Total Pageviews

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A New Chapter Began

"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept." (1 Corinthians 15:20)

Now, when we look at the Gospels we not an odd - and wonderful - thing. An extra chapter is added. Why?

Biography, by its own definition, must confine itself to the record of the life of an individual. That part of the book which deals with the family tree is not biography, but history, and that part which follows the record of the subject's death is not biography either. It may be appraisal, or eulogy, or criticism, but not biography, for the reason that the "bios" is gone: the subject is dead. The part that tells of his death is properly the last chapter.

The only place in world literature where this order is broken is in the four Gospels.

Then, for the only time in this history of human thought, a biographer adds to his book a new section which is authentic biography and begins to write a chapter to follow the last chapter. This time the story did not end with a funeral.

That next chapter after the last is the source of all the Christian's hope, for it assures us that our Lord has put death in its place and has delivered us from the ancient curse. Death did not end the activities of our Lord. After three days, His spirit was reunited with His body and the new chapter began, the chapter which can have no ending!

Thank You, God, that because of Jesus I have hope of another chapter after this one is closed. Amen


The Inscrutable Resurrection

"Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." (Matthew 28:5-6)

A soldier has been overseas two or three years and is not on his way home. As he gets closer to his native shores anticipation mounts in his heart. He visualizes the joyous meeting soon to take place. He pictures his mother, his sister, his wife, and he smiles as he thinks of how much his little son may have grown since he saw him last. Intelligence dictates a slight difference in the appearance of his loved ones. He knows they will have changed, and he tries to adjust his mental image accordingly. He thus visualizes an event which has not yet occurred by drawing on past experience.

It is right here that thought breaks down when it comes to the resurrection. We have no experience to guide us. When Christ rose from the dead He did what no one had ever done before. We cannot imagine how He accomplished the miracle. We are not even sure exactly what wonderful thing happened there in the silence of Joseph's new tomb. That He came forth, alive forevermore, has been the firmly settled faith of the Church from the beginning. How He accomplished it is a secret locked in the mind of God. We should remember the wise admonition of John Wesley: "Let us not doubt a fact because we do not know how it was accomplished." The resurrection of Christ is a fact. More than that we need not know.

Lord, I accept Your authoritative Word that Jesus rose from the dead; I do not need to know how. I know that I serve a living Saviour. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Resting in the Faithfulness of God

When plans are frustrated or life just seems to fall apart in some way, people often wonder, Has God deserted me? Why hasn't He answered my prayers? The Bible offers encouragement for such times by assuring us of the Father's faithfulness: "Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments" (Deut 7:9).

Five attributes of God make this possible. First, He is omniscient, which means He knows everything, including our every need, thought, frailty, desire, and life situation in the past, present, and future. Next, the Lord is omnipotent, or all-powerful, so nothing is too hard for Him (Jer. 32:17). Then, He is omnipresent--since He exists everywhere at once, He is never beyond reach.

In addition, our heavenly Father cannot lie. Everything that He says is true and reliable. And lastly, God is unchanging. Our circumstances and the world around us may seem to be in a constant state of flux, and the Lord may even modify the way He chooses to interact with mankind in different generations. But His character is always the same. So when Scripture tells us that God is faithful, we can rest confidently upon that promise.

Circumstances can be painful. But even when situations seem overwhelming, believers can trust that our sovereign Lord knows all, is in control, and lovingly works everything for His children's good. We can rest confidently knowing that the unchanging God of all creation is taking care of us.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Blows Fell Upon Him

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." (Isaiah 53:3)

A Chastisement fell upon Him so that we as individual humans could experience peace with God if we so desired. But the chastisement was upon Him. Rebuke, discipline and correction - these are found in chastisement. He was beaten and scourged in public by the decree of the Romans. They lashed Him in public view as they later lashed Paul. They whipped and punished Him in full view of the jeering public, and His bruised and bleeding and swollen person was the answer to the peace of the world and to the peace of the human heart. He was chastised for our peace; the blows fell upon Him.

I think I speak for a great host of forgiven and born-again men and women, when I say that in our repentance we sensed just a fraction and just a token of the wounding and chastisement which fell upon Jesus Christ as He stood in our place and in our behalf. He was publicly humiliated and disgraced as a common thief, wounded and bruised and bleeding under the lash for sins He did not commit, for rebellions in which He had not pat, for iniquity in the human stream that was an outrage to a loving God and Creator.

Lord, I don't have any concept of Christ's humiliation on the Cross, not even a fraction. Thank You, Gracious Father, for the depth of the love of the Lord Jesus. Amen


The Glory of the Cross

"He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities." (Isaiah 53:11)

The meaning of these "stripes" in the original language is not a pleasant description. It means to be actually hurt and injured until the entire body is black and blue as one great bruise. Mankind has always used this kind of bodily laceration as a punitive measure.

But the suffering of Jesus Christ was not punitive. It was not for Himself and not for punishment of anything that He Himself had done.

The suffering of Jesus was corrective. He was willing to suffer in order that He might correct us and perfect us, so that His suffering might not begin and end in suffering, but that it might begin in suffering and end in healing.

Brethren, that is the glory of the Cross! That is the glory of the kind of sacrifice that was for so long in the heart of God! That is the glory of the kind of atonement that allows a repentant sinner to come into peaceful and gracious fellowship with his God and Creator! It began in His suffering and it ended in our healing. It began in His wounds and ended in our purification. It began in His bruises and ended in our cleansing.

He was bruised, He suffered and He died that I might be justified before a holy God. Oh, Lord, the glory of the Cross! Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Ekklesia - Assembly of People

Matthew 16:18

(18) And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
New King James Version   

In Matthew 16:18, the word Jesus used for "church" isekklesia (Strong's #1577), and it is so translated in the King James Version 115 times. This Greek word means "an assembly" or "a group of people called together for a purpose." It contains no implication at all of sacredness or holiness. 
In practical usage, it commonly identified people called by a magistrate for a public service of some sort. This is how it is used in Acts 19:32, 39, and 41:
Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together. . . . But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawfulassembly. . . . And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly. (Emphasis ours.)
Each time, ekklesia is translated as "assembly" and names what could easily be described as a mob of excited and confused people. However, the writers of the New Testament clearly agreed this was the word that best fit the groups of Christians called of God for service to Him. How did it come to be translated as "church" when the word "assembly" fits more accurately?
This change apparently has its beginning in another, far different Greek word, kuriakos (Strong's #2960). Kurios, the Greek word for "Lord," is easily recognizable as the root of kuriakos, which means "belonging to the Lord." Curiously, according to Joseph T. Shipley, author of The Origins of English Words, pp. 183-184, the root of kuriosand kuriakos literally means "to bend or curve."

In the course of time, kuriakos was picked up by the Scots as kirk. Shipley shows that kirk and kuriakos share the same root. In the Scottish language, kirk indicates a place or a location, as in a building belonging to the Lord. The kirk became the place where the assembly bent before God in reverence, as in prayer, appealing to Him; or bent looking upward in praise of God; or where God bent in extending mercy.

As more time passed, the English pronunciation of kirk changed to "church." Thus "church," which indicates a building, a place where God is worshipped, gradually evolved to include, not just the place, but also the people who worshipped there and the worship services too. The modern English Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary reflects this in its definitions for church: "1. A building for Christian worship. 2. Regular religious services. 3. A local congregation of Christians." We regularly use all three in our everyday speech and writing, allowing the context to indicate which is intended.

However, in the Bible the word "church" never refers to a building or to worship services held within the building. It always refers to the assembly, group, or congregation of called-out ones who belong to the Lord, worship Him, and fellowship with others of the same mind.

~John W. Ritenbaugh~

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Universally Misunderstood

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)

We can only conclude that Jesus is universally popular today because He is universally misunderstood.

Everyone admires Jesus, but almost no one takes Him seriously. He is considered a kindly idealist who loved babies and underprivileged persons. He is pictured as a gentle dreamer who was naive enough to believe in human goodness and brave enough to die for His belief. The world thinks of Him as meek, selfless and loving, and values Him because He was what we all are at heart, or would be if things were not so tough and we had more time to cultivate our virtues. Or He is a sweet, holy symbol of something too fine, too beautiful, to be real, but something which we would not lose nevertheless from our treasure house of precious things.

Because the human mind has two compartments, the practical and the ideal, people are able to live comfortably with their dreamy, romantic conception of Jesus while paying no attention whatsoever to His words. It is this neat division between the fanciful and the real that enables countless thousands of persons to say "Lord, Lord" in all sincerity while living every moment in flat defiance of His authority.

Lord, may I, as Your child, take You seriously and be used of You today to bring someone to You. Amen


Profaned and Broken

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)

For our iniquities and our transgressions He was bruised and wounded. I do not even like to tell you of the implications of His wounding. it really means that He was profaned and broken, stained and defiled. He was Jesus Christ when men took Him into their evil hands. Soon He was humiliated and profaned. They plucked out His beard. He was stained with His own blood, defiled with earth's grime. Yet He accused no one and He cursed no one. He was Jesus Christ, the wounded One.

Israel's great burden and amazing blunder was her judgment that this wounded One on the hillside beyond Jerusalem was being punished for His own sin.

Isaiah foresaw this historic error in judgment, and he himself was a Jew, saying: "We thought He was smitten of God. We thought that God was punishing Him for His own iniquity for we did not know then that God was punishing Him for our transgressions and our iniquities."

He was profaned for our sakes. He who is the second Person of the Godhead was not only wounded for us, but He was profaned by ignorant and unworthy men.

Lord, I fall in humility and gratefulness before this holy Son of God, profaned and broken like a common thief for the sins of others [and for my own]. What love! Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Acquiring Wisdom

The most obvious source of godly wisdom is the Bible. You cannot think of a question or life circumstance about which God’s Word is silent. His principles for right character, conduct, and conversation apply to every situation and decision confronting human beings.

We’re all able to recall times when we didn’t respond wisely. Those incidents can be traced back to one of two possibilities—either we didn’t know a certain biblical principle or we knew the principle that applied but chose to ignore or violate it. To ensure that we’ are familiar with God’s standards and the importance of following them, we’ve got to dig into His Word.

For example, suppose that you walk into the office and a coworker verbally assaults you with undeserved blame for a costly mistake. Your flesh and the world would have you respond in kind with anger and malice. But Luke 6:27-29 offers a different approach, that might go something like this: “Is there anything else? Thank you for telling me how you feel” (spoken gently). 

Knowledge comes from learning biblical principles; wisdom has to do with applying them. The Lord cautions us to keep His Word in our heart and in our heads so that we will heed His instructions (Ps. 119:11; Prov. 8:33).

Wisdom is acquired as we pursue the Christian life—absorbing Scripture, doing what it says, and observing the result, which is for our good even when consequences appear less than favorable. Special classes aren’t required; God simply wants obedient hearts and a willing spirit.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Monday, April 27, 2015

No Compromise of Deity

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name." (Philippians 2:9)

We can surely know this, at least: that the Incarnation required no compromise of deity. Let us always remember that when God became incarnate there was no compromise on God's part.

But the holy God  who is God, and all else not God, our Father who art in heaven, could never compromise Himself. The Incarnation, the Word made flesh, was accomplished without any compromise of the holy Deity.

The living God did not degrade Himself by this condescension. He did not in any sense make Himself to be less than God.

He remained ever God and everything else remained not God. The gulf still existed even after Jesus Christ had become man and had dwelt among us. Instead of God degrading Himself when He became man, by the act of Incarnation He elevated mankind to Himself.

Thus, we do not degrade God but we elevate man - and that is the wonder of redemption!

Lord, You are so powerful that You could humble Yourself, yet remain the majestic God. Thank You, Father, that because Jesus came down to me, I can be raised up to be with You. Amen


But He is More

"For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." (Colossians 2:9)

Can it be that we do not believe that Jesus Christ is capable of a growing and increasing intimacy of fellowship with those who are His own? To become acquainted with God is one thing, but to go on in commitment and to experience God in intensity and richness of acquaintance is something more. The Apostle Paul knew this in his yearning as he said, "I want to know Him in that depth and rich intensity of experience (paraphrase of Philippians 3:1))!" Of the many compelling reasons why we ought to know our Saviour better than we do, certainly the first is that He is a person, that He is the Eternal Son, but have we gone on to adore Him because He is the source and fountain of everything that you and I are created to enjoy?

He is the fountain of all truth, but He is more - He is truth itself. He is the source and strength of all beauty, but He is more - He is beauty itself. He is the fountain of all wisdom, but He is more - He is wisdom itself. In Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden away!

There is excitement in true love, and I think that we Christians who love our Saviour ought to be more excited about who He is and what He is!

Lord, may I see all that I can see and comprehend of Jesus, and in doing so may I never forget that He is so much more. May I truly be in love with You. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Expressions of Praise

Glorifying the Lord is not limited to worshipping in church. In fact, praise ought to permeate the believer’s life. 

One obvious way that we praise the Lord is with our voice. We can either speak or sing our worship. Psalm writers put adoration into words and set their love to music. True worship also flows from the mouths of believers who are focused upon God’s attributes. They desire to honor Him because of who He is, what He has done, and what He has promised for the future.

Genuine worship allows the Lord to fill our hearts and minds with His presence. But praising the Lord with wrong motives is an empty act. For example, if we’re lifting our hands and singing loud only because doing so feels good, then what we’re after is an emotional high. That kind of selfish “praise” falls far short of heaven.

Our God is praised when we serve Him. People are created for the purpose of bringing glory and honor to His name. Therefore, nothing should limit our willingness to work for the King, particularly when we have a chance to share Him with others. Christ is honored when His followers speak boldly about His grace and His work—believers’ testimonies are an amazing form of praise that magnifies God’s name.

Jesus Christ is worth more than any treasure this world offers. Loving Him and understanding what He’s done for you should be all the motivation you need to praise Him with your life. Don’t just sing; serve His kingdom and share the gospel. Help to make God’s throne room ring with worship.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Sunday, April 26, 2015


"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." (Hebrews 2:9)

Nothing anywhere in this vast, complex world is as beautiful and as compelling as the record of the Incarnation, the act by which God was made flesh, to dwell among us in our own human history. This Jesus, the Christ of God, who made the universe and who sustains all things by His powerful word, was a tiny babe among us. He was comforted to sleep when He whimpered in His mother's arms. Great, indeed, is the mystery of godliness.

Jesus has been in our world. He spoke and taught about all these things and about everything that concerns us. The record shows that His listeners were amazed and astonished, almost to the point of being frightened. "The people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority" (Matthew 7:28-29). "Never man spake like this man" (John 7:46).

Where can we look in all the vast creation around us to find anything as beautiful - as utterly, awesomely,deeply beautiful - as the Incarnation? God became flesh to dwell among us, to redeem us, to restore us, to save us completely.

Lord, I am inspired by Your beauty. Thank You for the glory I will one day share because Jesus came to redeem, to restore and to save me. Amen


God In the Form of Man

"And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7)

So completely are we carried away by the excitement of this midwinter festival that we are apt to forget that its romantic appeal is the least significant thing about it. The theology of Christmas too easily gets lost under the gay wrappings, yet apart from its theological meaning it really has none at all. A half dozen doctrinally sound carols serve to keep alive the great deep truth of the Incarnation, but aside from these, popular Christmas music is void of any real lasting truth.

It does seem strange that so many persons become excited about Christmas and so few stop to inquire into its meaning; but I suppose this odd phenomenon is quite in harmony with our unfortunate human habit of magnifying trivialities and ignoring matters of greatest import.

The Christmas message, when stripped of its pagan overtones, is relatively simple: God is come to earth in the form of man.

Lord, don't let me ever lose sight of the significance of the Incarnation. Thank You that in the fullness of the time You sent Your Son to die that I might have life. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

The Holy Spirit: An Absolute

Salvation occurs when we trust Jesus as our Savior--He forgives us, transforms us, and sees us as righteous. In that moment, we are redeemed, and though we continue to struggle with sin, it is a defeated foe. Then as time goes on, our service, gifts, and love for Him should naturally become greater.

Unfortunately, a lot of Christians sit in church week after week, going through the motions yet lacking passion and failing to grow. How is such a thing possible? Tragically, many believers are unaware of the essential ministry of God's Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is a member of the Trinity and co-equal with God the Father and God the Son. The opening chapter of Scripture tells us that He existed before the formation of the earth and in fact participated in creation (Gen. 1:2, 26). Today, He has the critical role of helping and counseling all believers.

The Holy Spirit is a gift to every child of God. His presence within us isn't something we have to earn or acquire. Rather, it is a marvelous privilege--by indwelling our hearts, He can guide and strengthen, steering each believer away from danger and into truth (John 16:7-8). Scripture tells us that Jesus came so we could experience a full life (10:10). This is possible only when we listen to His Spirit and obey.

Are you experiencing the abundant life Jesus promised? He wasn't talking about happy circumstances but rather the joy and contentment possible through a relationship with Him. If you're lacking in this area, consider your understanding of the Holy Spirit, and pray to be in tune with His promptings.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Saturday, April 25, 2015

He Came

"He came unto his own, and his own received him not." (John 1:11)

I confess that I am struck with the wonder and the significance of the limitless meaning of these two words, "He Came." Within them the whole scope of divine mercy and redeeming love is outlined. All of the mercy of God is capable of showing, all of the redeeming grace that He could pour from His heart, all of the love and pity that God is capable of feeling - all of these are at least suggested here in the message that "He Came!"

Beyond that, all of the hopes and longings and aspirations, all of the dreams of immortality that lie in the human breast, all had their fulfillment in the coming to earth of Jesus, the Christ and Redeemer.

All our fond visions of a life to come are summed up in these simple words in the Bible record: He Came!

There are times when the use of the superlative is absolutely necessary and you cannot escape it. The coming of Jesus Christ into this world represents a truth more profound than all of philosophy, for all of the great thinkers of the world together could never produce anything that could even remotely approach the wonder and the profundity disclosed in the message of these words, HE CAME!

I am awestruck, Loving God, that You humbled Yourself in order to bring hope and salvation. I worship You. Amen


All Mystery

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." (1 Timothy 3:16)

We would suppose that God in stepping down would step down just as little as possible. We would think that He would stop with the angels or the seraphim - but instead He came down to the lowest order and took upon Himself the nature of Abraham, the seed of Abraham.

The Apostle Paul throws up his hands in wonder at this point. Paul, declared to be one of the six great intellects of all time, throws up his hands and declares that "great is the mystery of godliness" (1 Timothy 3:16), the mystery of God manifest in the flesh.

Perhaps this is the most becoming approach to the subject for all of us: to just throw up our hands and say, "O Lord, you alone know!" There are so many more things in heaven and earth than are known in our theology - so it is in the deepest sense all mystery.

I think also that it is very becoming for us to enter into the presence of God reverently, bowing our heads and singing His praises, and acknowledging His loving acts on our behalf even with our words, "It is true, O God, even if we do not know or understand how You have brought it all to pass!"

Lord, I both throw up my hands in awe and fall on my face in worship. I don't always understand You, but I praise and worship Your majesty. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Controlling Our Appetites

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

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

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

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

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

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Friday, April 24, 2015

Jesus Is Not On Trial

"And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." (John 16:8)

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

The Holy Spirit came to do a confirmatory work and He raised Him from the dead and since this mysterious witness is come, Jesus Christ is no longer on trial. It is no longer a question of "Was Jesus the Son of God?"

The Holy Spirit has taken that out of the realm of polemics and has put it in the realm of morals. The silent, immediate witness this penetrating voice in the conscience of men tells us that this Person was indeed the very Son of God.

Yes, the Holy Spirit's witness is to witness to the lordship and deity of the Son of God. Jesus Christ needs no more books written to prove that He is God. He needs no advocate pleading His cause before the unfriendly court of this world. He needs no witness to rise and say, "I know He is the Son of God."

The proof of the Sonship of Jesus has been removed from the realm of the intellect and placed where it has always belonged - in he realm of morals. And it is the Holy Spirit who has put it there.

Holy Spirit, convict us of the reality of Jesus' deity and bring about moral action among Your people, I pray. Amen


Total Inadequacy

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

None of us can approach a serious study and consideration of the eternal nature and person of Jesus Christ without sensing and confession our complete inadequacy in the face of the divine revelation.

All we can hope to do is to toddle along on our short legs and gaze heavenward, like a goose whose wings have been clipped but whose heart is in the sky. Those wings will not take her there.

Now, I have said all of this because my best faith and my loftiest expectation do not allow me to believe that I can do justice to a text that begins: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14) and concludes: "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him" (1:18).

This is what we will attempt to do: we will walk along the broad seashore of God and pick up a shell here and a shell there, holding each up to the light to admire its beauty. While we may ultimately have a small store of shells to take with us, they can but remind us of the truth and the fact that there stretches the vastness of the seashore around the great lips of the oceans - and that still buried there is far more than we can ever hope to find or see!

May I daily continue to add to that little pile of shells that is my knowledge of You, Lord. You are great beyond my comprehension. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

The Lure of Momentary Pleasure

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

Have you pursued wealth and a career at the expense of family? Maybe your busy schedule has kept you from spending time with God in His Word each day. Some people become involved in extramarital affairs, trading the well-being of their family for the satisfaction of lustful desires. Others sacrifice their health by consuming harmful or addictive substances, or even by overindulging in food. The list of ways we make foolish, shortsighted choices is endless.

Some of the decisions we make today could rob us of the blessings God wants to give us. When you yield to temptation in a moment of weakness, you're actually sacrificing your future for momentary pleasure. We can't afford to live thoughtlessly, basing our decisions on immediate desires or feelings. Since the principle of sowing and reaping cannot be reversed, we need to carefully consider what we are planting. The harvest will come, and we'll reap what we have sown--and more than we've sown.

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

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Very God of Very God

"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature." (Colossians 1:15)

Now, the Bible has a great deal to say about the manner in which sinful man may come into the fellowship and the presence of God, and it all has to do with forgiveness and grace and regeneration and justification in Jesus Christ! It all boils down to the teaching that Jesus Christ is everything that the Godhead is! The image of the invisible God, the brightness of His glory, the express image of His person - all of these we find in and through Jesus Christ!

We believe with rejoicing that Jesus Christ was the begotten of the Father, before all ages, that He is God of God, Light of light, very God of very God, begotten and not made, of one substance with the Father, and it is by Him that all things were made!

He was and is and can never cease to be God, and when we find Him and know Him, we are back at the ancient fount again! Christ is all that the Godhead is!

How amazing is Your plan of redemption, Lord, that through finding Christ we find You. Let me know Him more, that I may enter into fellowship with You. Amen


God - Or An Idiot

"I and my Father are one" (John 10:30)

Now the words of the Lord Jesus were words so lofty and so astounding and so filled with authority that no other religious teacher in history could ever match His teachings.

Frankly, the claims that He made brand Him immediately as being God - or an idiot!

Of His own body He said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19). He told His hearers, "I beheld satan as lightning fall from heaven" (Luke 10:18). He declared with authority, "Before Abraham was, I am!" (John 8:58). He predicted that

when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. (Matthew 25:31-33).

No one else has ever been able to say, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth" (John 5:28-29).

No one else has ever talked like that!

Lord, I know that You are God and I see the authority in Your words. Help me to share You faithfully with those around me who still do not believe. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

God Acts On Our Behalf

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

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

When you aren't seeing any answers, it doesn't mean that God is not working. He's still actively involved in your life, but He works in ways that are not always visible He orchestrates circumstances, changes people's hearts, and protects His children from making hasty decisions that will have disastrous consequences. Perhaps the Lord knows you're not yet ready for the next leg of your spiritual journey. Waiting times are opportunities for growth in character, obedience, and faith. He may also need time to train you for future responsibilities and ministries.
When you intentionally choose to be still, God unleashes His mighty power on your behalf. He has planned good things for those who wait, and I believe what He has in store for your life will surpass all expectations. When He knows you're ready to receive His blessings, they'll flow into your lap.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Undivided Trinity

"And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost." (Luke 23:46)

Even when Christ Jesus died on that unholy, fly-infested Cross for mankind, He never divided the Godhead. As the old theologians pointed out, you cannot divide the substance. Not all of Nero's swords could ever cut down through the substance of the Godhead to cut off the Father from the Son.

It was Mary's son who cried out, "Why have you forsaken Me?"

It was the human body which God had given Him.

It  was the sacrifice that cried, the lamb about to die.

It was the human Jesus. It was the Son of Man who cried.

Believe it that the ancient and timeless Deity was never separated; He was still in the bosom of the Father when He cried, "Into thy hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46).

So the Cross did not divide the Godhead - nothing can ever do that. One forever, indivisible, the substance undivided, three persons unconfounded.

Oh, the wonder of the ancient theology of the Christian Church! How little we know of it in our day of lightminded shallowness. How much we ought to know of it.!

Lord, may I unhesitatingly believe what I can't begin to comprehend. You are an awesome mystery. Amen


Confident Assurance

"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power." (Hebrews 1:3)

I wish I could comprehend everything that the inspired Word is trying to reveal in the statement that Jesus, the eternal Son, is the "brightness of [God's] glory, and the express image of his person" (Hebrews 1:3). This much I do know and understand: Jesus Christ is Himself God.

We live in a society where we cannot always be sure that traditional definitions still hold. But I stand where I always have stood. And the genuine believer, no matter where he may be found in the world, humbly but surely is convinced about the person and position of Jesus Christ. Such a believer lives with calm and confident assurance that Jesus Christ is truly God and that He is everything the inspired writer said He is. He is "the brightness of [God's] glory, and the express image of his person". This view of Christ in Hebrews harmonizes with and supports what Paul said of Jesus when he described Him as "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature" (Colossians 1:15), in whom "dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (2:9).

I worship my Lord Jesus today, Father God, as being equal and the same in person and in glory with You. Thank You that I can always be certain of who Christ is, the very image of You and Your glory. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

The Lord Fights for His Children

So Moses extended his staff over the land of Egypt, and then the Lord brought an east wind on the land all that day and all night. The morning came, and the east wind had brought up the locusts! and the Lord turned a very strong west wind, and it picked up the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea. Not one locust remained in all the territory of Egypt. (Exod 10:13,19)

See how in the olden times, when the Lord fought for Israel against the cruel Pharaoh, the stormy winds wrought out their deliverance; and yet again, in that grandest display of power—the last blow that God struck at the proud defiance of Egypt. A strange, almost cruel thing it must have seemed to Israel to he hemmed in by such a host of dangers—in front the wild sea defying them, on either hand the rocky heights cutting off all hope of escape, the night of hurricane gathering over them. It was as if that first deliverance had come only to hand them over to more certain death. Completing the terror there rang out the cry: “The Egyptians are upon us!”
When it seemed they were trapped for the foe, then came the glorious triumph. Forth swept the stormy wind and beat back the waves, and the hosts of Israel marched forward, down into the path of the great deep—a way arched over with God’s protecting love.
On either hand were the crystal walls glowing in the light of the glory of the Lord; and high above them swept the thunder of the storm. So on through all that night; and when, at dawn of the next day, the last of Israel’s host set foot upon the other shore, the work of the stormy wind was done.
Then sang Israel unto the Lord the song of the “stormy wind fulfilling his word.”
“The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil…Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.”
One day, by God’s great mercy, we, too, shall stand upon the sea of glass, having the harps of God. Then we shall sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” We shall know then how the stormy winds have wrought out our deliverance.
Now you see only the mystery of this great sorrow; then you shall see how the threatening enemy was swept away in the wild night of fear and grief.
Now you look only at the loss; then you shall see how it struck at the evil that had begun to rivet its fetters upon you.
Now you shrink from the howling winds and muttering thunders; then you shall see how they beat back the waters of destruction, and opened up your way to the goodly land of promise.
—Mark Guy Pearse
“Though winds are wild,
And the gale unleashed,
My trusting heart still sings:
I know that they mean
No harm to me,
He rideth on their wings.”

~L. B. Cowman~

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Normal Christians

"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." (1 Peter 1:8)

Is the Lord Jesus Christ your most precious treasure in this world? If so, you can count yourself among normal Christians.

Is the moral beauty which is found only in Jesus Christ constantly drawing you to praise and worship? If so you are indeed among those whom God's Word identifies as normal, believing, practicing Christians.

But I can almost anticipate an objection. If someone is that delighted and that occupied with the person of Jesus Christ, is he or she not an extremist rather than a normal Christian?

Having professing Christians really come to that time in their humanistic and secularistic leanings that they can sincerely deny that loving Jesus Christ with all their heart and soul and strength is normal Christianity? We must not be reading and studying the same Bible!

How can anyone profess to be a follower and a disciple of Jesus Christ and not be overwhelmed by His attributes? These divine attributes attest that He is indeed Lord of all, completely worthy of our worship and praise.

Lord, I pray that You would restore in Your Church a belief that those who love You with all their heart, soul and mind are normal, and worthy of imitation. May we be overwhelmed by Your attributes. Amen


We Can't Say It All

"No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." (John 1:18)

I always note with a little chuckle the frustrations of the translators when they come to such passages as John 1:18.

God's Word is just too big fr the translators. They come to this phrase in the Greek: The son hath declared Him. In the English of the king James Version it is just declared. In other versions they skirt it, they go around it, they plunge through it. They use two or three words and then they come back to one. They do everything to try to say what the Holy Spirit said, but they have to give up. Our English just will not say it all.

When we have used up our words and synonyms, we still have not said all that God revealed when He said: Nobody has ever seen God, but when Jesus Christ came He showed us what God is like (paraphrase of John 1:18).

I suppose that our simple and everyday language is as good as any.

"He has revealed Him - He has shown us what God is like!"

He has declared Him. He has set Him forth. He has revealed Him. In these way the translators shift their language trying to get at this wondrous miracle meaning.

Lord, I am too limited to fully understand or express who You are. Fix my eyes on Jesus, that I might see You. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

The Perfect One

“How long will you keep us in suspense?  If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” John 10:22-24

Do you really believe that the Jewish religious leaders wanted clarity and confirmation that He is the Christ? No. Their mission was consistent in wanting Him to publicly declare that He was Messiah in order to justify attacking and eventually killing Him.

Their motive doesn’t surprise me, but Jesus’ consistent patience, sincerity and honesty absolutely surprises me. He continually answers their questions and exposes their hearts. These religious men think that they are so perfect—perfect in their knowledge of the scriptures, perfect in judging and criticizing. And now they think that they are perfectly justified in killing the only Perfect person who ever lived. Jesus once again repeats over and over that they will not understand because they are not His sheep. Jesus’ sheep hear His voice, know Him and follow Him. Jesus tells us that His Father fully supports Him and loves Him. And so we know that no one will snatch us out of the Father’s hand either. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are united in their plans and purpose for sheep preservation. They are committed to the security and safety of the sheep. As His sheep, we have the responsibility to hear, obey and to follow where He leads. But if you know Jesus, regardless of how far you stray, He will eventually lead you back for nothing can separate you from the love of God.

Pray about it:Oh Lord, thank You for being my Good Shepherd. You know me, love me, call me by name, and lead me. You also tell me that nothing will snatch me away from You. I am so thankful that You will complete the work You started in me and that You will get me to where I need to be. Please help me to live by fully trusting You. I want the attitude of my heart and the meditations of my mind to be without fear, doubt, worry and insecurity. Thanks for taking care of me.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Monday, April 20, 2015

This Is Our Jesus

Can We Know His Thoughts?

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets. Amos 3:7

Truly we, as believers, can know His plans before they happen. Many times, we hear others say, “I knew that was going to happen.” But how easy it is to say that after the fact! God is saying that we can know before.

I learned early in my walk with the Lord to be quiet before Him. I would read a Scripture passage until I felt God was speaking to me. I would determine that the Lord was speaking because the verse would seem special in some way, applicable in some way or I considered the verse to be a new thought. I would just stop and ponder and pray it back to God, asking Him to make His message clear to me for the day. In the quietness, the Lord would speak to my heart. It would start as an impression at first. I would pray about it and ask God questions about the impression until His wisdom became “louder or firmer” than my thoughts, questions and distractions. Next, I would step out in faith and test the message. If it is the Lord, He would confirm it through bringing it to pass or giving me similar messages through His Word or others.

Today, I pray this verse to the Lord, knowing that He will reveal His plan to me because I long to be His servant and want to live in His will. God is faithful and if you ask, He will answer. If you learn to be still, He will speak. If you listen, He will reveal His plan. After years of relating to the Lord like this, you will then know that you know His will before the fact, for He promises that He does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets. So the first step is to find out if you are His servant.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Fixture In God's Mind

"The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of longsuffering; thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness." (Psalm 41:3)

It says in Hebrews 2:6, quoting from Psalm 8:4, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" The Greek word for mindful means "fixture in the mind." We're a fixture in God's mind. And the only wonderful, strange eccentricity of the great free God is that He allows Himself to be emotionally identified with me, so whatever hurts me, hurts Him. Whenever I'm in pain, God is in pain; whenever I suffer, He suffers. Scripture says, The Lord ... wilt make all [our] bed[s] in [our] sickness" (Psalm 41:3). God sits beside us and grieves when we grieve.

Love also feels pleasure in its object. God is happy in His love. When people love each other, they're very happy.

A young mother is always happy over her baby. I've never seen one that wasn't. Sometimes a mother may get a little angry when the child gets big enough to push things over, but for the most part, love is a pleasurable thing. And God is happy in His love toward all that He has made.

How amazing that You would take delight in loving me! Thank You, Father, for understanding me so well and for Your unfailing love. Amen


The Greatness of God's Love

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

If I were to try to talk about the greatness of love I would only run in circles because I can't speak of that which cannot be spoken of. But to break it down a little, this love of God is an attribute of God, which means it is eternal, immutable and infinite. It never began to be and it can never end; it can never change and there is no boundary to it.

Every time God thinks about you, He thinks about you lovingly. Even if He must chastise you, or allow hardships to come to you, it is love that allows it to come and love that sends it. And we never should be afraid of love, because love casts out fear.

The best preservative in the world is the love of God. Some people believe in the security of the saints from theological grounds. They take it from a text somewhere. I believe in the security of the saints because God is love and God always keeps that which He loves. We always keep what we love - always.

He loves us so that no creature - neither seraphim nor cherubim nor archangel nor principality nor power nor all of them added together in all the vast universe of God - can ever hope to know how overpassingly great is the love of God, and how tenderly, how sweetly and how much He loves us.

Lord, I can't even comprehend the immensity of Your love for me. May I be aware of all the expressions of Your love that I encounter as I go about my day. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

I Will Put a Division Between My People and Thy People

I will put a Division between My People and thy People - Exodus8:23

THIS division is as old as eternity. - In the council chamber of the Godhead the Father chose Jesus and all who should believe in Him unto eternal life. We cannot understand the reason of that Divine choice; we can only affirm it, that in those ages of the unfathomed past, Christ and His seed stood out from the rest of mankind, the people of God's own possession and inheritance.

It was affected by the Cross of Jesus. - By it we are crucified to the world, and the world to us. The cross, with its outstretched arms, stands sentinel between the Church and the world which cast out her Lord. The grave, like a great gulf, yawns between those who gather round the risen Master on resurrection ground, and all men else. From the moment that Jesus ascended, the rallying center of the Church was removed from earth to heaven, from the cross to the throne.

It is wrought out by the daily grace of the Holy Ghost. - It is right, of course, to come out and be separate in our outward walk and behavior. But, deeper than this, if only we will let the Spirit of God work unhindered, He will effect an inward division. Our tastes and desires, our hopes and aims, will become different, and we shall be aware of a growing dissimilarity between ourselves and the world.

Then to the separate soul the Bridegroom comes. He says tender and loving words. In one hour He teaches more than all human teachers could; and sheds forth by the Holy Ghost the torrent of Divine Love. There may be darkness without, but there is light in the dwellings of Goshen: there may be plague and pestilence in the world, but there is peace, joy, and bliss, in the separated soul.

~F. B. Meyer~