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Saturday, January 31, 2015

We Are Just Beginning

"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me." (John 15:26)

Oh, my friend, we are just beginning. God's personality is so infinitely rich and manifold that it will take 1,000 years of close search and intimate communion to know even the outer edges of His glorious nature. When we talk about communion with God and fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we are talking about that which begins now but will grow and increase and mature while life lasts.

The Holy Spirit is a living Person, and we can know Him and fellowship with Him! We can whisper to Him, and out of a favorite verse of the Bible or a loved hymn, we hear His voice whispering back. Walking with the Spirit can become a habit. It is a gracious thing to strive to know the things of God through the Spirit of God in a friendship that passes the place where it has to be kept up by chatter.

Lord, bring me into a communion with You that only grows richer and more splendid the longer it lasts. Enable me to hear the Holy Spirit, and through Him to know You more deeply. Amen


Curious to Know God

"And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." (Exodus 33:14-15)

In what I have to say I may not be joined by any ground swell of public opinion, but I have a charge to make against the Church. We are not consciously aware of God in our midst. We do not seem to sense the tragedy of having almost completely lost the awareness of His presence.

I do not say that to condemn. I say it with a grieving spirit. I pray that the churches in this day may yet reap the joys and fruits of gracious revival and the deep inward awareness of God's presence.

Revival and blessing come to the Church when we stop looking at a picture of God and look at God Himself. Revival comes when, no longer satisfied just to know about a God in history, we meet the conditions of finding Him in living, personal experience.

Modern mankind can go everywhere, do everything and be completely curious about the universe. But only a rare person now and then is curious enough to want to know God.

Lord, increase my curiosity and help me to know You so intimately that I am especially, specifically, consciously aware of Your Presence throughout the day. Help me to know You that intimately. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

There's A Song In the Air!

“Look! The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.”—Matt 1:23
For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us. He shoulders responsibility and is called: Extraordinary Strategist, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.—Isa 9:6

“There’s a song in the air!
There’s a star in the sky!
There’s a mother’s deep prayer,
And a baby’s low cry!
And the star rains its fire
While the beautiful sing,
For the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King.”

A few years ago a striking Christmas card was published, with the title, “If Christ had not come.” It was founded upon our Saviour’s words, “If I had not come.” The card represented a clergyman falling into a short sleep in his study on Christmas morning and dreaming of a world into which Jesus had never come.

In his dream he found himself looking through his home, but there were no little stockings in the chimney corner, no Christmas bells or wreaths of holly, and no Christ to comfort, gladden and save. He walked out on the public street, but there was no church with its spire pointing to Heaven. He came back and sat down in his library, but every book about the Saviour had disappeared.

A ring at the door-bell, and a messenger asked him to visit a poor dying mother. He hastened with, the weeping child and as he reached the home he sat down and said, “I have something here that will comfort you.” He opened his Bible to look for a familiar promise, but it ended at Malachi, and there was no gospel and no promise of hope and salvation, and he could only bow his head and weep with her in bitter despair.

Two days afterward he stood beside her coffin and conducted the funeral service, but there was no message of consolation, no word of a glorious resurrection, no open Heaven, but only “dust to dust, ashes to ashes,” and one long eternal farewell. He realized at length that “He had not come,” and burst into tears and bitter weeping in his sorrowful dream.

Suddenly he woke with a start, and a great shout of joy and praise burst from his lips as he heard his choir singing in his church close by:

“O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him, born the King of Angels,
O come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.”

Let us be glad and rejoice today, because “He has come.” And let us remember the annunciation of the angel, “Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10, 11).

“He comes to make His blessing flow, Far as the curse is found.”

~L. B. Cowman~

Friday, January 30, 2015

We Begin With God

"By him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible ... and he is before all things, and by him all things consist." (Colossians 1:16-17)

Now, I know that some have said about me: "That man is always talking about God!" I can only say in reply that if that is the only charge that anyone can properly bring against me, I will be quite a happy man! I know that I talk a lot about God - about the triune God, because I still believe in God. I believe in Him as God Almighty, the Father, and Jesus Christ, His Son and our Lord, and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

We do begin with God here, where all truth begins, for God is the one true and absolute reality. Back of all, and underneath and supporting all things, He girds the universe and holds it up and guides it.

God does that. That is the only explanation for the universe and the only explanation of human life, for as Creator He gives to human life its meaning and significance.

He is the sacred meaning that gives validity to all meaning. Exclude God from your thinking and you will find yourself with no sense of moral values - you will have no standard of right or wrong.

Lord, may I also talk "too much" about You. May I keep You first in everything I do, think or say today. Enable me by Your Spirit, I pray, in Jesus' name. Amen


The Business of the Church Is God

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3)

The Church is born out of the gospel and that gospel has to do with God an man's relation to God. Christianity engages to bring God into human life, to make men right with God, to give them a heart knowledge of God, to teach them to love and obey God and ultimately to restore in them the lost image of God in full and everlasting perfection.

Our Lord, in defining eternal life, summed up the supreme goal of human existence: "That they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." And Paul revealed the one overpowering interest of his life when he wrote "That I may know him."

The business of the Church is God. She is purest when most engaged with God and she is astray just so far as she follows other interests, no matter how "religious" or humanitarian they may be.

Lord, may I make You my business today, and may the lost image of Your perfection be revealed to me in all its fullness. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Sunday of the Mind

He went out to relax in the field in the early evening. Then he looked up and saw that there were camels approaching.—Gen 24:63

We should be better Christians if we were more alone; we should do more if we attempted less, and spent more time in retirement, and quiet waiting upon God. The world is too much with us; we are afflicted with the idea that we are doing nothing unless we are fussily running to and fro; we do not believe in “the calm retreat, the silent shade.” As a people, we are of a very practical turn of mind; “we believe,” as someone has said, “in having all our irons in the fire, and consider the time not spent between the anvil and the fire as lost, or much the same as lost.” Yet no time is more profitably spent than that which is set apart for quiet musing, for talking with God, for looking up to Heaven. We cannot have too many of these open spaces in life, hours in which the soul is left accessible to any sweet thought or influence it may please God to send.

“Reverie,” it has been said, “is the Sunday of the mind.” Let us often in these days give our mind a “Sunday,” in which it will do no manner of work but simply lie still, and look upward, and spread itself out before the Lord like Gideon’s fleece, to be soaked and moistened with the dews of Heaven. Let there be intervals when we shall do nothing, think nothing, plan nothing, but just lay ourselves on the green lap of nature and “rest awhile.”

Time so spent is not lost time. The fisherman cannot be said to be losing time when he is mending his nets, nor the mower when he takes a few minutes to sharpen his scythe at the top of the ridge. City men cannot do better than follow the example of Isaac, and, as often as they can, get away from the fret and fever of life into fields. Wearied with the heat and din, the noise and bustle, communion with nature is very grateful; it will have a calming, healing influence. A walk through the fields, a saunter by the seashore or across the daisy-sprinkled meadows, will purge your life from sordidness, and make the heart beat with new joy and hope.

“The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday,
… Out in the fields with God.”

~L. B. Cowman~

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Only Him

"Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me." (Psalm 63:7-8)

It is part of my belief that God wants to get us to a place where we would still be happy if we had only Him! We don't need God and something else. God does give us Himself and lets us have other things, too, but there is that inner loneliness until we reach the place where it is only God that we desire.

Most of us are too social to be lonely. When we feel lonely, we rush to the telephone and call Mrs. Yakkety. So we use up thirty minutes, and the bread is burned in the oven. With many, it is talk, talk, talk, and we rush about looking for social fellowship because we cannot stand being alone.

If you will follow on to know the Lord, there comes a place in your Christian life when Mrs. Yakkety will be a pest instead of being a consolation. She won't be able to help you at all. There will not be a thing that she can do for you. It is loneliness for God - you will want God so badly you will be miserable. This means you are getting close, friend. You are near the kingdom, and if you will only keep on, you will meet God. God will take you in and fill you, and He will do it in His own blessed and wonderful way.

Lord, bring me to that place of inner loneliness that David knew, so that when all else is stripped away, I might find satisfaction in You - only You. Amen.


A Mighty Man Was David

"My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God." (Psalm 84:2)

Perhaps David's greatness and his significance for mankind lies in his complete preoccupation with God. He was a Jew, steeped in the Levitical tradition, but he never got lost in the forms of religion. "I have set the Lord always before me" (Psalm 16:8), he said once and again he said, or rather cried, for his words rise from within like a cry, "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" (42:2).

David was acutely God-conscious. To him God was the one Being worth knowing. Where others saw nature he saw God. He was a nature poet indeed, but he saw God first and loved nature for God's sake. Wordsworth reversed the order and, while he is great, he is not worthy to untie the shoelaces of the man David.

David was also a God-possessed man. He He threw himself at the feet of God and demanded to be conquered and Jehovah responded by taking over his being and shaping it as a potter shapes the clay.

Because he was God-possessed he could be God-taught.

He sent his heart to school to the Most High God, and soon h knew Him with an immediacy of knowing more wonderful than is dreamed of in our philosophies.

Lord, may I be as God-possessed as David. Give me a heart that cries out to You; then teach me and enable me to know You with immediacy and intimacy. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Clean Feet, Clean Heart

Israel can be a dusty place, and sandaled feet get filthy walking to and fro. In ancient times, a person entering a home removed his sandals and cleaned his feet. Or if the homeowners were wealthy, servants would do the washing. This distasteful but necessary task fell to the worker of lowest position in the household.

Imagine the disciples' surprise when the Son of God put Himself in the role of a lowly servant and knelt to wash their feet. The need for such a service was great, as they had been traveling for some time. But not one of them offered to do it.
Jesus did more than fill a need; He offered an object lesson. As He explained, "I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you" (John 13:15 nlt). Some churches have incorrectly interpreted this as a command to make foot washing an ordinance. But it's possible to clean someone else's skin without contemplating the significance of Christ's actions.

In fact, the act itself is not the main point; attitude is what counts. Jesus desires that we be willing to humble ourselves to serve others. He is looking for men and women who will ignore pride, position, and power in order to do whatever must be done, wherever it needs doing, and for whoever requires assistance.

Jesus performed His greatest and most humble acts of service within 24 hours of each other. He washed dirty feet using two hands that would be pierced by nails in less than a day. The message here is that every task God gives us is important to His kingdom.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Less Than the Best

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6)

It is disheartening to those who care, and surely a great grief to the Spirit, to see how many Christians are content to settle for less than the best. Personally I have for years carried a burden of sorrow as I have moved among evangelical Christians who somewhere in their past have managed to strike a base compromise with their heart's holier longings and have settled down to a lukewarm, mediocre kind of Christianity utterly unworthy of themselves and of the Lord they claim to serve. And such are found everywhere.

Every man is as close to God as he wants to be; he is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he will to be. Our Lord said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." If there were but one man anywhere on earth who hungered and was not filled, the word of Christ would fall to the ground.

Yet we must distinguish wanting from wishing. By "want" I mean wholehearted desire. Certainly there are many who wish they were holy or victorious or joyful but are not willing to meet God's conditions to obtain it.

Lord, may I settle for nothing less than the best when it comes to my relationship with You. Give me a wholehearted thirst for You, that I may partake of the incredible privilege of intimate fellowship with You. Amen


The Imperative of Meeting God

"Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God" (Ezekiel 1:1)

Sometimes preachers get carried away and start sermonizing on the great calamities posed by communism and secularism and materialism. But our greatest calamity is the closed heaven, the silent heaven. God meant for us to be in fellowship with Him. When the heavens are closed, men are left to themselves. They are without God.

Ezekiel and all the rest of God's faithful servants learned something that we must learn. If there is anything worth having, it will have to be something that we get from God Himself. The heavens have been closed since mankind began reasoning God out of our world. What used to be the hand and providence of God is now just natural law.

But in the Christian faith it is imperative that the individual meet God. We are not talking about just the possibility of meeting God. We are not saying just that it would be a good thing to meet God. Meeting God is imperative!

Lord, deliver me from Your absence today; open the doors of heaven and bestow upon me Your presence. May this be imperative in my life, both now and always. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Faith Triumphant

Lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him (Gen. 15:12).

The sun at last went down, and the swift, eastern night cast its heavy veil over the scene. Worn out with the mental conflict, the watchings, and the exertions of the day, Abraham fell into a deep sleep, and in that sleep is soul was oppressed with a dense and dreadful darkness, such as almost stifled him, and lay like a nightmare upon his heart.

Do you understand something of the horror of that darkness? When some terrible sorrow which seems so hard to reconcile with perfect love, crushes down upon the soul, wringing from it all its peaceful rest in the pitifulness of God, and launching it on a sea unlit by a ray of hope; when unkindness, and cruelty maltreat the trusting heart, till it begins to doubt whether there be a God overhead who can see and still permit--these know something of the "horror of great darkness."

It is thus that human life is made up; rightness and gloom; shadow and sun; long tracks of cloud, succeeded by brilliant glints of light, and amid all Divine justice is working out its own schemes, affecting others equally with the individual soul which seems the subject of special discipline.

O ye who are filled with the horror of great darkness because of God's dealings with mankind, learn to trust that infallible wisdom, which is co-assessor with immutable justice; and know that He who passed through the horror of the darkness of Calvary, with the cry of forsakenness, is ready to bear you company through the valley of the shadow of death till you see the sun shining upon its further side.

Let us, by our Forerunner, send forward our anchor, Hope, within the veil that parts us from the unseen; where it will grapple in ground and will not yield, but hold until the day dawns, and we follow it into the haven guaranteed to us by God's immutable counsel.
--F. B. Meyer

The disciples thought that that angry sea separated them from Jesus. Nay, some of them thought worse than that; they thought that the trouble that had come upon them was a sign that Jesus had forgotten all about them, and did not care for them.

Oh, dear friend, that is when troubles have a sting, when the devil whispers, "God has forgotten you; God has forsaken you"; when your unbelieving heart cries as Gideon cried, "If the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us?" The evil has come upon you to bring the Lord nearer to you. The evil has not come upon you to separate you from Jesus, but to make you cling to Him more faithfully, more tenaciously, more simply.
--F. S. Webster, M.A.

Never should we so abandon ourselves to God as when He seems to have abandoned us. Let us enjoy light and consolation when it is His pleasure to give it to us, but let us not attach ourselves to His gifts, but to Himself; and when He plunges us into the night of pure faith, let us still press on through the agonizing darkness.

Oh, for faith that brings the triumph
When defeat seems strangely near!
Oh, for faith that brings the triumph
Into victory's ringing cheer--
Faith triumphant; knowing not defeat or fear.

~L. B. Cowman~

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Secret Garden

"And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden" (Genesis 3:8)

However we may explain this mysterious "ground" within us, we will not have been long in the Christian way until we begin to experience it. We will find that we have within us a secret garden where no one can enter except ourself and God. This secret inner chamber is the secret trysting place for Christ and the believing soul; no one among all our dearest friends has the open sesame that will permit him to enter there. If God is shut out, then there can be only everlasting loneliness and numb despair.

Where God is not known in the inner shrine, the individual must try to compensate for his sense of aloneness in whatever way he can. Most persons rush away to the world to find companionship and surround themselves with every kind of diversionary activity. All devices for killing time, every shallow scheme for entertainment, are born out of this inner loneliness. It is a significant and revealing fact that such things have in these last days grown into billion-dollar enterprises! So much will men pay to forget that they are a temple without a God, a garden where no voice is heard in the cool of the day.

What a privilege, Lord, to fellowship with the God of the universe. Slow me down today, that I might know this intimate inner fellowship. Amen


Give Me Thyself

"And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel." (Numbers 18:20)

Above all gifts, God desires most to give Himself to His people. Our nature being what it is, we are the best fitted of all creatures to know and enjoy our God.

When God told Aaron, "Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel," He in fact promised a portion infinitely above all the real estate in Palestine and all the earth thrown in (Numbers 18:20). To possess God - this is the inheritance ultimate and supreme.

To give God back to us what the chief work of Christ in redemption. To impart Himself to us in personal experience is the first purpose of God in salvation. To bring acute God-awareness is the best help the Spirit brings in sanctification. All other steps in grace lead up to this.

Were we allowed one request, we might gain at a stroke all things else by praying one all-embracing prayer:

Thyself, Lord! Give me Thyself and I can want no more.

Lord, may I be truly satisfied today with nothing but the best gift of all - YOU. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Jesus and I

The exception is Caleb son of Jephunneh; he will see it and I will give him and his descendants the territory on which he has walked, because he has wholeheartedly followed me.”—Deut 1:36
Every hard duty that lies in your path, that you would rather not do, that it will cost you pain and struggle or sore effort to do, has a blessing in it. Not to do it, at whatever cost, is to miss the blessing.
Every hard piece of road on which you see the Master’s shoe-prints and along which He bids you follow Him, surely leads to blessing, which you cannot get if you cannot go over the steep, thorny path.
Every point of battle to which you come, where you must draw your sword and fight the enemy, has a possible victory which will prove a rich blessing to your life. Every heavy load that you are called to lift hides in itself some strange secret of strength.
—J. R. Miller
“I cannot do it alone;
The waves run fast and high,
And the fogs close all around,
The light goes out in the sky;
But I know that we two
Shall win in the end, Jesus and I.
“Coward and wayward and weak,
I change with the changing sky;
Today so eager and bright,
Tomorrow too weak to try;
But He never gives in,
So we two shall win, Jesus and I.
“I could not guide it myself,
My boat on life’s wild sea;
There’s One who sits by my side,
Who pulls and steers with me.
And I know that we two
Shall safe enter port,
Jesus and I.”

~L. B. Cowman~

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Genuine Encounter with God

"And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed" (Exodus 3:2)

Is it not true that for most of us who call ourselves Christians there is no real experience? We have substituted ideas for an arresting encounter; we are full of religious notions, but our great weakness is that for our hearts there is not one there.

Whatever else it embraces, true Christian experience must always include a genuine encounter with God. Without this, religion is but a shadow, a reflection of reality, a cheap copy of an original once enjoyed by someone else of whom we have heard. It cannot but be a major tragedy in the life of any man to live in a church from childhood to old age and know nothing more real than some synthetic god compounded of theology and logic, but having no eyes to see, no ears to hear, and no heart to love.

We who experience God in this day may rejoice that we have in Him all that Abraham or David or Paul could have; indeed the very angels before the throne can have no more than we, for they can have no more than God and can want nothing apart from Him. And all that He is and all that He has done is for us and for all who share the common salvation.

Lord, may I experience Your presence in such a real way today that I'll feel like taking off my shoes, because I'll know I'm on holy ground. Amen


Made for Higher Worlds

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

God has revealed Himself many times and in many ways to assure men and women made in His image that there is another and a better world than this vale of tears we refer to as home.

When people around us learn that we are involved in a spiritual kingdom not yet visible, they think we are prime candidates for a mental institution. But this we know: Those same people around us are subject to the cruel tyranny of material and temporal things - things that will decay and pass away. No world dictator ever ruled his cowering subjects with any more fierce and compulsive domination that the material, visible things rule the men and women of this world.

Of all the calamities that have been visited upon this world and its inhabitants, the willing surrender of the human spirit to materialistic values is the worst! We who were made for higher worlds are accepting the ways of this world as the ultimate. That is a tragedy of staggering proportions.

We who were meant to commune with the Creator God, with the angels, archangels and seraphim, have decided instead to settle down here. As well might the eagle leave his lofty domain to scratch in the barnyard with the common hens.

It's so easy, Lord, to become enamored with and ensnared by the things of this barnyard. Help me to be more lofty in my affections today. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Call Back

This will be a time for you to serve as witnesses.—Luke 21:13
Life is a steep climb, and it does the heart good to have somebody “call back” and cheerily beckon us on up the high hill. We are all climbers together, and we must help one another. This mountain climbing is serious business, but glorious. It takes strength and steady step to find the summits. The outlook widens with the altitude. If anyone among us has found anything worth while, we ought to “call back.”
If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back—
’Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track; 
And if, perchance, Faith’s light is dim, because the oil is low, 
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.
Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest’s roots were torn;
That, when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the very air was still.
Oh, friend, call back, and tell me for I cannot see your your face,
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race;
But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.
But if you’ll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you’ll say He saw you through the night’s sin-darkened sky
If you have gone a little way ahead, oh, friend, call back—
’Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track. 

~L. B. Cowman~

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Seeking For More of God

"And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory" (Exodus 33:18)

When Moses saw the glory of God he begged that he might see more. When God revealed to him that he had found grace, he wanted more grace. Remember this: The man that has the most of God is the man who is seeking the most ardently for more of God.

I have been greatly and deeply concerned that you and I do something more than listen, that we dare to go to God like the Lady Julian and dare to ask Him to give us a faithful, fatherly wound - maybe three of them, if you please: to wound us with a sense of our own sinful unworthiness that we'll never quite get over; to wound us with the sufferings of the world and the sorrows of the Church; and then to wound us with the longing after God, a thirst, a scared thirst and longing that will carry us on toward perfection.

Almost every day of my life I am praying that "a jubilant pining and longing for God" might come back on the evangelical churches. We don't need to have our doctrine straightened out; we're as orthodox as the Pharisees of old. But this longing for God that brings spiritual torrents and whirlwinds of seeking and self denial - this is almost gone from our midst.

Lord, I pray that You will bring about a renewed, intense longing for You in my heart. Begin the work in my own heart, and let it spread also to all of Your Church! Amen


Daily Glimpses of His Glory

"For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear; neither hath the eyes seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him" (Isiah 64:4)

Every emotion has its reaction and every pleasurable experience will dim after a while. The human organism is built that way and there is nothing we can do about it. It is well known that the second year of marriage is often the most critical, for then the first excitement has worn off the relationship and the young couple has not had time to acquire a new set of common interests and to learn to accept a more stable if less emotional kind of life.

Only engrossment with God can maintain perpetual spiritual enthusiasm because only God can supply everlasting novelty. In God every moment is new and nothing ever gets old. Of things religious we may become tired; even pray may weary us; but God never. He can show a new aspect of His glory to us each day for all the days of eternity and still we shall have but begun to explore the depths of the riches of His infinite being.

The sum of all this is that nothing can preserve the sweet savor of our first experience except to be preoccupied with God Himself. Our little glass is sure to run dry unless we keep it replenished from the fountain.

Lord, every day there is indeed some new glimpse of Your glory. May I enter the day today with a holy anticipation! Amen

~A. W. Tozer~
Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is trustworthy, and he will in fact do this.—1 Thess 5:23-24

Many years since I saw that “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” I began by following after it and inciting all with whom I had intercourse to do the same. Ten years after, God gave me a clearer view than I ever had before of the way to obtain it; namely, by faith in the Son of God. And immediately I declared to all, “We are saved from sin, we are made holy by faith.” This I testified in private, in public, and in print, and God confirmed it by a thousand witnesses. I have continued to declare this for above thirty years, and God has continued to confirm my work.
—John Wesley in 1771
“I knew Jesus, and He was very precious to my soul; but I found something in me that would not keep sweet and patient and kind. I did what I could to keep it down, but it was there. I besought Jesus to do something for me, and, when I gave Him my will, He came to my heart, and took out all that would not be sweet, all that would not be kind, all that would not be patient, and then HE shut the door.”
—George Fox
My whole heart has not one single grain, this moment, of thirst after approbation. I feel alone with God; He fills the void; I have not one wish, one will, one desire, but in Him; He hath set my feet in a large room. I have wondered and stood amazed that God should make a conquest of all within me by love.
—Lady Huntington
“All at once I felt as though a hand—not feeble, but omnipotent; not of wrath, but of love—was laid on my brow. I felt it not outwardly but inwardly. It seemed to press upon my whole being, and to diffuse all through me a holy, sin-consuming energy. As it passed downward, my heart as well as my head was conscious of the presence of this soul-cleansing energy, under the influence of which I fell to the floor, and in the joyful surprise of the moment, cried out in a loud voice. Still the hand of power wrought without and within; and wherever it moved, it seemed to leave the glorious influence of the Saviour’s image. For a few minutes the deep ocean of God’s love swallowed me up; all its waves and billows rolled over me.”
—Bishop Hamline
Holiness—as I then wrote down some of my contemplations on it—appeared to me to be of a sweet, calm, pleasant, charming, serene nature, which brought an inexpressible purity, brightness, peacefulness, ravishment to the soul; in other words, that it made the soul like a field or garden of God, with all manner of pleasant fruits and flowers, all delightful and undisturbed, enjoying a sweet calm and the gentle vivifying beams of the sun.
—Jonathan Edwards
“Love’s resistless current sweeping 
All the regions deep within; 
Thought and wish and senses keeping 
Now, and every instant clean: 
Full salvation! Full salvation! 
From the guilt and power of sin.”

~L. B. Cowman~

Saturday, January 24, 2015

He Wants Us To Come

"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:17)

God takes great pleasure in having a helpless soul come to Him simply and plainly and intimately. He takes pleasure in having us come to Him. This kind of Christianity doesn't draw big crowds. It draws only those who have their hearts set on God, who want God more than they want anything else in the world. These people want the spiritual experience that comes from knowing God for Himself. They could have everything stripped away from them and still have God.

These people are not vastly numerous in any given locality. This kind of Christianity doesn't draw big crowds, but it is likely to draw the hungriest ones, the thirstiest ones and some of the best ones. And so God takes great pleasure in having helpless people come to Him, simply and plainly and intimately. He wants to to come without all that great overlording of theology. He wants us to come as simply and as plainly as a little child. And if the Holy Spirit touches you, you'll come like that.

Thank You, Lord, for this warm invitation. I come to You humbly, deeply grateful for You compassionate desire to meet with me and fill me. Amen


The Sum Total of Our Hungers

"My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" (Psalm 42:2)

One of the milk companies makes capital of the fact that their cows are all satisfied with their lot in life. Their clever ads have made the term "contented cows" familiar to everyone. But what is a virtue in a cow may be a vice in a man. And contentment, when it touches spiritual things, is surely a vice.

Religious complacency is encountered almost everywhere among Christians these days, and its presence is a sign and a prophecy. For every Christian will become at last what his desires have made him. We are all the sum total of our hungers. The great saints have all had thirsting hearts. Their cry has been, "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" Their longing after God all but consumed them; it propelled them onward and upward to heights toward which less ardent Christians look with languid eye and entertain no hope of reaching.

Orthodox Christianity has fallen to its present low estate from lack of spiritual desire. Among the many who profess the Christian faith, scarcely one in a thousand reveals any passionate thirst for God.

Oh, Lord, deliver me from the complacency that is so prevalent both around me and within me. Give me an unquenchable thirst for You that I may cry out for You along with the saints of long ago. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Great Power In Prayer

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

No doubt by praying we learn to pray, and the more we pray the oftener we can pray, and the better we can pray. He who prays in fits and starts is never likely to attain to that effectual, fervent prayer which availeth much.

Great power in prayer is within our reach, but we must go to work to obtain it. Let us never imagine that Abraham could have  interceded so successfully for Sodom if he had not been all his lifetime in the practice of communion with God. Jacob's all-night at Peniel was not the first occasion upon which he had met his God. We may even look upon our Lord's most choice and wonderful prayer with his disciples before His Passion as the flower and fruit of His many nights of devotion, and of His often rising up a great while before day to pray.

If a man dreams that he can become mighty in prayer just as he pleases, he labors under a great mistake. The prayer of Elias which shut up heaven and afterwards opened its floodgates, was one of long series of mighty prevailings with God. Oh, that Christian men would remember this! Perseverance in prayer is necessary to prevalence in prayer.

Those great intercessors, who are not so often mentioned as they ought to be in connection with confessors and martyrs, were nevertheless the grandest benefactors of the Church; but it was only by abiding at the mercy-seat that they attained to be such channels of mercy to men.

We must pray to pray, and continue in prayer that our prayers may continue.
--C. H. Spurgeon

~L. B. Cowman~

Friday, January 23, 2015

Determine to Find Him

"My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord, in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up" (Psalm 5:3)

I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The still and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.

Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.

If we would find God amid all the religious externals, we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity.

Quiet my heart, Lord, that I might be still enough to find You in the midst of this complex world. Simplify my life that I may never lose sight of You. Amen


Spiritual Receptivity

"When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek" (Psalm 27:8)

Pick at random a score of great saints whose lives and testimonies are widely known. Let them be Bible characters or well-known Christians of post-biblical times.

I venture to suggest that the one vital quality which they had in common was spiritual receptivity. Something in them was open to heaven, something which urged them Godward. Without attempting anything like a profound analysis, I shall say simply that they had spiritual awareness and that they went on to cultivate it until it became the biggest thing in their lives. They differed from the average person in that when they felt the inward longing they did something about it. They acquired the lifelong habit of spiritual response. They were not disobedient to the heavenly vision. As David put it neatly, "When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek" (Psalm 27:8).

~A. W. Tozer~

Willing To Walk

Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? - Amos 3:3

What does it mean to walk with someone? If you walk with someone, you keep the same pace or stride. You walk beside them, close enough to see and hear them clearly. Walking with someone in the physical sense represents fellowship and synchronicity, where neither one is moving ahead or lagging behind. To walk with someone requires a willingness to move ahead together in the same direction and for the same duration. As the verse says, for two to walk together, they must agree—on quite a few things.

The Bible is filled with "two [who] walk together." The Lord gave Moses a partner in Aaron. Naomi had Ruth. David had Jonathan. Even Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs, two by two. Peter and John would continue as friends and partners as they started the first church. Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 says that two are better than one because they are there to help each other, pick each other up, and even help keep each other warm. And, of course, from the beginning, God put man and woman together: to walk together and to become one in marriage. But to truly walk together, we must agree with our partner, have common goals, be willing to submit, and work together for the purposes of God.

God puts us together because He knows the value of fellowship and friendship. He has made it a necessity to the point that if we do not have fellowship with others, we will struggle with loneliness and depression. Jesus wants us to walk with Him in fellowship and friendship. He desires for us to agree with Him, submit to Him and allow Him to set the course. If we can truly learn to walk in agreement with the Lord, then we will successfully walk together in our marriages and other friendships. We cannot walk with someone and be at odds, eventually the walk will end.

If you are struggling today in your walk with someone, a marriage, friendship or partnership, you must first get your walk back in agreement with the Lord. Ask the Lord to help you walk with Him in those areas in which you are struggling. Maybe you need to repent from rebellious ways or attitudes or maybe you need to submit to going in a direction you have not wanted to go. Once you learn to walk with God first, then you will be so much better in walking with others.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Thirst for God

"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God" (Psalm 42:1)

In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct "interpretations" of truth. They are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water.

This is the only real harbinger of revival which I have been able to detect anywhere on the religious horizon. It may be the cloud the size of a man's hand for which a few saints here and there have been looking. It can result in a resurrection of life for many souls and a recapture of that radiant wonder which should accompany faith in Christ, that wonder which has all but fled the Church of God in our day.

O Lord, I pray that a thirst for You may build and grow, may prove unquenchable and may indeed result in a recapturing of "that radiant wonder," both in my own faith and in that of the Church. Amen


Show Me Thy Glory

"Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight" (Exodus 33:13)

Come new to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking. Moses used the fact that he knew God as an argument for knowing Him better. Now, therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight,  (Exodus 33:13); and from there he rose to make the daring request, "I beseech thee, shew me thy glory" (33:18). God was frankly pleased by this display of ardor, and the next day called Moses into the mount, and there in solemn procession made all His glory pass before him.

David's life was a torrent of spiritual desire, and his psalms ring with the cry of the seeker and the glad shout of the finder. Paul confesses the mainspring of his life to be his burning desire after Christ. "That I may know Him" (Philippians 3:10), was the goal of his heart, and to this he sacrificed everything.

Lord, make Your glory known to me and let me learn from Moses, David, Paul and others that deep longing that results in intimate knowledge of You. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

No Such Thing As Wasted Years

"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” - Joel 2:25

The book of Joel was written by the prophet of whom we know the least. His book is only three chapters in length but is packed with sincere pleas for repentance for the nation of Israel. Joel knew the Lord’s Day was coming but he also knew and spoke of God’s endless mercy and grace. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Joel 2:25. For me, this verse represents great hope and encouragement for the future. Not only is our God a God of second chances, but also He is a God who restores our past. I have witnessed this restoration first hand in my own life.

I was raised in church, accepted Jesus as my Savior and was baptized, all before the age of 10. I can honestly say I have known the Lord most of my life, but I have not always chosen to walk with Him. There is a big difference in knowing Him versus living for Him. There is also a big difference in knowing about Him versus knowing Him personally. I spent many years as an adult choosing to live my life my way. I still read the Bible, went to church and prayed…prayed a lot for the things I wanted. But my life was my own. Then one day, something changed in my heart. My eyes were opened in a very different way. I realized who was really on the throne of my life and it was not Jesus. I began to see how empty my life had become and that I wanted more. More meant more of Him. It was time to live for Jesus. It was time to change my course. But what about those wasted years? I had such sadness realizing the time I had wasted. If only I had done things differently.

Then one day, I come across this verse in Joel. And the Lord Himself said to me that He would restore all of those years that the locust had eaten. He has a plan for my life and His plans and callings are irrevocable. Not only is God with me as I go forward but also He has never left me. I look back and see God’s tremendous grace. And I have seen God do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine in just a few short years.  Do you have regrets about wasted years? 

Know today that God will restore them all. If you have been away from Him, come back today. Repent and ask the Lord to sit on the throne of your life and carry out His plans and callings for you. Let this verse give you hope and encouragement to begin a new day.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Practical Religion # 12

Self-Inquiry (continued)

a. Is any reader of this chapter asleep and utterly thoughtless about religion?

Oh, awake and sleep no more! Look at the churchyards and cemeteries. One by one the people around you are dropping into them, and you must lie there one day. Look forward to a world to come, and lay your hand on your heart, and say, if you dare, that you are fit to die and meet God. Ah! you are like one sleeping in a boat drifting down the stream towards the fall of Niagura! "What meanest thou, oh sleeper! Arise and call upon thy God!" Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light!" (Jonah 1:6; Ephesians 5:14).

b. Cast aside your fears, and accept the offer of our Lord Jesus Christ to sinners. Hear Him saying, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink" (John 7:37). "Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).

Doubt not that these words are for you as well as for anyone else. Bring all your sins, and unbelief, and sense of guilt, and unfitness, and doubts, and infirmities, - bring them all to Christ. "That Man receiveth sinners," and He will receive you. (Luke 15:2). Do not stand still, halting between two opinions, and waiting for a convenient season. "Arise: He calleth thee!" Come to Christ this very day. (Mark 10:49).

c. Is any readers of this chapter a professing believer in Christ, but a believer without much joy and peace and comfort?

Take advice this day. Search your own heart, and see whether the fault be not entirely your own.

Very likely you are sitting at ease, content with a little faith, and a little repentance, a little grace and a little sanctification, and unconsciously shrinking back from extremes. You will never be a very happy Christian at this rate, if you live to the age of Methuselah. Change your plan, if you love life and would see good days, without delay.  Come out boldly, and act decidedly. Be thorough, thorough, very thorough in your Christianity, and set your face fully towards the sun. Lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset you. Strive to get nearer to Christ, to abide in Him, to cleave to Him and to sit at His feet like Mary, and drink full draughts out of the fountain of life. "These things," says John, "we write unto you that your joy may be full." (1 John 1:4). "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another" (1 John 1:7).

d. Is any reader of this chapter a believer oppressed with doubts and fears, on account of his feebleness, infirmity, and sense of sin? Remember the text that says of Jesus, "A bruised reed will He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench" (Matthew12:20). Take comfort in the thought that this text is for you. What though your faith be feeble? It is better than no faith at all.

The least grain of life is better than death. Perhaps you are expecting too much in this world. Earth is not heaven.

You are yet in the body. Expect little from self, but much from Christ. Look more to Jesus, and less to self.

e. Finally, is any reader of this chapter sometimes downcast by the trials he meets within the way to heaven, bodily trials, family trials, trials of circumstances, trials from neighbors, and trials from the world?

Look up to a sympathizing Saviour at God's right hand, and pour out your heart before Him. He can be touched with the feeling of your infirmities, for He suffered Himself being tempted. Are you alone? So was He. Are you misrepresented and calumniated? So was He. Are you forsaken by friends? So was He. Yes! He can feel for you, and He can help as well as feel. Then learn to draw nearer to Christ. The time is short. yet a little time, and all will be over: we shall soon be "with the Lord." "There is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off" (Proverbs 23:18). "Ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry" (Hebrews 10:36, 37).

~J. C. Ryle~

(The End)

Conviction for the Believer

Recently I spoke to a heartbroken woman. Her father was dying, and he was cold toward his family and God. He desired no contact and refused to discuss any spiritual matter.

But God is able to reach anyone—even someone hostile to the faith. Consider the apostle Paul’s conversion! Yet Scripture also teaches that the Lord eventually gives people over to the hardness of their own hearts. There may come a point when He no longer draws them by revealing their need for a Savior.

The situation is different for believers, though. When we, in our humanness, continue to sin, the Holy Spirit convicts us so we’ll get back on track. At that point, we can humbly repent and follow Him or ignore His voice and continue to sin. If we persist in error, our Father will keep calling us back. But the danger is that our hearts may become desensitized and eventually we may cease hearing His warning.

Thankfully, we are children of God, and He loves us too much to let us remain in a sinful pattern. Though chastisement and conviction are never pleasant, He knows our travelling down the wrong road results in much greater heartache. The Lord is a shepherd, using His staff and rod to lovingly bring us to green pastures.

On the Christian journey, there will be temptations to stray, falsely promising to satisfy longings. Stay closely connected to Jesus through prayer and Scripture. Be listening so you can obey immediately when He calls you to change course. In the long run, living God’s way brings the greatest joy.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~