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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Be Ye Holy!

"But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:15-16)

You cannot study the Bible diligently and earnestly without being struck by an obvious fact - the whole matter of personal holiness is highly important to God!

Neither do you have to give long study to the attitudes of modern Christian believers to discern that by and large we consider the expression of true Christian holiness to be just a matter of personal option.

Personally, I am of the opinion that we who claim to be apostolic Christians do not have the privilege of ignoring such apostolic injunctions. I do not mean that a professor can forbid or that a church can compel. I only mean that morally we dare not ignore this commandment, "Be ye holy."

Brethren, we are still under the holy authority of the apostolic command. Men of God have reminded us in the Word that God does ask us and expect us to be holy men and women of God, because we are the children of God, who is holy. The doctrine of holiness may have been badly and often wounded - but the provision of God by His pure and gentle and loving Spirit is still the positive answer for those who hunger and thirst for a life and spirit well-pleasing to God.

Lord, may I no longer see the pursuit of holiness as optional. Rather, may I strive to fulfill Your expectations for my life. Amen


Trustworthy and Able

"And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform" (Romans 4:21)

I must confess that in my ministry I keep repeating some of the things I know about God and His faithful promises. Why do I insist that all Christians should know for themselves the kind of God they love and serve? It is because all the promises of God rest completely upon His character.

Why do I insist that all Christians should search the Scriptures and learn as much as they can about this God who id dealing with them? It is because their faith will only spring up naturally and joyfully as they find that our God is trustworthy and fully able to perform every promise He has made.

God's eternal blessings do not depend on how you feel today. If my eternal hope rested on how I felt physically, I might as well begin packing for a move to some other region! Even if I do not feel heavenly, my feelings in no way change my heavenly hope and prospect.

I dare not relate even a fraction of my faith and hope to my emotions of the moment and to how I feel today. My eternal hope depends on God's well-being - on whether God Himself is able to make good on His promises. And about that there is no doubt.

Lord, forgive me for my faltering faith. Remind me constantly that my hope rests on Your good character, in which I have confidence. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

The First Step Toward Freedom

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches.  In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.  For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.  Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" (John 5:2-6).

Jesus asked this man a seemingly ridiculous question, "Do you want to be made well?"  It's obvious isn't it?  He is at the pool, isn't he?  The only reason people went there was to be healed.  What kind of a question is that to be asking?  Of course, he wanted to be healed.

But Jesus was not convinced.  This man had been stuck in his condition for a long time.  He was not only lying down on the outside, he was lying down on the inside.

Sometimes people get used to living in their problems.  While they may outwardly be going through the motions to get free (generally because they know that is what is expected of them), inwardly they have given up.

The first step toward getting free from your problems and that which binds and restricts your life is wanting it—really wanting it.

You have to stand up on the inside before you can ever stand up on the outside.
Let me be very bold and ask you:  Do you want to be made well?  Do you really want things to change?  Or have you grown accustomed to living under the devil's heel?

If you are tired of defeat, mediocrity and bondage, then stand up on the inside and say, "Enough is enough!"

It is the first step toward freedom.

~Bayless Conley~

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sure Tests

"I am the Lord that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images" (Isaiah 42:8)

One vital test of all religious experience is how it affects our relation to God, our concept of God and our attitude toward Him.

God being who He is must always be the supreme arbiter of all things religious. The universe came into existence as a medium through which the Creator might show forth His perfections to all moral and intellectual beings: "I am the LORD; that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another" (Isaiah 42:8). "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11).

The health and balance of the universe require that in all things God should be magnified. "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable" (Psalm 145:3). God acts only for His glory and whatever comes from Him must be to His own high honor. Any doctrine, any experience that serves to magnify Him is likely to be inspired by Him. Conversely, anything that veils His glory or makes Him appear less wonderful is sure to be of the flesh or the devil.

Lord, may I clearly see Your glory today. May I not be fooled by any experience or thought that does not magnify You, and may You be pleased with my worship this day. Amen


Not What I Want to Be

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6)

There comes a time when the true believer must take his stand on the oath and covenant of God and refuse to be shaken. He must lift high his happy affirmation, not in arrogance, but in faith and in deep humility. Perhaps his declaration of independence will go something like this:

I am not yet perfect, but I thank God and my Lord Jesus Christ that I am done with the past and I do now trust in my Saviour for full deliverance from all sins. I cannot pray like Daniel, but I shall never cease to praise God for He inclines His ear to me. I am not as wise as Solomon, but I glory in this, that "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day" (2 Timothy 1:12). I have not the gifts of Moses or Isaiah or John, but I'll be everlastingly grateful that I have been given the moral perception to understand and appreciate such men as these. I am not what I want to be, but thanks be to God that I do want to be better than I am; and I am sure that "he which hath begun a good work in [me] will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).

Here I stand. I can do nothing else, so help me God.

Lord, do the work that must be done in Your power, through Your Holy Spirit, to bring Your work to completion in my life. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Sin's Enormity!

"Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!" Jeremiah 44:4

If we took a survey of everything on the earth--we could find nothing so vile as sin. The basest and most contemptible thing in this world, has some degree of worth in it, as being the workmanship of God. But sin and its foul streams have not the least part of worth in them. Sin is wholly evil without the least mixture of good--it is vileness in the abstract.

Sin's heinousness appears in its author: "The one who practices sin is of the Devil; for the Devil has sinned from the beginning." Sin is the Devil's trade, and he practices it incessantly!

Sin's enormity is seen in what it has done to man: it has completely ruined his nature and brought him under the eternal curse of God!
Sin is the source of all our miseries. All evil and wretchedness are its fruits. There is . . .
  no distress of the mind,
  no anguish of the heart,
  no pain of the body--but is due to sin!

All the miseries which mankind groans under, are to be ascribed to sin!

Sin is the cause of all divine punishments: "Your ways and your doings have brought these things upon you. This is your punishment." Had there been no sin, there would have been . . .

  no wars,
  no calamities,
  no prisons,
  no hospitals,
  no insane asylums,
  no cemeteries
  no eternal Hell!

Yet who lays these things to heart?

"The deceitfulness of sin!" Sin assumes many garbs. When it appears in its nakedness--it is seen as a black and misshapen monster! How God Himself views it, may be learned from the various similitudes used by the Holy Spirit to set forth its ugliness and loathsomeness. Sin is likened to the scum of a seething pot in which is a detestable carcass--and to a dead and rotting body!

There is a far greater malignity in sin than is commonly supposed, even by the majority of church members. Men regard sin as an infirmity, and term it a human frailty or hereditary weakness. The majority regard sin as a mere trifle.

Tens of thousands of religionists see so little filth in sin, that they imagine a few tears will wash away its stain. They perceive so little criminality in it, that they persuade themselves that a few good works will make full reparation for it.

All comparisons fail to set forth the horrible malignity in that abominable thing which God hates. We can say nothing more evil of sin, than to term it what it is!

~Arthur Pink~

Friday, May 29, 2015

Be Exalted, O God

"Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth" (Psalm 57:5)

This was written by David when fleeing from Saul and surrounded by his foes. In that brilliant way he had of describing things, David said that he found himself among lions, men whose teeth were spears and arrows and whose tongues were as sharp swords. He was surrounded by them and they had the authority of King Saul back of them, and David had nobody but God. So David, being taught in the ways of the Spirit, did something that we probably wouldn't have thought of doing. David immediately put God between him and his enemies.

David knew that he must have the victory; but he knew if he was to have anything like permanent victory he couldn't ask God to exalt him. So he didn't say, "Oh God, I am Your king, to be successor to Saul, the sinning king. Now God, I want You to be successor to Saul, the sinning king. Now God, I want You to come to my rescue and crush these enemies under my feet." He knew better than that' So, he prayed ... "Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth" (57:5). He was saying, "Whatever happens to me, God, be exalted. Whatever these men with sharp teeth and claws and spears and arrows do to me, God, let Your glory be over all the earth. My heart is fixed on this, O God, and I will sing praise because I want You to be exalted above the heavens and Your glory over all the earth."

Lord, it is my prayer today that You are exalted in all circumstances. Whatever I may face today, Lord, I exalt You. Amen


For His Glory Alone

"And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified" (Isaiah 49:3)

The glory of God is the health of the universe; the essential soundness of things requires that He be honored among created intelligences.

Where God is honored fully is heaven, and it is heaven for that reason; where He is honored not at all is hell, and for that cause it is hell. Among men we see a mixture of honor and dishonor. Basically this is the cause back of earth's tragic, confused history.

God has not finished with His saints till He has brought them to a place where they honor Him on earth as He is honored in heaven.

God gives away His full purpose in redeeming man when He says, "Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified" (Isaiah 49:3).

If we can convince God that we are sold out to His high honor, the problem of unanswered prayer is solved. God will withhold nothing from that man who is determined to live to His glory alone.

God has said, "them that honor me I will honor" (1 Samuel 2:30). He can honor us only when He knows His glory is safe in our hands.

Lord, may I honor You today on earth as You are honored in heaven. Be glorified in and through me today. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

How To Tune Up Your Christian Walk

1. The first and chief need of our Christian life is, Fellowship with God.
The Divine life within us comes from God, and is entirely dependent upon Him. As I need every moment afresh the air to breathe, as the sun every moment afresh sends down its light, so it is only in direct living communication with God that my soul can be strong. The manna of one day was corrupt when the next day came. I must every day have fresh grace from heaven, and I obtain it only in direct waiting upon God Himself. Begin each day by tarrying before God, and letting Him touch you. Take time to meet God.
2. To this end, let your first act in your devotions be a setting yourself still before God. In prayer, or worship, everything depends upon faith and adoration, speaking thus within my heart: “God is. God is near. God is love, longing to communicate Himself to me. God the Almighty One, Who works all in all, is even now waiting to work in me, and make Himself known.” Take time, till you know God is very near.
3. When you have given God His place of honor, glory, and power, take your place of deepest lowliness, and seek to be filled with the Spirit of humility. As a creation it is your blessedness to be nothing, that God may be all in you. As a sinner you are not worthy to look up to God; bow in self-abasement. As a saint, let God’s love overwhelm you, and bow you still lower down. Sink down before Him in humility, meekness, patience, and surrender to His goodness and mercy. He will exalt you. Oh! take time, to get very low before God.
4. Then accept and value your place in Christ Jesus. God delights in nothing but His beloved Son, and can be satisfied with nothing else in those who draw near to Him. Enter deep into God’s holy presence in the boldness which the blood gives, and in the assurance that in Christ you are most pleasing. In Christ you are within the veil. You have access into the very heart and love of the Father. This is the great object of fellowship with God, that I may have more of God in my life, and that God may see Christ formed in me. Be silent before God and let Him bless you.
5. This Christ is a living Person. He loves you with a personal love, and He looks every day for the personal response of your love. Look into His face with trust, until His love really shines into your heart. Make His heart glad by telling Him that you do love Him. He offers Himself to you as a personal Savior and Keeper from the power of sin. Do not ask, can I be kept from sinning, if I keep close to Him? but ask, can I be kept from sinning, if He always keeps close to me? and you see at once how safe it is to trust Him.
6. We have not only Christ’s life in us as a power, and His presence with us as a person, but we have His likeness to be wrought into us. He is to be formed in us, so that His form or figure, His likeness, can be seen in us. Bow before God until you get some sense of the greatness and blessedness of the work to be carried on by God in you this day. Say to God, “Father, here am I for You to give as much in me of Christ’s likeness as I can receive.” And wait to hear Him say, “My child, I give you as much of Christ as your heart is open to receive.” The God who revealed Jesus in the flesh and perfected Him, will reveal Him in you and perfect you in Him. The Father loves the Son, and delights to work out His image and likeness in you. Count upon it that this blessed work will be done in you as you wait on your God, and boldest fellowship with Him.
7. The likeness to Christ consists chiefly in two things: the likeness of His death and resurrection (Romans 6:5). The death of Christ was the consummation of His humility and obedience, the entire giving up of His life to God. In Him we are dead to sin. As we sink down in humility and dependence and entire surrender to God, the power of His death works in us, and we are made comformable to His death. And so we know Him in the power of His resurrection, in the victory over sin, and all the joy and power of the risen life. Therefore, every morning, “present yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead.” He will maintain the life He gave, and bestow the grace to live as risen ones.
8. All this can only be in the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in you. Count upon Him to glorify Christ in you. Count upon Christ to increase in you the inflowing of His Spirit. As you wait before God to realize His presence, remember that the Spirit is in you to reveal the things of God. Seek in God’s presence to have the anointing of the Spirit of Christ so truly that your whole life may every moment be spiritual.
9. As you meditate on this wondrous salvation and seek full fellowship with the great and holy God, and wait on Him to reveal Christ in you, you will feel how needful the giving up of all is to receive Him. Seek grace to know what it means to live as wholly for God as Christ did. Only the Holy Spirit Himself can teach you what an entire yielding of the whole life to God can mean. Wait on God to show you in this what you do not know. Let every approach to God, and every request for fellowship with Him be accompanied by a new, very definite, and entire surrender to Him to work in you.
10. “By faith” must here, as through all Scripture, and all the spiritual life, be the keynote. As you wait before God, let it be in a deep quiet faith in Him, the Invisible One, who is so near, so holy, so mighty, so loving. In a deep, restful faith, too, that all the blessings and powers of the heavenly life are around you, and in you. Just yield yourself in the faith of a perfect trust to the Ever Blessed Holy Trinity, to work out all God’s purpose in you. Begin each day thus in fellowship with God, and God will be all in all to you.

~Andrew Murray~

Thursday, May 28, 2015

What Really Matters?

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14)

What does matter after all? What are the axiomatic truths upon which all human life may rest with confidence? Fortunately they are not many. Here are the chief ones:

1. Only God is great.

2. Only God is wise.

3. Apart from God nothing matters. We think that health matters, that freedom matters, or knowledge or art or civilization. And but for one insistent word they would matter indeed. That word "ETERNITY."

Grant that men posses perpetual being, and the preciousness of every earthly treasure is gone instantly. God is to our eternal being what our heart is to our body. The lungs, the liver, the kidneys have value as they relate to the heart. Let the heart stop and the rest of the organs promptly collapse. Apart from God, what is money, fame, education, civilization? Exactly nothing at all, for men leave all these things behind them and one by one go to eternity. Let God hide His face and nothing thereafter is worth the effort.

4. Only what we do in God will remain to us at last.

Slow me down, Lord, and help me focus on the few things that really matter in light of eternity. Amen


Only God Matters

"And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God" (James 2:23)

Ultimately Abraham discovered that only God matters. He discovered in that revelation the greatest concept in the world.

It is as if Abraham laid hold of God's favor and promise with rejoicing, saying to himself, "When I have God, I need nothing more!"

Abraham was completely satisfied with God's friendship. He becomes to us a faithful example in his willingness to put God first. With Abraham, only God mattered.

In Abraham's encounter with God he learned why he was here upon earth. He was to glorify God in all things and to continually worship.

Abraham heard from God. Abraham met with God. Abraham listened to God. Abraham responded to God. He knew the meaning of an altar of worship and praise. Our altar of devotion and worship within our hearts should be as real.

These truths concerning Abraham and his wholehearted response to God cause me to wonder. How can we bring our lukewarm Christians into a realization that nothing in the world is as important to them as God's love and God's will?

Lord, teach me today what Abraham learned over the course of a lifetime - that only God matters. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Generous Women

And also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them [Jesus and His 12 disciples] out of their own means. Luke 8:2-3 

Rita (my wife) is the most generous woman I know. She gives abundantly of her time. Rita meets with younger moms and wives who desperately need encouragement and tools to navigate a very demanding season of life. She loves to systematically give donations to our church and ministries on the front lines of faith for Christ. Every month it brings me joy to watch her gratefully celebrate God’s work by reading every word of every ministry newsletter update. Rita’s capacity to give is a model I aspire to follow. Her generosity is hilariously infectious.

Mary, Joanna, Susanna and many others helped support Jesus and the disciples out of their own means. Why? One compelling reason was Christ had changed their lives. He freed Mary from the insidious influence of seven demons. Perhaps Joanna and Susanna were exceedingly grateful to Jesus for healing a family member or forgiving a friend of their sins. These women gave to Jesus because they were grateful to Jesus. Not only did they give financially, but they gave by being with Jesus. Watching Him care for people’s needs—they rolled up their sleeves and served alongside.

“In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability” (2 Corinthians 8:2-3).

You may be in a season of life where you feel limited in your ability to give. You may even find yourself in a situation where you need to be more on the receiving end. Your heavenly Father understands your capacity to give, but make sure you don’t allow your circumstances to define your richness. The magnitude of a gift is not defined by size—but by capacity. When you give as much as you are able you give, more than someone who may be able to give more, but who has not given to their potential. Support the Lord’s work and He will do a deeper work in your life!

We start by giving all of ourselves to our Savior Jesus. A life 100% invested in the Kingdom of God enjoys an abundant return on investment in what matters most now and into eternity. Our generosity is not necessarily defined by our greater gifts, but by our larger love for our heavenly Father. A life of love is compelled to give—even beyond our ability. Yes, we are wise to surround ourselves with other generous givers so we can celebrate what Christ is doing around us. Generous loving leads to generous giving. Generous women (and men) find great fulfillment!

“They urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us” (2 Corinthians 8:4-5).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a heart of generosity so I am able to give generously. 

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Get Alone With God

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1)

I delight in the inward knowledge that Jesus Christ, the Son of God and our coming Lord, will be sufficient for every situation which is yet to come to pass. We will never panic along with this present world system as long as we are fortified with our knowledge of who Jesus Christ really is.

The Word of God is the foundation of our peace and rest. Even in these dangerous and dramatic hours:

"God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).

Notice that this is the kingly strength and dominion of our Lord - not the United Nations!

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us" (46?10-11). Fear not, little flock - it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

And the gates of hell cannot prevail against it!

Lord, help me to be still as I meet along with You today. Grant me a very real sense of Your strong presence, of the refuge I have in You. Amen


Come With Courage

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

In a world like ours, courage is an indispensable virtue. The coward may snivel in his corner, but the brave man takes the prize. And in the kingdom of God, courage is as necessary as it is in the world.

When entering the prayer chamber, we must come filled with faith and armed with courage Nowhere else in the whole field of religious thought and activity is courage so necessary as in prayer. The successful prayer must be one without condition. We must believe that God is love and that, being love, He cannot harm us but must ever do us good. Then we must throw ourselves before Him and pray with boldness for whatever we know our good and His glory require, and the cost is not object! Whatever He in His love and wisdom would assess against us, we will accept with delight because it pleases Him. Prayers like that cannot go unanswered. The character and reputation of God guarantee their fulfillment.

We should always keep in mind the infinite lovingkindness of God. No one need fear to put his life in His hands. His yoke is easy; His burden is light.

I come boldly, Father, because I have been given access to You through the blood of Jesus. I come with courage because I have been given all the promises of a gracious God. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

God Is Good All the Time

John 10:10-11 gives us a great truth,

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep."

Is your concept of God that He is good sometimes, but not all the time?  That sometimes He is blessing you; but other times, He is the source of your troubles?  If so, I want to put that notion out of your heart and mind today. 

Jesus came to give us abundant life, while the devil, the thief, wants to steal, kill, and destroy.  God is always a good God, and the devil is always a bad devil.

I remember, as a young Christian, I ran into another new convert in the park one day.  He looked troubled, so I asked him what was up.  He told me he was sick and had just received some bad news as well.  Then he went on to tell me that he was at a Bible study the day before and they told him that God was doing all of these things to him.

It had shaken him to think that God was the source of his troubles, and that He was responsible for all the troubles in his life.

A lot of people tend to think that way, but it is just wrong.  God is good all the time.  The Bible says in James 1:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

There is not the slightest degree of variation in this.  God is good.  And the gifts He gives are good and perfect gifts.  I am glad they don't just stay in heaven.  God sees to it that they make their way down to you and me.
God is good…all the time. 

~Bayless Conley~

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


"And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of this brother" (Genesis 35:7)

Jacob, after his memorable experience in the wilderness, where he saw a ladder set up on the earth and saw God standing above it, called the place of his encounter Beth-el, which means "the house of God," beth being house and el, God.

Many years later, after he had suffered and sinned and repented and discovered the worthlessness of all earthly things, had been conquered and blessed by God at Peniel and had seen the face of God in an hour of spiritual agony, he renamed the place Elbethel, which means "the God of the house of God." Historically the place was always known as Bethel, but in Jacob's worshiping heart it would forever be El Bethel.

The change is significant. Jacob had shifted his emphasis from the house to the One whom he met there. God Himself now took the center of his interest. He had at last been converted from a place to God Himself. A blessed conversion.

Many Christians never get beyond Beth-el. God is in their thoughts, but He is not first.

Oh, Lord, take me past Beth-el and mere knowledge of You to a deepening experience of Elbethel, that I may be aware of Your actual presence in my life. Amen


Meet God First

"And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat" (Mark 6:31)

The whole Bible and all past history unite to teach that battles are always won before the armies take to the field. The critical moment for an army is not the day it engages the foe in actual combat; it is the day before or the month before or the year before.

It did not take Moses long to lead the children of Israel out through the Red Sea to deliverance and freedom; but his fittedness to lead them out was the result of years of hard discipline. It took David only a few minutes to dispose of Goliath; but he had beaten the giant long before in the person of the lion and the bear. Christ stood silent in the presence of Pilate and for our sake went calmly out to die. He could endure the anguish of the Cross because He had suffered the pains of Gethsemane the night before; there was a direct relationship between the two experiences. One served as a preparation for the other.

Preparation is vital. We can seek God today and get prepared to meet temptation tomorrow; but if we meet the enemy without first having met God, the outcome is not conjectural; the issue is already decided. We can only lose.

Lord, I am going to meet the enemy not only tomorrow, but even today. Prepare my heart as I come apart to meet with You first, before I go to meet the day. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Every Believer's Calling?

One Sunday, a man approached me between services to share his story. He'd been addicted to drugs and was leading a hopeless life when he heard a Scripture verse in a sermon. He said that one passage led him to place his trust in Jesus. The man was saved, and God transformed his life.

Every believer has a story. Oftentimes, the more we surrender to God, the greater our ability to see His hand in our life. And the more we watch Him work, the stronger our desire to share with others all that He has done.

The same was true of the early disciples. A small crowd gathered around Jesus before His ascension. They heard His command to spread the gospel around the globe, making disciples and baptizing people from all nations. Surely this seemed like an overwhelming task for a handful of followers, but they obeyed. Their personal experiences with Christ undoubtedly motivated them to share the good news, and they also must have gained confidence from Jesus’ promise of His presence and power.

We, too, should be taking Christ’s command seriously. One of our highest callings as believers is to tell others about Him. As was true for the early Christians, our own experience with the Savior is the most exciting and convincing story to tell.
Are you passionately telling others about Christ? Loving God involves not just having a personal relationship with Jesus but also sharing Him with others. The world around you needs the power of Christ. Let the Holy Spirit guide and enable you to share effectively with those around you.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Monday, May 25, 2015

Truth Divorced From Life

"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word ... Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psalm 119:9, 11)

There is scarcely anything so dull meaningless as Bible doctrine taught for its own sake. Truth divorced from life is not truth in its biblical sense, but something else and something less. Theology is a set of facts concerning God, man and the world. These facts may be and often are set forth as values in themselves; and there lies the snare both for the teacher and for the hearer.

The Bible, however, is more than a volume of hitherto unknown facts about God, man and the universe. It is a book of exhortation based upon those facts. By far the greater portion of the book is devoted to an urgent effort to persuade people to alter their ways and bring their lives into harmony with the will of God.

No man is better for knowing that God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth. No man is better for knowing that God so loved the world of men that He gave His only begotten Son to die for their redemption. In hell there are millions who know that. Theological truth is useless until it is obeyed. The purpose behind all doctrine is to secure moral action.

Lord, help me move beyond knowing You and Your Word only academically. Lead me to obedience, to submission and to proper moral action. Amen


Divine Indwelling

"In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22)

The doctrine of the divine indwelling is one of the most important in the New Testament, and its meaning for the individual Christian is precious beyond all description. To neglect it is to suffer serious loss. The Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians that Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith. Surely it takes faith of a more than average vitality to grasp the full implications of this great truth.

Without question, the teaching of the New Testament is that the very God Himself inhabits the nature of His true children. How this can be I do not know, but neither do I know how my soul inhabits my body. Paul called this wonder of the indwelling God a rich mystery: "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). And if the doctrine involved a contradiction or even an impossibility we must still believe what the mouth of the Lord has spoken. "Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4).

And what kind of habitation pleases God? What must our natures be like before He can feel at home within us? He asks nothing but a pure heart and a single mind. He asks no rich paneling, no rugs from the Orient, no art treasures from afar. He desires but sincerity, transparency, humility an love. He will see to the rest. 

Lord, give me the purity, integrity and focus to be the kind of vessel You would desire. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

God Sent a Resting Time

And the hand of the Lord was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth unto the plain, and I will there talk with thee" (Ezek. 3:22).

Did you ever hear of any one being much used for Christ who did not have some special waiting time, some complete upset of all his or her plans first; from St. Paul's being sent off into the desert of Arabia for three years, when he must have been boiling over with the glad tidings, down to the present day?
You were looking forward to telling about trusting Jesus in Syria; now He says, "I want you to show what it is to trust Me, without waiting for Syria."
My own case is far less severe, but the same in principle, that when I thought the door was flung open for me to go with a bound into literary work, it is opposed, and doctor steps in and says, simply, "Never! She must choose between writing and living; she can't do both."
That was in 1860. Then I came out of the shell with "Ministry of Song" in 1869, and saw the evident wisdom of being kept waiting nine years in the shade. God's love being unchangeable, He is just as loving when we do not see or feet His love. Also His love and His sovereignty are co-equal and universal; so He withholds the enjoyment and conscious progress because He knows best what will really ripen and further His work in us.
--Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal
I laid it down in silence,
This work of mine,
And took what had been sent me--
A resting time.
The Master's voice had called me
To rest apart;
"Apart with Jesus only,"
Echoed my heart.
I took the rest and stillness
From His own Hand,
And felt this present illness
Was what He planned.
How often we choose labor,
When He says "Rest"--
Our ways are blind and crooked;
His way is best.
The work Himself has given,
He will complete.
There may be other errands
For tired feet;
There may be other duties
For tired hands,
The present, is obedience
To His commands.
There is a blessed resting
In lying still,
In letting His hand mold us,
Just as He will.
His work must be completed.
His lesson set;
He is the higher Workman:
Do not forget!
It is not only "working."
We must be trained;
And Jesus "learnt" obedience,
Through suffering gained.
For us, His yoke is easy,
His burden light.
His discipline most needful,
And all is right.
We are but under-workmen;
They never choose
If this tool or if that one
Their hands shall use.
In working or in waiting
May we fulfill
Not ours at all, but only
The Master's will!
God provides resting places as well as working places. Rest, then, and be thankful when He brings you, wearied to a wayside well.

~L. B. Cowman~

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lord or Judge

" If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor" (John 12:26)

Every man holds his future in his hand. Not the dominant world leader only, but the inarticulate man lost in anonymity is a "man of destiny." He decides which way his soul shall go. He chooses and destiny waits on the nod of his head. He decides, and hell enlarges herself, or heaven prepares another mansion. So much of Himself has God given to men.

"If any man will ... let him... follow me," He says, and some will rise and go after Him, but others give no heed to His voice (see Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23). So the gulf opens between man and man, between those who will and those who will not. Silently, terribly the work goes on, as each one decides whether he will hear or ignore the voice of invitation. He will not put Himself again on trial; He will not argue, but the morning of the judgment will confirm what men in the twilight have decided.

Christ will be Lord, or He will be Judge. Every man must decide whether he will take Him as Lord now or face Him as Judge then.

Lord, give me a sensitivity to those around me who have not yet accepted Christ. It may be my words that could help them come to know You as Lord and keep them from facing You as Judge. Amen


The Manger, The Cross and the Throne

"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25)

Of course we must include in our total creed the manger, the Cross and the throne. All that is symbolized by these three objects must be present to the gaze of faith; all is necessary to a proper understanding of the Christian evangel. No single tenet of our creed must be abandoned or even relaxed, for each is joined to the other by a living bond. But while all truth is to be at all times held inviolate, not every truth is to be at all times emphasized equally with each other.

Christ was born that He might become a man and become a man that He might give His live a ransom for many. Neither the birth nor the dying were ends in themselves. As He was born to die, so did He die that He might atone, and rise that He might justify freely all who take refuge in Him. His birth and His death are history. His appearance at the mercy seat is not history past, but a present, continuing fact, to the instructed Christian the most glorious fact his trusting heart can entertain.

Let us remember that weakness lies at the manger, death at the Cross and power at the throne.

Lord, it's an astounding thought that Jesus, having completed His work through the manger and the Cross, is now at the mercy seat pleading on my behalf. I rejoice in the power of the throne. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Extraordinary Afflictions are Sometimes Extraordinary Graces

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned From Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil (Luke 4:1-2).

Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost, and yet He was tempted. Temptation often comes upon a man with its strongest power when he is nearest to God. As someone has said, "The devil aims high." He got one apostle to say he did not even know Christ.
Very few men have such conflicts with the devil as Martin Luther had. Why? Because Martin Luther was going to shake the very kingdom of hell. Oh, what conflicts John Bunyan had!
If a man has much of the Spirit of God, he will have great conflicts with the tempter. God permits temptation because it does for us what the storms do for the oaks--it roots us; and what the fire does for the paintings on the porcelain--it makes them permanent.
You never know that you have a grip on Christ, or that He has a grip on you, as well as when the devil is using all his force to attract you from Him; then you feel the pull of Christ's right hand.
Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces. God hath many sharp-cutting instruments, and rough files for the polishing of His jewels; and those He especially loves, and means to make the most resplendent, He hath oftenest His tools upon.
--Archbishop Leighton
I bear my willing witness that I owe more to the fire, and the hammer, and the file, than to anything else in my Lord's workshop. I sometimes question whether I have ever learned anything except through the rod. When my schoolroom is darkened, I see most.
--C. H. Spurgeon

~L. B. Cowman~

Saturday, May 23, 2015

No Second Opinion

"Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life" (John 6:68)

We who have admitted Jesus Christ into our lives as Saviour and Lord are happy indeed that we did so. In matters of health care, we are familiar with the custom of a "second opinion." If I go to a doctor and he or she advises me to have surgery, I can leave that office and consult with another specialist about my condition. Concerning our decision to receive Jesus Christ, we surely would have been ill-advised to go out and try to get a second opinion! Jesus Christ is God's last word to us. There is no other. God has headed up all of our help and forgiveness and blessing in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son.

We may not like what the Great Physician tells us about ourselves and our sin. But where else can we go? Peter supplied the answer to that question. "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God" (John 6:68-69).

This is the Saviour whom God is offering. He is the eternal Son, equal to the Father in His Godhead, co-eternal and of one substance with the Father.

He is speaking. We should be listening!

Lord, help me remember that Christ is Your final word, and that's all I need. He has the words of eternal life; let me rest in that. Amen


Death Sorts Us Out

"Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn" (Matthew 13:30)

Right now we live in a mixed-up world. Some people get the headlines who, if the truth were known, should be getting a striped suit in a prison somewhere.

There are other worthy persons who are completely ignored in this world and, if the truth were known, they would be on the front covers of the news magazines next week

God is not mixed up, though He has His own process for sorting things out. Many a person receiving the praise and plaudits of the world today will be sorted out when God's time comes. He does not sort them out down here in our time. He did not even sort them when His twelve disciples were with Him. Peter was a coward and Judas was a lover of money and a betrayer, but not until the last minute did He even mention it. But when Judas died he was sorted out. He died and went to his own place.

Death sorts us out and if we go to heaven it is because we have a nature that belongs there. It is not hard for the sovereign God to sort out all the natures that belong in heaven and take them there.

Thank You, Father, for the surety I have of heaven through the blood of Jesus Christ, which is mine regardless of my position in the eyes of the world. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~

Seek His Heart

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 15:7

I don’t blame Samuel for thinking that Jesse’s first son was God’s chosen man to replace Saul as King. Saul was described as “a choice and handsome man, from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.” Samuel anointed Saul as King but Saul’s heart turned from following God. God was grieved that he had made Saul the King of Israel. Now Samuel was to anoint someone after God’s own heart. Like Samuel, we judge by appearances. It would be natural to think that the outward appearance mattered because of Saul’s appearance. However, God exhorts Samuel to listen to Him, instead of his own instincts.

David was anointed that day. He was the youngest son, out tending the sheep. He too was described as “ruddy with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance,” but God was choosing David for his heart. 

To do God’s work, we have to be sensitive to His leading. If we continue to do what we think is right by our own natural inclinations, we might not be representing God’s heart. We can’t read or judge someone’s heart. But if God has our heart, we can discern His ways. We need to pray for the Lord’s discernment. Today, be sensitive to pray before you make any decisions. Then, wait to hear if the Lord is ready to answer. He will make known His will if you are willing to seek His heart.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friendship with God

"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you" (John 15:15)

The idea of the divine-human friendship originated with God. Had not God said first, "Ye are my friends" (John 15:14), it would be inexcusably brash for any man to say, "I am a friend of God." But since He claims us for His friends it is an act of unbelief to ignore or deny the relationship.

The more perfect our friendship with God becomes, the simpler will our lives be. Those formalities that are so necessary to keep a casual friendship alive may be dispensed with when true friends sit in each other's presence. True friends trust each other.

There is a great difference between having "company" and having a friend in the house. The friend we can treat as a member of the family, but company must be entertained.

God is not satisfied until there exists between Him and His people a relaxed informality that requires no artificial stimulation. The true friend of God may sit in His presence for long periods in silence. Complete trust needs no words of assurance. Such words have long ago been spoken and the adoring heart can safely be still before God.

I am honored, Father, to be called Your friend. May I never treat our friendship lightly. Amen 


Only A Few Things Matter

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36)

It has been suggested here before that life, for all its apparent complexities, is at bottom very simply indeed if we could only realize it. Thank God, only a few things matter. The rest are incidental and unimportant.

What really matters after all? My personal relation to God matters. That takes priority over everything else. A man may be born in a sanitary hospital, receive his education in progressive schools, rid in an air-conditioned car, sleep on a foam rubber mattress, wear synthetic clothing, eat vitamin-enriched food, read by fluorescent lights, speak across 12,000 miles of empty space to a friend on the other side of the world, lose his anxieties by taking tranquilizing pills, die without pain by the aid of some new drug and be laid to rest in a memorial park as lovely as a country garden; yet what will all this profit him if he must later rise to face in judgment a God who knows him not and whom he does not know? To come at last before the bar of eternal justice with no one to plead his cause and to be banished forever from the presence of the great Judge - is that man any better off than if he had died a naked savage in the hinterlands of Borneo?

Lord, we have so much, yet that "much" so often gets in the way of our finding the only thing that matters. Keep me uncluttered and focused on eternity, I pray. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~


Titus 3:1-7 says,

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.  For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.  But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Paul tells us to remember where we have come from.  Notice he said to show humility to all men and speak evil of no one.  Why?  Because we also used to be foolish and deceived and disobedient.

I thank God I am a new creation in Christ, but I still blush when I think about some of the stuff I got involved in before I was saved!  Disobedient?  Been there.  Serving various lusts and pleasures?  Up to my eyeballs!  Plus all the other things Paul mentions in this passage and a few more!

It is amazing how people in the church forget what they were like before the grace of God came into their life.  When that happens they tend to get very haughty and judgmental towards those still lost in their sin.  A harsh, judgmental church that lacks humility while verbally lashing out at sinners is one of the ugliest garments you can dress the beautiful gospel in. 

~Bayless Conley~

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Saved By Grace

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Nobody has ever been saved, from the day that Abel offered his bloody lamb on a homemade altar, down to the latest convert made today, except out of the goodness of God. Because
of God's grace, His mercy, His lovingkindness, His goodness and graciousness, His cordiality and approachability, He kindly saved people. We've taken the word "grace" and made  a technical term out of it.

The people in the Old Testament were not saved by keeping anything, because we deserved hell, and if God had acted according to justice alone, He simply would have pulled the stopper out and flushed us all down to hell and been done with it. But God out of His lovingkindness graciously forgave those who would come according to the conditions God laid down. Everybody is saved by grace. Abel was saved by grace. Noah was saved by grace - "Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD" (Genesis 6:8). So was Moses and all the rest down to the coming of Jesus and His dying on the Cross. All were saved by grace out of the goodness of God. And everybody's been saved by grace out of the goodness of God ever since.

Lord, thank You for Your wonderful grace, which saved me from the judgment I deserved. May I remember that it is a gift extended to me out of Your lovingkindness. Amen.


Behold the Marvels of God

"Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing" (Revelation 5:12)

If a doctor saves a man who has only a runny nose, he wouldn't write a book about it. He didn't do much. The fellow would get well anyhow. But the doctor who takes a man with a brain tumor, puts him asleep and, with great care, prayer and skill, brings that man back to life - he has done something.

He "saved a wretch like me." He "turned all our blame into endless worship." I believe the Bible teaches - our Lord hinted at it and Paul developed it further - that the day will come when they will gather around us from everywhere, and say, "Behold the marvels of God." You read in the book of Acts (4:14) of seeing the man what was healed standing among them, and they could say nothing. And seeing that wicked sinner standing there, we can only say, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" (Revelation 5:12). And worthy is the goodness of God that our of His infinite kindness, His unchanging, perfect lovingkindness, He made amends for us, "full, fair and many," turning all our sin into endless worship.

Great God, You are indeed worthy to receive praise and honor and glory and blessing, because You brought about the marvelous work of redemption. I'll worship You for all eternity, beginning even now. Amen

~A. W. Tozer~