Monthly Archives: January 2014

GOD FORMED US FOR HIMSELF AND HIS PLEASURE

Heb. 10:19 “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.–Heb. 10:19

REMOVING THE VEIL
“Among the famous sayings of the Church fathers none is better known than Augustine’s, “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”

The great saint states here in few words the origin and interior history of the human race. God made us for Himself: that is the only explanation that satisfies the heart of a thinking man, whatever his wild reason may say. Should faulty education and perverse reasoning lead a man to conclude otherwise, there is little that any Christian can do for him. For such a man I have no message. My appeal is addressed to those who have been previously taught in secret by the wisdom of God; I speak to thirsty hearts whose longings have been wakened by the touch of God within them, and such as they need no reasoned proof. Their restless hearts furnish all the proof they need.

GOD FORMED US FOR HIMSELF AND FOR HIS PLEASURE

God formed us for Himself. The Shorter Catechism, “Agreed upon by the Reverend Assembly of Divines at Westminster,” as the old New-England Primer has it, asks the ancient questions what and why and answers them in one short sentence hardly matched in any uninspired work. “Question: What is the chief End of Man? Answer: Man’s chief End is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” With this agree the four and twenty elders who fall on their faces to worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, saying, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

God formed us for His pleasure, and so formed us that we as well as He can in divine communion enjoy the sweet and mysterious mingling of kindred personalities. He meant us to see Him and live with Him and draw our life from His smile.” A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit Of God

“You gave out such a delightful fragrance, and I drew it in and came breathing hard after You. I tasted and it made me hunger and thirst; You touched me, and I burned to know you Preace.” St Augustine of Hippo

“It’s the will of God that I should press on to be united with Him in the warmth of personal knowledge of a union that leads to communion. A sweet fellowship and a harmony with God that is wonderful, that makes this Earth a Heaven, and brings the Heaven yonder a lot closer.” A. W. Tozer

Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to Thee again.

Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on Thee call;
To them that seek Thee Thou art good,
To them that find Thee all in all.

We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,
Wherever our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blessed when our faith can hold Thee fast.

O Jesus, ever with us stay,
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away,
Shed over the world Thy holy light.
Ber­nard of Clair­vaux, 12th Cen­tu­ry

Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

GOD IS MY PORTION

Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

GOD IS MY PORTION

Christian! here is all thou canst require. To make thee happy thou wantest something that shall satisfy thee; and is not this enough? If thou canst pour this promise into thy cup, wilt thou not say, with David, “My cup runneth over; I have more than heart can wish”? When this is fulfilled, “I am thy God”, art thou not possessor of all things? Desire is insatiable as death, but he who filleth all in all can fill it. The capacity of our wishes who can measure? But the immeasurable wealth of God can more than overflow it. I ask thee if thou art not complete when God is thine? Dost thou want anything but God? Is not his all-sufficiency enough to satisfy thee if all else should fail?

MUSIC FIT FOR HEAVEN

But thou wantest more than quiet satisfaction; thou desirest rapturous delight. Come, soul, here is music fit for heaven in this thy portion, for God is the Maker of Heaven. Not all the music blown from sweet instruments, or drawn from living strings, can yield such melody as this sweet promise, “I will be their God.” Here is a deep sea of bliss, a shoreless ocean of delight; come, bathe thy spirit in it; swim an age, and thou shalt find no shore; dive throughout eternity, and thou shalt find no bottom. “I will be their God.” If this do not make thine eyes sparkle, and thy heart beat high with bliss, then assuredly thy soul is not in a healthy state.

WANTING MORE

But thou wantest more than present delights—thou cravest something concerning which thou mayest exercise hope; and what more canst thou hope for than the fulfilment of this great promise, “I will be their God”? This is the masterpiece of all the promises; its enjoyment makes a heaven below, and will make a heaven above. Dwell in the light of thy Lord, and let thy soul be always ravished with his love. Get out the marrow and fatness which this portion yields thee. Live up to thy privileges, and rejoice with unspeakable joy. Charles Hadden Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

“Without doubt the greatest need of the human personality is to experience God Himself. This is because of who God is and who and what man is. God is the essence of intelligent, self-conscious life and man is created in His image. God is love, and man is made for God. God and man exist for each other and neither is satisfied without the other. Though God is self-sufficient He has sovereignly willed to have communion with the being He made in honor next to Himself, and He takes every means to secure this communion short of coercion, which would be a violation of man’s free will. Were God to override our wills He would be forcing Himself upon us and by so doing would make us a little less than human and so a little less than the being He made for Himself.” A. W. Tozer

Glory be to Him Who loved us,
Washed us from each sinful stain;
Glory be to Him Who made us
Priests and kings with Him to reign;
Glory, worship, laud and blessing
To the Lamb Who once was slain.

“Glory, worship, laud and blessing,”
Thus the choir triumphant sings;
“Honor, riches, pow’r, dominion,”
Thus its praise creation brings;
Thou art worthy, Thou art worthy,
Lord of Lords, and King of kings.

Glory to the King of angels,
Glory to the Church’s King,
Glory to the King of nations,
Heav’n and earth His praises sing:
Glory ever and for ever
To the King of Glory bring.

Glory be to Thee, O Father,
Glory be to Thee, O Son,
Glory be to Thee, O Spirit,
Glory be to God alone,
As it was, is now, and shall be
While the endless ages run.
Horatius Bonar, 1808-1898

Lamentations 3:24 The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.

POSSESSOR OF ALL THINGS

Jeremiah 31:33 “I will be their God.”

“CHRISTIAN! here is all thou canst require. To make thee happy thou wantest something that shall satisfy thee; and is not this enough? If thou canst pour this promise into thy cup, wilt thou not say, with David, “My cup runneth over; I have more than heart can wish”? When this is fulfilled, “I am thy God,” art thou not possessor of all things? Desire is insatiable as death, but He who filleth all in all can fill it. The capacity of our wishes who can measure? but the immeasurable wealth of God can more than overflow it. I ask thee if thou art not complete when God is thine? Dost thou want anything but God? Is not His all-sufficiency enough to satisfy thee if all else should fail? But thou wantest more than quiet satisfaction; thou desirest rapturous delight. Come, soul, here is music fit for heaven in this thy portion, for God is the Maker of Heaven. Not all the music blown from sweet instruments, or drawn from living strings, can yield such melody as this sweet promise, “I will be their God.” Here is a deep sea of bliss, a shoreless ocean of delight; come, bathe thy spirit in it; swim an age, and thou shalt find no shore; dive throughout eternity, and thou shalt find no bottom. “I will be their God.” If this do not make thine eyes sparkle, and thy heart beat high with bliss, then assuredly thy soul is not in a healthy state. But thou wantest more than present delights—thou cravest something concerning which thou mayest exercise hope; and what more canst thou hope for than the fulfillment of this great promise, “I will be their God”? This is the masterpiece of all the promises; its enjoyment makes a heaven below, and will make a heaven above. Dwell in the light of thy Lord, and let thy soul be always ravished with His love. Get out the marrow and fatness which this portion yields thee. Live up to thy privileges, and rejoice with unspeakable joy.” Charles Hadden Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

“The first and greatest commandment is to love God with every power of our entire being. Where love like that exists, there can be no place for a second object. Yet popular Christianity has as one of its most effective talking points the idea that God exists to help people to get ahead in this world! The God of the poor has become the God of an affluent society. We hear that Christ no longer refuses to be a judge or a divider between money-hungry brothers. He can now be persuaded to assist the brother that has accepted Him to get the better of the brother who has not! Whoever seeks God as a means toward desired ends will not find God. God will not be one of many treasures. His mercy and grace are infinite and His patient understanding is beyond measure, but He will not aid men in selfish striving after personal gain. If we love God as much as we should, surely we cannot dream of a loved object beyond Him which He might help us to obtain!” A.W. Tozer

Psalms 16:8a I have set the LORD always before me

The work is done, His gift complete,
For Jesus Christ is all we need.
He lives the life we long to lead,
And He is ours and all we need.
His holy heart now beats within.
We live and move and love in Him.
His life is everlasting seed,
And faith in Christ is all we need.

When weakness seems our sure defeat,
Lord Jesus Christ is all we need.
His sovereign will is power indeed.
We come to Him for all we need.
His promise stands forever sure.
Our Rock is firm, our Hope secure.
His death and life have guaranteed
That faith in Christ is all we need.

This world began, its end will be
In Him whose Word is all we need.
He calls His own to just believe
That Jesus Christ is all we need.
This world will soon go up in flame.
Our confidence will be the same,
For God Himself will be our creed,
And He is all, and all we need.

“In the day of prosperity we have many refuges to resort to; in the day of adversity only one.” Horatias Bonar

GOD BEST GIFT IS HIMSELF

Lamentations 3:24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

GOD’s GIFTS ARE MANY, HIS BEST GIFT IS HIMSELF

“God’s gifts are many; His best gift is one. It is the gift of Himself. Above all gifts, God desires most to give Himself to His people. Our nature being what it is, we are the best fitted of all creatures to know and enjoy God. “For Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee” (from The Confessions of St. Augustine).

When God told Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites,” He in fact promised a portion infinitely above all the real estate in Palestine and all the earth thrown in (Numbers 18:20). To possess God–this is the inheritance ultimate and supreme.

There is a sense in which God never gives any gift except he gives Himself with it. The love of God, what is it but God giving Himself in love? The mercy of God is but God giving Himself in mercy, and so with all other blessings and benefits so freely showered upon the children of atonement. Deep within all divine blessing is the Divine One Himself dwelling as in a sanctuary.

Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem and saw not the king’s face, though the king was his own father. Are there not many in the kingdom of God who have no awareness of God, who seem not to know that they have the right to sit at the King’s table and commune with the King? This is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is a hard and grievous burden.

To know God, this is eternal life; this is the purpose for which we are and were created. The destruction of our God-awareness was the master blow struck by Satan in the dark day of our transgression.

To give God back to us was the chief work of Christ in redemption. To impart Himself to us in personal experience is the first purpose of God in salvation. To bring acute God-awareness is the best help the Spirit brings in sanctification. All other steps in grace lead up to this.

Were we allowed but one request, we might gain at a stroke all things else by praying one all-embracing prayer:

Thyself, Lord! Give me Thyself and I can want no more.” A. W. Tozer, God’s Best Gift Is Himself, Alliance Life

“Those who have God for their Inheritance and their Portion for ever, ought to look with holy contempt and indifference upon the possessions of this world.” Matthew Henry

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

Oh, may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And guard us through all ills in this world, till the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given,
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, Whom earth and Heav’n adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.
Martin Rinkart (1586-1649)

1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

GOD CARES FOR US

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

“God cares for us in the sense of having a personal interest in us. We are the work of his hands, and as such he is interested in our prosperity. He watches over the development of our lives; he notes every step of progress. The one who plants a flower, waters it, cares for it, and watches the development of each tiny shoot and bud, cares more for that flower and has a deeper interest in it than has the one who merely stops for a few minutes to admire its full-blown beauty and to enjoy its fragrance. To the one it is only one plant out of many, but to the other it has a special meaning and attraction and worth, because its bloom and fragrance are the result of his labor, care, and patience. It is his plant. So it is with God. He gave us our being; he has nourished and protected us and watched us develop day by day; he is interested in us and desires our lives to bloom and send forth a fragrance of trueness and purity all around. Let us so live that he will not be disappointed in us.

He cares for us because he created us for his glory and to fill a place in his eternal kingdom. He created us, not merely that we might have an existence, but for a purpose for himself. He wants us to make a success of our lives, not simply for our own advantage, but to fill the place for which he created us for his purpose and glory. And because of this he will use every endeavor to help us succeed in our lives.

He cares for us in the sense that he loves us. “The Father himself loveth you.” “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” “God so loved the world.” He has a deep and abiding affection for every soul, and even when we stray away from him into the depth of sin, his heart yearns over us as a mother over her erring boy, only his love is stronger than a mother’s. He sends his servants out to seek the lost, and his Spirit to plead with them. Sinner, he loves you. Though you have grieved him and have repelled his Spirit over and over again, yet his eye beams with pity, his heart is tender with love, and his arms are outstretched toward you to welcome you to his embrace.

If he thus cares for the rebellious and neglectful sinner, how much does he care for his own obedient, loving children! How tender his love! Sometimes in a dark and troublesome hour when his face seems hidden, we may feel as did the disciples when they cried out in their distress, “Carest thou not that we perish?” Ah, he did care. At once he arose and rebuked the elements and brought the disciples safely to the land. Yea, he does care. “He careth for you.” His help may sometimes seem delayed, but it will come and just at the time to be most effective. In your joys and victories and seasons of refreshing he cares for you and also in the time of trial, of persecution, of heaviness and longing, and of bitterness of soul. In it all he cares, and he will bring you through when he sees the soul refined and fitted for his purpose. “He careth for you.” Believe it. Let your soul exult in it and shout it aloud. Or if you can in your sorrow only whisper it, let your heart still say: “He loves and he cares. I will trust him and be content.”

Again, he cares for us in the sense of taking care of us. His care is proved in his making so beautiful a world to be our home. The flowers, the fruits, the grains, the grasses, the animals, the sunshine, the winds, the rains, and all were made to minister to man’s need, comfort, and happiness. For us these exist. That we may be fed, he causes the earth to bring forth bountifully. That we may be clothed, he makes the cotton and the flax to grow out of the soil, the wool upon the sheep, and causes the silkworm to spin its glossy house. That we might be warmed, he made the coal, the gas, and the forests. That we might be protected, he made the stone, the wood, the iron, and the clay that we might have houses.

He cares also for our bodies, that we may have health. He gives us pure crystal water to quench our thirst and cool us in fever, balmy oxygen-laden air to build us up, and countless other blessings. Above all this, he is himself to us a Great Physician whose word heals our suffering bodies and takes us out of the grasp of death.

He cares for us spiritually, giving us his grace to help in every time of need to shield in temptation, to strengthen in trial, to make strong in adversity, courageous in danger, and valiant in conflict.

Truly, he cares for us. Let us doubt and fear no more, but commit ourselves to him, knowing that he will “in no wise fail” us.” Charles Wesley Naylor, Heart Talks; Talk 52, He Careth For You

Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sing praise to God who reigns above,
the God of all creation,
the God of power, the God of love,
the God of our salvation.
With healing balm my soul is filled
and every faithless murmur stilled:
To God all praise and glory.

The Lord is never far away,
but through all grief distressing,
an ever present help and stay,
our peace and joy and blessing.
As with a mother’s tender hand,
God gently leads the chosen band:
To God all praise and glory.

Thus all my toilsome way along,
I sing aloud thy praises,
that earth may hear the grateful song
my voice unwearied raises.
Be joyful in the Lord, my heart,
both soul and body bear your part:
To God all praise and glory.

Let all who name Christ’s holy name
give God all praise and glory;
let all who own his power proclaim
aloud the wondrous story!
Cast each false idol from its throne,
for Christ is Lord, and Christ alone:
To God all praise and glory
Johann J. Schutz (1640-1690)

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

ASK OF ME AND I WILL GIVE

Psalm 2:8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession

This is portion from a chapter from one of my favorite books “The Kneeling Christian” By An Unknown Author:

Many of us will recall the wonderful things which God did for Korea a few years ago, entirely in answer to prayer. A few missionaries decided to meet together to pray daily at noon. At the end of the month one brother proposed that, “as nothing had happened,” the prayer-meeting should be discontinued. “Let us each pray at home as we find it convenient,” said he. The others, however, protested that they ought rather to spend even more time in prayer each day. So they continued the daily prayer-meeting for four months. Then suddenly the blessing began to be poured out. Church services here and there were broken up by weeping and confessing of sins. At length a mighty revival broke out. At one place during a Sunday evening service the leading man in the church stood up and confessed that he had stolen one hundred dollars in administering a widow’s legacy. Immediately conviction of sin swept the audience. That service did not end till 2 o’clock on Monday morning. God’s wondrous power was felt as never before. And when the Church was purified, many sinners found salvation.

Multitudes flocked to the churches out of curiosity. Some came to mock, but fear laid hold of them, and they stayed to pray. Amongst the “curious” was a brigand chief, the leader of a robber band. He was convicted and converted. He went straight off to the magistrate and gave himself up. “You have no accuser,” said the astonished official, “yet you accuse yourself! We have no law in Korea to meet your case.” So he dismissed him.

One of the missionaries declared, “It paid well to have spent several months in prayer, for when God gave the Holy Spirit, He accomplished more in half a day than all the missionaries together could have accomplished in half a year.” In less than two months, more than 2,000 heathen were converted. The burning zeal of those converts has become a byword. Some of them gave all they had to build a church, and wept because they could not give more. Needless to say, they realized the power of prayer. Those converts were themselves baptized with the “Spirit of supplication.” In one church it was announced that a daily prayer-meeting would be held at 4:30 every morning. The very first day 400 people arrived long before the stated hour—eager to pray! The number rapidly increased to 600 as days went on. At Seoul, 1,100 is the average attendance at the weekly prayer-meeting.

Heathen people came—to see what was happening. They exclaimed in astonishment, “The living God is among you.” Those poor heathen saw what many Christians fail to see. Did not Christ say, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them”? (Matt. xviii. 20). What is possible in Korea is possible here. God is “no respecter” of nations. He is longing to bless us, longing to pour His Spirit upon us.

Now, if we—here in this so-called Christian country—really believed in prayer, i.e., in our Lord’s own gracious promises, should we avoid prayer-meetings? If we had any genuine concern for the lost condition of thousands in our own land and tens of thousands in heathen lands, should we withhold our prayers? Surely we do not think, or we should pray more. “Ask of Me—I will give,” says an almighty, all-loving God, and we scarcely heed His words!

Verily, converts from heathendom put us to shame. In my journeyings I came to Rawal Pindi, in N.W. India. What do you think happened there? Some of Pandita Ramabai’s girls went there to camp. But a little while before this, Pandita Ramabai had said to her girls, “If there is any blessing in India, we may have it. Let us ask God to tell us what we must do in order to have the blessing.”

As she read her Bible she paused over the verse, “Wait for the promise of the Father . . . ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts i. 4-8). “‘Wait’! Why, we have never done this,” she cried. “We have prayed, but we have never expected any greater blessing today than we had yesterday!” Oh, how they prayed! One prayer-meeting lasted six hours. And what a marvelous blessing God poured out in answer to their prayers.

Whilst some of these girls were at Rawal Pindi, a lady missionary, looking out of her tent towards midnight, was surprised to see a light burning in one of the girls’ tents—a thing quite contrary to rules. She went to expostulate, but found the youngest of those ten girls—a child of fifteen—kneeling in the farthest corner of the tent, holding a little tallow candle in one hand and a list of names for intercession in the other. She had 500 names on her list—500 out of the 1,500 girls in Pandita Ramabai’s school. Hour after hour she was naming them before God. No wonder God’s blessing fell wherever those girls went, and upon whomsoever those girls prayed for.

Pastor Ding Li Mei, of China, has the names of 1,100 students on his prayer-list. Many hundreds have been won to Christ through his prayers. And so out-and-out are his converts that many scores of them have entered the Christian ministry.
It would be an easy matter to add to these amazing and inspiring stories of blessing through prayer. But there is no need to do so. I know that God wants me to pray. I know that God wants you to pray.

“If there is any blessing in England we may have it.” Nay, more—if there is any blessing in Christ we may have it. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. i. 3). God’s great storehouse is full of blessings. Only prayer can unlock that storehouse. Prayer is the key, and faith both turns the key and opens the door, and claims the blessing. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. And to see Him is to pray aright.

HOW TO WALK MORE CLOSELY WITH GOD, pt 4

“Let us consider each of these points separately.

Again, it may be God may show you that you have failed through unwatchfulness

Your method may have been right, and your consecration complete, and you may have experienced many happy times of conscious fellowship with God, in service and in daily life; yet you have to acknowledge with shame that there have been sad seasons of dullness and spiritual gloom, when God, you felt, was grieved with you, and your joy in Him was impaired. And when you have gone to Him and asked Him the reason of this, He has shown you that it has sprung from carelessness and want of circumspection. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15), is an admonition we need often to remember.

The enemy is ever at hand, watching for our halting. If he can draw us on into the indulgence of levity and trifling, or of bad temper, or any of our “old sins,” he knows that the Holy Spirit will be grieved, and our communion broken; and then our usefulness is gone, and he is better able to make us his prey. We must do, then, as those who know that they are in an enemy’s land, and not relax our watchfulness even when we know that we have an Almighty Guardian who never sleeps. It is true that it is written, “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Psalm 127:1), but let us never for a moment think that therefore it is meant that the watchman need not be awake—that he may sleep upon his post. The fullest assurance of our interest in the Lord’s love, and in His watchful providence, should encourage us indeed, and take away all anxiety from our minds, but must not supersede the continual exercise on our part of watchfulness and prayer.

The very next chapter in the Book of Joshua after that which relates the capture of Ai, tells of Joshua and his people being entrapped by the wily Gibeonites; and the reason given for their falling into the trap was that they “asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord” (Joshua 9:14). “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41), ought to be ever sounding in our ears. However long-standing our faith, and however many our past successes, we are never safe except so far as we keep humble, asking counsel every day, remembering our weakness, never daring to do anything apart from Jesus and His grace.

And now my task is done, and I have answered, to the best of my ability, the question proposed, “How to walk more closely with God.” But before I end, let me put another question, “What is to be the issue of the solemn investigation here made?” Will any be satisfied with asking it, and finding mentally a solution to it? Or, will they go on to put to the test practically that method which has approved itself to their judgment and conscience to be God’s way of maintaining a holy walk? Will they yield up the last vestige of their legal strivings and throw themselves simply upon Him, for Him to work in them to will and to do of His good pleasure? Will they ask Him without delay to show them what idol of vanity, or impurity, or covetousness, has been keeping them at a distance from Him? Will they implore Him to give them more of the spirit of watchfulness and prayer, that the enemy may not be allowed to get the advantage over them?

We Must Walk More Closely With God

I feel, and have felt for very long, that the snare, if I may not call it vice, to which the members of what is called the Evangelical section of the Church are most exposed at this day, is that of being zealous for doctrines without being careful enough to know the power of the doctrine of Christ in their lives. This, depend upon it, is what is wanted, what men are asking for at our hands: to show them not only in word but in our own examples, that, as ministers, we have the seal of God upon our ministry, or, as men, that His presence is with us in our daily lives, enduing us with a grace and a power which the world does not possess. And for this we must walk more closely with God. Soundness of doctrine and correctness of moral deportment cannot supply the want of this. This is the “one thing needful.” Let it be our aim at any cost, to attain to it. Then, though men may despise us, we shall, like Enoch, have this testimony at the end of our lives, that we “pleased God,” and this is a testimony above all price. Then, too, though conscious that our talents are few and our sphere an insignificant one, we shall be certain to know at last that we have not lived in vain; for the light which will be reflected from our lives cannot fail to be useful to some poor souls who are groping their way heavenward, or to others who are discouraged by the burdens of life, and need our taper to cheer them on their onward road.

May God Himself teach and enable each one of us to walk more closely with Him!” Canon T. D. Harford-Battersby

Luke 10:42. But one thing is needful. Luke 10:42.

“We have no difficulty whatever in deciding what the one thing is. We are not allowed to say that it is the Saviour, for he is not a thing; and we are not permitted to say that it is attention to our own salvation, for although that would be true, it is not mentioned in the context. The one thing needful evidently is that which Mary chose—that good part which should not be taken away from her. Very clearly this was to sit at Jesus’ feet and hear his word. This and nothing less, this and nothing more.” Spurgeon

Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet Thy tribute bring!
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who like me His praise should sing?
Praise Him! praise Him!
Praise the everlasting King!

Praise Him for His grace and favour,
To our fathers in distress!
Praise Him still the same for ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless!
Praise Him! praise Him!
Glorious in His faithfulness!

Father-like, He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows.
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes,
Praise Him! praise Him!
Widely as His mercy flows!

Frail as summer’s flower we flourish:
Blows the wind, and it is gone.
But while mortals rise and perish,
God endures unchanging on.
Praise Him, Praise Him,
Praise the high eternal One!

Angels, help us to adore Him;
Ye behold Him face to face:
Sun and moon, bow down before Him;
Dwellers all in time and space,
Praise Him! praise Him!
Praise with us the God of grace!
Henry Francis Lyte 1793 –1847

“No cry of alarm is so frequent in the New Testament as the call to watch.” E. M. Bounds

HOW TO WALK MORE CLOSELY WITH GOD, pt 3

Today as we look again at Canon Battersby’s chapter on How To Walk More Closely With God (from the book Keswick’s Authentic Voice) he mentions losing fellowship with God through entertaining sin. I will leave it that. You may agree with this or disagree but please gleam from these Godly Saints of the past what you can even if and when you come across something you don’t agree doctrinely with.

Let us consider each of these points separately.

It may be that your method has been defective

There is but one “way of holiness.” It is that which God hath set up from of old. Its boundaries are clearly marked in His Word, so that “the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” But it is just here that we fail, that we are not willing to be as fools, but like to try our own hands upon this work, and construct a way for ourselves, of our own wisdom, instead of taking God’s way. That way is a way of faith from beginning to end. We entered upon it when we came, guilty and vile, to Christ, and found pardon and cleansing through His blood. But we did not see then the extent of our need, or the sufficiency of the supply God has provided for our need; we did not know then the inveterate evil of indwelling sin, or the power of natural corruption; but as we went on we learned this by sad experience. We saw God’s law, holy, just, and good, and we saw that it was to be our rule of life. We struggled to keep it, but in vain; we were forced to say with the apostle, “To will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Romans 7:18). What then? Did we, in despair of self, yield ourselves to Him who is “able to make all grace abound toward us”? Did we give ourselves up to Christ, as “dead to sin” by His death, and “alive unto God” by His resurrection? If so, we took God’s way of securing that which we needed; and I venture to assert, on the warrant of God’s Word, that we were not disappointed in so doing. The Tenth Article of the Church teaches plainly, “We have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will.” This witness is true. “We have no power”; but in Christ we have all power. If, then, we are not looking to Christ and abiding in Him, we cannot but fail. We come again “under law,” and sin gets the dominion; but let our motto be that of St. Paul, “Not I, but Christ” (Galatians 2:20), then how easy it is to please God! To walk with Him, how delightful!

Everything, in short, has been provided in Christ, through the foreknowledge and love of our heavenly Father, for our walking closely with Him (II Peter 1:3). “His divine power,” says the apostle, “hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who hath called us to glory and virtue.” The whole secret of a holy walk is here disclosed. First, there is an inexhaustible fountain from which our help comes—“His divine power.” Second, a supply which is equal to all our needs—“all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” Third, the method by which the supply is reached—“through the knowledge of Him who hath called us.” This, then, is the great thing needed in order to attain a closer walk with God: it is to know more of Jesus Christ and the infinite resources which are treasured up in Him for our need. This, no doubt, is a knowledge which admits of continual increase. We knew but very little of the Lord when we went to Him at first for the pardon of our sins. We knew Him in one aspect of His character, in one of His many offices: but of all that He is to the saved soul, which rests and abides in Him day by day, we knew nothing, nor can we know, unless we make trial of His grace—ever fresh trial as our needs arise; going to Him with the same simple faith with which we first went to Him, and saying, “Lord, I need Thee: Thou art my strength and my salvation: I am nothing; Thou art all: Lord, I trust Thee now.” Thus acting, our souls cannot but make ever fresh discoveries of the love and power of Jesus to save. We are kept in perfect peace in the most distracting circumstances, and He enables us to do His will and keep His commandments in such a way as to draw forth our wonder, while at the same time it brings us to His feet in adoring praise, as feeling that it is indeed His presence within to which all the blessing, and so all the glory, is due.

This is God’s method of walking with Him. May we each of us learn it more and more perfectly!

But God may show you that you have been cherishing some idol in your heart

Cowper recognized this as a most common hindrance to the soul’s communion with God when he wrote—

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from my heart,
And worship only Thee.

It is evident that this must be done if we are to have God as our Friend and Counsellor. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). The question answers itself—If sin is willingly entertained, God’s company must be given up. He will not dwell in a heart defiled with idolatrous associations, where Mammon, or human praise, or sensuality, or some earthly love, is usurping the place which He is entitled to occupy within us. “If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; shall not God search this out? For He knoweth the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:20-21). Entire surrender to Him: the presentation of our whole being to Him, to be searched by His all-seeing eye, to be purified by the cleansing blood of Christ, to be sanctified to His service alone, and be kept by Him from all sin, is the essential condition of a holy walk. Obedience must ever be coupled with faith, if it is not more correct to say that it is an essential part of faith, as the apostle speaks of “the obedience of faith.” To walk with God we must please Him. Enoch’s walk with God is thus described in Hebrews 11:5, “that he pleased God”; and then it is added, “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). His careful attention to God’s requirements, which is implied in the expression “pleasing God,” sprang, as it always must, out of perfect trust in Him. It was a saying Yes, promptly and cheerfully, to all that God said to him. If we are to be followers of holy Enoch we must do the same. Is there an Achan in our hearts, coveting and appropriating the “accursed thing,” and so bringing “trouble” into our camp, and staying us from victory and from progress? The enemy of our peace must be slain without mercy. With our own hands, with all our heart and soul, we must put him to death, in the strength and under the inspiration of that Holy Spirit which “worketh mightily” in those who believe. And then once more will God, our God, be content to use us, and we shall go forward successfully under His will and favor.” Canon T. D. Harford-Battersby

Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.

O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.
Will­iam Cow­per, 1731-1800

“To worship God in truth is to recognize Him for being who He is, and to recognize ourselves for what we are.” Brother Lawrence

HOW TO WALK MORE CLOSELY WITH GOD, Pt 2

Genesis 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

“To return now to our question, “How to walk more closely with God.”

In the first place, it will be necessary to define more particularly what is meant by “walking with God.” The expression is a Scriptural one. It is used of Enoch and of Noah (Genesis 5:24 and 6:9); and of the tribe of Levi, in the days of its first consecration to God: “The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity” (Malachi 2:6). We also find the expression in that memorable passage of the prophet Micah, when, in answer to the question, “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God?” this answer is given: “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:6, 8). It is evident that what is meant by the expression in all these passages is, to lead a life of constant communion with God, in which God is made our intimate associate and friend, in which we consult Him upon everything, and in which all is given up to His direction and control.

None will deny that this is what we are called to in Christ. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested; for this purpose the Holy Spirit has been sent; for this purpose the Holy Scriptures have been given, and the sacraments of God’s grace. It is for this that God deals out His benefits and His chastisements to us. All, all are for this end, to lead us into closer fellowship with our God, to know Him, to serve Him better; never to go away from His side, but to share in the loving communications of His grace all our days. And, let me add, what would the Church be if its members were thus habitually walking with God! What would some of us be if this were more the attitude and posture of our souls day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment?

But the practical difficulties which we all feel in the way of such a walk are many and great. To laymen and clergymen alike it is a path beset with hindrances, which seem often to make it impossible to continue steadfastly in it. The layman is oppressed with the cares of his family and of his business: a thousand things have to be attended to every day, which seem to have no connection with religion or with God’s service; and these things dissipate the mind and draw it, in spite of every resolution and many prayers, away from Him who is truly acknowledged to be the center and the life of the soul. The clergyman, on the other hand, may seem to one who superficially looks at his position to be far more hopefully placed in regard to such a walk. The duties of his calling impose upon him an obligation to be constantly occupied with matters which belong to God’s kingdom, God’s worship, God’s service. He is a teacher and preacher of God’s Word. He is bound by his ordination vows to be “diligent in prayer, and in reading of the Holy Scriptures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge of the same, laying aside the study of the world and the flesh.” Surely then, he, if any, can walk with God all the day and every day. But every clergyman knows that the sacredness of his office, and the solemnity of his ordination vows, do not hinder the world and the flesh from constantly harassing and afflicting him, and that he is—certainly not less than others, in many cases much more—tempted to be “cumbered about many things,” and in the cares which oppress him—the cares and burdens, it may be, connected with his family, or those which attend upon the due fulfillment of his ministerial office, among rich and poor, high and low—he often feels “sore let and hindered in running the race which is set before him.”

But still, whether we be clergymen or laymen, let it never be said by us that such a life of communion is impossible. If the profession or occupation with which we have to do is a lawful one, if it falls under the head of those occupations which are necessary or useful for the good of men, or for the glory of God, it is possible, while abiding in that calling, to walk with God, and to bring forth the fruits of practical holiness.

Therefore the question, How to walk more closely with God? does not certainly imply of a necessity that you should exchange what is commonly called a secular calling for a spiritual one; all lawful callings may be spiritual, and what is looked upon as spiritual may be essentially secular, basely, palpably secular, under the garb of fancied spirituality.

Again, then, we come to the question, How can those who feel that their walk with God has been sadly too broken and intermittent, and that in this respect they have fallen very far short of their high calling as God’s children, attain to a closer and more perfect walk?

The first thing must evidently be to go and tell God that you want this, and to ask Him to show you how it can be.

This is the first thing, I say, and I would lay stress upon it, as the sine qua non,(something absolutely indispensable or essential) because it is so easy to read books of devotion, study treatises upon the spiritual life, and go to one man after another for instruction as to the theory of holiness, and read your Bible too with diligence, and yet never go, in thorough honesty and simplicity, to God Himself, and say, “Lord, show me how I may walk more closely with Thee.” Yet this must be done. No reading, or hearing, or meditation upon what you have read or heard, can do what even one hour’s direct personal intercourse with God can do, in showing you where you have erred in the past, or what you need for the attainment of more perfect communion with Him. And when God has been thus honestly approached and His guidance sought, it may be He will show you either that the method you have been using for maintaining a holy walk is deficient, or that there is some cherished idol which needs to be given up, or that there has been a want of watchfulness and prayer.” Canon T. D. Harford-Battersby

Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

“The reality of Jesus comes as a result of secret prayer and personal study of the Bible that is devotional and sympathetic. Christ becomes more real to the one who persists in the cultivation of His presence.” Streams in the Desert

I need your presence every passing hour.
What but your grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like yourself my guide and strength can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.
Henry Francis Lyte

“We might be wise to follow the insight of the enraptured heart rather than the more cautious reasoning of the theological mind.” A.W. Tozer

HOW TO WALK MORE CLOSELY WITH GOD, Pt 1

James 4:8a, Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.

“This is, and ever must be, the question of questions to an awakened and converted soul. To others it may be enough to get a glimpse of God now and then, if that can be called a glimpse of Him which is only the bare reflection of His glory in the mirror of the mind, from those revelations of it which are to be found in His works and in His Word: but if we have indeed tasted of His grace, and understood something of His love to us in Christ, and been brought into real personal com­munion with Him by His Spirit, we cannot any longer be content with any such glimpses or glances of His glory at a distance; we must be brought nearer; the cry of our hearts must be:

“Nearer, my God, to Thee:
Nearer to Thee.”

It is a bad sign when this ceases to be our quest. There is a condition of soul, indeed, which is not only attainable, but which is set before us in the Scriptures as the only proper condition of the believing soul—that of rest in Christ, when we have found Him for whom our soul longed, and know that in Him we have been “brought nigh” (Ephesians 2:13); that “in Him we have eternal life” (I John 5:11); perfectly reconciled to our offended God by His precious blood, and covered by His spotless righteousness.

This is one thing: and how great a thing those only know who have been brought out of their weary wanderings and tossings to and fro, in the vain search after justification by their own righteousness, thus to rest, in perfect peace with God, because of what the Lord has done for them. But it is another thing altogether, after having found this peace, to walk with God closely in the path of daily life. When we started out on this course, our minds enlightened by that measure of spiritual light which enabled us to see Christ as our justification, and our hearts set on the attainment of the heavenly prize, we thought that the gratitude we felt at that moment, for the great mercies of God we had experienced, would be enough to carry us onward always in an even course, following our Master Jesus, and obedient to the will of our heavenly Father. But soon we found that our “first love” was apt to get chilled, and that the world and sin, which we thought we had renounced forever, were constantly asserting their claim to come back into our hearts; and our communion got broken, and we lost that blessed peace and joy and comfort which we felt when first we “saw the Lord”; and so, again and again it may be, many of us have been brought to cry out with that sweet singer whose hymns have been so often our solace and delight:

“Oh, for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame;
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb.”

And yet, on the other hand, it ought not to be supposed that such failures as that expressed by Cowper in this beautiful hymn, are a necessary part of the experience of every Christian. Can it be necessary for us, after we have started fair on the heavenly road, with a well-grounded assurance of our acceptance, and a clear consciousness of the divine favor, to lose all this, our comfort and our joy, and go along pining for:

“A calm and heavenly frame;
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb.”

Is it a part of the divine appointment that we should so fall back from our first faith, and our first love; that we should in whole companies and congregations be asking, in melancholy despondency:

“Where is the blessedness I knew
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul-reviving view
Of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still;
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.”

God forbid! The beauty of the words, the accuracy with which they depict a condition of soul with which we and many others are familiar, ought never to make us fall in with the supposition that this is an essential part of Christian experience. The commonness of it should not be allowed to blunt our sense of the dishonor it reflects on the character of our God and Father, that His children—the children of such a King—should “go mourning all their days.” It is not from Him surely, but from Satan, His enemy and ours, that this grievous state of things proceeds, either that Christians should be found, so many of them, in the condition described in this hymn, or that they should attempt to palliate their sin and failure by ascribing to it an assumed necessity—in other words, to God, the author and cause of holiness alone.

Thus I desire at the outset of our enquiry to guard myself and my readers against two opposite errors: the one of assuming that we have reached, or can reach, a state of such absolute perfection as that we should go beyond the condition of desiring a more perfect walk with God; the other of assuming that we must necessarily fall back, after conversion, like Israel in the wilderness, instead of going onward in a steady progress from strength to strength, in the direction which God would lead us. The one error is as great, I believe, as the other; and there can be no question as to which is the most common at the present day.” Canon T. D. Harford-Battersby