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Monday, June 30, 2014

Our Future Rewards

"Every man shall receive his own reward" (1 Corinthians 3:8)

Our motives in the Christian life should be both right and genuine. God is the Faithful One. We are to love Him and serve Him because He is God - not because of the gracious things He does for us or for the rewards He promises us!

However, it should be said that God does not expect us to forget or ignore the gracious future promises He has made to us. It is a glorious truth that if we believe God and honor His Word, if we walk by faith in love and obedience, there will be eternal rewards for each of us in that great coming day. The rewards will differ. Wisdom and knowledge and love reside in Him who is our God. He will make the right judgments for His people.

I for one will not be surprised if some of God's faithful people serving Him today should rise as high and shine as brightly as the heroes of faith listed in the book of Hebrews.

I say that in all truthfulness because I do not think that all of the heroes of faith are dead and gone!

Praise to the Lord from whom all blessings flow! I worship You today, the mighty God of all creation! Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Let Fear Become Trust

"Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear" (Romans 8:15)

What can we do but pray for the throngs of defiant men and women who believe that their humanistic view of life is all-sufficient? They believe that they are responsible "captains" of their own souls.

The sad fact is that even while they are joining in the age-old rejection of Jesus Christ - "We will not have this Man to rule over us" - they still are beset with fears within.

The present competitive world and its selfish society have brought many new fears to the human race. I can sympathize with those troubled beings who lie awake at night worrying about the possible destruction of the race through some evil, misguided use of the world's store of nuclear weapons and of evil rulers everywhere. The tragedy is that they have lost all sense of the sovereignty and omnipotence and faithfulness of the living God.

Although the material world has never understood it, our faith is well placed in the Scriptures! Those who take God's Word seriously are convinced of an actual heavenly realm as real as this world we inhabit!

Dear Lord, thank You that You are a strong tower when we can find shelter and protection. I choose to put my trust in You. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Choosing Love over Rights



We talk a lot about rights these days. Yet the attention given to human entitlements hasn’t brought about corporate or personal freedom. Instead, most people are prisoners of jealousy (you have greater rights than I do!), greed (I deserve more!), or bitterness (my rights have been violated!).

Instead of focusing on the privileges due us, we should take the biblical perspective of loving enemies and forgiving persecutors (Matt. 5:44). Believers lay down their rights so they can take up the cause of a holy kingdom. That doesn’t mean that we let people trample on us. Rather, we offer a proper response according to biblical principles. In short, believers should be more concerned about showing God’s love to those who do wrong than about demanding their rights.
Maybe you’re thinking, But he doesn’t know how I’ve been mistreated. Indeed I do not. But what I do know is how Jesus Christ, our example, reacted to terrible abuse. He was betrayed by His friends, persecuted by His people, condemned by His peers, and crucified for our sins. Yet He said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34).

Before assuming that Jesus’ capacity for forgiveness and love is out of reach for mere human beings, remember: His Spirit dwells in believers. We can choose to give away our rights and let God’s love work through us.

Luke 6:29 says to turn the other cheek and give up more than is asked because expressing love outweighs exerting our rights. You can’t lose when you show others the boundless care of the Lord. You gain His blessing, and, hopefully, someone will be saved because of your example.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Worldly "Virus"

"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor ... be put away from you" (Ephesians 4:31)

As Christian believers, we must stand together against some things. So, if you hear anyone saying that A. W. Tozer preaches a good deal that is negative, just smile and agree: "That is because he preaches the Bible!"

Here are some of the things we oppose: We are against the many modern idols that have been allowed to creep into the churches; we are against the "unauthorized fire" that is being offered on the altars of the Lord; we are against the modern gods that are being adopted in our sanctuaries.

We are against the world's ways and its false values. We are against the world's follies and its vain pleasures. We are against this world's greed and sinful ambitions. We are against this world's vices and its carnal habits.

We believe this spells out clearly the Bible truth of separation. God asks us to stand boldly against anything or anyone who hurts or hinders this New Testament body of Christians. Where the Church is not healed, it will wither. The Word of God is the antibiotic that alone can destroy the virus that would plague the life of the Church!

Lord, I pray that our churches will be faithful to the whole word of God and that churchgoers will set themselves apart from the world's ungodly values. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Break With This World

"Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord" (2 Corinthians 6:17)

I dare to say that Christians who have genuinely come to love and trust Jesus Christ have also renounced this world and have chosen a new model after which to pattern their lives.

Further, we should say that this is the aspect of the Christian life that most people do not like. They want comfort. They want blessing. They want peace. But they recoil from this radical, evolutionary break with the world.

To follow Christ in this rough and thoroughgoing way is too much for them!

Actually, the true Christian dissents from the world because he knows that it cannot make good on its promises. As Christ's believing disciple, he is not left without a "norm" to which he seeks to be adjusted. The Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the norm, the ideally perfect model, and the worshiping soul yearns to be like Him. Indeed, the whole drive behind the Christian life is the longing to be conformed to the image of Christ!

Dear Lord, it is difficult to be a future citizen of heaven yet live and function in this present world. Help me live each day in a manner worthy of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:27). Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Impossible Love Made Possible



When a lawyer asked Jesus which commandment was the greatest, He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22:37, 39). What an overwhelming assignment!

In our own strength, none of us can live up to this obligation, but the Lord has provided a way for Christians to do the impossible. The indwelling Holy Spirit works to produce His fruit in us, and first on the list is love (Gal. 5:22). In fact, the other eight qualities are really just descriptions of its expression.

Whenever we demonstrate kindness, patience, or gentleness, we see the Lord’s love at work through us, especially when the other person has been unkind and doesn’t deserve such pleasant treatment. This fruit is not produced by trying harder to muster good will toward someone who is irritating or hard to get along with. Instead, think of the process more like sap running through a branch on a grape-vine. The branch doesn’t make grapes; the sap does. In the same way, the Spirit flows through us, producing God’s love in us, so that we can pass it on to Him and others.

Agape love is the reason we are able to care for someone who mistreats us—it’s God’s doing, not ours. Even the adoration we offer the Lord is not something that we can produce in our own heart apart from His assistance. Though the command to love is enormous,God’s grace makes it possible.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Call to Godly Living



The apostle Paul lived in an age when sensuality, the pursuit of pleasure, and rebellion against the Lord were prevalent. In response, he wrote letters urging Christians not to follow in the ways of the world. Like those early believers, we are to pursue godliness by...
  1. Presenting our bodies to God. Our total being--mind, will, emotions, personality, and physical body--are to be turned over to our heavenly Father (James 4:7a). Submitting ourselves to the Lord requires a definite decision to give Him control and a daily commitment to remain under His authority. By surrendering to Him, we will position ourselves for godly living.

  2. Becoming living sacrifices. The Christian life is built around the concept of sacrifice. Jesus left the perfection of heaven to dwell among a sinful people so He might reconcile us to God. He offered up His life to make payment for our sins (1 John 3:16) and brought us into His family. As believers, we are to follow His example. Paul called it a living sacrifice, because it is ongoing--one that is repeated daily.
Life is full of options. Many decisions involve a choice between following God's way or our own. Maturing Christians will increasingly sacrifice their own desires and embrace His will.

A life of godliness is characterized by a heart and mind bent toward the things of God. Although we will live imperfectly, our focus is to be on obeying His will and pleasing Him. Let's commit to becoming more like Jesus, the One who willingly gave Himself to God as a sacrifice for us.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Friday, June 27, 2014

Conviction and Pain

"Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?" (John 3:9)

I consider it a good sign that some people are still asking questions like these in our churches: "What should happen in a genuine conversion to Christ?" and "What should a man or woman feel in the transaction of the new birth?"

If I am asked, my answer is this: "There ought to be a real and genuine cry of pain!"

That is why I am not impressed with the kind of evangelism that tries to invite people into the fellowship of God by signing a card. There should be a birth within, a birth from above. There should be the terror of seeing ourselves in violent contrast to the holy, holy God!

Unless we come into this place of conviction and pain concerning our sin, I am not sure how deep and real our repentance will ever be.

The man whom God will use must be undone, humble and pliable. He must be, like the astonished Isaiah, a man who has seen the King in His beauty!

Lord, I pray that many unbelieving people in hard-to-reach nations will realize their need for a Saviour and will call upon Your holy name for their salvation. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

"Born of God"

"By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place. (Hebrews 9:12)

I think most of us remember with assurance the words of the Charles Wesley hymn which was his own personal testimony:

"His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God!"

Wesley testified here and in many other hymns to an inner illumination!

When I became a Christian, no one had to come to me and tell me what Wesley meant. That is why Jesus taught that whosoever is willing to do His will shall have a revelation in his own heart. He shall have an inward revelation that tells him he is a child of God.

Too many persons try to make Jesus Christ a convenience. They reduce Him simply to a Big Friend who will help us when we are in trouble.

That is not biblical Christianity! Jesus Christ is Lord, and when an individual comes in repentance and faith, the truth flashes in us. For the first time he finds himself saying, "I will do the will of the Lord, even if I die for it!"

Lord, I pray today for friends and family who may be questioning their relationship with You. Draw them to Yourself, Heavenly Father. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Unanswered?


 
"Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily" (Luke 18:6, 7).
 
God's seasons are not at your beck. If the first stroke of the flint doth not bring forth the fire, you must strike again. God will hear prayer, but He may not answer it at the time which we in our minds have appointed; He will reveal Himself to our seeking hearts, but not just when and where we have settled in our own expectations. Hence the need of perseverance and importunity in supplication.
 
In the days of flint and steel and brimstone matches we had to strike and strike again, dozens of times, before we could get a spark to live in the tinder; and we were thankful enough if we succeeded at last.
 
Shall we not be as persevering and hopeful as to heavenly things? We have more certainty of success in this business than we had with our flint and steel, for we have God's promises at our back.
 
Never let us despair. God's time for mercy will come; yea, it has come, if our time for believing has arrived. Ask in faith nothing wavering; but never cease from petitioning because the King delays to reply. Strike the steel again. Make the sparks fly and have your tinder ready; you will get a light before long. --C. H. Spurgeon
 
I do not believe that there is such a thing in the history of God's kingdom as a right prayer offered in a right spirit that is forever left unanswered. --Theodore L. Cuyler

~L. B. Cowman~

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Here For Our Time

"Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14)

Just as those who lived in the past had the privilege of being God's people of faith then, so do we in our own day! It is good to come to the understanding that while God wants us to be holy and Spirit filled, He does not expect us to look like Abraham or to play the harp like David or to have the same spiritual insights given to Paul.

All of the former heroes of the faith are dead. You are alive in your generation. A Bible proverb says that a living dog is better than a dead lion (Ecclesiastes 9:4). You may wish to be Abraham or Isaac or Jacob, but remember they have been asleep for centuries, and you are are still around!

You can witness for our Lord today! You can still pray! You can still give of your substance to help those who are in need!

In this, your own generation, give God all your love, all your devotion. You do not know what holy, happy secret God may want to whisper to your responsive heart!

Thank You, Lord, for the encouragement of this devotional today. It is what I needed to hear. Use me to advance Your kingdom, Lord. Whisper, and I will obey. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

God's Overcomers

"These ... have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14)

I insist that if we are burdened with genuine concern, we have the responsibility of examining the true condition of men and women within the church's ranks.

We do live in a time of soft, easy Christianity. It is an era marked by a polite "nibbling" around the edges of the Word of God. There is a mind-set within present-day Christianity that supposes one should get into trouble or suffer embarrassment for Christ's sake!

My brethren, what does it mean to be loyal to Jesus Christ? To confess that Jesus Himself is more important to us than anything else in the world?

Many find it hard to understand how large numbers of Christian believers could have died for their faith in our own generation! With a sense of distant admiration, we call them simple-hearted nationals. God calls them overcomers!

Professing Christians in our North American churches can hardly comprehend so costly a price for the faith we take for granted. Material prosperity and popular acceptance have sapped the vitality of our Christian witness!

Lord, I want to be counted among Your overcomers, and I pray especially for my brothers and sisters in Christ who profess Your name in antagonistic cultures. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

A Faith Worth Passing Down



The most precious thing we can pass down to children is our faith--the confident conviction that God is who He says and will do all He has promised. Timothy's strong relationship with Christ didn't materialize out of thin air; it grew as a result of his mother and grandmother's example.
Here are ways we, too, can hand down a rich legacy to the next generation:
  1. Teach practical biblical principles. Kids need to know God's views on material wealth (Ps. 24:1), meeting needs (Phil. 4:19), and direction in life (Prov. 3:5-6).
  2. Model character through lifestyle. How we live--whether with transparency, peace, and perseverance, or with fear, anxiety, and self-reliance--loudly communicates what we believe about God.
  3. Serve God by serving others. Actions show that our faith is real (James 2:26). If we want kids not to develop a self-centered perspective, servanthood is key.
  4. Intercede for them. Children won't forget hearing us pray regularly for them.
  5. Communicate love. Young people need to know we love them the way God loves us--unconditionally rather than based on what they do or don't do. Spoken words of love breathe life into their hearts. And as we affirm them for trusting God, they see that we value their spiritual growth.

As parents, we must be intentional about leading and inspiring our sons and daughters to follow Christ. But even those without children of their own can leave a legacy. The example to follow is Paul: though neither married nor a natural parent, he was a spiritual father to many (1 Cor. 4:14-16).

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pour Yourself Out

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13)

Science declares that nature abhors a vacuum. It should be happy knowledge to us, then, that the same principle is true in the kingdom of God - when you empty yourself, God Almighty ruses in!

The Creator God who fills the universe and overflows into immensity can never be surrounded by that little thing we call our brain, our mind, our intellect. Never can we rise to face God by what we are and by what we know!

Only by love and faith are we lifted thus to know Him and adore Him!

What a happy hour it becomes when we are drawn out of ourselves, and into that vacuum rushes the blessed Presence.

How wonderful in our humanity to sense the reality of the Holy Spirit's invitation: "Pour yourself out! Give yourself to Me! Empty yourself! Bring you empty earthen vessels! Come in meekness like a child!"

Drawn out of ourselves by the Holy Spirit of God - for who knows the things of God but the Holy Spirit?

We are delivered from ourselves when we finally seek God for Himself alone!

Yes, Lord, deliver me from myself today! Help me to live for You and for others. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Tell the Whole Truth

"In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began" (Titus 1:2)

It is sad indeed to know that there are Christian leaders among us who are too timid to tell the people all the truth. They are now asking men and women to give to God only that which costs them nothing!

The contemporary moral climate does not favor a faith as tough and fibrous as that taught by our Lord and His apostles.

Christ calls men to carry His cross; we call them to have fun in His name!

He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords!

He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness that would have been rejected with scorn by the least of the Stole philosophers!

When will believers learn that to love righteousness it is necessary to hate sin? That to accept Christ it is necessary to reject self? That a friend of the world is an enemy of God? Let us not be shocked by the suggestion that there are disadvantages to the life in Christ!

O Lord, it is so hard for the human spirit to deny or reject itself. I pray that Your Spirit ill take hold of the steering wheel of my will today. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Made Perfect

Hebrews 12:23
Made perfect.
 
Recollect that there are two kinds of perfection which the Christian needs-the perfection of justification in the person of Jesus, and the perfection of sanctification wrought in him by the Holy Spirit. At present, corruption yet remains even in the breasts of the regenerate-experience soon teaches us this. Within us are still lusts and evil imaginations. But I rejoice to know that the day is coming when God shall finish the work which He has begun; and He shall present my soul, not only perfect in Christ, but perfect through the Spirit, without spot or blemish, or any such thing. Can it be true that this poor sinful heart of mine is to become holy even as God is holy? Can it be that this spirit, which often cries, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this sin and death?" shall get rid of sin and death-that I shall have no evil things to vex my ears, and no unholy thoughts to disturb my peace? Oh, happy hour! may it be hastened! When I cross the Jordan, the work of sanctification will be finished; but not till that moment shall I even claim perfection in myself. Then my spirit shall have its last baptism in the Holy Spirit's fire. Methinks I long to die to receive that last and final purification which shall usher me into heaven. Not an angel more pure than I shall be, for I shall be able to say, in a double sense, "I am clean," through Jesus' blood, and through the Spirit's work. Oh, how should we extol the power of the Holy Ghost in thus making us fit to stand before our Father in heaven! Yet let not the hope of perfection hereafter make us content with imperfection now. If it does this, our hope cannot be genuine; for a good hope is a purifying thing, even now. The work of grace must be abiding in us now or it cannot be perfected then. Let us pray to "be filled with the Spirit," that we may bring forth increasingly the fruits of righteousness.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Money Is Not Truth

"The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it" (Proverbs 10:22)

It is a fact in human history that men and women have never in any great numbers sought after truth.

The young people who stream from our halls of learning each year confess to having no more than a passing and academic interest in truth. The majority admit that they go to college only to improve their social standing and increase their earning power.

So, the average American will confess that he most wants success in his chosen field; and he wants success both for prestige and for financial security.

The ominous thing about all this is that everything men and women want can be bought with money, and it would be difficult to think of an indictment more terrible than that!

Real seekers after truth are almost as rare as albino deer! Why? Because truth is a glorious but hard master. Jesus said, "I am ... the Truth" (John 14:6) and followed Truth straight to the Cross. The Truth seeker must follow Him there, and that is the reason few men seek the Truth!

Lord, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the things of this world. Help me to find a balance between working to provide for my family and trusting You for all our needs. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

The Crowd Turns Back

"From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (John 6:66)

Our Lord Jesus Christ called men to follow Him, but He plainly taught that "no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father" (John 6:65).

It is not surprising that many of His early followers, upon hearing these words, went back and walked no more with Him. Such teaching cannot but be deeply disturbing to the natural mind. It takes from sinful men much of the power of self-determination. It cuts the ground out from under their self-help and throws them back upon the sovereign good pleasure of God - and that is precisely where they do not want to be!

These statements by our Lord run contrary to the current assumptions of popular Christianity. Men are willing to be saved by grace, but to preserve their self-esteem, they must hold that the desire to be saved originated with them.

Most Christians today seem afraid to talk about these plain words of Jesus concerning the sovereign operation of God - so they use the simple trick of ignoring them!

Dear Lord, I do not want to be counted among those who turn their backs on You. I want to follow You, Lord. Guide me today. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Influences from Childhood



No one's childhood is perfect. What we experienced during those years has a profound impact, even into adulthood. Things we saw, heard, felt, and even things we did not feel can affect us later in life.

As one might expect, external influences do help to shape our personality. However, the result is not always predictable. For example, early years full of painful experiences leave deeps wounds in some, but in others, they contribute to the development of depth and perseverance.

Whether your younger years were joyful or painful, it can be valuable to consider what their impact was, back then as well as in the present. You might start by exploring your responses to key childhood events. Next, identify traits that you appreciated in your parents and others--qualities you'd like to nurture in your own life. Finally, think about people with characteristics that impacted you negatively. Ask God for healing and freedom from the patterns you may have developed in response. Then shift your focus to godly attributes you want to exhibit instead, such as peace, grace, and gentleness.

The heavenly Father wants to free you from any negative trends that took root early in life. He can break any unhealthy pattern and replace it with hope and deep satisfaction in Him.

As you explore the effects of childhood experiences, pray to see through a lens of truth. When you recognize ways that others negatively influenced you, pray for strength to forgive and God's help in mending areas of brokenness--whether spiritual, emotional, relational, or mental.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Monday, June 23, 2014

Response to the Word

"The word of God is ... sharper than any twoedged sword" (Hebrews 4:12)

Men and women who read and study the Scriptures for their literary beauty alone have missed the whole purpose for which they were given.

God's Word is not to be enjoyed as one might "enjoy" a Beethoven symphony or a poem by Wordsworth.

The reason: The Bible demands immediate action, faith, surrender, committal Until it has secured these, it has done nothing positive for the reader, but it has increased his responsibility and deepened the judgment that must follow.

The Bible was called forth by the fall of man. It is the voice of God calling men home from the wilds of sin; it is a road map for returning prodigals. It is instruction in righteousness, light in darkness, information about God and man and life and death and heaven and hell.

Further, the destiny of each individual depends upon the response to that Voice in the Word!

Father, Your Word contains the precious words of life. I pray today that the Word of God will be proclaimed faithfully - and effectively - to people of every language, tribe and nation. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Except Ye Repent

"The rest of the men ... repented not" (Revelation 9:20)

There are many compelling lessons to be drawn from the Scriptures, and one of the clearest is that sinful and rebellious people can never be forced into repentance.

The same act that may cause one person to repent and believe sill cause others to hate and despise God!

The same Bible sermon that brings the person to tearful submission at an altar of prayer will send others out with pride and a resolve to have their own human way.

Students of the Scriptures are aware that the Old Testament prophets and the writing apostles of New Testament times foresaw and proclaimed God's coming day of judgment - the consummate settling of accounts between the Sovereign God and His rebellious and sinful creation.

How desperately we would like to believe that in the face of coming judgment, all lost men and women will cry out to God, but such will not be the case: "The rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands ..." (Revelation 9:20).

Lord, I pray today that a massive number of people who do not yet know You will turn away from their sin and receive new life in Jesus Christ. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Strengthening Your Faith


Romans 10:17 is the verse I would like for you to read today. It says,

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.   

To fully understand this verse, you need to know that if you are saved, faith has already been deposited in your heart.  It is part of your spiritual DNA. Romans 12:3 says that, God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.  Faith is something He has already given.

It is up to you to develop that faith. It is up to you to do something with it. How do you develop it? You develop it first by hearing the Word of God.

The Bible—God's Word—is the food.  As you feed upon it, your faith will be strengthened.
You know those body builders, men and women who are constantly pumping weights? Well, if you talk to any serious body builder, one of the first things they will refer to is diet. You have to eat the right kind of diet if you are going to build muscle mass.  Usually, their diet is protein-rich.
They faithfully drink their protein shakes and eat their tuna fish sandwiches, which, when they are consumed and digested, become the raw materials that build muscle mass.
As you feed upon and digest God's Word, that truth becomes the raw material that will build faith.  It is faith food.

Most people who struggle with their faith are feeding on the wrong things. Faith comes unconsciously when you feed upon God's Word. 

So today, if you feel like you are struggling in your faith, then change your diet. Start feeding more on God's Word! 

~Bayless Conley~

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Worship - and Word

"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men" (1 Thessalonians 3:12).

I must take issue with those in the churches who insist that the worshiping saints do not get anything don but worship! Such an attitude reveals that they have not done their homework. The beautiful part of worship is that it prepares you and enables you to zero in on the important things that must e done for God.

Listen to me! Practically every great deed done in the church of Christ all the way back to the apostles was done by people blazing with the radiant worship of their God!

The great hospitals and the mental institutions have grown out of the hearts of worshiping and compassionate disciples. It is true, also, that wherever the church has come out of her lethargy and into the tides of revival and spiritual renewal, always the worshipers were back of it.

A survey of church history will prove that it was those who were the yearning worshipers who also became the great workers and the selfless servants. If we give ourselves to God's call for worship, everyone will do more for the Saviour than they are doing now!

Lord, I worship You this morning. I praise You for Your faithfulness and goodness. Glorify Yourself today in the lives of every true worshiper around the globe. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Genuine Faith


Even as he spoke, many believed in him. To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” John 8:30-31

To believe in Jesus is much more than just to believe Jesus. Genuine faith flows from a heart transformed by the truth of God, not just inspired by an emotional desire or intellectual interest. Those whose faith is only a flash of feelings will fall away, but those who embrace Jesus as Savior and Lord are never the same. Belief in Jesus conforms us into the likeness of Jesus. Our language is kind. Our face softens. Our eyes brighten. Our attitude is hopeful. Our is spirit joyful.

Beginning faith is like meeting an attractive person, admiring their life, maybe even dating for a while, but the relationship is far from a marriage commitment. On the other hand, authentic or saving faith is wed to Christ. It is a lifetime covenant of learning, growing and becoming one. We who believe in Jesus are the bride of Christ. It is unconditional belief and fidelity based on His divine nature. Faith in Him is foundational to our relationship of hope, love and forgiveness.

“But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

In a manner similar to a man and woman who have been married for decades, so is our maturing faith in Jesus Christ. Their intimate knowledge of one another conditions them to anticipate the needs of the other. The familiarity of their individual thought processes creates space to patiently wait. The understanding of their unique communication styles causes them to frequently complete each other’s sentences. As they grow older they act and look more like one another.

Jesus is clear, “If we hold to His teachings we are really His disciples.” Our faith is not perfect, but it is learning and growing. Is your life hidden in Christ? Has He captured your affections and ignited your imagination for Him? Yes, move beyond believing Him to believing in Him! Make faith foundational by depending on Jesus for your every need. What’s more, healthy Christians reproduce spiritual children, so pray your life is a channel for the Holy Spirit to convict lost souls to be born again. Our genuine faith goes to God daily to listen, learn, and be loved by Him.

“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my faith to be genuine and acceptable in Your sight.

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Image We Project

"O come, let us worship and bow down ... For he is our God" (Psalm 95:6-7)

Are we presently missing important elements of worship in our churches? I speak of the genuine and sacred offering of ourselves as we worship the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We must ask the question, even though we are building great churches and large congregations. We are boasting about high standards and talking about revival. But as evangelical Christian believers, are we as concerned as we should be about the image we really project to the community around us? It cannot be denied that many who profess the name of Christ still fail to show forth His love and compassion!

It should say something to us that the often-quoted Jean Paul Sartre described his turning to philosophy and hopelessness as a turning away from a secularistic church.

His indictment: "I did not recognize in the fashionable God who was taught me, Him who was waiting for my soul. I needed a creator: I was given a big businessman!"

O Lord, convict me by Your Holy Spirit if I am projecting a false impression of You to others. Express Your love and compassion through me so that others will be attracted to You. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Wisdom From God

"Things which are seen are temporal ... things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18)

The thinking of our generation often reflects a willingness to exchange a high view of God's eternity for a short-term concept called "here and now." Technology is presumed to be paramount, but the answers science gives us are short-term answers.

The scientists may be able to keep us alive for a few extra years, but believing Christians know some things that Einstein did not know!

For instance, we know why we are here. We can say why we were born. We also know what we believe about the value of things eternal.

We are thankful that we have found the promise from the God of all grace that deals with the long term and the eternal. We belong to a company of the plain people who believe the truth revealed in the Bible.

Actually, the wisest person in the world is the person who knows the most about God - the person who realizes that the answer to creation and life and eternity is a theological answer not a scientific answer!

Dear Lord, I pray that You will reveal Yourself in some small way to this unbelieving generation, resulting in many people turning their hearts to You. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Pursuing God


Albert Einstein was once asked by a student, “Dr. Einstein, how many feet are there in a mile?” To the utter astonishment of the student, Einstein replied, “I don’t know.”

The student was sure the great professor was joking. Surely Einstein would know a simple fact that every schoolchild is required to memorize. But Einstein wasn’t joking. When the student pressed for an explanation of this gap in Einstein’s knowledge, he declared, “I make it a rule not to clutter my mind with simple information that I can find in a book in five minutes.” Einstein was not interested in trivial data. His passion was to explore the deep things of the universe. His passion for mathematical and physical truth made him a pivotal fixture in modern world history.

We are called to similar passion, a passion to know God. A thirst for the knowledge of God should drive us to drink deeply at the fountain of Scripture. We are equipped with more than enough unholy passions. Our appetite for lesser things at times threatens to consume us. Yet few of us are in danger of being consumed by a passion for God. The Scripture says of Jesus that zeal for His Father’s house consumed Him. In His humanity, Jesus was a man of passion. He was neither hostile nor indifferent toward the knowledge of His Father. He was a man driven in His pursuit of God.

Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God
Are you driven by an undying passion in your pursuit for God? If not, ask Him to rekindle your desire.

For Further Study 
Psalm 42:2: “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 143:6: “I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land.
Isaiah 55:1: “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

~R. C. Sproul~

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Great Physician

"When Jesus saw him ... he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?" (John 5:6)

If you are a discouraged and defeated Christian believer, you may have accepted the rationalization that your condition is "normal for all Christians."

You may now be content with the position that the progressive, victorious Christian life may be suitable for a few Christians - but not for you! You have been to Bible conferences; you have been to the altar - but the blessings are for someone else.

Now, that attitude on the part of Christian believers is neither modesty nor meekness. It is a chronic discouragement resulting from unbelief. It is rather like those who have been sick for so long that they no longer believe they can get well.

Jesus is still saying, as He said to the man lying by the gate at the Jerusalem pool, "Do you want to be made whole?" (see John 5:6). Jesus made him whole - because of his desire! His need was great, but he had never lapsed into that state of chronic discouragement.

Thank You, Lord, that victorious Christian life can be the norm - even in the midst of this chaotic, malevolent world. Fill me anew with Your Spirit, and shine through me today. Amen

~A. W.Tozer~

Normal - or Nominal?

"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Luke 12:34)

Is the Lord Jesus Christ your most precious treasure in the whole world? If so, count yourself among "normal" Christians, rather than among "nominal" Christians!

My old dictionary gives this definition as the meaning of "nominal":

Existing in name only, not real or actual; hence so small, slight, as to be hardly worth the name."

With that as a definition, those who know they are Christians "in name only" should never make the pretense of being "normal" Christians. Thankfully those who are "normal" are constantly being drawn to praise and worship, charmed by the moral beauty which is found only in Jesus.

I cannot understand how anyone can profess to be a follower and a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ and not be overwhelmed by His attributes. Those divine attributes faithfully attest that He is indeed Lord of all, completely worthy of our worship and praise!

Heavenly Father, You are the Creator of heaven and earth. You are holy and righteous in all Your ways. You are my Treasure today and every day. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

"I am With You Alway"

Matthew 28:20
I am with you alway.
 
It is well there is One who is ever the same, and who is ever with us. It is well there is one stable rock amidst the billows of the sea of life. O my soul, set not thine affections upon rusting, moth-eaten, decaying treasures, but set thine heart upon Him who abides for ever faithful to thee. Build not thine house upon the moving quicksands of a deceitful world, but found thy hopes upon this rock, which, amid descending rain and roaring floods, shall stand immovably secure. My soul, I charge thee, lay up thy treasure in the only secure cabinet; store thy jewels where thou canst never lose them. Put thine all in Christ; set all thine affections on His person, all thy hope in His merit, all thy trust in His efficacious blood, all thy joy in His presence, and so thou mayest laugh at loss, and defy destruction. Remember that all the flowers in the world's garden fade by turns, and the day cometh when nothing will be left but the black, cold earth. Death's black extinguisher must soon put out thy candle. Oh! how sweet to have sunlight when the candle is gone! The dark flood must soon roll between thee and all thou hast; then wed thine heart to Him who will never leave thee; trust thyself with Him who will go with thee through the black and surging current of death's stream, and who will land thee safely on the celestial shore, and make thee sit with Him in heavenly places for ever. Go, sorrowing son of affliction, tell thy secrets to the Friend who sticketh closer than a brother. Trust all thy concerns with Him who never can be taken from thee, who will never leave thee, and who will never let thee leave Him, even "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." "Lo, I am with you alway," is enough for my soul to live upon, let who will forsake me.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Thursday, June 19, 2014

We Know What We Believe

"If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled ... not moved away from the hope of the gospel" (Colossians 1:23)

The hope of the Christian Church still lies in the purity of her theology - that is, her beliefs about God and man and their relation to each other.

It is a fact that positive beliefs are not popular these days. I sense that the modern efforts to popularize the Christian faith have been extremely damaging to that faith. The purpose has been to simplify truth for the masses by using the language of the masses instead of the language of the Church. It has not succeeded but has added to rather than diminished religious confusion.

A mistaken desire to maintain a spirit of tolerance among all races and religions has produced a breed of Janus-like Christians with built-in swivels, remarkable only for their ability to turn in any direction gracefully!

Our Christian beliefs have been revealed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the sacred Scriptures. Everything there is clear-cut and accurate. We dare not be less than accurate in our treatment of anything so precious!

Lord, Your Word is sacred and true, even though so many people disregard and disrespect it today. I pray that there will be an explosion of interest in the Bible during this generation. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Automatic Saints?

"Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest" (2 Corinthians 4:10)

Not everyone agrees with me tat full qualification for eternity is not instant or automatic or painless.

I can only hope that you are wise enough, desirous enough and spiritual enough to face up to the truth that every day is another day of spiritual preparation, another day of testing and discipline with our heavenly destination in mind.

I hope too that you may begin to understand why many evangelical churches are in such a mess. It has become popular to preach a painless Christianity and automatic saintliness. It has become a part of our "instant" culture - "just pour a little water on it, stir mildly, pick up a gospel tract, and you are on your Christian way!"

"Lo," we are told, "this is Bible Christianity!"

"It is nothing of the sort!"

To depend upon that kind of a formula is to experience only the outer fringe, the edge of what Christianity really is. For when the new birth is real and the wonder of regeneration has taken place, then come the lifetime of preparation with the guidance of the Holy Spirit!

Dear Lord, I'm not interested in putting on a religious facade for people to see. I want to make progress in becoming more like You today. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Christ Is Risen

1 Corinthians 15:20
But now is Christ risen from the dead.
 
The whole system of Christianity rests upon the fact that "Christ is risen from the dead;" for, "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain: ye are yet in your sins." The divinity of Christ finds its surest proof in His resurrection, since He was "Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." It would not be unreasonable to doubt His Deity if He had not risen. Moreover, Christ's sovereignty depends upon His resurrection, "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living." Again, our justification, that choice blessing of the covenant, is linked with Christ's triumphant victory over death and the grave; for "He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." Nay, more, our very regeneration is connected with His resurrection, for we are "Begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." And most certainly our ultimate resurrection rests here, for, "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." If Christ be not risen, then shall we not rise; but if He be risen then they who are asleep in Christ have not perished, but in their flesh shall surely behold their God. Thus, the silver thread of resurrection runs through all the believer's blessings, from his regeneration onwards to his eternal glory, and binds them together. How important then will this glorious fact be in his estimation, and how will he rejoice that beyond a doubt it is established, that "now is Christ risen from the dead."

"The promise is fulfill'd,
Redemption's work is done,
Justice with mercy's reconciled,
For God has raised His Son."

~Charles Spurgeon~

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Eternal Verity

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8)

There is a great deal of discussion now taking place about the lack of spiritual power in our Christian churches. What about the New Testament patterns?

Brethren, the apostolic method was to provide a foundation of good, sound biblical reasons for following the Saviour, for our willingness to let the Spirit of God display the great Christian virtues in our lives.

That is why we come in faith and rejoicing to the eternal verity of Hebrews 13:8: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever!" This proclamation gives significance to every other section of teaching and exhortation in the letter to the Hebrews. In this verse is truth that is morally and spiritually dynamic if we will exercise the faith and the will to demonstrate it in our needy world.

I think this fact, this truth that Jesus Christ wants to be known in His church as the ever-living, never-changing Lord of all, could bring back again the power and testimony of the early church!

Lord, I pray for my pastor and my church, that they will comprehend anew the truth that You are ever-living and never-changing. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Tragedy in the Church House



Every Sunday countless people all over the world sit in church buildings with a false sense of security. They assume that their morality, lifelong church membership, or baptism will earn them a place in heaven. While many of these folks sincerely desire to please God, they are confused about what the Christian life is all about. They think in terms of doing rather than being. So they imitate the actions of good Christians: going to a weekly service, praying, reading the Bible, and trying to be decent people.

However, salvation is not the product of good works. We come into the world with a corrupt nature, and all our wrongdoing is born of a heart turned away from the Lord. Because we are sinful people, we sin. It's that simple. The good news is that in the salvation experience, we are given a brand-new nature (2 Cor.5:17). Our sin is wiped away because Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us. From the moment we trust in Him, the Holy Spirit dwells in our heart so that we can live righteously.

The world values action, but the Father prioritizes relationship--specifically a right relationship with Him. People who scurry about flaunting religiosity are missing out on the deeply satisfying and joyous intimacy between a believer and the Lord.


We can help turn others' tragic misunderstanding into triumph by being ready to explain why we have hope (1 Peter 3:15). Speak of the personal relationship with Christ that's possible when a person admits his need and trusts in the Savior. If your light shines, it reflects well on the church.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Gospel Warning

"As he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled" (Acts 24:25)

We who rejoice in the blessings that have come to us through the Saviour need to bear in mind that the gospel is not good news only!

The message of the Cross is good news indeed for the penitent, but to those who obey not the gospel, it carries an overtone of warning.

The Spirit's ministry to the impenitent world is to tell of sin and righteousness and judgment. For sinners who want to cease being willful sinners and become obedient children of God, the gospel message is one of unqualified peace, but it is by its very nature also an arbiter of the future destinies of man.

Actually, the message of the gospel may be received in either of two ways: in word only without power, or in word with power.

The truth received in power shifts the basis of life from Adam to Christ - a new and different Spirit enters the personality and makes the believing man new in every department of his being!

Loving Father, thank You that You are a patient and loving God. I pray again for those in my community an around the world who do not know You. Will Your Spirit convict many of them today? Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Old and New Testament


He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:44-45


Jesus is speaking to His disciples about the things that were written about Him before He came to earth. These writings are prophecies we find in the Old Testament. 

Many Christians tend to focus on the New Testament more than the Old Testament. They think that the Old Testament is not necessary or as applicable to our lives today. Of course, as Christians, we love to read the gospels and the teachings of Jesus as well as the prophecies of end time events. And the New Testament gives us clear instruction for today’s concerns and issues. But we will miss so much if we only stay in the New Testament. The New Testament gives us instruction while the Old Testament gives us illustrations for daily application.

The Old Testament lays the foundation for the New Testament. It is in the Old Testament that prophecies were recorded of Who and what was to come in the future. The Old Testament included the Law of Moses, the Prophets and Psalms—all of which contain specific stories, descriptions and events that point to Jesus. These were written so that the people would recognize Jesus when He appeared. The Old Testament also chronicles the history of God’s people as His plan of redemption for all mankind is laid out book by book. By studying the past, we can better appreciate God’s plans and purposes for us today as we gain a clearer vision of the work of God in their lives.

It has been well said that Jesus is concealed in the Old Testament but revealed in the New Testament. Everything written about Jesus in both Testaments will be fulfilled. That is why Jesus instructed His disciples in the Scriptures while He was with them during His earthly life and after His resurrection. They needed to understand the significance of the past. Jesus did not come to abolish the Old Testament but to fulfill it. We too need to embrace the whole Bible. He opens our minds to understand all Scriptures so that we will know Him better as we learn to apply His Word to our lives every day. The Old and New Testaments are one story by one Author—Jesus, the Living Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your mind and to give you a desire to read and apply the Bible to your life today. Try a reading plan that incorporates a little of both, the Old and New Testament every day. You will be amazed at what you learn. God’s Word is truly awesome.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~