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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Interchange of Love

"There is one God; and there is none other but he: and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul" Mark 12:32-33)

Having been made in His image, we have within us the capacity to know God and the instant that we should worship Him. The very moment that the Spirit of God has quickened us to His life in regeneration, our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition!

That response within our beings, a response to forgiveness and pardon and regeneration, signals the miracle of the heavenly birth - without which  we cannot see the kingdom of God.

Yes, God desires and is pleased to communicate with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the souls of redeemed men and women is the throbbing heart of the New Testament religion.

The one who is caught by love is bound by the strongest of all bonds - and yet it is a pleasant burden. Nothing makes you so much God's, nor God so much yours, as this sweet bond. The one who has found this way will seek no other.

~A. W. Tozer~


God Himself - Nothing More

"I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple" ( Isaiah 6:1)

Brethren, when we finally have our meeting with God, it has to be alone in the depths of our being. We will be alone even if we are surrounded by a crowd. God has to cut every maverick out of the herd and brand him all alone. It isn't something that God can do for us en masse.

If it takes a crowd to get you converted, you have not been converted! It it takes a crown to get you through the fullness of the Holy Spirit, you are going to be disappointed.

I know that people do not want to be alone with God, but if your longing heart ever finds the living water, it will be alone. We humans want to help each other and that is good insofar as we can, but God wants us to press through to His Presence where there is no natural or artificial help.

He asks that we come with a naked intent unto God. We must want God Himself - and nothing more!

The love of God is paramount to every other principle ... every desire subservient to that of promoting his glory.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Sweet Psalmist of Israel (and other devotionals)

2 Samuel 23:1
The sweet psalmist of Israel.
Among all the saints whose lives are recorded in Holy Writ, David possesses an experience of the most striking, varied, and instructive character. In his history we meet with trials and temptations not to be discovered, as a whole, in other saints of ancient times, and hence he is all the more suggestive a type of our Lord. David knew the trials of all ranks and conditions of men. Kings have their troubles, and David wore a crown: the peasant has his cares, and David handled a shepherd's crook: the wanderer has many hardships, and David abode in the caves of Engedi: the captain has his difficulties, and David found the sons of Zeruiah too hard for him. The psalmist was also tried in his friends, his counsellor Ahithophel forsook him, "He that eateth bread with me, hath lifted up his heel against me." His worst foes were they of his own household: his children were his greatest affliction. The temptations of poverty and wealth, of honour and reproach, of health and weakness, all tried their power upon him. He had temptations from without to disturb his peace, and from within to mar his joy. David no sooner escaped from one trial than he fell into another; no sooner emerged from one season of despondency and alarm, than he was again brought into the lowest depths, and all God's waves and billows rolled over him. It is probably from this cause that David's psalms are so universally the delight of experienced Christians. Whatever our frame of mind, whether ecstasy or depression, David has exactly described our emotions. He was an able master of the human heart, because he had been tutored in the best of all schools-the school of heart-felt, personal experience. As we are instructed in the same school, as we grow matured in grace and in years, we increasingly appreciate David's psalms, and find them to be "green pastures." My soul, let David's experience cheer and counsel thee this day.

~Charles Spurgeon~


Nehemiah 3:8
And they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall.
Cities well fortified have broad walls, and so had Jerusalem in her glory. The New Jerusalem must, in like manner, be surrounded and preserved by a broad wall of nonconformity to the world, and separation from its customs and spirit. The tendency of these days break down the holy barrier, and make the distinction between the church and the world merely nominal. Professors are no longer strict and Puritanical, questionable literature is read on all hands, frivolous pastimes are currently indulged, and a general laxity threatens to deprive the Lord's peculiar people of those sacred singularities which separate them from sinners. It will be an ill day for the church and the world when the proposed amalgamation shall be complete, and the sons of God and the daughters of men shall be as one: then shall another deluge of wrath be ushered in. Beloved reader, be it your aim in heart, in word, in dress, in action to maintain the broad wall, remembering that the friendship of this world is enmity against God. The broad wall afforded a pleasant place of resort for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, from which they could command prospects of the surrounding country. This reminds us of the Lord's exceeding broad commandments, in which we walk at liberty in communion with Jesus, overlooking the scenes of earth, and looking out towards the glories of heaven. Separated from the world, and denying ourselves all ungodliness and fleshly lusts, we are nevertheless not in prison, nor restricted within narrow bounds; nay, we walk at liberty, because we keep His precepts. Come, reader, this evening walk with God in His statutes. As friend met friend upon the city wall, so meet thou thy God in the way of holy prayer and meditation. The bulwarks of salvation thou hast a right to traverse, for thou art a freeman of the royal burgh, a citizen of the metropolis of the universe.

~Charles Spurgeon~


Night of Weeping; Joyous Day 

"For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning"   (Psalm 30:5).A moment under our Father's anger seems very long, and yet it is but a moment after all. If we grieve His Spirit, we cannot look for His smile; but He is a God ready to pardon, and He soon puts aside all remembrance of our faults. When we faint and are ready to die because of His frown, His favor puts new life into us. This verse has another note of the semi-quaver kind. Our weeping night soon turns into joyous day. Brevity is the mark of mercy in the hour of the chastisement of believers. The LORD loves not to use the rod on His chosen; He gives a blow or two, and all is over; yea, and the life and the joy, which follow the anger and the weeping, more than make amends for the salutary sorrow. Come, my heart, begin thy hallelujahs! Weep not all through the night, but wipe thine eyes in anticipation of the morning. These tears are dews which mean us as much good as the sunbeams of the morrow. Tears clear the eyes for the sight of God in His grace and make the vision of His favor more precious. A night of sorrow supplies those shades of the pictures by which the highlights are brought out with distinctness. All is well.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Unknown Graces

"When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person" (Job 22:29)

"No one was ever filled with the Holy Spirit without knowing it. The Holy Spirit always announces Himself to the human consciousness." What is the nature of this "announcement"? Of what does it consist? How may we recognize it? Is it some kind of physical evidence, or what?

There is such a thing as the secret workings of the Spirit in the soul of man, for a time unknown and unsuspected by the individual. In fact, most of the fruits of the Spirit are unsuspected by the man in whom they are found.

The most loving, most patient, most compassionate soul is unlikely to be aware of these graces.  Others will discover the operations of the Spirit within him long before he will and will thank God for his sweet Christian character while he may at the same time be walking in great humility before God, mourning the absence of the very graces that others know he possesses.

There is an inseparable connection between a holy heart and a holy life. A holy life can no more proceed from an unholy heart, than a pure stream can flow from an impure fountain.

~A. W. Tozer~


Halfway To the Peak

"Choose you this day whom ye will serve ... as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15)

The world mediocre comes from two Latin words and literally means "halfway to the peak." This makes it an apt description of the progress of many Christians. They are halfway up to the peak. They are morally above the hardened sinner but they are spiritually beneath the shining saint.

Do we really think that this halfway Christian life is the best that Christ offers  - the best that we can know? In the face of what Christ offers us, how can we settle for so little? Think of all that He offers us by His blood and by His Spirit, by His sacrificial death on the Cross, by His resurrection from the dead, by His ascension to the right hand of the Father, by His sending forth of the Holy Spirit!

O Jesus, come and dwell in me,
Walk in my steps each day,
Live in my life, love in my love,
And speak in all I say;
Think in my thoughts, let all my acts
Thy very actions be,
So shall it be no longer I,
But Christ that lives in me.

~A. W. Tozer~

Deal Quickly with Sin

Deal Quickly with Sin

A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

—Galatians 5:9

Israel committed a great sin. They knew better. They were God's chosen, covenant people. They had seen his power demonstrated time and time again. They saw the Red Sea parted as they passed through, and they saw it close on the pursuing Egyptian army. They saw manna provided every morning. They saw God's fire by night and His cloud by day. They saw miracle after miracle. They made a promise to obey God on three separate occasions. Much had been given to Israel, and much was expected from Israel.

So when they worshiped the golden calf that Aaron formed from the jewelry they willingly gave him, it was a radical sin. And it would be dealt with harshly. When Moses arrived, he threw down the commandments, took their golden calf, ground it into powder, put it into water, and then made them drink it. Then he gave the command for a number of them to be put to death for their sin.

It almost seems unfair that God would deal so harshly with these people. But frankly, God doesn't owe us the time of day, much less an explanation of why He does or does not do certain things. He just does what He is going to do.

Basically God was saying, "I hate sin. It will not be tolerated. It must be dealt with swiftly, lest it spreads and do even more harm."

The Bible compares sin to leaven, which is yeast that is put into bread to cause it to rise before baking. It is always a picture of evil in the Bible. We could say that sin is like cancer. It needs to be cut out before it metastasizes, before it spreads through someone's system. That is why the Lord tells us to deal quickly with sin.
~Greg Laurie~

Monday, September 28, 2015

Change May Be Strange

"How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:2)

We must admit that the true Christian is a rather strange person in the eye of the unbeliever. I use the adjective "true" in regard to the Christian not only to point out the necessity for the new birth but to indicate, also, the Christian who is living according to his new birth. I speak here of a transformed life pleasing to God, for if you want to be a Christian, you must agree to a very much different life.

The life of obedience to Jesus Christ means living moment by moment in the Spirit of God and it will be so different from your former life that you will often be considered strange. The true Christian may seem a strange person indeed to those who make their observations only from the point of view of this present world, which is alienated from God and His gracious plan of salvation.

Consider now this glorious contradiction. The Christian is dead and yet he lives forever. He died to himself and yet he lives in Christ. The reason he lives is because of the death of another.

If we truly want to follow God, we must seek to be other-worldly. Every man must choose his world.

~A. W. Tozer~


A Habitation of the Spirit

"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:4)

The true Christian fears God with a trembling reverence and yet he is not afraid of God at all! He draws nigh to God with full assurance of faith and victory and yet at the same time is trembling with holy awe and fear.

To fear and yet draw near - this is the attitude of faith and love and yet the holy contradiction classifies him as a fanatic, too!

Today, as in all the centuries, true Christians are an enigma to the world, a thorn in the flesh of Adam, a puzzle to angels, the delight of God and a habitation of the Holy Spirit.

Our fellowship ought to take in all of the true children of God, regardless of who and where and what, if they are washed in the blood, born of the Spirit, walking with God the Father, begotten unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and rejoicing in the salvation to be revealed!

As we become occupied with Christ and abide in His fellowship, His glorious likeness is reproduced in us, and we stand before the world, not only living epistles but living likenesses, of our blessed Lord.

~A. W. Tozer~

The Degrees of Faith

Let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece (Judges 6:39).

There are degrees to faith. At one stage of Christian experience we cannot believe unless we have some sign or some great manifestation of feeling. We feel our fleece, like Gideon, and if it is wet we are willing to trust God. This may be true faith, but it is imperfect. It always looks for feeling or some token besides the Word of God. It marks quite an advance in faith when we trust God without feelings. It is blessed to believe without having any emotion.

There is a third stage of faith which even transcends that of Gideon and his fleece. The first phase of faith believes when there are favorable emotions, the second believes when there is the absence of feeling, but this third form of faith believes God and His Word when circumstances, emotions, appearances, people, and human reason all urge to the contrary. Paul exercised this faith in Acts 27:20, 25, "And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away." Notwithstanding all this Paul said, "Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer; for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me."

May God give us faith to fully trust His Word though everything else witness the other way.
When is the time to trust?
Is it when all is calm,
When waves the victor's palm,
And life is one glad psalm
Of joy and praise?
Nay! but the time to trust
Is when the waves beat high,
When storm clouds fill the sky,
And prayer is one long cry,
O help and save!
When is the time to trust?
Is it when friends are true?
Is it when comforts woo,
And in all we say and do
We meet but praise?
Nay! but the time to trust
Is when we stand alone,
And summer birds have flown,
And every prop is gone,
All else but God.
What is the time to trust?
Is it some future day,
When you have tried your way,
And learned to trust and pray
By bitter woe?
Nay! but the time to trust
Is in this moment's need,
Poor, broken, bruised reed!
Poor, troubled soul, make speed
To trust thy God.
What is the time to trust?
Is it when hopes beat high,
When sunshine gilds the sky,
And joy and ecstasy
Fill all the heart?
Nay! but the time to trust
Is when our joy is fled,
When sorrow bows the head,
And all is cold and dead,

All else but God.

~L. B. Cowman~

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Emotion Under Control

"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18)

Peter and Paul join in urging us to practice and display the loftiest fruits of the Spirit of God with the Spirit Himself in control of our emotions and our affections, our worship and our praise. Yes, brothers, the Spirit will make the believing child of God generous but He will never make him silly! The Spirit will warm the inner life of the Christian's being but he will never lead him to do the things that would cause him to hang his head in shame afterward!

I say, "Thank God" for the kind of enduring joy which comes to the believer whose emotional life is in keeping of the Spirit. I stand with the dear child of God whose reason is sanctified and who refuses to be swept from his mooring in the Word of God either by the latest popular vogue in religion fad or the ascendence of the most recent sensational personality in gospel circles.

Even the Holy Spirit does not take away our mental poise or expect us to surrender our common sense and will or yield ourselves to any hypnotic influence.

~A. W. Tozer~


Too Busy to be Gloomy

"Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ... Wherein ye greatly rejoice" (1 Peter 1:5-6)

The life of the normal, believing child of God can never become a life of gloom and pessimism. In every age we will have some people whose concept of Christianity is a kind of gloomy resignation to the inevitable. But it is the Holy Spirit who has promised the ability for the Christian to rejoice in God's promises day by day.

Peter states it as a paradox: the obedient Christian greatly rejoices even in the midst of great heaviness, trials and suffering. God's people know that things here are not all they ought to be, but they are not spending any time in worrying about it. They are too busy rejoicing in the gracious prospect of all that will take place when God fulfills all of His promises to His redeemed children!

Whatever else trouble is in the world for, it is
here for this good purpose: to develop strength ...
Every day we are blessed with new opportunities
for the development of strength of soul.

What harm can happen to him who knows that
God does everything, and who loves beforehand
everything that God does?

~A. W. Tozer~

Be Transformed By the Renewing of Your Mind (and other devotionals)

The God of peace make you perfect in every good work to do his will.

Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

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. - Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning.

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. - Be ye trans-formed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. - Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.

HEB. 13:20,21. II Cor. 13:11. Eph. 2:8,9. -Jas. 1:17. Phi. 2:12,13. -Rom. 12:2. -Phi. 1:11. II Cor. 3:5.

~Samuel Bagster~


I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.

Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. - Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Jesus, ... that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered with-out the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

[Jesus] said, ... Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while. - The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

HOS. 2:14: II Cor. 6:17,l5. -II Cor. 7:1. Heb. 13:12,13. Mark 6:31. Psa. 23:1-3.

~Samuel Bagster~


The house that is to be builded for the Lord must be exceeding magnifical.

Ye ... as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house. - Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. - Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. - What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. - Ye ... are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.

I CHR. 22:5. I Pet. 2:5. I Cor. 3:16,17. I Cor. 6:19,20. II Cor. 6:16. Eph. 2:19 22.

~Samuel Bagster~


He is before all things.

The Amen; the beginning of the creation of God. - The beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre eminence.

The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: when he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep; when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment. I was daily his delight rejoicing always before him. - Yea, before the day was I am he.

The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. - The author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

COL. 1:17. Rev. 3:14. Col. 1:18. Prov. 8:22,23,27,30. Isa. 43:13. Rev. 13:8. Heb. 12:2.

~Samuel Bagster~


Pray one for another, that ye may be healed.

Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. - Pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. 

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. - Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

JAS. 5:16. Gen. 18:27,28. Luke 23:34. Matt. 5:44. John 17:9,20. Gal. 6:2. Jas. 5:16,17.

~Samuel Bagster~


As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place therof shall know it no more.

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom. - What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. - The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. - Use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away. - Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

PSA. 103:15,16. Psa. 90:12. Mark 8:36. Isa. 40:7,8. I John 2:17. II Cor. 6:2. I Cor. 7:31. Heb. 10:24,25.

~Samuel Bagster~

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Discipline of Right Thinking

"Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8)

The Holy Spirit knows us well and enforces the exhortation to gird up our minds, to pull up our spiritual standards, to eliminate carelessness in word and thought and deed, and in activities and interest!

Now, let us think of what Peter must have had in mind when he added the words, "be sober," to the discipline of right thinking.

Sobriety is that human attitude of mind when the calm reason is in control. The mind is balanced and cool and the feelings are subject to reason and this statement is proof enough for me that the Holy Spirit will never urge believers into any kind of spiritual experience that violates and dethrones reason.

All of us are aware of instances where men and women have taken part in unreasonable and unseemly acts and then excused them on the grounds that they were moved by the Spirit.

Frankly, I must doubt that! I doubt that the Holy Spirit ever moves to dethrone reason in any man's mind.

Wherever the Holy Spirit comes, He will always be found witnessing to Jesus and honoring the Son of God.

~A. W. Tozer~


Overflowing Worship

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16)

There is another kind of divine working that may occur without our being aware of it, or at least without our recognizing it for what it is. This is the wondrous operation of God known in theology as "prevenient grace". It may be simple "conviction," or a strange longing which nothing can satisfy, or a powerful aspiration after eternal values, or a feeling of disgust for sin and a desire to be delivered from its repulsive coils. These strange workings within are the stirrings of the Holy Spirit but are rarely identified as such by the soul that is undergoing the experience. 

But there are two acts of God within the life of the seeking man that are never done without his knowledge. One is the miracle of the new birth and the other is the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The workings of God in the hearts of redeemed men always overflow into observable conduct. Certain moral changes will take place immediately in the life of the new convert. A moral revolution without will accompany the spiritual revolution that has occurred within.

Try your heat by your practice, and your practice by your heart.

~A. W. Tozer~

O How Strange!

O how strange--that God should love a worm, a dung-hill worm!
(The following is an excerpt from the diary of James Smith)

If some of my congregation knew me better--they would love me less!
Yet my heavenly Father . . .
  knows me well,
  favors me much,
  and loves me wonderfully!
O how strange--that God should love a worm, a dung-hill worm--one who . . .
  was bred in sin,
  loved sin,
  felt at home in sin, and
  at times felt regret that he was debarred from some sins!
O if God had left me to myself--what would I have been, and what would I have done!
But by the grace of God--I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

Surely, surely, I must say, that divine love and wisdom have planned my path--from first to last.
I am . . .
  out of Hell,
  on the way to Heaven,
  employed by God,
  useful to saints, and
  a blessing to sinners! O how wonderful, how wonderful is this!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Hour To Be Serious

"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end" (1 Peter 1:13)

The spirit of the prophet is always subject to the prophet. When the Spirit of God moves into a man's heart, He will never make a fool out of him. He will make the man happy but He will never make him silly.

He may make him sad with the woe and the weight of the world's grief but He will never let him become a gloomy cynic. The Holy Spirit will make him warm-hearted and responsive but He will never cause him to do things of which he will be ashamed later.

Peter was not promoting or predicting a cold and lifeless and formal spirituality in the Christian Church when he advised believers to gird up the lions of their minds and be sober. He was saying to the early Christians as he hopes to say to us now: "Brethren, if ever there was an hour when we needed to be serious about our Christian faith, this is the hour!

There is nothing so delightful as this consciousness of the very life and heart of Christ within us, the trust that springs spontaneously within our breast, the prayer that prays itself, and the song that sings its joyous triumph even when all around is dark and strange.

~A. W. Tozer~


Study, Then Do

"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein ... to do ... all that is written therein." (Joshua 1:8)

The great American evangelist, Charles Finney, went so far as to declare bluntly that it is sinful to teach the Bible without moral application. He asked what good is accomplished merely to study a course in the Bible to find out what it says, if there is to be no obligation to do anything as a result of what has been learned?

There can be a right and a wrong emphasis in conducting Bible classes. I am convinced that some Bible classes are nothing more than a means whereby men become even more settled in their religious prejudices.

Only when we have moral application are we in the Bible method! When we give ourselves seriously to Bible study, we discover the Holy Spirit's method. "This is what God did, and this is what God did. Therefore, this is what you ought to do!"
That is always the Bible way.

Let's practice the art of Bible meditation. Let us open our Bibles, spread them out on a chair and meditate on the Word of God. It will open itself to us, and the Spirit of God will come and brood over it. Put away the questions and answers and the filling in of blank lines ... and in faith say, "Father, here I am. Begin to teach me!"

~A. W. Tozer~

Remember Lot's Wife

Genesis 19:26

(26) But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
New King James Version   

Lot's wife did not merely look back—she dragged her heels from Sodom to Zoar, dawdling and wasting time. By conducting herself in this way, she gave unmistakable evidence that her heart did not believe what the angel had said to her—God would not really destroy all of their possessions. So she reluctantly left Sodom because she loved the world, not having the faith.
This has two direct applications to our lives. In Luke 17:32Jesus said, "Remember Lot's wife." He says that she sought to save her life but lost it. The first lesson is that when the time comes to flee, flee! Do not look back. This is corroborated by Matthew 24:17 and Mark 13:15, in Jesus' Olivet prophecy. He said, “Let him who is on the housetop not come down.” Jesus meant, “Get out of the city. Flee. Do not look back. Do not get any of your possessions. Leave!”

This is not to minimize the gut-wrenching choices that this requires of us. Scripture implies that when this occurs, our family might be spread all over the city, county, state, nation, or globe. Will we have the faith to leave the city, not just without our material possessions, but without our children? Are we going to trust God that He will protect them and get them out, too? Though this is not easy, the word of our Lord says, “Remember Lot's wife.”

The second lesson is that saving one's life also pertains to one's way of life and manner of living. It includes one's hopes, dreams, aspirations, traditions, attitudes, and relationships. All of these have come from this world, which forms and makes us what we are, often in opposition to God (Romans 8:7). This is why John warns in I John 2:15 to “love not the world.” The world is cosmos, a system apart from God, being organized and regulated upon false principles and false values. It has made us what we are before God calls us, requiring our repentance and conversion.

Like science, conversion tells us there cannot be a vacuum in life. When we are swept clean by God's forgiveness and His Holy Spirit, something must be done to keep it clean, holy, and separated from the world. No man can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), and therefore, loyalty cannot be given with neutrality. It will either be God or the world.

The way to God was open to Lot's wife because of her husband's conversion (I Corinthians 7:13-14). The problem was that she failed to take advantage of all the privileges that were given to her. She dropped the ball. The lesson is to whom much is given, much is required.

We must remember Lot's wife, for never has so much opportunity been given to really know God through His Word than has been given to the end-time church. Yet, when Christ asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). The question requires each of us to answer individually. Will He find faith in us?

He will find faith if we take seriously His admonition to remember Lot's wife, who was totally unprepared because she had no faith. We need to be working diligently to build our faith in God by yielding to Him in loyalty in every opportunity life presents.
Remember Lot's wife.

~John W. Ritenbaugh~

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The True Essence of Faith

"Now we have received ... the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (1 Corinthians 2:12)

The witness of the Spirit is a sacred inner thing which cannot be explained. It is altogether personal and cannot be passed from one to another. The outward ear cannot hear what it says. Much less can the worldly onlooker know what is taking place.

The Spirit whispers its mysterious Presence to the heart, and the heart knows without knowing "how" it knows. Just as we know we are alive by unmediated knowledge and without recourse to proof, so we know we are alive in the Holy Spirit. The witness is in the hidden regions of the spirit, too deep for proof, where external evidence is invalid and "signs" are of no use.

When all is said, it may easily be that the great difference between professing Christians (the important difference in this day) is between those who have reduced Christianity to an intellectual formula and those who believe that the true essence of our faith lies in the supernatural workings of the Spirit in a region of the soul not accessible to mere reason.

Show me a man who makes the word of God the rule, and the glory of God the end of his conduct and I will show you one whose heart has been sanctified by the Spirit of grace.

~A. W. Tozer~


Attitude is Everything

"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" (Romans 14:19)

I think God looks beyond the situation to the spirit and attitude. I think He is more concerned with how we react to abuse and mistreatment than to the fact that we have been abused by someone.

Some of us have had experiences of being "told off" most eloquently by people with a very descriptive flow of language; but the eloquence is lost completely insofar as God is concerned.

If you are His child taking some abuse or persecution for His sake, His great concern is the attitude that you will show in return.

Will you reveal a stubborn spirit intent upon revenge? If you resist the Spirit of God asking you to demonstrate the love and grace of Jesus Christ, your Saviour, you can be sure of one thing: God will resist you!

He who does not seek and find God everywhere, and in everything, finds Him nowhere and in nothing. And he who is not at the Lord's service in everything, is at His service in nothing.

~A. W. Tozer~

What Grieves God

What Grieves God

"And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart."

—Genesis 6:6

One day the Lord's disciples came to Him with this question: "What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3).

Jesus answered, "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be" (verses 37–39).

In this significant statement, Jesus not only was verifying the historicity of the Flood spoken of in Genesis, but He also was encouraging us to look carefully at the way things were before the Flood came, because these are characteristics that will be prevalent in the time before He comes again.

There are some striking parallels between Noah's time and our time. Noah was living in his last days. He was living in a time right before judgment came in the form of the Flood. And we are living in the last days, the time before the judgment that will come during the Great Tribulation.

As Genesis 6 opens, things had gone from bad to worse on Planet Earth. The Bible tells us, "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart" (verses 5–6).

God was grieved that His creation was living that way. This shows the heartache of God over the rebellion and wickedness of men and women.
~Greg Laurie~

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

God's Presence - Wonderfully Real

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

There are qualities in God that can never be explained to the intellect and can only be known by the heart, the innermost being. That is why I say that I do believe in feeling.

I believe in what the old writers called religious affection - and we have so little of it because we have not laid the groundwork for it. The groundwork is repentance and obedience and separation and holy living!

I am confident that whenever this groundwork is laid, there will come to us this sense of the other-worldly Presence of God and it will become wonderfully, wonderfully real.

The deeper life is a continual discovery of how
 fully Jesus satisfies the deep yearnings of our hearts.

Do we long to be holy? The indwelling Christ
offers Himself to us as our holiness!

Do we long to know our Father, God? Christ
is the Revealer of the Father!

Do we long for power that enables a fruitful
 ministry? Christ, by His Holy Spirit, is that

~A. W. Tozer~


The Mysterious Presence

"My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest" (Exodus 33:14)

Serious, honest persons have turned away from the whole idea of holiness because of those who have claimed it and then lived selfish and conceited lives.

But, 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.

When a good man with this special quality and mysterious Presence is morally right and walking in all the holy ways of God and carries upon himself without even knowing it the fragrance of a kingdom that is supreme above the kingdoms of this world, I am ready to accept that as being of God and from God!

This is the true divine order: first, reconciliation, then holiness. It is required of those who have been redeemed at such cost and brought into this place of privilege, that they should be holy even as He is holy.

~A. W. Tozer~