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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Created for Eternity

Having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself ... whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven" (Colossians 1:20

Men and women without God are helpless and hopeless human beings. We do well to remember that sin is to the human nature what cancer is to the human body!

Who can argue with the fact that sin has ruined us?

Our feverish activity is only one sign of what is wrong with us - sin has plunged us into the depths and so marked us with mortality that we have become brother to the clay - but God never meant it to be so.

Men and women may argue and make excuses, but it does not change the fact that in our human society we are completely surrounded by three marks of the ancient curse: Everything is recent, temporal and transient! That is why the Holy Spirit whispers faithfully, reminding us of the Christ of God, eternity walking in flesh, God Almighty come to live among us and to save - actually to give us eternity!

This we know: When we turn our faces toward the Eternal One, asking, "God have mercy on me, a sinner," we are finally being what God intended us to be in the first place!

Almighty God and Eternal Father, help me to journey through the coming year with a new set of eyes. Enable me to see life from Your lofty, eternal perspective.

~A. W. Tozer~

Physical Infirmity

You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. - Galatians 4:13-14

The Galatians were just one of the churches that Paul started on his missionary journeys. They were Gentiles who converted to Christianity, all because of Paul’s passion to preach and teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul was able to preach the gospel despite his own physical infirmities. Speculation as to Paul’s true afflictions (i.e. his thorn in the flesh) have been debated and discussed by many theologians, but Paul does not give specifics or details that draw attention to his weaknesses. He, instead, uses them as a means to give glory to God. In our weakness, God is strong.

How often do we allow our physical ailments to bring glory to God? It seems that the most concerning issues receive the most attention and prayer, and we are more than ready to seek the Lord’s guidance in those cases. Life-threatening diseases are often wonderful opportunities to bear witness of God’s awesome power, regardless of the path. But what about the day-to-day annoying ailments? A headache can make many of us cranky all day. A cold gives us just cause to be cranky for a longer period of time. What happens to our witness in those times? Do we give the daily annoyances to the Lord in prayer or do we let them rule our flesh? Paul knew how to give everything over to the Lord and he did not let those things stop him; he used them to further his mission for Jesus Christ.

Remember today that God is in everything that happens in your life. No matter what ails you, God is with you. He will use your afflictions to bring Him glory and to bless you and others. Sometimes God does the greatest work through our weaknesses and pain, but that only happens when we take our eyes off ourselves and put them on Jesus. Try putting your focus on the Lord instead of your pain, and let His Holy Spirit be your strength in weakness.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

If Worse Comes to Worst

"The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children" (Psalm 103:17)

If the world's foundations crumble we still have God, and in Him we have everything essential to our ransomed beings forever.

We also have Christ, who died for us and who now sits at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens making constant and effective intercession for us.

We have the Scriptures, which can never fail.

We have the Holy Spirit to interpret the Scriptures to our inner lives and to be to us a Guide and a Comforter.

We have prayer and we have faith, and these bring heaven to earth and turn even bitter Marah sweet.

And if worse comes to worst here below, we have our Father's house and our Father's welcome.

"The man of the year" cannot impress those men and women who are making their plans for that long eternity when days and years have passed away and time is no more.

~A. W. Tozer~

Controlling Our Appetites

What words would you use to describe our society? Materialistic, sensual, impatient, indulgent, undisciplined--these are just a few. We're also a "have it now" culture. Satan specializes in presenting us with opportunities for instant gratification while promising us that indulging our appetites will bring us the satisfaction we seek.

Human appetites, in themselves, are not sinful. In fact, they're God-given. However, because of our fleshly weaknesses, they need to be controlled. When our appetites rule us, we're in trouble. Paul likened the Christian life to that of athletes who are so focused on winning the race that they exercise self-control in every area of their lives.

That's exactly how we're called to live, yet we lack the motivation, determination, and power to do so in our own strength. For this reason, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit within us. If we yield our lives to Him and step out in obedience to His promptings, we'll have the strength to say no when fleshly desires feel overpowering (Gal. 5:16).

Another key to success is keeping our focus on the eternal instead of the temporal. Many decisions that seem mundane are in fact spiritually significant. Are you indulging an appetite that could result in the sacrifice of an imperishable reward in heaven?

When the Enemy tempts us, he always tries to keep our attention on our desire and the pleasure of indulgence rather than on the eternal rewards and blessings we're forfeiting. Just remind yourself how quickly immediate gratification wanes and how long eternity lasts.

~Charles Stanley~

Monday, April 28, 2014

God's Truth Is Eternal

"Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein" Jeremiah 6:16)

There are two errors that are pretty current with regard to old things. The first is that everything old is good, and everything new is bad.

That idea, of course, harms progress and discourages all thought. It also petrifies the imagination and digs a grave for all expectation. I am afraid that when it comes to theology and spiritual thought, we have adopted the notion that the old is good and everything new is bad. We have to go back yonder to discover a man who has spiritual imagination enough even to state things differently from that which is current in his time.

I will tell you what I would like to see for this critical age - a number of persons committed to the everlastingness of the truth as it is given from heaven, manifested in the inspiration of Scripture and the faith of our fathers so that it is impossible to go back theologically. The result would be truth related in an imaginative way for our time.

The truths of God are not timely (that is, geared into time). The truths of God are eternal. They rise above time.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Lure of Momentary Pleasure

You probably read the story of Jacob and Esau today and thought, I can't believe Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. How foolish! But let's think beyond birthrights and soup. Is there anything of true value that you are trading for something of lesser worth? In other words, what is your "bowl of soup"?

Have you pursued wealth and a career at the expense of family? Maybe your busy schedule has kept you from spending time with God in His Word each day. Some people become involved in extramarital affairs, trading the well-being of their family for the satisfaction of lustful desires. Others sacrifice their health by consuming harmful or addictive substances, or even by overindulging in food. The list of ways we make foolish, shortsighted choices is endless.
Some of the decisions we make today could rob us of the blessings God wants to give us. When you yield to temptation in a moment of weakness, you're actually sacrificing your future for momentary pleasure. We can't afford to live thoughtlessly, basing our decisions on immediate desires or feelings. Since the principle of sowing and reaping cannot be reversed, we need to carefully consider what we are planting. The harvest will come, and we'll reap what we have sown--and more than we've sown.

Are you contemplating anything that could have serious long-term ramifications if you yield to the yearning? A wise person evaluates choices by looking ahead to see what negative consequences could follow a course of action. Don't let "a bowl of soup" hinder God's wonderful plans for you.

~Charles Stanley~

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Yesterday, Today and Forever

"Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Galatians 4:6)

The Scriptures are open and plain. Jesus Christ is our Saviour and Lord. He is our great High Priest, alive and ministering for us today. His person, His power, and His grace are the same, without change, yesterday, today and forever!

He is the same Lord because He is the same God. He is the same, never having changed in substance, in power, in wisdom, in love, in mercy. In His divine person, Jesus Christ has never known correction or change. He feels now as He has always felt about everyone and everything.

Jesus will not yield to those who charge that He is an absentee, that He is far away and unavailable. Our faith tells us that Jesus Christ is close at hand, that He is a living force in our lives today. He is the Holy Spirit of God fulfilling His promises moment by moment.

We must stand together in our faith. Our Lord is as powerful now, as real now, as near to us now, as loving now as He ever was when He walked among the men and women on the shores of Galilee.

God always fills in all hearts all the room which is left Him there.

~A. W. Tozer~
2 Kings 7:3
Why sit we here until we die?
Dear reader, this little book was mainly intended for the edification of believers, but if you are yet unsaved, our heart yearns over you: and we would fain say a word which may be blessed to you. Open your Bible, and read the story of the lepers, and mark their position, which was much the same as yours. If you remain where you are you must perish; if you go to Jesus you can but die. "Nothing venture, nothing win," is the old proverb, and in your case the venture is no great one. If you sit still in sullen despair, no one can pity you when your ruin comes; but if you die with mercy sought, if such a thing were possible, you would be the object of universal sympathy. None escape who refuse to look to Jesus; but you know that, at any rate, some are saved who believe in Him, for certain of your own acquaintances have received mercy: then why not you? The Ninevites said, "Who can tell?" Act upon the same hope, and try the Lord's mercy. To perish is so awful, that if there were but a straw to catch at, the instinct of self-preservation should lead you to stretch out your hand. We have thus been talking to you on your own unbelieving ground, we would now assure you, as from the Lord, that if you seek Him He will be found of you. Jesus casts out none who come unto Him. You shall not perish if you trust Him; on the contrary, you shall find treasure far richer than the poor lepers gathered in Syria's deserted camp. May the Holy Spirit embolden you to go at once, and you shall not believe in vain. When you are saved yourself, publish the good news to others. Hold not your peace; tell the King's household first, and unite with them in fellowship; let the porter of the city, the minister, be informed of your discovery, and then proclaim the good news in every place. The Lord save thee ere the sun goes down this day.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Fullness of God in You

Have you ever wondered if you are a "whole person"? We all have struggles in life that could make us feel incomplete, but the apostle Paul says we can be "filled up to all the fullness of God" (v. 19). What does that look like?

A "whole person" is generally satisfied with life. He feels loved and is able to love others in return. Difficulties and hardships don't devastate him, because he is able to go through them with confidence in God. He isn't a complainer or someone who is quick to blame others. A positive attitude guards his mind since he knows that the Lord will work everything out for good (Rom. 8:28).

Being a Christian doesn't automatically make us feel complete. Fullness comes only when we experience God's love for us. For many years, I knew theologically that the Lord loved me. I even preached about it, but I didn't really feel it. Only after I took a deep look at my life and started dealing with events that had fractured my soul in childhood did I begin to experience His love in an intimate way. Once I felt the security of His love for me, I discovered great joy in walking in obedience to His will. The reason was that I knew I could trust Him to meet all my needs in His time and way.

Do you feel God's love, or is it just a biblical fact to you? If you long for wholeness, the key is to experience an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. This is possible only when you're willing to open up and let the Lord search your heart. He'll reveal what's holding you back from accepting His love.

~Charles Stanley~

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Private Place

"And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places" (Isaiah 32:18)

For those who want to relearn the ways of solitude and simplicity and gain the infinite riches of the interior life I offer a brief paragraph of counsel.

Retire from the world each day to some private spot. Stay in the secret place till the surrounding noises begin to fade out of your heart and a sense of God's presence envelopes you. Deliberately tune out the unpleasant sounds and come out of your closet determined not to hear them. Listen for the inward Voice till you learn to recognize it. Stop trying to compete with others. Give yourself to God, and then be what and who you are without regard to what others think. Reduce your interests to a few.

Learn to pray inwardly every moment. After a while you can do this even while you work. Practice candor, childlike honesty, humility. Pray for a single eye. Read less, but read more of what is important to your inner life. Call home your roving thoughts. Gaze on Christ with the eyes of your soul. Practice spiritual concentration.

God is bound to give himself to a heart that is detached. God would sooner be in a solitary heart than any other.

~A. W. Tozer~

Cultivating Simplicity and Solitude

"Thou desirest truth in the inward parts and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom ... Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:6-7)

"The thoughtful soul to solitude retires", said the poet of other and quieter times; but where is the solitude to which we can retire to today?

Our "vastly improved methods of communication," of which the shortsighted boast so loudly, now enable a few men in strategic centers to feed into millions of minds alien thought stuff, ready-made and predigested. A little effortless assimilation of these borrowed ideas and the average man has done all the thinking he will or can do.

This subtle brainwashing goes on day after day and year after year to the eternal injury of the populace. There was a time, not too long ago, when a man's home was his castle, a sure retreat to which he might return for quietness and solitude. I cannot refrain from remarking that the most ominous sign of the coming destruction of our country is the passing of the American home. Americans live no longer in homes, but in theaters. Let no one smile. Rather should we weep at the portent.

The mansion of the heart will become larger when their doors are thrown open to Christ and closed against the world and sin.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Footsteps of Christ

Matthew 5:43
Thou shalt love thy neighbour.
"Love thy neighbour." Perhaps he rolls in riches, and thou art poor, and living in thy little cot side-by-side with his lordly mansion; thou seest every day his estates, his fine linen, and his sumptuous banquets; God has given him these gifts, covet not his wealth, and think no hard thoughts concerning him. Be content with thine own lot, if thou canst not better it, but do not look upon thy neighbour, and wish that he were as thyself. Love him, and then thou wilt not envy him. Mayhap, on the other hand, thou art rich, and near thee reside the poor. Do not scorn to call them neighbour. Own that thou art bound to love them. The world calls them thy inferiors. In what are they inferior? They are far more thine equals than thine inferiors, for "God hath made of one blood all people that dwell upon the face of the earth." It is thy coat which is better than theirs, but thou art by no means better than they. They are men, and what art thou more than that? Take heed that thou love thy neighbour even though he be in rags, or sunken in the depths of poverty. But, perhaps, you say, "I cannot love my neighbours, because for all I do they return ingratitude and contempt." So much the more room for the heroism of love. Wouldst thou be a feather-bed warrior, instead of bearing the rough fight of love? He who dares the most, shall win the most; and if rough be thy path of love, tread it boldly, still loving thy neighbours through thick and thin. Heap coals of fire on their heads, and if they be hard to please, seek not to please them, but to please thy Master; and remember if they spurn thy love, thy Master hath not spurned it, and thy deed is as acceptable to Him as if it had been acceptable to them. Love thy neighbour, for in so doing thou art following the footsteps of Christ.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Thursday, April 24, 2014

God In The Flesh

"And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger" (Luke 2:16)

The mystery and miracle of the incarnation - God coming to take our humanity and our flesh, yet without sin. Luke quotes the message of the angel Gabriel to Mary:

"Thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. The Holy Spirit shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:30-32. 35).

The overshadowing of the Most High, the Father; the energy of the Holy Spirit; the enfleshment of the eternal Son - here were the Persons of the Godhead cooperating in a gracious act on behalf of lost men and women.

Lord Jesus, reign in us, we pray,
And make us as Thine alone,
Who with the Father ever art,
And Holy Spirit, one.

The Holy Spirit is indivisible from the Father and the Son, and He is all God and exercises all the rights of God and He merits all worship and all love and all obedience.

~A. W. Tozer~

Eternity Made Flesh

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14)

What is it you have always really wanted? It is not religion. You can trace that back - it is recent. It is not philosophy. It is not civilization ... They are recent and temporary.

We have been betrayed by every prospect that man creates. But when we know that we are perishing, ready to perish, God's Holy Spirit is faithful, and He whispers, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).

There is eternity, and eternity was made flesh and walked among us. If you had seen eternity walking around on baby, rubbery legs, tumbling and falling flat among the shavings, you would have run and picked Him up and dusted Him off, whispering, "It doesn't hurt. Be a big boy!"

He would have smiled, shaking away a tear, and toddled off for another tumble. That was eternity walking in flesh. It was God Almighty come to live among us to redeem us and to save us from the recent and the temporal and the transient - and to give us eternity!

Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus:
There is room in my heart for Thee!

~A. W. Tozer~

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

But my righteous one will live by faith, and if he shrinks back, I take no pleasure in him. (Heb 10:38)

Seemings and feelings are often substituted for faith. Pleasurable emotions and deep satisfying experiences are part of the Christian life, but they are not all of it. Trials, conflicts, battles and testings lie along the way, and are not to be counted as misfortunes, but rather as part of our necessary discipline.
In all these varying experiences we are to reckon on Christ as dwelling in the heart, regardless of our feelings if we are walking obediently before Him. Here is where many get into trouble; they try to walk by feeling rather than faith.
One of the saints tells us that it seemed as though God had withdrawn Himself from her. His mercy seemed clean gone. For six weeks her desolation lasted, and then the Heavenly Lover seemed to say:
“Catherine, thou hast looked for Me without in the world of sense, but all the while I have been within waiting for thee; meet Me in the inner chamber of thy spirit, for I am there.”
Distinguish between the fact of God’s presence, and the emotion of the fact. It is a happy thing when the soul seems desolate and deserted, if our faith can say, “I see Thee not. I feel Thee not, but Thou art certainly and graciously here, where I am as I am.” Say it again and again: “Thou art here: though the bush does not seem to burn with fire, it does burn. I will take the shoes from off my feet, for the place on which I stand is holy ground.” —London Christian
Believe God’s word and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences. Your Rock is Christ, and it is not the Rock which ebbs and flows, but your sea.
—Samuel Rutherford
Keep your eye steadily fixed on the infinite grandeur of Christ’s finished work and righteousness. Look to Jesus and believe, look to Jesus and live! Nay, more; as you look to him, hoist your sails and buffet manfully the sea of life. Do not remain in the haven of distrust, or sleeping on your shadows in inactive repose, or suffering your frames and feelings to pitch and toss on one another like vessels idly moored in a harbor. The religious life is not a brooding over emotions, grazing the keel of faith in the shallows, or dragging the anchor of hope through the oozy tide mud as if afraid of encountering the healthy breeze. Away! With your canvas spread to the gale, trusting in Him, who rules the raging of the waters. The safety of the tinted bird is to be on the wing. If its haunt be near the ground—if it fly low—it exposes itself to the fowler’s net or snare. If we remain grovelling on the low ground of feeling and emotion, we shall find ourselves entangled in a thousand meshes of doubt and despondency, temptation and unbelief. “But surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of THAT WHICH HATH A WING” (marginal reading Prov. 1:17). Hope thou in God.
—J. R. Macduff
When I cannot enjoy the faith of assurance, I live by the faith of adherence.
—Matthew Henry
~L. B. Cowman~

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Where Life and lips Join

"Not unto me, O Lord, not unto me, but unto thy name give glory ... our God is in the heavens" (Psalm 115:1, 3)

"Be thou exalted" (Psalm 21:13) is the language of victorious spiritual experience. It is a little key to unlock the door to great treasures of grace. It is central in the life of God in the soul. Let the seeking man reach a place where life and lips join to say continually "Be thou exalted," and a thousand minor problems will be solved at once.

His Christian life ceases to be the complicated thing it had been before and becomes the very essence of simplicity. By the will stay as if guided by an automatic pilot. If blown off course for a moment by some adverse wind, he will surely return again as by a secret bent of the soul.

The hidden motions of the Spirit are working in his favor, and 'the stars in their courses" (Judges 5:20) fight for him. He has met his life problem at its center, and everything else must follow along.

The spirit of self-denial. It is the result of a calm, deliberate, invincible attachment to the highest good ... a voluntary renunciation that is consistent with the glory of God and good of our fellowmen.

~A. W. Tozer~

Cultivate His Presence

"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee" (Joshua 1:9)

Cultivate the art of recognizing the presence of the Holy Spirit everywhere. Get acquainted with the Holy Spirit and then begin to cultivate His presence. When you wake in the morning, in place of burying your hear behind the newspaper, couldn't you get in just a few thoughts of God while you eat your breakfast?

Remember, cultivating the Holy Spirit's acquaintance is a job. It is something you do, and yet it is so easy and delightful. Is this for ministers? This is for ministers, certainly. Is it for housewives? Yes, housewives and clerks ... and students. If you will thus see it and thus believe it and thus surrender to it, there won't be a secular stone in the pavement. There won't be a common, profane deed that you will ever do.

The most menial task can become a priestly ministration when the Holy Spirit takes over and Christ becomes your all in all.

The sanctified life is God-centered. A worldly life is impossible with a soul full of the Holy Spirit. God is seen and felt in everything.

~A. W. Tozer~

God Acts on Our Behalf

The Lord is a God of action. Even when He rested on the seventh day of creation, it wasn't because He was tired and needed to recuperate. Although He deliberately made a choice to stop His creative activity, He never ceased working. While the Lord is always controlling the universe, He is, at the same time, intimately involved with individual lives.

God has a plan for each one of us and wants us to know what it is. Every time we take a step of obedience, He sheds more light on our path. But sometimes He asks us to pause awhile, and we may not know why. We long for direction in a particular matter, but our prayers just aren't being answered, and we wonder, Why does He delay?

When you aren't seeing any answers, it doesn't mean that God is not working. He's still actively involved in your life, but He works in ways that are not always visible He orchestrates circumstances, changes people's hearts, and protects His children from making hasty decisions that will have disastrous consequences. Perhaps the Lord knows you're not yet ready for the next leg of your spiritual journey. Waiting times are opportunities for growth in character, obedience, and faith. He may also need time to train you for future responsibilities and ministries.

When you intentionally choose to be still, God unleashes His mighty power on your behalf. He has planned good things for those who wait, and I believe what He has in store for your life will surpass all expectations. When He knows you're ready to receive His blessings, they'll flow into your lap.

~Charles Stanley~

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Holy Spirit Is In The Word

"How sweet are thy words unto my taste! ... Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way" Psalm 119:103-104

Point five: Let us seek to know Him in the Word. It is in the Word we will find the Holy Spirit ... for the Holy Spirit wrote this Book. He inspired it, and He will be revealed in its pages.

What is the word when we come to the Bible? It is meditate. We are to come to the Bible and meditate. Let's open our Bible, spread it out on the chair, and mediate on it. It will open itself to us, and the Spirit of God will come and brood over it.

So be a Bible mediator. I challenge you: Try it for a month and see how it works. Put away questions and answers and the filling in o blank lines. Take a Bible, open it, get on your knees and say, "Father, here I am. Begin to teach me."

He will begin to teach you, and He will teach yo about Himself and about Jesus and about God and about the Word and about life and death and heaven and hell, and about His own Presence.

After getting the heart filled with the Holy Spirit, it is well to get the head filled with the very facts and truth that should be there. The Bible speaks of grace and knowledge. They go well together.

~A. W. Tozer~

Decorations In the Sanctuary

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me" (Psalm 139:23-24)

The fourth is: Make your thoughts a clean sanctuary. To God, our thoughts are things. Our thoughts are the decorations inside the sanctuary where we live. If our thoughts are purified by the blood of Christ, we are living in a clean room no matter if we are wearing overalls covered with grease.

Your thoughts pretty much decide the mood and weather and climate inside your heart, and God considers your thoughts as part of you.

Thoughts of peace, thoughts of pity, thoughts of mercy, thoughts of kindness, thoughts of charity, thoughts of God, thoughts of the Son of God - these are pure things, good things, and high things.

Therefore, if you would cultivate the Spirit's acquaintance, you must get hold of your thoughts and not allow your mind to be a wilderness in which every kind of unclean beast roams and bird flies. You must have a clean heart.

The evil thought is the forerunner of the devil; for satan knows that if a Christian will allow the evil thought he will in time allow the originator of the temptation to come in.

~A. W. Tozer~

Every Promise of Scripture is a Writing of God

So now, O Lord, may the promise you made about your servant and his family become a permanent reality! Do as you promised, so it may become a reality and you may gain lasting fame, as people say, ‘The Lord who commands armies is the God of Israel.’ David’s dynasty will be established before you, (1 Chr 17:23-24)

This is a most blessed phase of true prayer. Many a time we ask for things which are not absolutely promised. We are not sure therefore until we have persevered for some time whether our petitions are in the line of God’s purpose or no. There are other occasions, and in the life of David this was one, when we are fully persuaded that what we ask is according to God’s will. We feel led to take up and plead some promise from the page of Scripture, under the special impression that it contains a message for us. At such times, in confident faith, we say, “Do as Thou hast said.” There is hardly any position more utterly beautiful, strong, or safe, than to put the finger upon some promise of the Divine word, and claim it. There need be no anguish, or struggle, or wrestling; we simply present the check and ask for cash, produce the promise, and claim its fulfillment; nor can there be any doubt as to the issue. It would give much interest to prayer, if we were more definite. It is far better to claim a few things specifically than a score vaguely.
—F. B. Meyer
Every promise of Scripture is a writing of God, which may be pleaded before Him with this reasonable request: “Do as Thou hast said.” The Creator will not cheat His creature who depends upon His truth; and far more, the Heavenly Father will not break His word to His own child.
“Remember the word unto thy servant, on which thou hast caused me to hope,” is most prevalent pleading. It is a double argument: it is Thy Word. Wilt Thou not keep it? Why hast thou spoken of it, if Thou wilt not make it good. Thou hast caused me to hope in it, wilt Thou disappoint the hope which Thou has Thyself begotten in me?
—C. H. Spurgeon
“Being absolutely certain that whatever promise he is bound by, he is able also to make good” (Rom. 4:21, Weymouth’s Translation).
It is the everlasting faithfulness of God that makes a Bible promise “exceeding great and precious.” Human promises are often worthless. Many a broken promise has left a broken heart. But since the world was made, God has never broken a single promise made to one of His trusting children.
Oh, it is sad for a poor Christian to stand at the door of the promise, in the dark night of affliction, afraid to draw the latch, whereas he should then come boldly for shelter as a child into his father’s house.
Every promise is built upon four pillars: God’s justice and holiness, which will not suffer Him to deceive; His grace or goodness, which will not suffer Him to forget; His truth, which will not suffer Him to change, which makes Him able to accomplish.

~L. B. Cowman~

Monday, April 21, 2014

Holy Spirit - Holy Way

"All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies" (Psalm 25:10)

The third point is: Let's walk in righteousness. The grace of God that bringeth salvation also teaches the heart that we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world.

There you have the three dimensions of life. Soberly - that is me. Righteously - that is my fellowman. Godly - that is God.

Let us not make the mistake of thinking we can be spiritual and not be good. Let's not make the mistake of thinking we can walk with the Holy Spirit and go a wrong or a dirty or an unrighteous way, for how can two walk together except they be agreed?

He is the Holy Spirit, and if I walk an unholy way, how can I fellowship with Him?

No matter how men deny and resist, the Bible teaches that the purification of the heart is the work of God. John states that it is while "we  walk in the light," "[having] fellowship one with another," that then "the blood of Jesus Christ ... cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

~A. W. Tozer~

Jesus Must Be Glorified

"That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:6)

The second point is: Be engrossed with Jesus Christ. Honor Him. John said: "But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:39).

I ask you to note that the Spirit was given when Jesus was glorified. Now that is a principle. Remember ... He came and spread Himself out as a flood upon the people because Jesus was glorified. He established a principle, and He will never, never flood the lie of any man except the man in whom Jesus is glorified.

Therefore, if you dedicate yourself to the glory of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will become the aggressor and will seek to know you and raise you and illumine you and fill you and bless you.

To glorify Jesus is the business of the Church, and to glorify Jesus is the work of the Holy Spirit.

It is no task to the Christian to obey the commandments of God. The glory of God is the great end of his being.

~A. W. Tozer~

God's School of Faith

For even when we came into Macedonia, our body had no rest at all, but we were troubled in every way – struggles from the outside, fears from within (2 Cor 7:5)
Why should God have to lead us thus, and allow the pressure to be so hard and constant? Well, in the first place, it shows His all-sufficient strength and grace much better than if we were exempt from pressure and trial. “The treasure is in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
It makes us more conscious of our dependence upon Him. God is constantly trying to teach us our dependence, and to hold us absolutely in His hand and hanging upon His care.
This was the place where Jesus Himself stood and where He wants us to stand, not with self-constituted strength, but with a hand ever leaning upon His, and a trust that dare not take one step alone. It teaches us trust.
There is no way of learning faith except by trial. It is God’s school of faith, and it is far better for us to learn to trust God than to enjoy life.
The lesson of faith once learned, is an everlasting acquisition and an eternal fortune made; and without trust even riches will leave us poor.
—Days of Heaven upon Earth
“Why must I weep when others sing?
’To test the deeps of suffering.’ 
Why must I work while others rest?
’To spend my strength at God’s request.’ 
Why must I lose while others gain?
’To understand defeat’s sharp pain.’ 
Why must this lot of life be mine 
When that which fairer seems is thine?
’Because God knows what plans for me 
Shall blossom in eternity.’”

~L. B. Cowman~

Sunday, April 20, 2014

How To Cultivate the Spirit's Companionship

"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3)

Now this is known as a rhetorical question; it is equivalent to a positive declaration that two cannot walk together except they be agreed, and for two to walk together they must be in some sense one.

They also have to agree that they want to walk together, and they have to agree that it is to their advantage to travel together. I think you will see that it all adds up to this: For two to walk together voluntarily they must be, in some sense, one. 

I am talking about how we can cultivate the Spirit's fellowship, how we can walk with Him day by day and hour by hour. I am going to give you a few little pointers to help you into a better life.

Point one is that the Holy Spirit is a living Person. He is the third Person of the Trinity. He is Himself God, and as a Person, He can be cultivated; He can be wooed and cultivated the same as any person can be.

No true Christian can be habitually more engaged in the service of the world and of sin, than in the service of God. His obedience, though not perfect, is habitual.

~A. W. Tozer~

How To Receive the Holy Spirit

"How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13)

Here is how to receive the Holy Spirit. First, present your body to Him (Romans 12:1-2). God can't fill what He can't have. Are you ready to present your mind, your personality, your spirit, your love, your ambitions, your all? That is the first thing.

Now the second thing is to "ask". (Luke 11:9-11). He could give the Holy Spirit without our asking, but He chooses to have us ask. "Ask of me, and I will give thee" is always God's order; so why not ask?

Acts 5:32 tells us the third thing to do. God gives His Holy Spirit to them that obey Him. Are to ready to do what you are asked to do - to live by the Scriptures as you understand them? Simple, but revolutionary.

The next thing is, have faith (Galatians 3:2). We receive Him by faith as we receive the Lord in salvation by faith. He comes as a gift of God to us in power.

The power to sin is one thing, the proneness to do so is another. Sanctification takes out the latter, but leaves the former, which is an attribute or necessity in a free moral agent.

~A. W. Tozer~

Does God Hide from Us? Or Do We Hide from Him?

How many times have you heard Christians say (or heard the words from your own mouth), “So-and-so is not a Christian but he’s searching”? It is a common statement among Christians. The idea is that there are people all over the place who are searching for God. Their problem is that they just haven’t been able to find Him. He is playing hide-and-seek. He is elusive.

In the Garden of Eden, when sin came into the world, who hid? Jesus came into the world to seek and to save the lost. Jesus wasn’t the one who was hiding. God is not a fugitive. We are the ones on the run. Scripture declares that the wicked flee when no man pursues. As Martin Luther remarked: “The pagan trembles at the rustling of a leaf. The uniform teaching of Scripture is that fallen men are fleeing from God.”

People do not seek God. They seek after the benefits that only God can give them. The sin of fallen man is this: Man seeks the benefits of God while fleeing from God Himself. We are, by nature, fugitives.

The Bible tells us repeatedly to seek after God. The conclusion we draw from these texts is that since we are called to seek after God it must mean that we, even in our fallen state, have the moral capacity to do that seeking. But who is being addressed in these texts? In the case of the Old Testament, it is the people of Israel who are called to seek the Lord. In the New Testament, it is believers who are called to seek the kingdom.

~R. C. Sproul~

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Preliminary To Daybreak

"The Spirit and the bride say, Come ... Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17)

Maybe you feel in you heart that you just can't go on as you are, that the level of spirituality to which you know yourself called is way beyond you. If you feel that there is something that you must have or your heart will never be satisfied, that there are levels of spirituality, mystic deeps and heights of spiritual communion, purity and power that you have never known, that there is fruit which you know you should bear and do not, victory which you know you should have and have not - I would say, "Come on," because God has something for you.

There is spiritual loneliness, an inner aloneness, an inner place where God brings the seeker, where is is as lonely as if there were not another member of the Church anywhere in the world.

Ah, when you come there, there is a darkness of mind, an emptiness of heart, a loneliness of soul, but it is preliminary to the daybreak! O God, bring us, somehow, to the daybreak!

When the renewal of the Spirit of God comes to your life there may be only one term to describe it - exploding love.

~A. W. Tozer~

Are You Sure?

"For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him" (Romans 6:7-8)

Are you sure that you want your personality to be taken over by One who will expect obedience to the written and living Word? Are you sure that you want your personality to be taken over by One who will not tolerate the self sins?

For instance, self-love. You can no more have the Holy Spirit and have self-love, and self-pity are under the interdiction of God Almighty, and He cannot send His mighty Spirit to posses the heart where these things are.

Do you desire to have your personality taken over by One who stands in sharp opposition to the world's easy ways? The Spirit of God, if He takes over, will bring you into opposition to the world. Are you sure, brother?

As the spirit of self-advancement is the root of all sin, so the spirit of self-denial is the root of all holiness.

~A. W. Tozer~

Dealing with Our Sin

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do... For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Romans 7:15, 18-19

I read an article about a family's fight against pornography. The husband (and father) had become addicted to pornographic websites, which led him into an assortment of related sinful activities. After repeated confrontations and family interventions, he chose to continue this path of destruction. The end result was a family torn apart amidst tremendous pain and confusion. One of the saddest facts of this story is that he was active in his church, served as a deacon, and had a great reputation in the community. Is this story an anomaly, a rare case that happens infrequently in the Christian church? Or is it more common but hidden?  This article quoted statistics suggesting that almost half of all Christian homes are affected by pornography.  Unfortunately, the Internet provides easy and secret access to these types of websites.
This story is tough to reconcile, especially when we think about how many families are impacted by this sin. It is also tough to realize that we, as Christians, are dealing with all types of sins.  Pornography is only one example. Regardless of who we are, we struggle with sin and its consequences. Even the apostle Paul said that he knew that "nothing good" dwelt within him. He struggled with his flesh, just like we do. But unlike the man in the story, Paul dealt with his sins differently. He confessed them and he repented to God. Paul knew that his only hope was in Jesus. He knew that by the blood of Christ his sins past, present and future—had been washed away. Because he kept his struggles against his flesh before the Lord, he was able to walk in the light of Jesus. It is when we hide our sins, try to justify them, make excuses for them, or completely deny them that we are mastered by them. 

Regardless of what you struggle with today in your flesh, please do not hide it from God. He already knows everything about you, even your deepest thoughts and desires. All He asks is that you come to Him and confess. Tell the Lord your thoughts and feelings, how you honestly feel, and then ask forgiveness. You may have to do this several times a day. But it is through this process of continually crying out to God, consistently bringing these hidden things to the Light, that healing comes. Do not give up. Jesus did not come for the righteous; He came for sinners. Jesus does not ask us to heal or fix ourselves. He does not ask us to do anything but come to Him. He will do the rest.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Lord of Your Life

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other" (Matthew 6:24)

Before you can be filled with the Holy Spirit you must desire to be filled. Are you sure that you want to be possessed by a spirit other than your own? even though that Spirit be the pure Spirit of God? even though He be the very gentle essence of the gentle Jesus? even though He be sane and pure and free? even though He be wisdom personified, wisdom Himself, even though He have a healing, precious ointment to distill: even though He be loving as the heart of God?

That Spirit, if He ever possesses you, will be the Lord of your Life!

I ask you, Do you want Him to be Lord of your lie? That you want His benefits, I know. I take that for granted. But do you want to be possessed by Him? Do you want to hand the keys of your soul over to the Holy Spirit? Are you willing to give the office of your business establishment, your soul, over to the Lord? Are you sure you want this?

One thing is plain: Christians cannot be worldlings. They cannot be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.

~A. W. Tozer~

No Persuasion Necessary

"They ... sought him with their whole desire, and he was found of hem: and the Lord gave them rest round about" (2 Chronicles 15:15)

There is nothing eerie, nothing queer, nothing contrary to the normal operations of the human heart about the Holy Spirit. He is only the essence of Jesus imparted to believers. You read the four Gospels and see for yourself how wonderfully clam, pure, sane, simple, sweet, natural and lovable Jesus was. Even philosophers who don't believe in His deity have to admit the lovableness of His character.

You must be sure of all this to the point of conviction. That is, you must be convinced to a point where you won't try to persuade God.

You don't have to persuade God at all. There is no persuasion necessary. Dr. Simpson used to say, "Being filled with the Spirit is as easy as breathing; you can simply breathe out and breathe in."

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

~A. W. Tozer~

Let The Lord Decide

”Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father's brothers." So Moses brought their case before the Lord. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "The daughters of Zelophehad speak what is right; you shall surely give them a possession of inheritance among their father's brothers, and cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them. - Numbers 27:4-7

In front of one of our public schools, there is a banner that says, “We celebrate fairness.” My son commented on it the other day and said, “But life isn’t fair." There is a time in each of our lives that we realize that the ways of the world are not always right, good and fair. And each of us does have to come to terms with the ways of the world. However, because we are believers, we do not have to accept the things at hand but we can go to God for everything that troubles us, especially when life does not seem fair.

These daughters in Numbers 27 realized that it would be unfair to not receive an inheritance from their father just because they are girls. The possessions went to the men in those days and not women. No one considered it a dilemma because when the girls got married, they received land under their husbands. But these ladies didn’t want to settle for their husband’s land. God had given land to families and their father’s land would now go to another family. This was not fair.   They wanted their father to receive from the Lord as everyone else. God agreed.
When we face issues in our lives that do not seem fair, we need to go to God. Even though the world is not fair, Jesus has overcome the world. We should not just accept the ways of the world or the laws of the land when they vary from God’s Word or His Promises. These girls knew the laws of God and asked for specific interventions on their behalf. Often, laws are written for the majority but our God also listens to the minority. Come to Him if you are struggling and let the Lord decide what is “fair” for you.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Part of the Total Plan

"They that are after the Spirit[mind] the things of the Spirit" (Romans 8:5)

The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people.

You must be satisfied that it not abnormal. I admit that it is unusual, because there are so few people who walk in the light of it or enjoy it, but it is not abnormal. This is unusual only because our spiritual lives are so wretchedly sick and so far down from where they should be.

You must be satisfied, again, that there is nothing about the Holy Spirit queer or strange or eerie.

I believe it has been the work of the devil to surround the person of the Holy with an aura of queerness, or strangeness, so that the people of God feel that this Spirit-filled life is a life of being odd and peculiar, of being a bit uncanny. That is not true, my friend The devil manufactured that.

The Holy Spirit is pure, for He is the Holy Spirit. He is wise, for He is the Spirit of wisdom. He is true, for He is the Spirit of truth.

~A. W. Tozer~

Before You Are Filled

"If a man love me ... my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him" (John 14:23)

Before we deal with the question of how to be filled with the Holy Spirit, there are some matters which first have to be settled. As believers you have to get them out of the way, and right here is where the difficulty arises. I have been afraid that my readers might have gotten the idea somewhere that I had a how-to-be-filled-with-the-Spirit-in-five-easy-lessons doctrine, which I could give you. If you have any such vague ideas as that I can only say, "I am sorry"; because it isn't true; I can't give you such a course.

There are some things, I say, that you have to get out of the way, settled. One of them is: Before you are filled with the Holy Spirit you must be sure that you can be filled.

So you have to be sure that it is for you. You must be sure that it is God's will for you; that is, that it is part of the total plan, that it [the gift of the Holy Spirit] is included and embraced within the work of Christ in redemption.

The Saviour in His Sermon on the Mount said: "Blessed are the pure in heart" (Matthew 5:8). Can anyone believe that Christ would bless a class of people who do not or cannot exist?

~A. W. Tozer~

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Then the Spirit Came

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit ... before the great and terrible day of the Lord come" (Joel 2:28, 31)

There is a great modern error which I want to mention: it is that the coming of the Holy Spirit happened once for all, that the individual Christian is not affected by it. This error asserts that the coming of the Holy Spirit is an historic thing, an advance in the dispensational workings of God; but that it is all settled now and we need give no further thought to it. It is all here and we have it all, and if we believe in Christ that is it, and there isn't anything more.

Listen, brother. Our Lord Jesus Christ advertised that He was going away to the Father and He was going to send back for His people a wonderful gift.

Then the Spirit came. Was He equal to the advertising? Did they say, "Is this all He meant! Oh, it is disappointing!" No. The Scripture says they wondered. The word "wonder" is in their mouths and hearts. He gave so much more than He promised, because words were the promise and the Holy Spirit was the fulfillment.

The Holy Spirit is always within reach, if we are in a condition to receive and absorb Him.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Inner Evidence

"And ye shall know that I am in the midst ... and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed" (Joel 2:27)

The period of realization came upon [the waiting ones] when the Father fulfilled His promise and sent the Spirit. God took religion from the realm of the external and made it internal. Our trouble is that we are trying to confirm the truth of Christianity by an appeal to external evidence.

We are saying, "Well, look at this fellow. He can throw a baseball farther than anybody else and he is a Christian, therefore Christianity must be true." "Here is a great statesman who believes the Bible. Therefore, the Bible must be true".

We are all the way out on the wrong track, brother! That is not New Testament Christianity at all! That is a pitiful, whimpering, drooling appeal to the flesh. That never was the testimony of the New Testament, never the way of God did things - never! The proof lies in an invisible, unseen but powerful energy that visits the human soul when the gospel is preached - the Holy Spirit!

The final flash that introduces your heart to Jesus must be by the illumination of the Holy Spirit Himself, or it isn't done at all.

~A. W. Tozer~

A Great Privilege

Ephesians 3:8
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.
The apostle Paul felt it a great privilege to be allowed to preach the gospel. He did not look upon his calling as a drudgery, but he entered upon it with intense delight. Yet while Paul was thus thankful for his office, his success in it greatly humbled him. The fuller a vessel becomes, the deeper it sinks in the water. Idlers may indulge a fond conceit of their abilities, because they are untried; but the earnest worker soon learns his own weakness. If you seek humility, try hard work; if you would know your nothingness, attempt some great thing for Jesus. If you would feel how utterly powerless you are apart from the living God, attempt especially the great work of proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ, and you will know, as you never knew before, what a weak unworthy thing you are. Although the apostle thus knew and confessed his weakness, he was never perplexed as to the subject of his ministry. From his first sermon to his last, Paul preached Christ, and nothing but Christ. He lifted up the cross, and extolled the Son of God who bled thereon. Follow his example in all your personal efforts to spread the glad tidings of salvation, and let "Christ and Him crucified" be your ever recurring theme. The Christian should be like those lovely spring flowers which, when the sun is shining, open their golden cups, as if saying, "Fill us with thy beams!" but when the sun is hidden behind a cloud, they close their cups and droop their heads. So should the Christian feel the sweet influence of Jesus; Jesus must be his sun, and he must be the flower which yields itself to the Sun of Righteousness. Oh! to speak of Christ alone, this is the subject which is both "seed for the sower, and bread for the eater." This is the live coal for the lip of the speaker, and the master-key to the heart of the hearer.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Promise and the Preparation

"For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off" (Acts 2:39)

The period of the promise [of the Holy Spirit] extends from John the Baptist, roughly, to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus.

The marks of it are these: that there were disciples, and they were commissioned and instructed, and they exercised their commission and the authority granted them by the Lord. They knew that Lord Jesus; they loved Him. They knew Him living, they knew Him and saw Him dead, and they saw Him risen again from the dead. All the time our Lord was with them He was busy creating expectation in them. He was telling His disciples that in spite of all they had and all the blessing that God the Father had given them, they were still to expect the coming of a new and superior kind of life  ... an effusion of outpoured energy which they, at their best, did not yet enjoy.

Then our Lord rose from the dead and we have what we call the period of the preparation. They had stopped their activities at the specific command of the Lord. He said, "Tarry! You are about to receive that which has been promised ..." Sometimes you are going farther when you are not going anywhere; you are moving faster when you are not moving at all.

Oh, my heart, be still before Him!

~A. W. Tozer~