization of it. Not only does He reveal to us the promises, but He enables us to appropriate them. The Spirit also thinks in us by giving us divine instincts, intuitions and enablements.

~A. W. Tozer~

You Are Not Alone


For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16


Have you ever poured your heart out to someone but felt worse afterwards because you knew that no matter how hard you tried to express your feelings, they just did not understand? True understanding and empathy come when the person you are sharing a personal problem with has lived through the same type of situation. Several years ago my dad died of a heart attack, suddenly and without warning, and the shock was painfully tough for our family. But comfort came from those who experienced similar traumas, including my two half-sisters whose dad had died a few months earlier. Their dad died the same way, and they were dealing with the same type of pain. Through the pain and suffering a close bond was formed between us as our hearts were drawn to each other, and even to this day, we share a relationship like sisters who have suffered together.

When I think of the sufferings that Christ endured here on earth, I am comforted that He understands my sufferings. No one was more rejected, ridiculed, misunderstood, and alone than Jesus. Even though He was fully God, He was also fully man. Jesus dealt with the same emotions and temptations in his flesh just as we do, yet He was without sin. But Jesus never focused on His own pain; His concern and compassion was for the people. Even when His friend Lazarus died, Jesus cried. He understood the pain that Lazarus’ sisters were feeling and He knows today the pain that we feel. For me, I try to remember these things in my weakest moments, and I know that I am not alone.

Are you hurting today? Maybe you feel as though no one really understands or even cares. Jesus says to “come boldly to the throne of grace” and there you will find help in your time of need. Come boldly today and seize the mercy and grace that is freely given by Jesus. His sufferings were for just this reason, so that we can all pour out our hearts to the One who truly understands and the only One who can truly help us. Go to Jesus today. He loves you, He understands you, and He will help you. 

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Silence and Self-Examination

"Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah" Psalm 4:4)

I should like to suggest that we Bible-believing Christians announce a moratorium on religious activity and set our house in order preparatory to the coming of an afflatus from above.

So carnal is the body of Christians which composes the conservative wing of the Church, so shockingly irreverent  are our public services in some  quarters, so degraded are our religious tastes in still others that the need for power could scarcely have been greater at any time in history. I believe we should profit immensely were we to declare a period of silence and self-examination during which each one of us searched his own heart and sought to meet every condition for a real baptism of power from on high.

More spiritual progress can be made in one short moment of speechless silence in the awesome presence of God than in years of mere study. The exposure may be brief, but the results are permanent.

Jesus calls us o'er the tumult
Of our life's wild, restless sea;
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,
Saying, "Christian, follow Me."

~A. W. Tozer~

Power - The Great Need

"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal" (1 Corinthians 12:7)

I think there can be no doubt that the need above all other needs in the Church of God at this moment is the power of the Holy Spirit. More education, better organization, finer equipment, more advanced methods - all are unavailing.

It is like bringing a better respirator after the patient is dead. Good as these are they can never give life. "It is the Spirit that quickeneth" (John 6:63). Good as they are they can never bring power. "Power belongeth unto God" (Psalm 62:11).

Protestantism is on the wrong road when it tries to win merely by means of a "united front." It is not organizational unity we need most; the great need is power.

The power of God is at our disposal, waiting for us to call it into action by meeting the conditions which are plainly laid down. God is ready to send down floods of blessing upon us as we begin to obey His plain instructions.

There is no divine incoming until there is the human emptying. How is it possible to fill us until we are first emptied? Emptied first, filled afterward is the order.

~A. W. Tozer~

Seek His Promises


"And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me."-  Matthew 11:6

While teaching on Joshua 1, I realized that God clearly told Joshua that He fulfills His promises. God even clearly restates what those promises entailed. However, today, many people do not know how to get promises from God. And even if God is speaking to them, many Christians do not know how to wait it out, and so they fail to watch God work it out to completion. As a result, many Christians stumble over Jesus and the way He works in our lives. But that is not God’s intention as He desires to speak to us and reveal to us things that are to come.

My mom came over today and I asked her how she would teach someone to get promises from God. Immediately, she started giving me illustrations of when God gave her promises. So, I asked her again, “But how did you learn to get a promise from God?” She used another illustration of a promise God gave her to try to speak in the generalities of teaching someone else. I was thankful for the discussion because I had also realized that it is very difficult to come up with a “basic formula” in receiving a promise from God.

God’s Word is filled with promises He gave in the past which can be applied to my present circumstances. I can give a very simple way of how I get a promise from God. First, I start by praying to Him about a burden while asking for His will to be done in it. It is not God’s will for me to be stressed out and unsettled, so I start reading the Word, looking for a passage that addresses what I am praying about. If a verse pops out, I will start meditating over it, asking God about it and looking up the cross references for it. I know that it is a promise from God if it addresses the burden on my heart in future terms while giving me a present day peace. I also know that it is a promise and not a command if I can’t do anything to fulfill it by myself. God wants me to trust and have faith and He will accomplish the rest.

Today, try to read segments in the book of Isaiah. God has given me so many promises in that book. Keep seeking the Lord’s will until He gives you a verse. Then trust Him. He is more than able to address and accomplish all that concerns you today and every day!


~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Establishing the Direction

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen" (2 Peter 3:18)

Once the Holy Spirit's work in our heart begins, grace, forgiveness, cleansing take on a form of almost bodily clearness.

Prayer loses its unmeaning quality and becomes a sweet conversation with Someone actually there.  Love for God and for the children of God takes possession of the soul. We feel ourselves near to heaven and it is now the earth and the world that begin to seem unreal.

Then the whole life changes to suit the new reality and the change is permanent. Slight fluctuations there may be like the rise and dip of the line on a graph, but the established direction is upward and the ground taken is held.

This is not all, but it will give a fair idea of what is meant when the New Testament speaks of "power", and perhaps by contrast we may learn how little of the power we enjoy.

In everything that belongs to the excellence of real religion, the true believer is in a state of progression. He seeks and strives, he wrestles and fights. He is ever aiming at the prize. His obedience, though not perfect, is habitual.

~A. W. Tozer~

A Volatile Essence

"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth" (John 3:8)

One meaning of the word "power" is "ability to do." There precisely is the wonder of the Spirit's work in the Church and in the hearts of Christians. His sure ability to make spiritual things real to the soul.

This power can go straight to its object with piercing directness; it can diffuse itself through the mind like an infinitely fine volatile essence securing ends above and beyond the limits of the intellect.

Reality is its subject matter, reality in heaven and upon earth. It does not create objects which are not there but reveals objects already present and hidden from the soul.

It actual human experience this is likely to be first felt in a heightened sense of the presence of Christ. He is felt to be a real Person and to be intimately, ravishingly near. Then all other spiritual objects begin to stand out clearly before the mind.

The Holy Spirit creates in us a new life and a new set of spiritual senses altogether, through which we discern, understand, and enter into the life of God and the spiritual realm.

~A. W. Tozer~

Your Real Adversary


As we continue to think about the reality of trials in our lives, and the challenge it is to handle those trials, I want to point you to another important teaching about trials in today's devotional.
You need to realize who your adversary is.  It is not God; it is the devil.  Look at 1 Peter 5:8-9,
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

Some of the trials and sufferings that we experience are the direct result of the adversary's work.

Some people want to blame God for everything, but the Bible says it is the thief— the devil—who comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  Jesus came to give us life and more abundantly.
Peter makes this even clearer in verse 10,

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
Our God is the God of grace.  The devil is seeking to devour.

Frankly, I hate the middle part of this verse, After you have suffered for a while….   Clearly, God wants us to understand that suffering is going to happen.  Trials are going to happen.  No matter how much you may say, "I don't receive it!", it is still there!  You are going to go through difficult times.  It is part of the human experience.

But when you go through that time of trial, remember not to blame God.  It is the devil who is your adversary! 

~Bayless Conley~

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pressure on the Heart

"Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart ... Deal courageously, and the Lord shall be with the good" (2 Chronicles 19:9-11)

Now how does that power operate? At its purest it is an unmediated force directly applied by the Spirit of God to the spirit of man.

The wrestler achieves his ends by the pressure of his physical body upon the body of his opponent; the teacher by the pressure of ideas upon the mind of the student; the moralist by the pressure of duty upon the conscience of the disciple. So the Holy Spirit performs His blessed work by direct contact with the human spirit.

The Spirit of God may use a song, a sermon, a good deed, a text or the mystery and majesty of nature, but always the final work will be done by the pressure of the indwelling Spirit upon the human heart.

The Spirit's first work is to cleanse us, to separate us, to sanctify us, to dedicate us wholly to God. Then as the property of God, He takes possession of us for God and uses us for His service and glory alone.

~A. W. Tozer~

God's Kind of Power

"I am the vine, ye are the branches ... without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5)

"Ye shall receive power." This was and is a unique afflatus, an enduement of supernatual energy affecting every department of the believer's life and remaining with him forever. It is not physical power nor even mental power thought it may touch everything both mental and physical in its benign outworking.

It is, too, another kind of power than that seen in nature, in the lunar attraction that creates the tides or the angry flash that splits the great oak during a storm.

This power from God operates on another level and affects another department of His wide creation. It is spiritual power. It is the kind of power that God is.

It is the ability to achieve spiritual and moral ends. Its long-range result is to produce Godlike character in men and women who were once wholly evil by nature and by choice.

The renovation of character and conduct is only in and through Christ Himself. The cleansed temple must be possessed and occupied by the Lord of the temple.

~A. W. Tozer~

Avenge Not Yourselves

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves (Romans 12:19).
There are seasons when to be still demands immeasurably higher strength than to act. Composure is often the highest result of power. To the vilest and most deadly charges Jesus responded with deep, unbroken silence, such as excited the wonder of the judge and the spectators. To the grossest insults, the most violent ill-treatment and mockery that might well bring indignation into the feeblest heart, He responded with voiceless complacent calmness. Those who are unjustly accused, and causelessly ill-treated know what tremendous strength is necessary to keep silence to God.
Men may misjudge thy aim,
Think they have cause to blame,
Say, thou art wrong;
Keep on thy quiet way,
Christ is the Judge, not they,
Fear not, be strong.
St. Paul said, "None of these things move me." He did not say, none of these things hurt me. It is one thing to be hurt, and quite another to be moved. St. Paul had a very tender heart. We do not read of any apostle who cried as St. Paul did. It takes a strong man to cry. Jesus wept, and He was the manliest Man that ever lived.
So it does not say, none of these things hurt me. But the apostle had determined not to move from what he believed was right. He did not count as we are apt to count; he did not care for ease; he did not care for this mortal life. He cared for only one thing, and that was to be loyal to Christ, to have His smile. To St. Paul, more than to any other man, His work was wages, His smile was Heaven.
~L. B. Cowman~

Monday, March 24, 2014

Not A Self-Help Religion

"He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Galatians 6:8)

Christianity takes for granted the absence of any self-help and offers a power which is nothing less than the power of God. This power is to come upon powerless men as a gentle but resistless invasion from another world, bringing a moral potency infinitely beyond anything that might be stirred up from within. This power is sufficient for it is the Holy Spirit of God come where the weakness lay to supply power and grace to meet the moral need.

Set over against such a mighty provision as this eterical Christianity (if I may be allowed the term) is an infantile copying of Christ's ideals, a pitiable effort to carry out the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount! All this is but religious child's play and is not the faith of Christ and the New Testament.

You cannot know whether your self-denial is genuine or whether it is spurious, without knowing whether it is founded upon a supreme attachment to the glory of God. To deny yourself from a supreme regard to a higher interest than your own, is to possess the spirit of the gospel.

~A. W. Tozer~

A Supernatural Potency

"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13)

"Ye shall receive power." By those words our Lord raised the expectation of His disciples and taught them to look forward to the coming of a supernatural potency into their natures. It was to be nothing less than God Himself entering into them with the purpose of ultimately reproducing His own likeness within them.

Here is the dividing line that separates Christianity from all occultism and from every kind of oriental cult. They each advise, "Get in tune with the infinite," or "Wake the giant within you," or "Tune in to your hidden potential" or "Learn to think creatively."

All this may have some fleeting value as a psychological shot in the arm, but its results are not permanent because at its best it builds its hopes upon the fallen nature of man and knows no invasion from above.

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~

Faithful Guide


The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Proverbs 11:3

Integrity is an instrument of almighty God. He uses it to guide His children in the direction He desires for them. Have you ever wondered what God would have you do? Integrity is His directive to do the next right thing, trusting Him with the results. It is out of honesty that we begin to comprehend Christ’s desires. He delights in our uprightness.

For example, are you totally honest on your tax return? Is your tax preparer a person of unquestionable integrity? We can trust professionals to represent us well, but we are ultimately responsible for an honest outcome. Furthermore, is there anything you are doing, if printed as a newspaper headline, that would embarrass you and your family? Indeed, integrity brings joy to heaven and security on earth. It is your guide for godly living.

Moreover, the iniquity of the unfaithful destroys. The blessing of God is removed as it cannot be bought with bad behavior. Relationships are scarred and some even severed over dishonest dealings. Overnight, poor judgment can soil and potentially destroy a hard-earned reputation. Pride acts like integrity is only for others. It deceives itself and becomes a disgrace for its dishonest and duplicitous ways. Iniquity is an unfaithful guide.

"I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do” (Nehemiah 7:2).

So we ask ourselves, “How can I be a man or woman of integrity over the balance of my life?” There is a simplicity about those who base their behavior on the principles of God’s Word; nothing fancy, only faithful living in their daily routine. The grace of God governs their soul, the truth of God renews their mind, and accountability is an anchor for their actions. Honestly ask yourself, “Is integrity my faithful guide?”

The Bible says, “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you” (Psalm 25:21).

Prayer: How can I better integrate integrity as a guide for my business dealings and behavior at home?

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Spirit as Power

"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you" (Acts 1:8)

Some good Christians have misread this text and have assumed that Christ told His disciples that they were to receive the Holy Spirit and power, the power to come after the coming of the Spirit. But the truth is that Christ taught not the coming of the Holy Spirit as power; the power and the Spirit are the same.

Our Lord before His ascension said to His disciples, "Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). That word "until" is a time-word; it indicates a point in relation to which everything is either before or after.

So the experience of those disciples could be stated like this: Up to that point they had not received the power; at that point they "did" receive the power; after that point they "had" received the power. That power, still active in the Church, has enabled her to exist for nearly twenty centuries.

Christianity takes for granted the absence of any self-help and offers a power which is nothing less than the power of God.

~A. W. Tozer~

Wisdom - Correct Doctrine Plus

"Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day" (Psalm 25:5)

The old Jewish believers of pre-Christian times who gave us the (to modern Protestants little-known) books, the Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus, believed that it is impossible for an impure heart to know divine truth.

For into a malicious soul wisdom will not enter; nor dwell in the body that is subject unto sin. For the holy spirit of discipline will flee deceit, and remove from thoughts that are without understanding, and will not abide when unrighteousness cometh in.

These books, along with our familiar book of Proverbs, teach that true spiritual knowledge is the result of a visitation of heavenly wisdom, a kind of baptism of the Spirit of Truth which comes to God-fearing men.

This wisdom is always associated with righteousness and humility and is never found apart from godliness and true holiness of life.

We need to learn that truth consists not incorrect doctrine, but in correct doctrine plus the inward enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.

~A. w. Tozer~

In Order


The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay the wood in order on the fire. Leviticus 1:7

I was reading a few weeks ago about Abraham preparing the altar for Isaac. Abraham had laid the wood in orderon the altar before placing Isaac on it. The more I looked at the words “in order” the more I wondered why the wood had to be laid in a specific manner. How could wood be distinguished in such a way as to know if it was “in order” or not? The Lord brought to my mind the other ways that He established His order for things. In Exodus 28:10, the names of the tribes of Israel were placed on the breastplate of the ephod in order of their birth. In Exodus chapter 40, Moses places the articles of the tabernacle in the order as God had instructed him. Even the showbread was placed “in order” on the table “as the Lord had commanded Moses.” (Exodus 40:23) We see God’s purpose for order in many places in Scripture.

Our God is a God of order and He takes it very seriously. Isaiah, the prophet, told King Hezekiah "Thus says the Lord: 'Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.' (2 Kings 20:1) Hezekiah was not going to die because his house was not in order, but because he had a sickness unto death. The Lord wanted his house in order before he died. This priority of order is also seen in the New Testament as Paul would tell the Corinthians to “let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:40) He was referring to how the gifts were being used in the church as relating to the conduct of the people.

Is your house in order today? Did you know that is an important part of our walk with the Lord? When our houses are in order, we have more peace and contentment than when they are in disarray. As women, we set the tone for the home and are accountable before the Lord for how we honor and obey Him in our responsibilities. Are you struggling with disorder? Ask the Lord to reveal ways you can improve things that are out of order in your life. If God wants wood to be put in order, how much more does He want our homes and days in order? We just need to start asking Him to show us how. We need to be willing to give Him the first fruits of our days and let Him lead us in the rest of it.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Saturday, March 22, 2014

No Truth Apart from the Holy Spirit

"Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above" (John 19:11)

Everywhere we find persons who are Bible-taught but not Spirit-taught. They conceive truth to be something which they can grasp with the mind.

If a man holds to the fundamentals of the Christian faith he is thought to possess divine truth. But it does not follow. There is no truth apart from the Holy Spirit.

The most brilliant intellect may be imbecilic when confronted with the mysteries of God. For a man to understand revealed truth requires an act of God equal to the original act which inspired the text.

"Except it were given thee from above" (John 19:11). Her is the other side of the truth; here is hope for all, for these words do certainly mean that there is such a thing as a gift of knowing, a gift that comes from heaven.

it is blessed to be sanctified, and even more blessed to be intelligently sanctified. Happy is the man who enjoys the blessing of perfect love in connection with an informed mind, experienced head and sound judgment.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Experience of Knowing

"The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God ... because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14)

When the Spirit illuminates the heart, then a part of the man sees which never saw before; a part of him knows which never knew before, and that with a kind of knowing which the most acute thinker cannot imitate. He knows now in a deep and authoritative way, and what he knows needs no reasoned proof. His experience of knowing is above reason, immediate, perfectly convincing and inwardly satisfying.

"A man can receive nothing." That is the burden of the Bible. Whatever men may think of human reason, God takes a low view of it.

The inability of human reason as an organ of divine knowledge arises not from its own weakness but from its unfittedness for the task by its own nature. It was not given as an organ by which to know God.

It takes the Holy Spirit to unlock the Book. He who reads simply with the eye of the intellect will miss the glory of the Book, and never realize the soul food with which it is stored. It is well to ask the light and blessing of the Holy Spirit upon us each time that we read.

~A. W. Tozer~

Workng Weary or Working With the Lord?


Thus Moses did; according to all that the Lord had commanded him, so he did. And he raised up the court all around the tabernacle and the altar, and hung up the screen of the court gate. So Moses finished the work. -Exodus 40:16, 33   

        
Have you felt overwhelmed by too much work? Many times, we are overloaded with overbooked calendars and too little time to do the things we have to do, not to mention the things we would like to do. Most of us are always busy trying to complete the tasks or jobs for the day. Our society is works-based in every way imaginable. The eighties were a decade that made longer workdays the in-thing. Forty-hour weeks were considered short in comparison to the more popular sixty to eighty-hour weeks. Stay-at-home moms had to get busier too. Today, with advances in technology and a “faster is better” mentality, doing more is a must. Even our kids are obliged to participate in extra-extracurricular activities, thinking they are necessary for higher education opportunities. As a result, many of us are worn out, stressed out, and burned out from so much work.

In studying the construction of the tabernacle and its articles, we do not read of any overwhelming or stressful problems. The Lord commanded Moses who commanded the people to do all that the Lord had spoken. Simply put, Moses did what the Lord commanded and finished the work. What are we to learn from this story? The work that Moses did was given to him by the Lord. Moses followed the instructions to the exact detail, nothing added, nothing omitted. The Lord gave the gifts that were needed to do all of the designs and the Lord had already provided the required materials. The building of the tabernacle is a beautiful example of a perfect union between God and man. And the results were nothing short of miraculous.
Think for a moment about the work you are doing today. Did the Lord instruct you to do these things? Has God given you the tools and talents to carry out the work? Are you working in unison with God, following His instructions and doing all that He says? The things we choose to do outside of the Lord's plans for us will lead to fatigue, frustration and futility in our efforts. We get so busy just being busy that many of us do not stop to include the Lord in our activities.
Have you spent time with the Lord today? Is He part of your "work" day? Maybe there is a tabernacle project in your life and God wants to do something miraculous through you. Pray that today is the day you let God take over all of your work. Get together with Him and see what happens.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Friday, March 21, 2014

As They Are, So He Is

"Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well-pleased: I will put my spirit upon him" (Matthew 12:18)

To the reverent question, "What is God like?" a proper answer will always be, "He is like Christ." For Christ is God, and the Man who walked among men in Palestine was God acting like Himself in the familiar situation where His incarnation placed Him.

To the question, "What is the Spirit like?" the answer must always be, "He is like Christ." For the Spirit is the essence of the Father and the Son. As they are, so is He. As we fell toward Christ and toward our Father who art in heaven, so should we feel toward the Spirit of the Father and the Son.

Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit -
Three we name Thee;
Though in essence only one,
Undivided God we claim Thee,
And adoring bend the knee
While we sing our praise to Thee. Amen

Somebody pointed out that hymnody took a downward trend when we left the great objective hymns that talked about God and began to sing the gospel songs that talk about us!

~A. W. Tozer~

Welcome, Holy Spirit!

"In all their affliction he was afflicted ... and in his pity he redeemed them ... But they vexed his holy spirit" (Isaiah 63:9-10)

We can best repent our neglect by neglecting the Holy Spirit no more.

Let us think of Him as One to be worshiped and obeyed.

Let us throw open every door and invite Him in.

Let us surrender to Him every room in the temple of our hearts and insist that He enter and occupy as Lord and Master within His own dwelling.

And let us remember that He is drawn to the sweet name of Jesus as bees are drawn to the fragrance of clover.

Where Christ is honored the Holy Spirit is sure to feel welcome; where Christ if glorified He will move about freely, pleased and at home.

When the Scripture says, "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God" (Ephesians 4:30), it is telling us that He loves us so much that when we insult Him, He is grieved; when we ignore Him, He is grieved; when we resist Him, He is grieved; and when we doubt Him, He is grieved.

~A. W. Tozer~

Be Prepared to Answer Him

Matthew 11:25
At that time Jesus answered.
 
This is a singular way in which to commence a verse-"At that time Jesus answered." If you will look at the context you will not perceive that any person had asked Him a question, or that He was in conversation with any human being. Yet it is written, "Jesus answered and said, I thank Thee, O Father." When a man answers, he answers a person who has been speaking to him. Who, then, had spoken to Christ? His Father. Yet there is no record of it; and this should teach us that Jesus had constant fellowship with His Father, and that God spake into His heart so often, so continually, that it was not a circumstance singular enough to be recorded. It was the habit and life of Jesus to talk with God. Even as Jesus was, is this world, so are we; let us therefore learn the lesson which this simple statement concerning Him teaches us. May we likewise have silent fellowship with the Father, so that often we may answer Him, and though the world wotteth not to whom we speak, may we be responding to that secret voice unheard of any other ear, which our own ear, opened by the Spirit of God, recognizes with joy. God has spoken to us, let us speak to God-either to set our seal that God is true and faithful to His promise, or to confess the sin of which the Spirit of God has convinced us, or to acknowledge the mercy which God's providence has given, or to express assent to the great truths which God the Holy Ghost has opened to our understanding. What a privilege is intimate communion with the Father of our spirits! It is a secret hidden from the world, a joy with which even the nearest friend intermeddleth not. If we would hear the whispers of God's love, our ear must be purged and fitted to listen to His voice. This very evening may our hearts be in such a state, that when God speaks to us, we, like Jesus, may be prepared at once to answer Him.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Time to Repent

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord" (Isaiah 55:7)

It is time for us to repent, for our transgressions against the blessed Third Person have been many and much aggravated. We have bitterly mistreated Him in the house of His friends. We have crucified Him in His own temple as they crucified the Eternal Son on the hill above Jerusalem. And the nails we used were not of iron, but of finer and more precious stuff of which human life is made.

Out of our hearts we took the refined metals of will and feeling and thought, and from them we fashioned the nails of suspicion and rebellion and neglect.

By unworthy thoughts about Him and unfriendly attitudes toward Him we grieved and quenched Him days without end.

The truest and most acceptable repentance is to reverse the acts and attitudes of which we repent.

Worship rises or falls depending upon the attitude we take toward God, whether we see God big or whether we see Him little. If there is one terrible disease in the Church of Christ, it is that we're too familiar with God [instead of being in awe and fear].

~A. W. Tozer~

Making the World New Again

They look him and cast him into a pit - Genesis 37:24

It is impossible to read this inimitable story without detecting in the water-mark of the paper on which it is written the name Jesus. Indeed, we lose much of the beauty and force of these early Scriptures if we fail to observe the references to the life, character, and work of the blessed Redeemer. Notice some of these precious analogies:-
 
Our Saviour's shepherd-heart (Genesis 37:2).
 
The love of the Father before the worlds were made (Genesis 37:3).
 
The dreams of empire, which are so certainly to be realized, when we shall see Him acknowledged as King of kings and Lord of lords (Genesis 37:7).
 
Envied by His brethren, to whom He came, though they received Him not (Genesis 37:11).
 
His alacrity to do His Father's will, and to finish His work, in which will we too have been sanctified (Genesis 37:13).
 
Cast into the pit of the grave, as a seed-corn into the ground to die, that He might not abide alone, but bear much fruit (Genesis 37:24).
 
The thirty pieces of silver for which He was betrayed (Genesis 37:28).
 
The indifference of the Jewish people to their great Brother's fate (Genesis 37:25).
 
Rejected of the Jew, and turning to the Gentile (Genesis 37:28).
 
The bitter grief which His rejection has brought on the Jewish people (Genesis 37:35)-
 
It is as though the Holy Ghost, eager to glorify the Lord, could not wait for the slow unfolding of history, but must anticipate the story of that precious life and death which were to make the world new again.

~F. B. Meyer~

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Result of Revival

"I am the Almighty God, walk before me, and be thou perfect ... And Abram fell on his face and God talked with him" (Genesis 17:1, 3)

What happens in a Christian church when a fresh and vital working of the Spirit of God brings revival?

In my study and observations, a revival generally results in a sudden bestowment of a spirit of worship. This is not the result of engineering or of manipulation. It is something God bestows on people hungering and thirsting after Him. With spiritual renewing will come a blessed spirit of loving worship!

These believers worship gladly because they have a high view of God. In some circles, God has been abridged, reduced, modified, edited, changed and amended until He is no longer the God whom Isaiah saw, high and lifted up. Because He has been reduced in the minds of so many people, we no longer have that boundless confidence in His character that we used to have.

The one mark which forever distinguishes man from all other forms of life on earth is that he is a worshiper; he has a bent toward and a capacity for worship.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Holy Spirit Acts Like Jesus

"God, who is rich in mercy ... even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ" (Ephesians 2:4-5)

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of life and light and love. In His uncreated nature He is a boundless sea of fire, flowing, moving ever, performing as He moves the eternal purposes of God.

Toward nature He performs one sort of work, toward the world another and toward the Church still another. And every act of His accords with the will of the Triune God. Never does He act on impulse nor move after a quick or arbitrary decision.

Since He is the Spirit of the Father He feels toward His people exactly as the Father feels, so there need be on our part no sense of strangeness in His presence. He will always act like Jesus, toward sinners in compassion, toward saints in warm affection, toward human suffering in tenderest pity and love.

What Christ did for us on the Cross, the Spirit must do in us as a personal experience.

He has offered us Himself as the life and power to be obedient and to be holy, and nothing less than his own perfect example should ever satisfy our holy ambition!

~A. W. Tozer~

I Will Go That I May Find Thee

Song of Solomon 1:7
Tell me . . . where Thou feedest, where Thou makest Thy flock to rest at noon.
 
These words express the desire of the believer after Christ, and his longing for present communion with Him. Where doest Thou feed Thy flock? In Thy house? I will go, if I may find Thee there. In private prayer? Then I will pray without ceasing. In the Word? Then I will read it diligently. In Thine ordinances? Then I will walk in them with all my heart. Tell me where Thou feedest, for wherever Thou standest as the Shepherd, there will I lie down as a sheep; for none but Thyself can supply my need. I cannot be satisfied to be apart from Thee. My soul hungers and thirsts for the refreshment of Thy presence. "Where dost Thou make Thy flock to rest at noon?" for whether at dawn or at noon, my only rest must be where Thou art and Thy beloved flock. My soul's rest must be a grace-given rest, and can only be found in Thee. Where is the shadow of that rock? Why should I not repose beneath it? "Why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?" Thou hast companions-why should I not be one? Satan tells me I am unworthy; but I always was unworthy, and yet Thou hast long loved me; and therefore my unworthiness cannot be a bar to my having fellowship with Thee now. It is true I am weak in faith, and prone to fall, but my very feebleness is the reason why I should always be where Thou feedest Thy flock, that I may be strengthened, and preserved in safety beside the still waters. Why should I turn aside? There is no reason why I should, but there are a thousand reasons why I should not, for Jesus beckons me to come. If He withdrew Himself a little, it is but to make me prize His presence more. Now that I am grieved and distressed at being away from Him, He will lead me yet again to that sheltered nook where the lambs of His fold are sheltered from the burning sun.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Altogether His

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind" (Luke 10:27)

Lord, I would trust Thee completely; I would be altogether Thine; I would exalt Thee above all.

I desire that I may feel no sense of possessing anything outside of Thee. I want constantly to be aware of Thy overshadowing presence and to heart Thy speaking voice.

I long to live in restful sincerity of heart.

I want to live so fully in the Spirit that all my thoughts may be as sweet incense ascending to Thee and every act of my life may be an act of worship. Therefore I pray in the words of Thy great servant of old, "I beseech Thee so for to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise thee."

And all this I confidently believe Thou wilt grant me through he merits of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen.

A distinguishing characteristic of true love to God is that it is supreme. "No man can serve two masters." There cannot be two objects of supreme regard. The love of God is paramount to every other principle.,, every desire subservient to that promoting His glory.

~A. W. Tozer~

A Supernatural Radiance

"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15:11).

One distinguishing mark of those first Christians was a supernatural radiance that shined out from within them. The sun had come up in their hearts and its warmth and light made unnecessary any secondary sources of assurance.

They had the inner witness. They knew with an immediate awareness that required no jockeying of evidence to give them a feeling of certainty. Great power and great grace marked their lives, enabling them to rejoice to suffer shame for the name of Jesus.

it is obvious that the average evangelical Christian today is without this radiance. The efforts of some of our teachers to cheer up our drooping spirits are futile because those same teachers reject the very phenomenon that would naturally produce joy, namely, the inner witness: "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself" (1 John 5:10).

Divine joy is the privilege of all consecrated believers. The world must see the light of heaven in our faces if it would believe in the reality of our religion.

~A. W. Tozer~

Ye Shall Not Go Out with Haste

Ye shall not go out with haste (Isaiah 52:12).

I do not believe that we have begun to understand the marvelous power there is in stillness. We are in such a hurry--we must be doing--so that we are in danger of not giving God a chance to work. You may depend upon it, God never says to us, "Stand still," or "Sit still," or "Be still," unless He is going to do something. This is our trouble in regard to our Christian life; we want to do something to be Christians when we need to let Him work in us.
Do you know how still you have to be when your likeness is being taken? Now God has one eternal purpose concerning us, and that is that we should be like His Son; and in order that this may be so, we must be passive. We hear so much about activity, may be we need to know what it is to be quiet.
--Crumbs
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor deem these days--these waiting days--as ill!
The One who loves thee best, who plans thy way,
Hath not forgotten thy great need today!
And, if He waits, 'tis sure He waits to prove
To thee, His tender child, His heart's deep love.
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Thou longest much to know thy dear Lord's will!
While anxious thoughts would almost steal their way
Corrodingly within, because of His delay
Persuade thyself in simple faith to rest
That He, who knows and loves, will do the best.
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor move one step, not even one, until
His way hath opened. Then, ah then, how sweet!
How glad thy heart, and then how swift thy feet
Thy inner being then, ah then, how strong!
And waiting days not counted then too long.
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
What higher service could'st thou for Him fill?
'Tis hard! ah yes! But choicest things must cost!
For lack of losing all how much is lost!
'Tis hard, 'tis true! But then--He giveth grace

To count the hardest spot the sweetest place.
~L. B. Cowman~

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cultivation Means Fruitfulness

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind, charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up" (1 Corinthians 13:4)

This is the problem. We try to arrive at the fruits of Christianity by a shortcut. Everybody wants to be known as being spiritual, close to God and walking in the Truth. This is the answer. Every flower and every fruit has a stalk and every stalk has a  root, and before long there is any bloom there must be a careful tending of the root and the stalk. This is where the misunderstanding lies - we think that we get the flower and the fragrance and the fruit by some kind of magic, instead of by cultivation.

"Be ye therefore followers of God ... and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us ..." (Ephesians 5:1-2). This is the likeness of Christ in the human heart and life - and our neighbors are waiting to see Him in our lives!

What a multitude of words the Holy Spirit has given us for the various forms of love and patience. The list includes: love, charity, brotherly kindness, tenderness, meekness, longsuffering, patience, forbearance, unity, gentleness. The are like many shades of a color - all in the same class, yet no two exactly alike.

~A. W. Tozer~

No Worship Without the Holy Spirit

"God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding... God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness" (Psalm 47:7-8)

We find much of spiritual astonishment and wonder in the book of Acts. You will always find these elements present when the Holy Spirit directs believing men and women.

On the other hand, you will not find astonished wonder among men and women when the Holy Spirit is not present.

Engineers can do many great things in their fields, but no mere human force or direction can work the mysteries of God among men.

If there is no wonder, no experience of mystery, our efforts to worship will be futile. Thee will be no worship without the Holy Spirit!

Worship has to be in the Spirit and by the Spirit. The notion that just anybody can worship is all wrong. The notion that we can worship without the Spirit is all wrong. The notion that we can crowd the Spirit into a corner and ignore Him, quench Him, resist Him and yet worship God acceptably is a great heresy which we need to correct.

~A. W. Tozer~