Worth Pondering

Mar 5, 2011 at 20:11 o\clock

Spiritual Power

Five Vows for Spiritual Power


by A. W. Tozer


Some people object to taking vows, but in the Bible you will find many great men of God directed by covenants, promises, vows and pledges. The psalmist was not averse to the taking of vows: “Thy vows are upon me, O God,” he said. “I will render my praises unto thee” (Psalm 56:12).

My counsel in this matter is that if you are really concerned about spiritual improvement--the gaining of new power, new life, new joy and new personal revival within your heart--you will do well to make certain vows and proceed to keep them. If you should fail, go down in humility and repent and start over. But always keep these vows before you. They will help harmonize your heart with the vast powers that flow out and down from the throne where Christ sits at the right hand of God.

A carnal man refuses the discipline of such commitments. He says, “I want to be free. I don't want to lay any vows upon myself; I don't believe in it. It is legalism.” Well, let me paint a picture of two men.

One of them will not take vows. He will not accept any responsibility. He wants to be free. And he is free, in a measure--just as a tramp is free. The tramp is free to sit on a park bench by day, sleep on a newspaper by night, get chased out of town on Thursday morning, and find his way up a set of creaky stairs in some flophouse on Thursday night. Such a man is free, but he is also useless. He clutters up the world whose air he breathes.

Let's look at another man--maybe a president or prime minister or any great man who carries upon himself the weight of government. Such men are not free. But in the sacrifice of their freedom they step up in power. If they insist upon being free, they can be free, just like the tramp. But they choose rather to be bound.

There are many religious tramps in the world who will not be bound by anything. They have turned the grace of God into personal license. But the great souls are ones who have gone reverently to God with the understanding that in their flesh dwells no good thing. And they know that without God's enablement any vows taken would be broken before sundown. Nevertheless, believing in God, reverently they took certain sacred vows. This is the way to spiritual power.

Now there are five vows I have in mind which we do well to make and keep. The first is: Deal thoroughly with sin. Sin has been driven underground these days and has come up with a new name and face. You may be subjected to this phenomenon in the schools. Sin is called by various fancy names--anything but what it really is. For example, men don't get under conviction any more; they get a guilt complex. Instead of confessing their guilt to God and getting rid of it, they lie down on a couch and try to tell a man who ought to know better all about themselves. It comes out after a while that they were deeply disappointed when they were two years old or some such thing. That's supposed to make them better.

The whole thing is ridiculous, because sin is still the ancient enemy of the soul. It has never changed. We've got to deal firmly with sin in our lives. Let's remember that. “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink,” said Paul, “but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). Righteousness lies at the door of the kingdom of God. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4, 20).

This is not to preach sinless perfection. This is to say that every known sin is to be named, identified and repudiated, and that we must trust God for deliverance from it, so that there is no more sin anywhere in our lives. It is absolutely necessary that we deal thus, because God is a holy God and sin is on the throne of the world.

So don't call your sins by some other name. If you're jealous, call it jealousy. If you tend to pity yourself and feel that you are not appreciated, but are like a flower born to blush unseen and waste your sweetness on the desert air, call it what it is -- self-pity.

There is resentfulness. If you're resentful, admit it. I have met people who live in a state of sputtering indignation most of the time. I know of a preacher who acts like a hen thrown out of the nest. He keeps running in all directions clucking and complaining -- somebody is always doing him wrong. Well, if you have got that spirit, you must deal with it now. You must get that out of you. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin. Instead of covering it up and trying to find a Greek marginal rendering somewhere to hide it under, call it by the right name, and get rid of it by the grace of God.

And then there is your temper. Don't call it indignation. Don't try to christen it by some other name. Call it chat it is. Because if you have a bad temper you will either get rid of it or it will get rid of much of your spirituality and most of your joy.

So let's deal with sin thoroughly. Let's be perfectly candid. God loves candid people.

Now the second vow is: Never own anything. I do not mean by this that you cannot have things. I mean that you ought to get delivered from this sense of possessing them. This sense of possessing is what hinders us. All babies are born with their fists clenched, and it seems to me it means: “This is mine!” One of the first things is “mine” in an angry voice. That sense of “This is mine” is a very injurious thing to the spirit. If you can get rid of it so that you have no feeling of possessing anything, there will come a great sense of freedom and liberty into your life.

Now don't think that you must sell all that you have and give it to charity. No, God will let you have your car and your business, your practice and your position, whatever it may be, provided you understand that it is not yours at all, but His, and all your are doing is just working for Him. You can be restful about it then, because we never need to worry about losing anything that belongs to someone else. If it is yours, you're always looking in your hand to see if it's stll there. If it's God's you no longer need to worry about it.

Let me point out some things you'll have to turn over to God. Property is one thing. Some of the dear Lord's children are being held back because there's a ball and chain on their legs. If it's a man, it's his big car and fine home. If it's a woman it's her china and her Louis XIV furniture and all the rest. Take that vase for instance. There it stands, and if anybody knocked it off and broke it the poor owner would probably lose five years from her life!

The third vow is this: Never defend yourself. We're all born with a desire to defend ourselves. And if you insist upon defending yourself, God will let you do it. But if you turn the defense of yourself over to God He will defend you. He told Moses once, in Exodus 23:22: “I will be an enemy unto thine enemies and an adversary to thine adversaries.”

A long time ago the Lord and I went through the 23rd chapter of Exodus together and He gave it to me. For 30 years now it has been a source of untold blessing to my life. I don't have to fight. The Lord does the fighting for me. And He'll do the same for you. He will be an enemy to your enemy and an adversary to your adversary, and you'll never need to defend yourself.

What do we defend? Well, we defend our service, and particularly we defend our reputation. Your reputation is what people think you are, and if a story gets out about you the big temptation is to try to run it down. But you know, running down the source of a story is a hopeless task. Absolutely hopeless! It's like trying to find the bird after you've found the feather on your lawn. You can't do it. But if you'll turn yourslef wholly over tot he Lord He will defend you completely and see to it that no one will harm you. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” He says, and “every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn” (Isaish 54:17).

Henry Suso was a great Christian of other days. Once he was seeking what some Christians have told me they are seeking--to know God better. Let's put it like this: you are seeking to have a religious awakening within your spirit that will thrust you farther out into the deep things of God. Well, as Henry Suso was seeking God, people started telling evil stories about the man, and it grieved him so that he wept bitter tears and had great sorrow of heart.

Then one day he looked out the window and saw a dog playing on the lawn. The dog had a mat, and kept picking the mat up, tossing it over his shoulder, running and getting it, tossing it some more, picking it up and tossing it again. God said to Henry Suso, “That mat is your reputation, and I am letting the dogs of sin tear your reputation to shreds and toss it all over the lawn for your own good. One of these days things will change.”

And things did change. It was not very long before people who were tearing his reputation were confounded, and Suso rose into a place that made him a power in his day and a great blessing still to those who sing his hymns and read his works.

Next vow; Never pass anything on about anybody else that will hurt him. “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). The talebearer has no place in God's favor. If you know something that would hinder or hurt the reputation of one of God's children, bury it forever. Find a little garden out back--a little spot somewhere--and when somebody comes around with an evil story, take it out and bury it, and say, “Here lies in peace the story about my brother.” God will take care of it. “With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged” (Matthew 7:2).

If you want God to be good to you, you are going to have to be good to His children. You say, “That's not grace.” Well, grace gets you into the kingdom of God. That is unmerited favor. But after you are seated at the Father's table He expects to teach you table manners. And He won't let you eat unless you obey the etiquette of the table. And what is that? The etiquette of the table is that you don't tell stories about the brother who is sitting at the table with you--no matter what his denomination, or nationality or background.

Our next vow is: Never accept any glory. God is jealous of His glory and He will not give His glory to another. He will not even share His glory with another. It is quite natural, I should say, for people to hope that maybe their Christian service will give them a chance to display their talents. True, they want to serve the Lord. But they also want other people to now they are serving the Lord. They want to have a reputation among the saints. That is very dangerous ground--seeking a reputation among the saints. It's bad enough to seek a reputation in the world, but it's worse to seek a reputation among the people of God. Our Lord gave up His reputation, and so must we.

Meister Eckhart once preached a sermon on Christ cleansing the temple. He said, “Now there was nothing wrong with those men selling and buying there. There was nothing wrong with exchanging money there; it had to be. The sin lay in their doiing it for profit. They got a percentage on serving the Lord.” And then he made the application: “Anybody that serves for a commission, for what little bit of glory he can get out of it, he is a merchant and he ought to be cast out of the temple.”

I go along with this. If you're serving the Lord, and yet slyly--perhaps scarcely known to you--you're hoping to get just a little five percent commission, then look out! It will chill the power of God in your spirit. You must determine that you will never take any glory, but see that God gets it all.

Now the easiest possible thing is to give a message like this. The hard thing is to make it work in one's own life. Remember that these five vows are not something you write in the bvack of your Bible and forget. They've got to be written in your own blood. They have to be made final, irrevocable. If it only coems off the surface it's no good. Much of our promises come off the surface. No, no. Let is come out of the depths of your heart, the deep depths of your spirit.

Theses vows cut against the old human nature. They introduce the cross into your life. And nobody ever walks back from carrying his cross--nobody, ever. When a man takes his cross he's already said goodbye. He's pulled the roll top shut on his desk and said farewell to his wife and children. He's not coming back. The man with the cross never comes back. When you make these vows, remember: They introduce the cross into your life, they strike at the heart of your self-life and there is never a place to go back to. And I say, “Woe to the triflers!”

In America--and meybe in other places, too--so many people are saying, “Try Jesus, try God!” Triflers, experimenters, tasters they are. Like a rabbit with a half dozen holes so if one is stopped up he can flee to another! No! From the cross there is no place to flee. You don't “try” Jesus. He's not there to be experimental with. Christ is not on trial. You are. I am. He's not! God raised Him from the dead and forever confirmed His deity and sealed Him and set Him at His own right hand as Lord and Christ. Turn everything over to Him and you'll find your life begin to lift. You'll blossom in a wonderful way.

Now, if you happen to be one of those on whom God has laid His hand for a deeper life, a more powerful life, a fuller life, then I wonder if you would be willing to pray this kind of prayer: “O God, glorify Thyself at my expense. Send me the bill--anything, Lord. I set no price. I will not dicker or bargain. Glorify Thyself. I'll take the consequence.”

This kind of praying is simple, but it's deep and wonderful and powerful. I believe, if you can pray a prayer like that, it will be the ramp from which you can take off into higher heights and bluer skies in the things of the Spirit.



Mar 5, 2011 at 20:08 o\clock

Why be Mediocre ?

Why Be a Mediocre Christian

A sermon preached at Avenue Road Alliance Church, Toronto
by A. W. Tozer




In the book of Hebrews, the fifth chapter and the first verse of the sixth :

We have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time had elapsed since your conversion you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again what be the first principles of the oracles of God and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ let us go on unto perfection.’

I think that's as far as I'll read. I can't read it all ; I have to stop somewhere. I'll stop with those words ; two, four, six of them ‘Let us go on unto perfection’

There was an old man ; nobody knows who he was. He lived about seven hundred years ago and he wrote a book which has come down to us and he divided Christians into four classes. He said Christians may be divided into these four classes, the common Christian, the special Christian, the singular Christian and the perfect Christian. He said from being a common Christian you go on to being a special Christian ; from being a special Christian you go on to being singular then from being singular you go on unto perfection but he was careful to say that full perfection is never reached in this life. He said that we enter the general area of perfection but that some imperfection clings until the day when our Lord appears to glorify us then we'll be as He is and completely perfect. But he said that there was a type of Christian that might be called, from the human standpoint at least, a perfect Christian.

Now, he said that most Christians were common and that's what I want to talk about tonight a little : the common Christian, the common barnyard variety. And I want to pull it out that the word ‘common’ means of ordinary rank, quality or ability, not distinguished by superiority of any kind, following customary ways.

Now, does that describe you? You're a believer, you're saved ; you know that but you're ordinary and you have no outstanding abilities or qualities ; not distinguished by spiritual superiority at all ; just following the customary ways of the church. Now, I leave it to you whether it describes you or not but I have observed a lot and I do observe that as well as pray and I find that most Christians are mediocre.

‘Mediocre’ is a word that we use a lot without knowing what it means and mediocre means ‘half way up between the valley and the peak. It doesn't mean half-way between earth and Heaven, it means half way between where we used to be and where we ought to be. Now that's where I would describe the average Christian. You might as well know it : the average Alliance Christian ... and you might as well know it, the average Christian here on the grounds. You're half way up between where you were and where you ought to be. It means stuck part way up the peak. There is a great shining peak up yonder ; there is the dark valley below and you are far above the moral standards of the sinful world in the valley but you're also far below the shining saint who with his ...xxx adoration and his glory.

Now is this the best Christ offers to us, my friends? Is this mediocre, undistinguished, half-way-up-the-peak business, is this the best that the Lord offers? I do not think so ; it's our own fault. Why is it then that most of us are undistinguished spiritually, morally above the world but spiritually beneath the saints? Well I want to tell you it's because when we hear a call to take up the cross and follow toward the hills we begin to bargain with God like a huckster!

When there's a sermon preached or a book read the gist of which is ‘take thy cross and follow, go on unto perfection’why, people begin to ask questions and bargain with God. They say "What will it cost? What will it cost me to be that kind of a Christian? What will it cost me in time? You know I don't have much time. What will it cost me in money? You know I have a family. What will it cost me in labor? You know that I work hard. What will in cost me in relationships? I don't want to give up my friends." As soon as you hear a man, looking in the face of Jesus Christ and saying "Master, I'd like to follow you all the way but it's too costly" you have a poor, mediocre wretch on your hands!

Then, the question that's asked, "Is it safe?" Christians want to be safe. This generation is the weakest that I have known and the weakest probably that we have ever had since our forefather's landed at Plymouth Rock! Everybody's bleating about security! We're hanging onto the neck of Uncle Sam as a baby hangs to the neck of its mother, whimpering and bleating! We want security but there's no security when you have a cross on your shoulder, my friend. ‘Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone!’ It's not security that God offers us, but a cross and a cross is a place to die!

And then, when you hear anybody talk about pressing on say, "Is it convenient?" Is it convenient! There are Christians who live their lives -- their Christian lives -- at their own convenience. They'll hardly ever leave their own convenience. I want to say to you that no spiritual advance was ever made at anybody's convenience! For the cross never, never was a convenient instrument and nobody ever found the cross convenient, nobody! And the judgment of God will not be convenient and there's never been found a convenient way to die.

And because it's up the hill toward the shining peak yonder we stop and say, "Lord, could I do it conveniently or would it upset the pattern of my life?" Shame on us! We're not worthy to be called by His name! And then there are those still weaker who never grew up spiritually at all. They say, "Is it fun?" We want to know : is it fun to follow the Lord?’ And there are some of these weak sisters -- and you know there are ‘weak sisters’ of the male sex too -- there are ‘old maids’ that are masculine, that is, the doctor said,‘it's a boy’but he had his finger crossed really. They're not men, they're just half-way in between and there's an awful lot that say, "Oh, it's fun to serve Jesus!" I haven't found it so, brother! I haven't found it so. I've found it a fight and a battle and a labor and a struggle; joy, yes, joy and tears of joy but I haven't found it fun! If you're looking for fun, in God's name, why aren't you bold enough and courageous enough and honest enough to leave the church and religion and quit hanging around! If you're looking for fun, go to the world! They'll give you fun ... until they bury you with a slab over you! But if you want to serve Christ, you don't come to Christ looking for fun! Jesus Christ, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross! But the joy was before Him. We want the fun ... is it fun?

And then, other weaklings, still weaker, say, "Is it popular?" They want to be with the approved group and they won't follow unless it's approved. They don't want to stand alone ; they're too weak to stand alone. They want to escape being laughed at. Who laughs at a Christian except a fool? And who would be so weak as to be afraid of the laughter of fools which the Old Testament says is like the crackling off thorns in the fire?

Well, do you know why we're so slow about going on--why we're like this? You have need that ye might be taught. Why do not God's people bounce right out and start growing and going and rising and mounting and soaring and climbing? Why do they have to be petted and coddled and looked after and followed around and held up? Why? Well, they've never got their legs under them ; they've never decided. The face of God is turned away from them.

Do you know, brethren -- that is, they think it is -- you see, Christ made a full atonement for us. There isn't anything between the Christian and God. There is nothing because Christ made a full atonement and His atonement was so perfect and complete that it turns all that was against us into something that's for us. It turned all our demerit into merit. It turned everything that was on the debt side of the ledger into the credit side of the ledger. It put everything that was against us over on our side. That was the wonder of the atonement in Christ Jesus! God's face is not turned away ; it is turned toward us because in Christ, Christ is the manward side of God. When Christ came, God was turned our way and the face of God is turned our way. But there is a cloud that hides Him from us, a cloud, so that we walk in the shadows and walk by a kind of wobbly faith that we call faith but the face of God is hidden.

Now, why? Because there is between the average Christian and God a cloud of concealment. He tells himself that he is born again and he reads books telling him that when the Lord comes he will go zooming right off to Heaven like that and will reign over seven cities. He can't reign over his temper down here but he expects to be a mayor over seven cities somewhere. He read that in the Gospel and he thinks it means he but it doesn't. Why is it? I say, it's because there is a cloud of concealment between us and God. On any day, you know, any day the sun is shining. Every day the sun is shining but sometimes it never gets through. Sometimes day follows day and day follows day in Chicago and you never see the sun. And there are places where they tell me it's still worse ; weeks will go by without seeing the sun and yet the sun is there all the time. There's a cloud of concealment.

Some time ago I got in an airplane over in LaGardia field in New York City and it was about four o'clock in the afternoon and of course still lots of daylight left but there was no daylight and there hadn't been daylight in New York, just muddy rain all day long and it was still raining. And after everybody'd got on board and they'd fastened their seat belts and we were ready to take off a friendly, smiling captain swaggered out and stood and relaxed easy and talked to us. It was not a nice day to fly so wanted to make us land-lubbers feel comfortable and here's what he said. He said, ‘Now it's raining’ but he said, "We'll be in Chicago in a little over two hours" and he said "in just fifteen minutes we'll be into the sunshine." He said, "Just be quiet, just wait. It's raining now and it's dark but in fifteen minutes we'll be into the sunshine!"

So there was a revving up of motors and the usual bounce and wobble and then smooth and then we took off and in less than fifteen minutes the bright sun was shining down on us and beneath us was all that mess of rain and mud and smog and smoke and all the rest but we were into the sunshine! The sun had been there all the time but there was a cloud of concealment between us and the sun! So, my dear friend, the holiest saint that ever lived, the happiest saint that ever lived didn't have God any nearer than you have Him! But the trouble is, there's a cloud of concealment between you and God.

You say, what do you mean, Mr. Tozer? Well, I'll spell it out for you then : let me spell it out. What do I mean by this cloud? I mean a cloud of pride, for instance, and stubbornness. Well that gets in people's way. People are proud and it becomes a cloud over them and the sun shines on their heads but it can't get through, can't get through!

And then there's a cloud of stubbornness. Some people are just plain mules! Nobody can do anything with them. You can't push them around ; they're always on the defensive, always, and that's a cloud.

And then there's self-will. Some people are sweet as honey as long as they're having their own way but they turn into sour grapes as soon as they're opposed. That's self-will.

And then there is ambition, even religious ambition. And then there is anything that I claim for myself. Anything that I say is mine gets between me and God immediately. Anything that I claim and say, ‘That's mine!’ -- that's a cloud of concealment and it shuts out the face of God from me. And nothing will bring that face into full focus ; nothing will drive the cloud away, not prayer, not fasting, not faith, not anything ... until I have given that up to God and said, "God, I don't own a thing in the wide world, everything belongs to Thee!"

And then, self-love is another thing that gets in the way. Self-love and self-gratulation and self-admiration. You admire yourself. Sister -- young lady, you're good looking and the trouble with you is, you know it! And you kid a lot about it but it's in your way, nevertheless. I'm just thinking what mother nature will do to you, honey. I'm just thinking what mother nature will do to you! You're slim as a willow now and pretty as a picture but you give mother nature time and she'll make you bulge where you don't want to bulge and she will put wrinkles where not all that you can buy in the drugstore will take them away. And she'll make you sag and she'll do things to you that are not kind and you'll lose all that! And if all you have is your good looks, God help you, woman! You'll be a pauper in short time. Mother nature will rob you of everything you stand for and everything you have and love and live for.

And then there are men. You've got your muscles and your biceps and your shoulders and your athletic cups and all the rest. You're somebody! Why I've often said that any ordinary blue-nosed mule from the hills of Kentucky can kick harder than Floyd Patterson or Inger Yohans and why should I compete with a mule on his terms? If I want to compete with a mule I'll compete up in the intellectual realm or in the spiritual realm ; I can beat him hands down! But if all I have is muscle he's got more muscle than I have. I'm number two to an ordinary mule. Now listen, young feller : you're proud of your muscle and you like to go around, unconsciously showing your profile. The day will be when you lose your teeth and your profile will collapse! I mean it. I mean it! In God's name, is that all you've got? If that's all you've got, you're a pauper! Time and nature will take it all away and leave you a pauper in the end and yet you've got yourself admiration. It gets between you and God and is a cloud over your head and you admire yourself.

And then there's money. Some people are covered with a green canopy and they can't see God -- green bills between them and God. And some have friends that are in the way and some have position. Now why is it that it takes us so long to get rid of this cloud of concealment and sweep it away and get the sun shining and get up the peak towards the top? Well, it isn't God's fault and it isn't God's will. God wills that His children should grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He wills that we should go on to perfection. He wills that we should holy be, as the old song says, and He wills that we should be Christians going on unto perfection.

And why don't we? Well, you see, we like ourselves too well ; we struggle to keep up a good front. Some people pity seekers when they come to an altar. I don't pity them as a rule because there's a struggle. Some say, ‘Oh, isn't that beautiful, those tears, isn't that beautiful, that struggle!’ You know why they're struggling? They're fighting God! And it's never a good sight to see anybody fighting God. Never! They're trying to keep up a good front, they don't want to surrender, they don't want people to know how little they are, and how useless and small. They don't want anybody to peek in to the poverty of their own heart. They want to keep up a good front.

We Americans pay millions -- billions of dollars yearly to keep up a front and you tear the front down and the average man is a poor tramp in his spirit, in his mind, in his heart! And then we try to hide that inward state and disguise our poverty and preserve our reputation at any cost and keep some authority for ourselves. We want to have a little authority around ; we don't want to give it up. God wants you to take all authority out of your hands so you don't have any authority left at all. He wants to take it away from you and He'll never bless you right until He's taken it! As long as you're in command, as long as you say, ‘Now listen, I'll tell you how to do this....’ It's no good, brother ; you'll be common, you'll be mediocre, you'll spend the rest of your life being dull of hearing attending camp meetings, and attending churches and all the means of grace at your disposal and you're getting nowhere!

And then, we like to take some glory for ourselves too. We like that ; we like to have a little glory for ourselves. We're willing for God to have most of it but we'd like a commission ; we'd like just a little bit for ourselves and rescue part of ourselves from the cross. We're willing that two-thirds of ourselves should be crucified but not three-thirds! We're willing that four-fifths but not five-fifths. We just won't take it ; and we won't go and so we contradict ourselves, we pray and then get in our own road and we plead to be filled and then resist the Holy Spirit. We plead to go up and still won't go up.

Now my brethren, there is such a thing as a cloud of forgetting and I want to talk a little about that. What do I do about all this? What do I do about all this? Well, you remember the journey of Jesus? Do you remember that journey? And the old man says, "See who by grace may." I guess not everybody can see this and I don't suppose everybody can hear this for even the writer in the text says, "This will we do if God permits." I'm not exactly a predestinarian ; that is, I don't quite believe in the predestination of all things from the begining but I'm inclined to think that some people were just born to be little ; they'll never amount to much. If they go to Heaven it'll be by the grace of God ; they'll take nothing along, they'll go empty-handed, they'll get through by the mercy of God ; that's the only way anybody gets through, by the mercy of God but God willed that you should not only go through but He willed that you should take with you riches, diamonds, pearls, silver, gold tried in the fire! He wills that you should have a harvest of souls. He wills that you should send you good works before you. He wills that you should be a productive Christian, fruitful Christian as the great arbors of Palestine. He means that and yet a great many of us aren't going to have a thing. We're not willing to pay the price. We just won't! The writer of the Hebrews -- it might have been Paul -- said, "You're dull of hearing."” He said, "I can't talk to you the way I want to because you've had time enough but by this time you should be way up there signalling the others to come on up!"’He said, "You're way down here only part of the way up and you can't even understand me -- don't even know what I mean."

It's got so you can't talk to people unless you're funny. You can't talk to them unless you've got a lot of thrilling stories. Occasionally I tell one, if it illustrates a point, but you can't make yourself heard. But, you know, we've got to cease defending ourselves, that's the trouble with us now, we're defending ourselves, we've got our guard up all the time. We walk around with the idea nobody's going to put anything over on me! As if anybody was trying! You know if that goes far enough that becomes paranoia! You become a paranoiac after awhile! I've met people that think they're so important that the United States government is trying to destroy them! I have! I've dealt with people. I knew a fine old gentleman back east that -- a gentleman, but he'd come to see me and talk a few minutes and courtiesly get up and leave. He believed that the United States government was trying to shoot poison or electrical charges into his brain to destroy him. Now the United States government never heard of him, God knows that mess over in Washington is bad enough, but they've never heard of that poor feller. Never. They've never heard of him, he simply thought he was so important, you see, that's pride.

But it's a self-love that becomes a disease after awhile. And if you don't watch it, it will become a disease and you'll imagine that everybody's out to get you when you'll be defending yourself and pretty soon you'll begin to defend yourself against God Himself! And even God can't get to you! Well, you're going to have to put all that under your feet, you're going to have to put all that good front that you've preserved so long under your feet and that inner state that you're so afraid people will see, you're going to have to trample all that under your feet. And that cowardly questioning : "Does it pay? What'll it cost? Is it fun? Is it popular? Is it convenient?" All that, you've got to trample under your feet and you're going to have to obey the Word which said, ‘Let us go on unto perfection.

Now, you say, ‘Mr. Tozer, what kind of perfection?’ Well, I've read a little and I find the Salvation Army has one idea of what perfection is, Pentecostal people have another, Methodists have another, Presbyterians have another but somewhere up there we add up and when a saint begins to get near the white-capped peak and see the shining face of God near to him he's likely to look around and see another fellow there that's of a different denomination but he's going up the same route, he's taking the same cross, so I'm not preaching Alliance doctrine to you tonight, in fact I don't believe in Alliance truth. I never preach Alliance truth ; I never did and never will. It's God's truth, not Alliance truth! The Alliance is only eighty years old and truth was before the world was! So you and I are not to preach Alliance truth, we're to preach God's truth and if the Christian and Missionary Alliance preaches it, hurray for the Christian and Missionary Alliance and happy is the Christian and Missionary Alliance but don't ever try to strap me down and say, "You preach Alliance truth" because my answer will be, "No! I'll preach God's truth as found in the Bible." But I believe the Alliance comes mighty close and I believe that I don't know any other group that teaches it any better so I'll say that much. I'm not denying the truth they call Alliance truth I'm simply denying that it's Alliance truth and it isn't Methodist truth and it isn't Calvinistic truth nor Arminian truth, it's God's truth. Jesus said, ‘I am the truth” and anybody can have Jesus.’

Ha! I don't know whether that'll sit so well with the brass or not! Anyhow, I believe this. No, we've got to trample a few things under our feet, brethren, we've got to get rid of some things. This defending ourselves : always having our fists clenched a little bit. The dear old lady used to help at the altar out home and -- well, I say ‘out home’, really I've lived so many places I don't know where my home is, born in Pennsylvania, saved, called to preach, married and preached my first sermon in Akron, Ohio, lived thirty-one years, exactly half of my life, in Chicgo, Illinois -- but this little old lady when she'd come to the altar and would see someone praying with their fists closed she'd say, "Now, open your fists, honey." She said, "It's bad psychology" -- she didn't use the word -- "to pray with your fists closed." She said, "You're hanging on to something!" She said, "Let go, let go, let go!"

"You want to open your hands," she said "that's it, that's it." I heard of a fellow once who had fallen over a cliff or something or down in a well and he had been given to understand it was a long drop to his death and he had a rope that was a short rope and he let himself down and felt the end of that rope and he hung on for dear life to the end of that rope. Finally he prayed and made up his mind to die and let go ... and dropped two inches!

I heard of a lady -- now I don't preach anything about jewelry, you come out here clanking like the jailor, it'll be alright with me, I don't preach about jewelry -- but there was a brother who did and he was preaching and a woman came to the altar and she came night after night struggling and fighting and praying and groaning and got nowhere. Finally she rose to the full stature of her feminine nobility and she said, ‘I'll do it, I'll do it!’ and she pulled a ring off her finger and she tossed it onto the platform. ‘I'll give it up!’ And she went away happy. And the evangelist said, ‘Aha, have I got something for missions here.’ He said, ‘now, that must be a valuable thing to struggle like that for three or four nights.’ So the next morning, as soon as he could get in, he hustled off to the jewelry store and had it appraised. The jeweler said, ‘Two dollars thirty-nine cents.’ She was struggling! And you know what holds you back? It's a cloud over you and God and it's made up of things just as silly as that ; just as silly as that!

You'll never be more than the common Christian until you give up your own interests and cease to defend yourself and put yourself in the hands of God and let Him alone. We try to help God. I never had a tooth pulled but what I helped the dentist struggle and labor and with everything else. When I fly in an airplane, as I expect to Monday back home, and did out here, every time they bank to the left I turn a little to the right to help the swing. I forget that it weighs several tons and doesn't need me but instinctively I slip over a little and help to keep the thing from flopping over on one wing.

Now, listen to me, we can just be as silly as that when it comes to the things of God. We want to help God out. No, no give yourself to God. Turn yourself over to God and say, ‘Father, I'm sick of being a common Christian. I'm sick of this mediocrity. I'm sick of being half-way up to where I want to be. I'm sick of seeing other happy Christians and I'm not. I'm weary, God, of the whole thing and I want to go on, I want to know Thee.’ One man had a great experience with God and blossomed out into a great and wondrous experience, walked with God and became known. People came to him and they said, ‘Brother, you were known for a long time as just average, one of us and suddenly you're just blessed all over! What happened to you?’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I'll tell you. I don't rightly know, but’ he said, ‘here's when it happened, and how it happened.’ He said, ‘One day I appeared before God. And I said, ‘Now, God, I have something to say to You, it's this : never as long as I live, ever again, will I say anything in prayer that I don't mean.'’ He said, ‘From there, I started up!’

Never, God, will I say a thing in prayer that I don't mean. Let yourself go. Now, this sticks back here. Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ let us go on unto perfection. If you don't like that text go back to First Corinthians three and see what the man of God says there about those Christians that were carnal and that didn't follow on. Always we find the masses half-way up or down in the shade and if a rare Christian now and again will push his way past everything....

I admired that man Barthemeus. He was blind and he wanted to see and he said, "Thou Son of David, have mercy on me!" and Peter, the deacon, he called him aside and said, "Ssh! This isn't right. Don't make a racket here. This is church. Don't pray here. This is no place to shout ‘'Have mercy on me!'"’ and he tried to shush him up and here's what it says : the more they tried to stop him, the more he prayed! There's your man! I don't know what color he'll be and I don't know what denomination he'll belong to and I don't know what school of thought he'll be out of but I know one thing : if he looks Jesus Christ in the face and presses on past all opposition, even past deacons and elders and even preachers and pushes on and presses on ... that man will make it through to a high place in God and he will have something to distinguish him. He will be nearer the peak!

I preached one time on being filled with the Holy Ghost -- oh, I've preached it around everywhere, I preached at Moody church and Wheaton and every place -- but this time it was in a southern state and there was a little Baptist woman there, nice little lady, and she said her church didn't teach that and she went out of there roaring mad. And she couldn't sleep that night.

She said, "I'll never go back to hear that man!" Now, incidently many Baptists do teach it and I preach with the Baptist right along often and they listen to me and with joy believe it. But this church didn't. And she said, "I'll never go back to hear that man! Never!" So her husband went off to bed and pretty soon he was in dreamland ; he wasn't bothered. But she was and she got her Bible out to see whether I was telling the truth or not and she searched and at four o'clock in the morning the light broke through and the joy came to her soul and God met her and she saw that face and leaped to her feet and dashed into the bedroom and shook her astonished husband awake and said, "I've got to go and tell the preacher!" He said, "Do you mean, go tell him at four o'clock in the morning!" ‘"Oh,"’she said, "that's right, it's four o'clock. Well, I'll wait till morning"’ so she waited till six! And at six o'clock she came to tell me her and face was as round as the full moon! That was many, many years ago. And just a few years ago now I was back in that town and I saw her, older now, but her face was still round and still happy. God met her that night!

Now I want to ask you, this evening, whether you will set your face toward the peak and say, ‘I put myself in Thy hands, Lord Jesus, and I'll obey and I'll do and I'll trample under my feet pride and all of these sins, these cowardly sins, I'll put them under my feet, Lord Jesus. No matter what I will follow Thee as thou givest me power -- I'll do it, Lord Jesus, I'll do it!’ Would you, tonight, take such a vow before God? You know, if you will take such a vow, if you will start in that direction it won't be very long until you will be making such progress! You want to come kneel down here and get a dime's worth of blessing and go away and say, ‘I got it!’ That isn't the way we preach it and that isn't the way the Bible teaches it.

The Bible teaches we should set our face towards God, yield all and let Him determine the blessing and the emotion and all the rest. If you'll set your heart toward Him tonight you will do that! You're determined if God will help you you're not going to be a common Christian. You're going to press on toward perfection. Amen? Will you pray a minute?

Dec 12, 2010 at 04:24 o\clock

Enough ?

My brethren, the reason why you have not got contentment in the things of the world is not because you have not got enough of them - that is not the reason - but the reason is, because they are not things
proportionable to that immortal soul of yours that is capable of God
Himself. --Jeremiah Burroughs

Whatsoever we have over-loved, idolized, and leaned upon, God has from time to time broken it, and made us to see the vanity of it; so that we find the readiest course to be rid of our comforts is to set our hearts inordinately upon them. - John Flavel

How shall I depend on Him for raising my body from the dust; and saving my soul at last; if I distrust Him for a crust of bread, towards my preservation. --Joseph Hall

As God did not at first choose you because you were high, so He will not forsake you because you are low. --John Flavel

whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then
vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." -- James 4:14-15

"Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. -- Mt 6:30-33

Nov 27, 2010 at 18:06 o\clock

Our Almighty Friend !

Our Almighty Friend!

(Mary Winslow, "Words of Loving Counsel and Sympathy")

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

The Lord knows what we require every step we take through this poor, trying, wilderness world--and stands ready to supply our needs, small and great. He is concerned in all that concerns us. Let it be our daily habit to cast our care upon Him--who cares for us.

We must be growing in a better acquaintance with our own souls--as poor and needy; and with Christ--who is all and everything to us. For in Him all fullness dwells--and that fullness is for us! He is our rich storehouse. We need only to go and tell Him--and His heart is open to us in a moment. Let us live upon Him--and go to Him constantly! He is our Almighty Friend!

Could we look into His heart, and see how precious we were to Him, and how truly He is near to us, watching over us, directing all things for our good and His glory--how would our present grievances vanish from our minds, as we sit as beloved children at the feet of Jesus.

Nov 11, 2010 at 20:54 o\clock

More of Christ !

More of Christ! More of Christ!

by James Smith, 1860


What is it my soul, which causes this uneasiness, this dissatisfaction, this deep inward yearning after something which you have not, or do not at present enjoy? I am not at rest. I am not rejoicing in God. I am not singing from the heights of Zion. Yet, I have no slavish fears, I have no gloomy doubts of my saving interest in Christ, I have no actual dread of death or the judgment. But I feel a desire to climb higher, to know more, and to enjoy the power of religion within — as I have not of late. It seems to me that all my needs lead me to Christ, and all my desires go out toward Christ. I want — well, what do I want?

I want to feel more of my NEED of Christ. I have imagined at times, that I could not have a deeper sense of my need of Christ, and of all that Christ is, and has — than I have already experienced. But I am persuaded now that I may, and that only in proportion as I daily feel my need of Christ — shall I desire to know him, trust in him, and enjoy him. I know theoretically, that I need Christ in every office which he sustains, in every relationship which he fills, and in every character which he has assumed. I need him not only to rescue me from death — but to feed me, clothe me, teach me, keep me, guide me, and comfort me. I need him to do all for me, and all within me — which either God, or my circumstances require. O to feel more of my need of Jesus, that I may not be happy one moment — but only as I look to him, lean on him, and receive from him!

I want to KNOW more of Christ. O how little do I really know of Christ! I have thought of him, spoken of him, and wrote about him — but how little I really know of him. I want to know more of the person of Christ, more of the grace of Christ, and more of the work of Christ. I want to know more of Christ for me, and more of Christ within me. I want to know more of the words of Christ, and more of the heart of Christ. I want to know Jesus as God's Christ — and as my Christ. I want so to know Christ, as never to doubt his love, question his veracity, or to fear his coming. Yes, so to know him — as to devote myself wholly to him, and be ready at any time to depart and be with him!

I want more AFFECTION for Christ. Yes, I want to love Jesus — and to feel that I love him. I want to love him — and to prove by my conversation, conduct, and spirit — that I do so love him. There ought to be no doubt on my own mind on this point — but I should be ready to say, "I love him — because he first loved me." There ought to be no cause or occasion for any who know me, to question whether I love him. O no, his love should so influence my conduct, and his love should so season my conversation — that all about me may feel sure, that if I love anyone, I love Jesus. O that the Holy Spirit would shed abroad the love of Christ in my heart more and more — that my love to him may be as strong as death!

I want to realize more sensibly my UNION with Christ. Christ is the head of the church, and all the true members of that church are in union with him. I cannot but believe that I am one with Christ. I often feel as if I could not live without Christ. But I want daily and hourly to live under the impression — that Christ and my soul are one. That I am a member of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. What privilege can exceed this — to be united to Christ! Then, because he lives — I shall live also. Then he will use his influence for me, spend his wealth upon me, and desire to have me with him to behold his glory. O Jesus, dwell more sensibly in my heart, and let me dwell more sensibly in you!

I want more COMMUNION with Christ. Communion flows from union — and proves its vitality. No union to Christ — no communion with Christ. And if there is no communion with Christ — then there is no evidence of union to Christ. The branch being one with the vine — receives its life, sap, and nourishment from the vine. Just so, we being one with Christ — receive our spiritual life, holiness, and happiness from Christ. The member lives, grows, and is strong — because it is in union with the head. Just so, the believer lives, grows, and is strong — because he is in union with Christ, the head. In proportion as we realize our union with Christ, will be the sweetness and constancy of our communion with Christ. And in proportion to the sweetness and constancy of our communion with Christ — will be the assurance of our union to Christ. O for more sweet, sanctifying, and soul-ennobling communion with Jesus!

I want more ASSIMILATION to Christ. What I see in Christ I admire, and I admire all that I see in Christ. But admiration is not enough. I want to be like Jesus, just like him — altogether like him. The more I am with him, and the more I see of him — the more I sigh, cry, and long to be like him! I think one may live at such a distance from Christ, and have so little to do with Christ — that he may not be very anxious or desirous to be like him. But I am sure that we cannot be much in his company, or be led by the Holy Spirit, to see much of his moral and spiritual beauty — but we shall desire to be fully like him. At times, this seems to be the one thing needful with me, the one thing that I desire of the Lord — that I may be like Jesus. But it is not always so, it is not sufficiently so — therefore I cannot but wish for more assimilation to Christ.

I want to be fully POSSESSED of Christ. Not only to be like him — but to be with him — not only with him in grace — but with him in glory! I am sure that I shall never be perfectly satisfied — until I have Christ always with me — until I am always with him in his Father's home and kingdom. This is promised me, I must believe the promise, and wait for its fulfillment. Soon it will be true in my experience, "Absent from the body — present with the Lord." I shall "depart and be with Christ — which is far better" than being here, distant from him, and so often sighing for the enjoyment of him! Then I shall possess Christ! Then I shall be fully satisfied with the presence of Christ.

O Lord, let me have a deeper sense of my saving interest in Christ now, let me enjoy more of him while on earth — and then I know that I shall be satisfied when I awake up in his glorious likeness!

Now it seems to me that these things go together, or naturally follow each other:

In proportion as I feel my need of Christ — I shall desire to know Christ — to know him fully, to know him experimentally.

In proportion as I know Christ — shall I desire to set my affections on Christ, and to love him with an unquenchable love.

Just in proportion to my love to him — will be my desire to realize close and vital union to him.

In proportion as I realize my union to Christ — shall I want to have and enjoy communion with Christ.

In proportion as I enjoy communion with Christ — shall I long for assimilation to Christ.

And as I long for assimilation to Christ — shall I desire fully to possess him, and to be forever with him!

Reader, do you know anything about these things? I have written these lines out of my own heart, and they express the feelings and desires of my soul.

If I know anything — I do know in a degree my need of Christ.

If I desire anything — I do desire to know Christ.

If I wish to love at all — I wish to love Christ supremely.

If I prize anything — I prize union to Christ.

If I desire anything — I desire communion with Christ.

If I aspire to anything — I aspire to be like Christ.

If I am persuaded that I shall be satisfied with anything — I am persuaded that I shall be satisfied with the presence and possession of Christ.

All my religion finds its center in Christ!

My whole creed begins, goes on, and ends with Christ!

I value doctrines — but I set more value on Christ!

I prize ordinances — but I think more highly of Christ!

With me it is — Christ first, Christ middle, Christ last!

Reader, is it so with you?

Oct 31, 2010 at 05:48 o\clock

Run to your father

Run to your Father!

(James Smith, "Precious Things from the Everlasting Hills" 1853)

"This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven" Matthew 6:9

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1

Beloved, we have a heavenly Father.
He has adopted us into His family.
He not only wears a father's name--but he has a father's heart.
He loves every believer with a father's love.
He watches over each of His children with a father's care.
Yes, we have a Father--and He is always near us.
His heart is ever disposed to do us good.
He will not withdraw His eye from us!
He bids us . . .
  to cast every care upon Him,
  to expect every blessing from Him, and
  to carry everything that troubles us, to Him.

Does providence frown on us, perplex, and trouble us? Let us not fret, complain, or forebode--but go and tell Father!

Does Satan tempt, suggest evil thoughts, or endeavor to mislead us? Let us not parley with him, be alarmed at him, or yield to him--but go at once and tell Father!

Everything, whether painful or pleasant--should lead us to our Father in heaven. He loves to listen to our broken prayers. He loves to sympathize with us. He never chides us for coming too often, or refuses to listen to us. Happy child, who has such a Father! And wise is that child--who carries everything to his Father--who tells Him all, keeping nothing from Him.  When we carry our cares or our troubles to Him, He says, "Leave them with Me. I will manage them. I will settle them."

Christian, run to your Father from every foe--and from every danger! Tell your Father everything that vexes, grieves, or troubles you. Trust your Father to manage all your affairs. Honor your Father, by consulting Him on all matters, by confiding to Him all your secrets, and by making His written Word your daily rule on all points.

"The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles." With childlike simplicity, filial confidence, and honest hearts--they go and tell their Father!

Oct 22, 2010 at 03:23 o\clock

Selfishness withers

Selfishness withers and dies beneath Calvary!

(John MacDuff, "The Mind of Jesus" 1870)

"For even Christ did not please Himself." Romans 15:3

Too legibly, are the characters written on the fallen heart and a fallen world--"All seek their own!" Selfishness is the great law of our degenerated nature! When the love of God was dethroned from the soul--SELF vaulted into the vacant seat, and there, in some one of its ever-changing shapes, continues to reign.

Jesus stands out for our imitation, as a grand solitary exception in the midst of a world of selfishness. His entire life was one abnegation of self--a beautiful living embodiment of that love which "seeks not her own."

Ah, how different is the spirit of the world! With how many, is day after day only a new oblation to that idol SELF--pampering their own wishes; and envying and grieving at the good of a neighbor--thus engendering jealousy, discontent, peevishness, and every kindred unholy passion.

"But you have not so learned Christ!" Reader! have you been sitting at the feet of Him who "pleased not Himself?" Are you "dying daily;" dying to self--as well as to sin? Are you animated with this as the high end and aim of existence--to lay out your time, and talents, and opportunities--for God's glory and the good of your fellow-men; not seeking your own interests--but rather relinquishing these, if, by doing so, another will be made holier, and your Savior honored?

Christ's denial of self, had about it no repulsive austerity. And you can evince its holy influence and sway, by innumerable little offices of kindness and goodwill; taking a generous interest in the welfare of others, or engaging in schemes for the mitigation of human misery.

Avoid ostentation--which is only another repulsive form of self. Be eager to be in the shadows; sound no trumpet before you. The evangelist Matthew held a great banquet for Jesus at his house; but in his Gospel, he says not one word about it!

Seek to live more constantly and habitually under the constraining influence of the love of Jesus! Selfishness withers and dies beneath Calvary!

Ah, believer! if Christ had "pleased Himself," where would you have been this day?

Oct 17, 2010 at 20:02 o\clock

Awareness of Eternity

Running here and there like ants on an anthill!

(J. C. Ryle)

Oh, that men and women would learn to live with the awareness that one day they are going to die! Truly, it is waste of time to set our hearts on a dying world and its short-lived comforts and pleasures; and for the sake of momentary pleasures--to lose a glorious eternity in Heaven! Here we are striving, laboring, exhausting ourselves about little things, and running here and there like ants on an anthill! And yet after a few years, we will all be gone--and another generation will take our place. Let us live for eternity! Let us seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness that can never be taken from us!

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things! When Christ, who is your life, appears--then you also will appear with Him in glory!" Colossians 3:1-4

Oct 9, 2010 at 15:36 o\clock

Leaving the thorn - for a reason

The thorn is still left to pierce and lacerate!

(John MacDuff, "The Thoughts of God")

"My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

The apostle's thoughts were desponding ones--when his God whispered in his ear this precious thought of comfort. A thorn in the flesh--a messenger from Satan--had been sent to buffet him! We know not what this thorn may have been. God purposely leaves it unidentified, that each may make an individual application to his own particular case and circumstances.

But who, in their diversified and chequered experience, has not to tell of some similar trial? Some dead fly in life's otherwise fragrant ointment--some sorrow which casts a softened shadow over perhaps an otherwise sunny path:
  infirm health;
  worldly loss;
  domestic problems;
  family bereavement;
  the discharge of arduous and painful duty;
  the treachery of tried and trusted friends;
  the sting of wounded pride or disappointed ambition;
  the fierce struggle with inward corruption and un-mortified sin;
  the scorpion-dart of a violated and accusing conscience!

As the apostle earnestly entreated that his thorn might be taken away--so may you, reader, also have prayed fervently and long--that your trial might be averted, your sorrow mitigated, if not removed! You doubtless imagine that it would be far better--were this messenger of Satan, this spirit of evil, exorcized and cast out! But here again, God's thoughts are often not our thoughts!

What was the answer to the apostle's earnest petition, when he pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away? It was not granting the removal of the trial--but it was better! It was the promise of grace to bear it. "And He said unto me: My grace is sufficient for you!"

It was enough; he asked no more. He may have demurred at first to the strange answer--so unlike what he expected, so unlike what he wished. But he was led before long, not only joyfully to acquiesce--but heartily to own and acknowledge the higher and better wisdom of the Divine procedure, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me!"

This, too, may be God's dealings with you. Often and again, it may be--you have taken your hidden sorrow--the burdening secret of your heart--laid it on the mercy-seat, and with importunate tears implored that it might be taken away! Yet the sorrow still remains! But, nevertheless, remember: the prayer is not unanswered. It has been answered--not perhaps according to your thoughts or desires--but according to the better thoughts and purposes of your heavenly Father!

The thorn is still left to pierce and lacerate--but strength has been given to bear it! The trial, be what it may, has taught you, as it did Paul--the lesson of your own weakness, and your dependence on Divine aid. It has been a needful drag on your chariot wheels--a needful clipping of your wings--lest, like the great apostle, "you should be exalted above measure." Who can complain of the heaviest of sorrows--if they have thus been the means alike of revealing to us our own weakness--and of endearing to us the all-sufficient grace of a Savior God?

Blessed, comforting assurance: that God will deal out the requisite grace--in all time of our need. Seated by us like a kind physician, with His hand on our pulse--He will watch our weakness, and accommodate the divine supply--to our several needs and circumstances. He will not allow the thorn to pierce too far! "As your day--so shall your strength be." "Grace sufficient" will be given--sufficient for every emergency. His everlasting arms are ever lower than our troubles!

"Do not be afraid--for I am with you. Do not be dismayed--for I am your God! I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with My victorious right hand!"

Sep 30, 2010 at 03:18 o\clock

Sure and Safe anchorage

A sure and safe anchorage amid the world's heaving ocean of vicissitude!

(John MacDuff, "The Night Watches")

"But You are the same--and Your years will never end!" Psalm 102:27

What a fountain of comfort is to be found in the Immutability of God! Not one ripple can disturb the calm of His unchanging nature. Were it so, He would no longer be a perfect Being--He would un-deify Himself--He would cease to be God!

Change is our portion here on earth. "They shall perish!" is the brief chronicle regarding everything on this side Heaven. The skies above us, the earth beneath us, the elements around us shall be destroyed. "All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved, and the sky rolled up like a scroll! The stars will fall from the sky like withered leaves from a grapevine, or shriveled figs from a fig tree!" Isaiah 34:4

Scenes of hallowed endearment--they have fled! Friends who sweetened our pilgrimage with their presence--they are gone! But here is a sure and safe anchorage amid the world's heaving ocean of vicissitude: "But You are the same--and Your years will never end!" All is changing--but the Unchanging One!

Oh! thus pillowing your head on the Immutability of God, amid the crude buffetings of a changing world, you will be able to say--until the dawn of the morning breaks on you, which knows neither night nor vicissitude, "I will both lie down and sleep in peace,  for You alone, O Lord, make me live in safety!" Psalm 4:8

Sep 25, 2010 at 16:29 o\clock

Trust in Him

THE TENDER SOLICITUDE

(John MacDuff, "The Words of Jesus")

"The very hairs of your head are all numbered!" Matthew 10:30

What a promise is this! All that befalls you, to the very numbering of your hairs--is known to God! Nothing can happen by accident or chance. Nothing can elude His inspection. The fall of the forest leaf--the fluttering of the insect--the waving of the angel's wing--the annihilation of a world--all are equally noted by Him! Man speaks of great things and small things--but God knows no such distinction.

How especially comforting to think of this tender solicitude with reference to His own covenant people--that He metes out all  their joys--and all their sorrows! Every sweet--and every bitter--is ordained by Him. Even "wearisome nights" are "appointed." Not a pang I feel, not a tear I shed--but is known to Him. What are called "dark dealings," are the ordinations of undeviating faithfulness. Man may err--his ways are often crooked; "but as for God--His way is perfect!" He puts my tears into His bottle. Every moment His everlasting arms are underneath and around me. He keeps me "as the apple of His eye." He "bears" me as a man bears his own son!

Do I look to the FUTURE? Is there much of uncertainty and mystery hanging over it? It may be, much foreboding of evil. Trust Him! All is marked out for me. Dangers will be averted; bewildering mazes will show themselves to be interlaced and interweaved with mercy. "He keeps the feet of His saints." Not a hair of their head will be touched.

He leads sometimes darkly, sometimes sorrowfully; most frequently by cross and circuitous ways, which we ourselves would not have chosen; but always wisely, always tenderly. With all its mazy windings and turnings, its roughness and ruggedness--the believer's is not only a right way--but the right way--the best which covenant love and wisdom could select.

"Nothing," says Jeremy Taylor, "does so establish the mind amid the rollings and turbulence of present things--as both a look above them and a look beyond them; above them--to the steady and loving hand by which they are ruled; and beyond them--to the sweet and beautiful end to which, by that hand, they will be brought." "The Great Counselor," says Thomas Brooks, "puts clouds and darkness round about Him, bidding us follow at His beck through the cloud, promising an eternal and uninterrupted sunshine on the other side." On that "other side" we shall see how every apparent rough blast has been hastening our boats nearer the desired haven.

Well may I commit the keeping of my soul to Jesus in well-doing--as unto a faithful Creator. He gave Himself for me. This transcendent pledge of love--is the guarantee for the bestowment of every other needed blessing. Oh, blessed thought! my sorrows are numbered--by the Man of Sorrows; my tears are counted--by Him who shed first His tears, and then His blood for me! He will impose no needless burden, and exact no unnecessary sacrifice. There was no unnecessary drop in the cup of His own sufferings; neither will there be in that of His people. "Though He slays me--yet will I trust in Him!" "Therefore comfort one another with these words."

Sep 13, 2010 at 00:43 o\clock

God is our Treasure

The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Having the Source of all things, he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever. -- A.W. Tozer

Sep 5, 2010 at 02:32 o\clock

Living the Christian life

The art of living a Christian life

(
J. R. Miller, "How to Live a Beautiful Christian Life" 1880)

"Whoever claims to live in Him—must walk as Jesus did." 1 John 2:6

We have only successfully acquired the art of living a Christian life—when we have learned to apply the principles of true religion, and enjoy its help and comfort in our daily life.

It is easy to join in devotional exercises, to quote Bible promises, to extol the beauty of the Scriptures. But there are many who do these things—whose religion utterly fails them in the very places and at the very times—when it ought to prove their staff and stay!

All of us must go out from the sweet services of the Sunday—into a week of very real and very commonplace life. We must mingle with people who are not angels! We must pass through experiences, that will naturally worry and vex us. Those about us, either wittingly or unwittingly, annoy and try us! We will meet many troubles and worries in ordinary week-day life. There are continual irritations and annoyances!

The problem is to live a beautiful Christian life—in the face of all these hindrances! How can we get through the tangled briers which grow along our path—without having our hands and feet torn by them? How can we live sweetly—amid the vexing and irritating things, and the multitude of little worries and frets which infest our way, and which we cannot evade?

It is not enough merely to 'get along in any sort of way', to drag to the close of each long, wearisome day—happy when night comes to end the strife. Life should be a joy—and not a burden. We should live victoriously, ever master of our experiences, and not tossed by them like a leaf on the dashing waves. Every earnest Christian wants to live a truly beautiful life, whatever the circumstances may be.

A little child, when asked 'what it was to be a Christian,' replied, "For me, to be a Christian is to live as Jesus would live—and behave as Jesus would behave—if He were a little girl and lived at our house."

No better definition of the Christian life could be given. Each one of us is to live just as Jesus would—if He were living out our little life in the midst of its actual environment, mingling with the same people with whom we must mingle, and exposed to the very annoyances, trials and provocations to which we are exposed. We want to live a life that will please God, and that will bear witness to the genuineness of our piety.

"Leaving you an example—so that you should follow in His steps."
1 Peter 2:21

Sep 1, 2010 at 15:46 o\clock

Preaching Christ !

Paul was . . .

...
an extraordinary man,

called to an extraordinary office, and

being sent to perform an extraordinary work

--he chose an extraordinary subject.

He knew history,

he was acquainted with philosophy, and

he was well versed in tradition.

There were . . .

few subjects that he could not handle,

few themes that he could not discuss,

few congregations that he could not interest.

But he made the conversion of sinners the object of his life--and he chose Christ crucified to be the subject of his ministry!

No matter where he went--he took his subject with him.

No matter whom he addressed--he directed their attention to this point.

He knew what man required--and what man preferred; but it made no matter to him. As he wrote to the Corinthians, so he always acted, "Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified--a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God!" 1 Corinthians 1:22-24

Paul's subject then, was Christ Crucified!

Paul CHOSE this subject--and he had good reasons for doing so!

First, it is a most comprehensive subject,

for it is the center where . . .

time and eternity,

God and man,

sin and holiness,

life and death--meet!

It is the theater where God . . .

displays His perfections,

unfolds His purposes,

maintains His rights,

confounds His foes, and

secures His glory!

It is the instrument by which . . .

death is destroyed,

sin is conquered,

rebels are reconciled,

saints are sanctified, and

heaven is opened!

It is an object which . . .

confounds reason,

astonishes angels,

attracts sinners,

imparts holiness, and

furnishes matter for endless praise!

Second, it is the most honored subject.

It tunes the harps of heaven.

It fills the sweetest songs on earth.

It is that by which the Holy Spirit works . . .

in the conversion of sinners,

in the consolation of saints,

in the sanctification of believers, and

in the establishment of the church of God.

By the preaching of Christ crucified . . .

the oracles of the heathen were silenced,

the altars of the heathen were cast down, and

the temples of the heathen were transformed into houses of prayer.

By the preaching of the cross . . .

society is elevated,

nations are honored, and

millions are snatched from Hell!

Third, it is a subject that is intensely hated!

Devils hate it, and try to prevent its publication.

Erroneous men hate it, and try to substitute something of their own for it.

And just in proportion as men are influenced by the prince of darkness, or yield to the pride of their own fallen natures--will they hate the doctrine of the cross!

But all Christians love it,

all the ministers of Christ glory in it,

all poor perishing sinners need it!

The more we know of God's nature and government--the more we see of man's natural state and condition.

And the more we feel of our own weakness and depravity--the more shall we prize and value the doctrine of the cross!

Christ, and Him crucified shall be . . .

the subject of my ministry,

the theme of my songs,

the joy of my heart, and

the foundation of my everlasting hope!

O my soul, look to Jesus--as crucified for your sins!

Think of Jesus--as dying in your stead!

Speak of Jesus--as full of grace and love!

Christians! WHAT do we preach?

We are ALL preachers--and we preach daily!

But do we preach Christ?

Do we speak of Him with our tongues?

Do we write of Him with our pens?

Do we honor Him with our lives?

Is Christ and His glory--the grand end and aim of our life?

WHY do we preach Christ?

Is it out of love to Him?

Is it that we may do good to souls?

Is it that we may please God?

Christ crucified should be preached by every Christian.

Christ crucified should be preached in all companies.

Christ crucified should be preached every day.

Beloved,

if we would save souls from death,

if we would rescue sinners from eternal misery,

if we would make believers happy,

if we would cover Satan with shame,

if we would deprive death of its sting, and

if we would make the road to glory plain--

we must preach Christ crucified;

we must exercise faith in Christ crucified;

and we must daily meditate on Christ crucified!

May Christ and His cross be all my theme!

May Christ and His cross be all my hope!

May Christ and His cross be all my joy!

Cross of Jesus! Jesus crucified!

To you would I look in life--and all its troubles!

To you would I look in death--and all its pangs!

To you would I look in glory--when filled with all its joys!

"God forbid, that I should glory, except in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ!"
(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)

Aug 3, 2010 at 14:26 o\clock

God allows

Dear Ones,

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

God allows in His wisdom what He could prevent by His power.

“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.” 2 Samuel 22:31

“For now we see through a glass, darkly…” 1 Corinthians 13:12 “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.” 2 Samuel 22:31

“Be of good courage…and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.” 2 Samuel 10:12

S.L.