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Monday, August 31, 2015

No Contest

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7)

Truth is a glorious but hard mistress. She never consults, bargains or compromises. She cried from the top of the high places, "Receive my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold" (Proverbs 8:10). After that, every man is on his own. He may accept or refuse.

Were this an unfallen world the path of truth would be a smooth and easy one. Have the nature of man not suffered a huge moral dislocation there would be no discord between the way of God and the way of man.

I assume that in heaven the angels live through a thousand serene millenniums without feeling the slightest discord between their desires and the will of God. But no so among men on earth. Here the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary one to the other.

In that contest there can be only one outcome. We must surrender and God must have His way.

There is a moment in every life when we meet God, and by a supreme surrender enter into His sovereign will and His perfect peace.

~A. W. Tozer~


Outpourings and More Outpourings

"If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another" (1 John 1:7)

God desires to advance His work among men by frequent outpourings of the Spirit upon His people as they need them and are prepared to receive them.

The Bible encourages us to expect "showers of blessings" and "floods upon the dry ground". It was impossible for the outpouring which came at Pentecost to affect persons who were not present or congregations not yet in existence. 

The Bible does not sponsor the chilling doctrine of one-for-all blessing. It is obvious that the spiritual benefits of Pentecost must be prolonged beyond the lifetimes of the persons who were the first to receive them.

In brief, the teaching of the New Testament is that the outpouring at Pentecost was the historic beginning of an era which was to be characterized by a continuous outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit comes with the light of truth in one hand, so to speak, and the blood of Christ in the other. What the light reveals, the blood cleanses.

~A. W. Tozer~

I Will Arise and Go to My Father!

I will arise and go to my Father!

"I will arise and go to my Father!" Luke 15:18

This is a child's cry!

It is full of meaning.

It is full of love.

It is full of comfort.

It is a title which the Lord loves to hear us use!

Lord, give us the Spirit of adoption, and let
us know and feel, that we are Your children! 

To whom will you repair in trouble?
To whom will you look in difficulty?
To whom will you cry in danger?
From whom will you ask when in need?
Surely I hear you say, "My Father!" 

Who speaks to you in the Bible?
Who tries you by His providence?
Who chastens you with His rod?
Who purifies and cleanses you?
Who humbles and reproves you?
Again you will say, "My Father!" 

Who supports the world?
Who controls the nations?
Who chains up Satan?
Who comforts the believer?
Who pardons the backslider?
Again you reply, "My Father!" 

Then I exhort you to . . .
  trust your Father's Word,
  abide in your Father's heart,
  expect from your Father's hand,
  and say in every trial:
"I will arise and go to my Father!"

~James Smith~

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Becoming What We Love

"Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee" (John 21:16)

We are becoming what we love. We are to a large degree the sum of our loves and we will of moral necessity grow into the image of what we love most; for love is among other things a creative affinity; it changes and molds and shapes and transforms. It is without doubt the most powerful agent affecting human nature next to the direct action of the Holy Spirit of God within the soul.

What we love is therefore not a small matter to be lightly shrugged off; rather it is of present, critical and everlasting importance. It is prophetic of our future. It tell us what we shall be, and so predicts accurately our eternal destiny.

Loving wrong objects is fatal to spiritual growth; it twists and deforms the life and makes impossible the appearing of the image of Christ in the soul. It is only as we love right objects that we become right, and only as we go on loving them that we continue to experience a slow but continuous transmutation toward the objects of our purified affection.

How shall we become lovely? By loving Him who is ever lovely.

~A. W. Tozer~


Old Cross ... Old Power

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20)

God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the Cross.

What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life?

Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God's stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.

Having done this, let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and power.

The Cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ.

There will no nothing in heaven that does not have the mark of the Cross upon it.

~A. W. Tozer~

Be Not Impatient, But In Stillness Stand

You will hear a word spoken behind you, saying, “This is the correct way, walk in it,” whether you are heading to the right or the left. (Isa 30:21)
When we are in doubt or difficulty, when many voices urge this course or the other, when prudence utters one advice and faith another, then let us be still, hushing each intruder, calming ourselves in the sacred hush of God’s presence; let us study His Word in the attitude of devout attention; let us lift up our nature into the pure light of His face, eager only to know what God the Lord shall determine—and ere long a very distinct impression will be made, the unmistakable forth-telling of His secret counsel.
It is not wise in the earlier stages of Christian life to depend on this alone, but to wait for the corroboration of circumstances. But those who have had many dealings with God know well the value of secret fellowship with Him, to ascertain His will.
Are you in difficulty about your way? Go to God with your question; get direction from the light of His smile or the cloud of His refusal.
If you will only get alone, where the lights and shadows of earth cannot interfere, where human opinions fail to reach and if you will dare to wait there silent and expectant, though all around you insist on immediate decision or action—the will of God will be made clear; and you will have a new conception of God, a deeper insight into His nature and heart of love, which shall be for yourself alone a rapturous experience, to abide your precious perquisite forever, the rich guerdon of those long waiting hours.
“STAND STILL,” my soul, for so thy Lord commands: 
E’en when thy way seems blocked, leave it in His wise hands; 
His arm is mighty to divide the wave. 
“Stand still,” my soul, “stand still” and thou shalt see 
How God can work the “impossible” for thee, 
For with a great deliverance He doth save.
Be not impatient, but in stillness stand, 
Even when compassed ’round on every hand, 
In ways thy spirit does not comprehend. 
God cannot clear thy way till thou art still, 
That He may work in thee His blessed will, 
And all thy heart and will to Him do bend.
“BE STILL,” my soul, for just as thou art still, 
Can God reveal Himself to thee; until 
Through thee His love and light and life can freely flow; 
In stillness God can work through thee and reach 
The souls around thee. He then through thee can teach 
His lessons, and His power in weakness show.
“BE STILL”—a deeper step in faith and rest. 
“Be still and know” thy Father knoweth best 
The way to lead His child to that fair land, 
A “summer” land, where quiet waters flow; 
Where longing souls are satisfied, and “know 
Their God,” and praise for all that He has planned.

~L. B. Cowman~

Saturday, August 29, 2015

One Thing Needful

"Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3)

The truly humble man does not expect to find virtue in himself, and when he finds none he is not disappointed. He knows that any good deed he may do is the result of God's working in him.

When this belief becomes so much a part of a man that it operates as a kind of unconscious reflex he is released from the burden of trying to live up to his own opinion of himself. The emphasis of his life shifts from "self" to Christ, where it should have been in the first place, and he is thus set free to serve his generation by the will of God without the thousand hindrances he knew before.

Should such a man fail God in any way he will be sorry and repent, but he will not spend his days castigating himself for his failure. He will say with Brother Lawrence: "I shall never do otherwise if You leave me to myself; it is You who must hinder my falling and mend what is amiss," and after that "give himself no further uneasiness about it."

In the character of a Christian, humility is the one thing needful. Where this is wanting, all is wanting.

~A. W. Tozer~


Sinning With Silence

"For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous" (Proverbs 2:6-7)

At this hour in world history the state of religion is such that the Church is in grave danger of losing this priceless treasure [wisdom]. Her gold is being turned to copper and her diamonds to glass.

Even among those who make a great noise about believing the Bible, that Bible has virtually no practical influence left. Fiction, films, fun, frolic, religious entertainment, Hollywood ideals, big business techniques and cheap, worldly philosophies now overrun the sanctuary. The grieved Holy Spirit broods over the chaos but no light breaks forth. "Revivals" come without rousing the hostility of organized sin and pass without raising the moral level of the community or purifying the lives of professing Christians. Why?

Could it be that too many of God's true children are sinning against God by guilty silence? When those whose eyes are opened by the touch of Christ become vocal and active God may begin to fight again on the side of truth.

There are moral situations where it is immoral to say nothing and basely immoral to do nothing.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Consequences of Drifting

The Consequences of Drifting

Spiritual drifting--the gradual wandering away from God and His will--takes place when a believer ceases to steer toward the Lord. Like an empty boat set loose upon the waters, he or she makes a slow and lazy glide away from good practices like disciplined obedience, regular Bible study, prayer, and assembling with fellow Christians. And there are consequences for casting yourself on uncharted and dangerous waters.

A life adrift is outside of God's will and therefore in sin. The Holy Spirit pricks a believer's conscience to send a message when he is off course, but the drifter is prone to ignore such warnings. If a Christian continually excuses his wandering ways and denies sin, then his conscience gradually numbs. A person who becomes desensitized to wrongdoing has paved the way for more sinful behavior with less guilt. Can you imagine a more dangerous situation?

As the drifting believer's conscience becomes anesthetized, his spiritual ears are also deadened--truth cannot gain entrance because he has invited wrong attitudes and philosophies into his thinking process. What's more, his heart hardens to the things of God. Shrinking away from testimonies about divine power, grace, and mercy, he avoids situations that might reawaken the conscience and stir his spirit to repentance.

People drift from God in search of more--more freedom, choices, and pleasure. But since the consequences are a hard heart, a numb conscience, and dead ears, what they end up with is less. The drifting believer sacrifices the victorious life in Christ for an existence devoid of permanent satisfaction.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Friday, August 28, 2015

We Need A Revival!

"Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?" (Psalm 85:6)

We need a revival! We need a revival of consecration to death, a revival of happy abandonment to the will of God that will laugh at sacrifice and count it a privilege to bear the cross through the heat and burden of the day.

We are too much influenced by the world and too little controlled by the Spirit. We of the deeper life persuasion are not immune to the temptations of ease and we are in grave danger of becoming a generation of pleasure lovers.

May God raise up a people who will consult their pleasures less and the greet need more. I know of one successful layman who refuses again and again to take perfectly legitimate pleasure trips because he cannot bring himself to leave his class of adolescent Sunday school boys. May God multiply such men and women among us till the reproach of Egypt is rolled away and man's confidence in us restored.

A sanctified life is a life conformed to the Scriptures in every particular. It communes with out hearts; it next reaches our ears, and then it is accomplished in our feet.

~A. W. Tozer~


Expect ... Receive

"And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord" (Luke 1:45)

Expectation has always been present in the Church in the times of her greatest power. When she believed, she expected, and her Lord never disappointed her.

Every great movement of God in history, every unusual advance in the Church, every revival, has been preceded by a sense of keen anticipation. Expectation accompanied the operations of the Spirit always. His bestowals hardly surprised His people because they were gazing expectantly toward the risen Lord and looking confidently for His word to be fulfilled. His blessings accorded with their expectations.

We need today a fresh spirit of anticipation that springs out of the promises of God. We must declare war on the mood of nonexpectation and come together with childlike faith. Only then can we know again the beauty and wonder of the Lord's presence among us.

We are to do all things to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). This includes our pleasures. The only question is, what is God's will for us in each matter? We are never to abandon our God-given common sense in the victorious life.

~A. W. Tozer~

I Will Be Still

I will be still, and I will behold in my dwelling place (Isaiah 18:4, RV).

Assyria was marching against Ethiopia, the people of which are described as tall and smooth. And as the armies advance, God makes no effort to arrest them; it seems as though they will be allowed to work their will. He is still watching them from His dwelling place, the sun still shines on them; but before the harvest, the whole of the proud army of Assyria is smitten as easily as when sprigs are cut off by the pruning hook of the husbandman.

Is not this a marvelous conception of God--being still and watching? His stillness is not acquiescence. His silence is not consent. He is only biding His time, and will arise, in the most opportune moment, and when the designs of the wicked seem on the point of success, to overwhelm them with disaster. As we look out on the evil of the world; as we think of the apparent success of wrong-doing; as we wince beneath the oppression of those that hate us, let us remember these marvelous words about God being still and beholding.

There is another side to this. Jesus beheld His disciples toiling at the oars through the stormy night; and watched though unseen, the successive steps of the anguish of Bethany, when Lazarus slowly passed through the stages of mortal sickness, until he succumbed and was borne to the rocky tomb. But He was only waiting the moment when He could interpose most effectually.
Is He still to thee? He is not unobservant; He is beholding all things; He has His finger on thy pulse, keenly sensitive to all its fluctuations. He will come to save thee when the precise moment has arrived.

Whatever His questions or His reticences, we may be absolutely sure of an unperplexed and undismayed Saviour.

O troubled soul, beneath the rod,
Thy Father speaks, be still, be still;
Learn to be silent unto God,
And let Him mould thee to His will.
O praying soul, be still, be still,
He cannot break His plighted Word;
Sink down into His blessed will,
And wait in patience on the Lord.
O waiting soul, be still, be strong,
And though He tarry, trust and wait;
Doubt not, He will not wait too long,
Fear not, He will not come too late.

~L. B. Cowman~

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Humility - Evidence of Godliness

"Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us; but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake" (Psalm 115:1)

Someone wrote to the godly Macarius of Optino that his spiritual counsel had been helpful. "This cannot be," Macarius wrote in reply. "Only the mistakes are mine. All good advice is the advice of the Spirit of God, His advice that I happened to have heard rightly and to have passed on without distorting it."

There is an excellent lesson here that we must not allow to go unregarded. It is the sweet humility of the man of God. "Only the mistakes are mine." He was fully convinced that his own efforts could result only in mistakes, and that any good that came of his advice must be the work of the Holy Spirit operating within him.

Apparently this was more than a sudden impulse of self-depreciation, which the proudest of men may at times feel - it was rather a settled conviction with him, a conviction that gave direction to enter his life.

The spirit of humility is conclusive evidence of vital godliness. It enters into the essence of religion. Here the new nature eminently discovers itself. The humble spirit is that childlike, Christlike temper, which is exclusively the effect of the almighty power of God upon the heart.

~A. W. Tozer~


The Holy Spirit Is Here

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with on accord in one place" (Acts 2:1)

Pentecost did not come and go - Pentecost came and stayed. Chronologically the day may be found on the historic calendar; dynamically it remains with us in all its fullness of power.

Today is the day of Pentecost. With the blessed Holy Spirit there is no Yesterday or Tomorrow - there is only the everlasting NOW. And since He is altogether God, enjoying all the attributes of the Godhead, there is with Him no Elsewhere; He inhabits an eternal Here. His center is Everywhere; His bound is Nowhere. It is impossible to leave His presence, though it is possible to have Him withdraw the manifestation of that presence.

Our insensibility to the presence of the Spirit is one of the greatest losses that our unbelief and preoccupation have cost us. We have made Him a tenet of our creed, we have enclosed Him in a religious word, but we have known Him little in personal experience. 

When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives He does something. He accomplishes something. He is more than a sentiment, a feeling, a fancy. He is an infinite force that enables us to accomplish all for which we were called as the disciples of Christ.

~A. W. Tozer~

A Shadow of Good Things to Come

Hebrews 10:1-4

(1) For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. (2) For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. (3) But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. (4) For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
New King James Version   

Hebrews 10:1 reflects upon the place the Old Testament offerings have in giving understanding of Jesus Christ. The sacrificial laws only portrayed reality; they were enacted to depict something greater to come. What Leviticus 1-5 describes is the shadow of the good things; Christ is the reality.

Why could they not make a person perfect who believed in them and offered them? Why did One so great have to die so that we might live? An illustration from a dollars-and-cents perspective may help us understand. Can something of lesser value, an animal, equal the cost of something of greater value, a man? Is a bull, lamb, goat, or turtledove worth as much as a human being?

What if a person went into a store to purchase - redeem, compensate for, propitiate, expiate - an item costing a hundred dollars, but he offered to pay only fifty dollars? What would the owner say? Would he not say, "You don't have enough here to pay for this, so you cannot have it." So, he leaves and returns with a twenty-dollar bill. The owner says, "That still is not enough." Leaving again, he returns with a ten-dollar bill. It is still not enough. In the analogy, he must repeat this process continually, always attempting to use something of lesser value to receive something of greater value.

Consider, however, what God did. We are the item being purchased, and our redemption price - our cost to Him - is the expiation of our sins. God laid down a multi-trillion dollar note to redeem us: Christ. God gave the life of the Creator to pay the penalty for sin. He did not offer a lesser being for us - an animal is not sufficient to redeem even one human. God came through with a payment that is not merely adequate to meet the cost of one person's redemption, but is so great it satisfies the cost for all the sins of the whole of mankind for all time! God met the total indebtedness of all mankind with one payment.

The last phrase of Hebrews 10:1 says that the animal sacrifices did not make those who followed them perfect. In verse 2, the writer follows this with the question, "For then would they not have ceased to be offered?" He is providing evidence that no animal, no matter how unblemished, can pay the price of a man's sins because a human is worth too much. In verse 3, he proclaims that the sacrifices only reminded the people of how sinful they were and that their sins had yet to be paid for. In verse 4, he concludes that it is just not possible for any animal to pay for the sins of any man.

God simply will not accept the blood of an animal for the life of a man. The sacrificial law was a schoolmaster (Galatians 3:24), intended by God to instruct by putting people through the exercise of making the sacrifice. How much those making the actual offerings learned is unknown, but they are very effective teachers for those of us under the New Covenant, if we incline our minds to them and seek God's help in understanding. Above all, they teach us the value of Christ's sacrifice.

~John W. Ritenbaugh~

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

If Christ, Then Us

"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good ... for God was with him" (Acts 10:38)

According to the Scriptures everything God did in creation and redemption He did by His Spirit. The Spirit was found brooding over the world at the moment God called it into being. His presence there was necessary.

The life-giving work of the Spirit is seen throughout the entire Bible; and it is precisely because He is the Lord and giver of life that the mystery of the Incarnation could occur. "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall over-shadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).

It is highly significant that our Lord, though He was very God of very God, did not work until He had been anointed with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38). The Son did His work of love as a Spirit-anointed Man; His power derived from the Spirit of power.

How little some Christians accomplish for God! Get filled with the Spirit, and you will neither be idle or unfruitful!

~A. W. Tozer~


Only One Source of Power

"Every man's work shall be made manifest ... and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is" (1 Corinthians 3:13)

The only power God recognizes in His Church is the power of His Spirit whereas the only power actually recognized today by the majority of evangelicals is the power of man. God does His work by the operation of the Spirit, while Christian leaders attempt to do theirs by the power of trained and devoted intellect. Bright personality has taken the place of the divine afflatus.

Everything that men do in their own strength and by means of their own abilities is done for a time alone; the quality of eternity is not in it. Only what is done through the Eternal Spirit will abide eternally; all else is wood, hay, stubble.

It is a solemn thought that some of us who fancy ourselves to be important evangelical leaders may find at last we have been but busy harvesters of stubble.

Jesus has left us the same power which He possessed. He has bequeathed to the Church the very Holy Spirit that lived and worked in Him. Let us accept this mighty gift. Let us believe in Him and His all-sufficiency. Let us receive Him and give Him room.

~A. W. Tozer~

Are You Not Put to Shame?

Are you not put to shame by every little bird that sits upon the bough and sings, though it has not two grains of barley in all the world?

(Charles Spurgeon, "A Good Start!")

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life--what you will eat or drink; or about your body--what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns--and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire--will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things--and your heavenly Father knows that you need them." Matthew 6:25-32Undue anxiety is very common among the unsaved--I suppose they cannot help it. Yet Christians must help it; for the Lord's precept is plain and binding: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus!" Philippians 4:6-7

Fretful anxiety is forbidden to the Christian! 

It is needless. "Look at the birds of the air," said Christ: "they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" If you have a Father in Heaven to care for you--are you not put to shame by every little bird that sits upon the bough and sings, though it has not two grains of barley in all the world? God takes charge of the birds of the air, and thus they live exempt from anxious care--why do not we?

Our Lord also taught that such anxiety is useless as well as needless; for, with all our care, we cannot add a single hour to our life!

Can we do anything else by fretful care? What if the farmer deplores that there is no rain? Do his fears unstop the bottles of Heaven? Or if the merchant sighs because the wind detains his ship laden with goods--will his complainings turn the gale to another quarter? 

We do not better ourselves a bit, by all our fretting and fuming. It would be infinitely wiser to do our best--and then casts our care upon our God!
Prudence is wisdom--for it adapts means to ends. 
But anxiety is folly--for it groans and worries, and accomplishes nothing! 

Besides, according to our Savior, anxiety about worldly things is heathenish: "For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them!" They have no God and no providence--and therefore they try to be a providence to themselves. Let the heir of Heaven act a nobler part than the mere man of the world--who has his portion in this life, and lives without God and without hope. 

Our distrust of our God is both childish and dishonoring. I was driven through the streets one day by a friend in a four-wheeled carriage, and he, being a good driver, must needs drive into narrow places, where it seemed to me that we would be crushed by the vans and omnibuses. I shrank back in my timidity, and expressed my unwise alarms so freely, that with a smile he laid the reins in my hand, and said, "If you cannot trust me--would you like to drive yourself?" From that ambition I was wholly free, and I assured him that he might drive as he liked, rather than make me the charioteer!

Surely, the great God might well put the same proposal to those who are complaining of His providence.If we cannot trust Him--could we manage better ourselves? 

If we are Christians, let us believe in our God, and leave the governance of the great world to the Lord God, our heavenly Father, who will surely cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him!

~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Called To Be Good, Not Great

"A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things" Matthew 12:35)

Every pastor knows the plain people who have nothing to recommend them but their deep devotion to their Lord and the fruit of the Spirit which they all unconsciously display. Without these the churches could not carry on.

These are the first to come forward when there is work to be done and the last to go home when there is prayer to be made. They are not known beyond the borders of their own perish because there is nothing dramatic faithfulness or newsworthy in goodness, but their presence is a benediction wherever they go.

They have no greatness to draw to them the admiring eyes of carnal men but are content to be good men and full of the Holy Spirit.

When they die they leave behind them a fragrance of Christ that lingers long after the cheap celebrities of the day are forgotten.

It remains only to be said that not all men can be great, but all men are called to be good by the blood of the Lamb and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Come unto God, unite yourself to God, and the doing power you have is infinite!

~A. W. Tozer~


The Holy Spirit Is Indispensable

"Repent, and be baptized every one ... and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38)

The continued neglect of the Holy Spirit by evangelical Christians is too evident to deny and impossible to justify.

Evangelical Christianity is Trinitarian: "Praise Father, Son and Holy Spirit" is sung in almost every church every Sunday of the year; and whether the singer realizes it or not he is acknowledging that the Holy Spirit is God indeed with equal claim to be worshiped along with the Father and the Son. Yet after this claim is sung at or near the beginning of the service little or nothing is heard of the Spirit again until the benediction.

There can be no doubt that there is a huge disparity between the place given to the Spirit in the Holy Scriptures and the place He occupies in popular evangelical Christianity. In the Scriptures the Holy Spirit is necessary.

David Brainerd once compared a man without the power of the Spirit trying to do spiritual work to a workman without fingers attempting to do manual labor. The figure is striking but it does not overstate the facts. The Holy Spirit is not a luxury. The Spirit is an imperative necessity. Only the Eternal Spirit can do eternal deeds.

~A. W. Tozer~

It Is Easy to Love When the Sky is Blue

This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (1 John 5:4).

It is easy to love Him when the blue is in the sky,
When summer winds are blowing, and we smell the roses nigh;
There is little effort needed to obey His precious will
When it leads through flower-decked valley, or over sun-kissed hill.
It is when the rain is falling, or the mist hangs in the air,
When the road is dark and rugged, and the wind no longer fair,
When the rosy dawn has settled in a shadowland of gray,
That we find it hard to trust Him, and are slower to obey.
It is easy to trust Him when the singing birds have come,
And their canticles are echoed in our heart and in our home;
But 'tis when we miss the music, and the days are dull and drear,
That we need a faith triumphant over every doubt and fear.
And our blessed Lord will give it; what we lack He will supply;
Let us ask in faith believing--on His promises rely;
He will ever be our Leader, whether smooth or rough the way,
And will prove Himself sufficient for the needs of every day.
To trust in spite of the look of being forsaken; to keep crying out into the vast, whence comes no returning voice, and where seems no hearing; to see the machinery of the world pauselessly grinding on as if self-moved, caring for no life, nor shifting a hair-breadth for all entreaty, and yet believe that God is awake and utterly loving; to desire nothing but what comes meant for us from His hand; to wait patiently, ready to die of hunger, fearing only lest faith should fail--such is the victory that overcometh the world, such is faith indeed.

~L. B. Cowman~

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Spirit's Call

"For ... we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office" (Romans 12:4)

While there is only one way to become a preacher, unfortunately there are many doors into the pulpit. One is to be endowed with what is sometimes called a "good pulpit presence." Many a tall Absalom whose commanding presence and sonorous voice mark him as a natural leader of men is attempting to speak for God when he has not been sent by God. His call is from the people instead of from the Spirit and the results cannot but be disastrous.

Others have become ministers from a genuine but altogether human love for mankind. These have a strong sense of social obligation which they feel they can best discharge by entering the ministry.

Of all wrong reasons for becoming a preacher this would seem to be the most laudatory, but it is nevertheless not a spiritually valid reason, for it overlooks the sovereign right of the Holy Spirit to call whom He will.

The church that is man-managed instead of God-governed is doomed to failure. A ministry that is college-trained but not Spirit-filled works no miracles. Things will get no better until we get back to the realized presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

~A. W. Tozer~


Called to Be A Voice

"Then flew one of the serphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand ... and he laid it upon my mouth" (Isaiah 6:6-7)

Most surely the Church has a service of compassion to render to the world, but her motives are not humanitarian. They are higher than this by as much as the new creation is higher than the old. It is inherent in the Christian spirit that the followers of Christ should wish to minister to the bodies as well as the souls of men. But the call to give God's prophetic message to the world is something apart.

The call to witness and serve comes to every Christian; the call to be a  Voice to mankind comes only to the man who has the Spirit's gift and special enabling. We need not fewer men to show mercy, but we need more men who can hear the words of God and translate them into human speech.

It is not enough that we are willing and eager to work for God, but the work itself must be of God. This is one of the deepest deaths that Christians are often called to die. Indeed, our work is unacceptable to God and useless to ourselves and others until it first have been bathed in the blood of Calvary and touched with the sign of crucifixion. It must cease to be OUR work and thus BECOME HIS and His alone.

~A. W. Tozer~

Whom, When, How To Deliver (and other Spurgeon devotionals)

Whom, When, How to Deliver

"The LORD knoweth how to deliver the Godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished"   (2 Peter 2:9).

The godly are tempted and tried. That is not true faith which is never put to the test. But the godly are delivered out of their trials, and that not by chance, nor by secondary agencies, but by the LORD Himself. He personally undertakes the office of delivering those who trust Him. God loves the godly or godlike, and He makes a point of knowing where they are and how they fare.

Sometimes their way seems to be a labyrinth, and they cannot imagine how they are to escape from threatening danger. What they do not know, their LORD knows. He knows whom to deliver, and when to deliver, and how to deliver. He delivers in the way which is most beneficial to the godly, most crushing to the tempter, and most glorifying to Himself. We may leave the "how" with the LORD and be content to rejoice in the fact that He will, in some way or other, bring His own people through all the dangers, trials, and temptations for this mortal life to His own right hand in glory.

This day it is not for me to pry into my LORD's secrets but patiently to wait His time, knowing this, that though I know nothing, my heavenly Father knows.

~Charles Spurgeon~


2 Timothy 4:18
His heavenly kingdom.
Yonder city of the great King is a place of active service. Ransomed spirits serve Him day and night in His temple. They never cease to fulfill the good pleasure of their King. They always "rest," so far as ease and freedom from care is concerned; and never "rest," in the sense of indolence or inactivity. Jerusalem the golden is the place of communion with all the people of God. We shall sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in eternal fellowship. We shall hold high converse with the noble host of the elect, all reigning with Him who by His love and His potent arm has brought them safely home. We shall not sing solos, but in chorus shall we praise our King. Heaven is a place of victory realized. Whenever, Christian, thou hast achieved a victory over thy lusts-whenever after hard struggling, thou hast laid a temptation dead at thy feet-thou hast in that hour a foretaste of the joy that awaits thee when the Lord shall shortly tread Satan under thy feet, and thou shalt find thyself more than conqueror through Him who hath loved thee. Paradise is a place of security. When you enjoy the full assurance of faith, you have the pledge of that glorious security which shall be yours when you are a perfect citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem. O my sweet home, Jerusalem, thou happy harbor of my soul! Thanks, even now, to Him whose love hath taught me to long for Thee; but louder thanks in eternity, when I shall possess thee.

"My soul has tasted of the grapes,
And now it longs to go
Where my dear Lord His vineyard keeps
And all the clusters grow.
"Upon the true and living vine,
My famish'd soul would feast,
And banquet on the fruit divine,
An everlasting guest."

~Charles Spurgeon~


Jonah 4:9
God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry?
Anger is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character, with this enquiry, "Doest thou well to be angry?" It may be that we can answer, "YES." Very frequently anger is the madman's firebrand, but sometimes it is Elijah's fire from heaven. We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong which it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine instruction; or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil which they do. He who is not angry at transgression becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil." Far more frequently it is to be feared that our anger in not commendable or even justifiable, and then we must answer, "NO." Why should we be fretful with children, passionate with servants, and wrathful with companions? Is such anger honorable to our Christian profession, or glorifying to God? Is it not the old evil heart seeking to gain dominion, and should we not resist it with all the might of our newborn nature. Many professors give way to temper as though it were useless to attempt resistance; but let the believer remember that he must be a conqueror in every point, or else he cannot be crowned. If we cannot control our tempers, what has grace done for us? Some one told Mr. Jay that grace was often grafted on a crab-stump. "Yes," said he, "but the fruit will not be crabs." We must not make natural infirmity an excuse for sin, but we must fly to the cross and pray the Lord to crucify our tempers, and renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Religion Like No Other

"Neither is there salvation in any other for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12)

There are in the Christian religion three elements: spiritual life, moral practice and community organization, and these all spring out of and follow New Testament doctrine; or more correctly, the first must and the others should.

Life comes mysteriously to the soul that believes the truth. "He that hearth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). And again, "He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive)" (7:38-39).

The message of the Cross offers eternal life and the blessedness of the Holy Spirit indwelling the soul. These distinguish Christianity from every other religion; and it i significant that these distinguishing marks are of such a nature as to be wholly above and beyond the reach of man.

Christianity tells humanity, "You have destroyed yourself, but in Me is your help." It is a supernatural religion ... the indwelling of the living God in human life.

~A. W. Tozer~


The Instant Obligation

"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered" (Hebrews 5:8)

The life of God in the soul of man is wholly independent of the social status of that man. In the early church the Spirit leaped across all artificial lines that separate men from each other and made of all believers a spiritual brotherhood. Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, Greek and barbarian were all baptized into one body, of which Christ was and is the Head.

Along with the gift of eternal life, the entrance of the Holy Spirit into the believer's heart and the indication of the newborn soul into the Body of Christ comes instant obligation to obey the teachings of the New Testament.

These teachings are so plain and so detailed that it is difficult to understand how they could appear different to persons living under different political systems or on different cultural levels. That they have so appeared cannot be denied; but always the reasons lie in the imperfect state of the believers composing the different groups.

Since I am God's temple, I am not to serve my own ends with my body, but the cause of Jesus Christ as His devoted disciple. Do I regard His temple, my body, as more mine than His?

~A. W. Tozer~

Both Near and Far

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

We read this prophecy written thousands of years ago and understand that the fulfillment was Jesus, as it is quoted again in Matthew 1:22, testifying to the virgin birth of Jesus as prophesied by the prophet Isaiah.

However, there was also a closer fulfillment of that prophecy as we read in Isaiah 8:3, “So I approached the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. Then the Lord said to me, ‘Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz’.” The prophecy for us is about the virgin birth of Jesus, but it was also immediately about this prophetess having a son as a sign to the people during Isaiah’s time. This verse is an example of near and far prophecy. “Near” to Isaiah but also predicted “far” for us.

Prophecy still works like that in our lives today. There are prophecies that have near and far fulfillments. As we read the Scriptures, we know that those verses were placed in the Bible for a set time and place. But, those same verses pop out to us as verses that we can claim for our own lives. How does that work?
God’s Word is alive and His Word has the ability to reach through all places, settings, times and events. His Word is as applicable and real to us and for us today as it was when written. I have seen near and far fulfillments in verses for myself. Many times, I receive a verse (or promise) from the Lord for the circumstance I am currently facing, and then years later in my life, I see the Lord further fulfill that verse in a new way.

God wants to speak to you and He does that by prophesying through His Word. Claim those verses but then relax. If God said it to you, He will fulfill it….again and again…both near and far.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Silence - An Unutterable Beatitude

"While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them ...And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him" (Luke 9:34-35)

Not all silence is spiritual. Some Christians are silent because they have nothing to say; others are silent because what they have to say cannot be uttered by mortal tongues. We will confine our remarks to the latter.

Where the Holy Spirit is permitted to exercise His full sway in a redeemed heart, the progression is likely to be as follows: First, voluble praise, in speech or prayer or witness. Then, when the crescendo rises beyond the ability of studied speech to express, comes song. When song breaks down under the weight of glory, then comes silence where the soul, held in deep fascination, feels itself blessed with an unutterable beatitude.

At the risk of being written off as an extremist or a borderline fanatic, we offer it as our mature opinion that more spiritual progress can be made in one short moment of speechless silence in the awesome Presence of God than in years of mere study. The exposure may be brief, but the results are permanent.

Very few of us know the secret of bathing our souls in silence. It was a secret our Lord Jesus Christ knew very well. We never really come to know ourselves because we cannot keep quiet long enough.

~A. W. Tozer~


The Christ Question

"What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?" (Matthew 27:22)

"Where is Jesus now?" asks the world, and the Christian answers, "At the right hand of God." He died but He is not dead. He rose again as He said He would. Better than all, His Spirit now reveals to the Christian heart not a dead Christ but a living one. This we are sent to declare with all the bold dogmatism of those who know, who have been there and experienced it beyond the possibility of a doubt.

The gospel is the official proclamation that Christ died for us and is risen again, with the added announcement that everyone who will believe, and as a result of that belief will cast in his lot with Christ in full and final committal, shall be saved eternally.

He will not be popular and he will be called to stand where Jesus stood before the world: to be admired by many, loved by a few and rejected at last by the majority of men. He must be willing to pay this price; or let him go his way; Christ has nothing more to say to him now.

The question for every man is the Christ question. The turning point of every life is its direct relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.

~A. W. Tozer~

Wait Patiently!

It came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land (1 Kings 17:7).

Week after week, with unfaltering and steadfast spirit, Elijah watched that dwindling brook; often tempted to stagger through unbelief, but refusing to allow his circumstances to come between himself and God. Unbelief sees God through circumstances, as we sometimes see the sun shorn of his rays through smoky air; but faith puts God between itself and circumstances, and looks at them through Him.

And so the dwindling brook became a silver thread; and the silver thread stood presently in pools at the foot of the largest boulders; and the pools shrank. The birds fled; the wild creatures of field and forest came no more to drink; the brook was dry. Only then to his patient and unwavering spirit, "the word of the Lord came, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath."

Most of us would have gotten anxious and worn with planning long before that. We should have ceased our songs as soon as the streamlet caroled less musically over its rocky bed; and with harps swinging on the willows, we should have paced to and fro upon the withering grass, lost in pensive thought. And probably, long ere the brook was dry, we should have devised some plan, and asking God's blessing on it, would have started off elsewhere.

God often does extricate us, because His mercy endureth forever; but if we had only waited first to see the unfolding of His plans, we should never have found ourselves landed in such an inextricable labyrinth; and we should never have been compelled to retrace our steps with so many tears of shame.
Wait, patiently wait!

~L. B. Cowman~