Monthly Archives: August 2015

In The Beginning God Created…

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth

When man looks out from himself upon the wonderful home in which he is placed, upon the various orders of living things around him, upon the solid earth which he treads, upon the heavens into which he gazes, with such ever-varying impressions, by day and by night; when he surveys the mechanism of his own bodily frame; when he turns his thought, as he can turn it, in upon itself, and takes to pieces by subtle analysis the beautiful instrument which places him in conscious relation to the universe around him; his first and last anxiety is to account for the existence of all that thus interests him; he must answer the question, How and why did this vast system of being come to be? Science may unveil in nature regular modes of working, and name their laws. But the great question still awaits her–the problem of the origin of the universe. This question is answered by the first verse in the Bible: “In the beginning God created,” etc. And that answer is accepted by every believer in the Christian Creed: “I believe in one God,” From The Biblical Illustrator

My God, I thank Thee, who hast made the earth so bright
So full of splendor and of joy, Beauty and light;
So many glorious things are here, Noble and right.
Ad­e­laide A. Proc­ter

Psalm 148:5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for at his command they were created,

TOZER EDITORIAL: GOD IS EASY TO LIVE WITH

God Is Easy To Live With, A.W. Tozer

Satan’s first attack upon the human race was his sly effort to destroy Eve’s confidence in the kindness of God. Unfortunately for her and for us, he succeeded too well. From that day, men have had a false conception of God, and it is exactly this that has cut out from under them the ground of righteousness and driven them to reckless and destructive living.

Nothing twists and deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God. Certain sects, such as Pharisees, while they held that God was stern and austere, managed to maintain a fairly high level of external morality; but their righteousness was only outward. Inwardly they were “white sepulchres,” as our Lord Himself told them. Their wrong conception of God resulted in a wrong idea of worship. To a Pharisee, the service of God was a bondage which he did not love but from which he could not escape without a loss too great to bear. The God of the Pharisee was not an easy God to live with, so his religion became grim and hard and loveless. It had to be so, for our notion of God must always determine the quality of our religion.

Much Christianity since the days of Christ’s flesh has also been grim and severe. And the cause has been the same – an unworthy or an inadequate view of God. Instinctively we try to be like our God, and if He is conceived to be stern and exacting, so will we ourselves be.

From a failure to properly understand God comes a world of unhappiness among good Christians even today. The Christian life is thought to be a glum, unrelieved cross-carrying under the eye of a stern Father who expects much and excuses nothing. He is austere, peevish, highly temperamental, and extremely hard to please. The kind of life which springs out of such libelous notions must of necessity be but a parody on the true life in Christ.

It is most important to our spiritual welfare that we hold in our minds always a right conception of God. If we think of Him as cold and exacting, we shall find it impossible to love Him, and our lives will be ridden with servile fear. If, again, we hold Him to be kind and understanding our whole inner life will mirror that idea.

The truth is that God is the most winsome of all beings and His service is one of unspeakable pleasure. He is all love, and those who trust Him need never know anything but that love. He is just, indeed, and He will not condone sin; but through the blood of the everlasting covenant He is able to act toward us exactly as if we had never sinned. Toward the trusting sons of men His mercy will always triumph over justice.

Fellowship with God is delightful beyond all telling. He communes with His redeemed ones in an easy, uninhibited fellowship that is restful and healing to the soul. He is not sensitive nor selfish nor temperamental. What He is today we shall find Him tomorrow and the next day and the next year. He is not hard to please, though He may be hard to satisfy. He expects of us only what He has Himself first supplied. He is quick to mark every simple effort to please Him, and just as quick to overlook imperfections when He knows we meant to do His will. He loves us for ourselves and values our love more than galaxies of newly created worlds.

Unfortunately, many Christians cannot get free from their perverted notions of God, and these notions poison their hearts and destroy their inward freedom. These friends serve God grimly, as the elder brother did, doing what is right without enthusiasm and without joy, and seem altogether unable to understand the buoyant, spirited celebration when the prodigal comes home. Their idea of God rules out the possibility of His being happy in His people, and they attribute the singing and shouting to sheer fanaticism. Unhappy souls, these, doomed to go heavily on their melancholy way, grimly determined to do right if the heavens fall and to be in the winning side in the day of judgment.

How good it would be if we could learn that God is easy to live with. He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust. He may sometimes chasten us, it is true, but even this He does with a smile, the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is.

Some of us are religiously jumpy and self-conscious because we know that God sees our every thought and is acquainted with all our ways. We need not be. God is the sum of all patience and the essence of kindly good will. We please Him most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections, and believing that He understands everything and loves us still.

From Alliance Weekly 7 October 1950

Prayer Is The Christian’s Vital Breath

Acts 9:10-12 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”

Prayer made all the difference to Saul of Tarsus, and it always makes all the difference. It brought a new assurance of God, a new confirmation of faith, a new fellowship of the people of God, a new experience of healing, a new vocation, a new inheritance, a new power. Prayer changes things; Prayer makes all things possible, for it links the praying soul to the omnipotence of God. Do we pray? Do we pray in our praying? Does God put His seal on our prayers?

Lord, teach us to pray!
Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice
Returning from his ways,
While angels in their songs rejoice,
And cry, “Behold he prays.”

Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,
The Christian’s native air,
His watchword at the gates of death;
He enters heaven with prayer.

From The Path Of Prayer, by Samuel Chadwick

“Two of the Master’s great parables embody the truth that God gives his blessings to those who show persistence and even importunity in making their desires known” George Fox

I HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER THEE BUT MY LOVE

1 John 4:19 We love Him, because He first loved us.

What!It is said that mad earthly lovers carry their zeal and fervor to excess in their foolish passions, and shall we only love Thee feebly and weigh our love? No, no, my God, profane love must detract from love for the divine. See all the love Thou canst in a heart wholly Thine own. Access to Thee is open,the springs of it are known unto Thee. Thou knowest Thy grace is able to foster love there. Thou awaitest only my consent and the yielding of my liberty. I give them both to Thee a thousand and a thousand times. My Lord, take all, transact all, hold me and consume me. Feeble and impotent creature that I am, I have nothing to offer Thee but my love. Increase it, Lord and make it worthy Thee.

Oh, that I were capable of doing great things for Thee! Oh, that I had much to sacrifice for Thee! But all I can offer is nothing. To prostrate myself before Thee to die to self, no love Thee and from henceforth to love Thee even more, this is my heart’s fervent desire. Fenelon

Thou sweet, beloved will of God,
My anchor ground, my fortress hill,
My spirit’s silent, fair abode,
In Thee I hide me and am still.

Oh, lightest burden, sweetest yoke;
It lifts, it bears my happy soul,
It giveth wings to this poor heart;
My freedom is Thy grand control.
Madame Guyon

“His will is our hiding place.” Corrie Ten Boom

MAKE IT EASIER FOR A FELLOW PILGRIM

Ephesians 4:32 Be ye kind

Sleeping passengers on a Pullman racing across the western states were disturbed by the persistent crying of a little baby. Audible complaints were heard and finally one wrathy man said to the father: “Will you tell that child’s mother to keep that baby quiet?”

The father answered sadly “The child has no mother-she died four days ago.” Instantly the man who had protested most was full of sympathy. “Isn’t there something I can do? He said “you must be very tired. Let me look after the baby for a while.” It so alters things when we know something of the sadness of other people’s lives.

Ian Maclaren, in “Besides The Bonnie Briar Bush” has penned this beautiful sentence: “Be kind; every man you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Life is not easy for any of us, but we can all make it easier for a fellow pilgrim by trying to understand; by being willing to forget the umpleasentness of the past. Selected

With our sainted ones in glory
seated at our Father’s board,
May the Church that waiteth for Thee
keep love’s tie unbroken Lord.

“He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.” Augustine

The Lord Is King For Ever And Ever

“The Lord is King for ever and ever.” — Psalm 10:16

Jesus Christ is no despotic claimant of divine right, but he is really and truly the Lord’s anointed! “It hath pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” God hath given to him all power and all authority. As the Son of man, he is now head over all things to his church, and he reigns over heaven, and earth, and hell, with the keys of life and death at his girdle. Certain princes have delighted to call themselves kings by the popular will, and certainly our Lord Jesus Christ is such in his church. If it could be put to the vote whether he should be King in the church, every believing heart would crown him.

O that we could crown him more gloriously than we do! We would count no expense to be wasted that could glorify Christ. Suffering would be pleasure, and loss would be gain, if thereby we could surround his brow with brighter crowns, and make him more glorious in the eyes of men and angels. Yes, he shall reign. Long live the King! All hail to thee, King Jesus! Go forth, ye virgin souls who love your Lord, bow at his feet, strew his way with the lilies of your love, and the roses of your gratitude: “Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all.”

Moreover, our Lord Jesus is King in Zion by right of conquest: he has taken and carried by storm the hearts of his people, and has slain their enemies who held them in cruel bondage. In the Red Sea of his own blood, our Redeemer has drowned the Pharaoh of our sins: shall he not be King in Jeshurun? He has delivered us from the iron yoke and heavy curse of the law: shall not the Liberator be crowned? We are his portion, whom he has taken out of the hand of the Amorite with his sword and with his bow: who shall snatch his conquest from his hand? All hail, King Jesus! we gladly own thy gentle sway! Rule in our hearts for ever, thou lovely Prince of Peace. Spurgeon

THE ABSOLUTE GODHOOD OF GOD IS SEEN IN SALVATION

4. The Absolute Godhood of God is Seen in Salvation

Here is a hymn by Pink from the writing on The Godhood of God on salvation. Pink was a strong Calvinist concerning salvation.

“I bow me to Thy will, O God,
And all Thy ways adore!
And every day I live I’d seek
To please Thee more and more.

Thy will, the good, the blessed rule
Of Jesus’ toil and tears:
Thy will the passion of His heart
Those three and thirty years.

I love to kiss each print where Christ
Did set His pilgrim feet:
Nor can I fear that blessed path,
Whose traces are so sweet.

When obstacles and trials seem
Like prison walls to be,
I do the little I can do,
And leave the rest to Thee.

I know not what it is to doubt,
My heart is ever gay;
I run no risk, for, come what will,
Thou always hast Thy way.”

And leave the rest to Thee.
I know not what it is to doubt,
My heart is ever gay;
I run no risk, for, come what will,
Thou always hast Thy way.”

“Thousands are deceived into supposing that they have “accepted Christ” as their “personal Saviour”, who have not first received Him as their LORD.” A. W. Pink

TOZER EDITORIAL: I BELIEVE IN THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS

I Believe in The Communion of Saints, A.W. Tozer

Without doubt the most important body on earth is the Church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Unfortunately the word “church” itself has taken on meanings which it did not originally have and has suffered untold injury in the house both of its enemies and of its friends.

The meaning of the word for the true Christian was fixed by our Lord and His apostles. What they meant by it is what we must mean by it; and no man and no angel has authority to change it.

The simple etymological meaning is easy to discover, but its larger significance must be learned from the New Testament Scriptures. All that is meant by that wondrous word cannot be stated in one sentence, nor in one paragraph, nor scarcely in one book.

The universal Church is the body of Christ, the bride of the Lamb, the habitation of God through the Spirit, the pillar and ground of the truth.

The local church is a community of ransomed men, a minority group, a colony of heavenly souls dwelling apart on the earth, a division of soldiers on a foreign soil, a band of reapers, working under the direction of the Lord of the harvest, a flock of sheep following the Good Shepherd, a brotherhood of like-minded men, a visible representative of the Invisible God.

It is most undesirable to conceive of our churches as “Works,” or “Projects.” If such words must be used, then let them be understood as referring to the earthly and legal aspect of things only. A true church is something supernatural and divine, and is in direct lineal descent from that first church at Jerusalem. Insofar as it is a church it is spiritual; its social aspect is secondary and may be imitated by any group regardless of its religious qualities or lack of them. The spiritual essence of a true church cannot be reproduced anywhere but in a company of renewed and inwardly united believers.

The Christian life begins with the individual; a soul has a saving encounter with God and the new life is born. Not all the pooled efforts of any church can make a Christian out of a lost man. But once the “great transaction’s done” the communion of believers will be found to be the best environment for the new life. Men are made for each other, and this is never more apparent than in the church.

All else being equal, the individual Christian will find in the communion of a local church the most perfect atmosphere for the fullest development of his spiritual life. There also he will find the best arena for the largest exercise of those gifts and powers with which God may have endowed him.

The religious solitary may gain on a few points, and he may escape some of the irritations of the crowd, but he is a half-man, nevertheless, and worse, he is a half-Christian. Every solitary experience, if we would realize its beneficial effects, should be followed immediately by a return to our own company. There will be found the faith of Christ in its most perfect present manifestation.

But one thing must be kept in mind: these things are true only where the local church is a church indeed, where the communion of saints is more than a phrase from the Creed but is realized and practiced in faith and love. Those religio-social institutions, with which we are all too familiar, where worship is a form, the sermon an essay and the prayer an embarrassed address to someone who isn’t there, certainly do not qualify as churches under any scriptural terms with which we are acquainted.

The elements of a true church are few and easy to possess. They are a company of believers, the Lord, the Spirit and the Word of the Living God. Let the Lord be worshiped, the Spirit be obeyed, the Word be expounded and followed as the only rule for faith and conduct, and the power of God will begin to show itself as it did to Samson in the camp of Dan.

The church will produce a spiritual culture all its own, wholly unlike anything created by the mind of man and superior to any culture known on earth, ancient or modern. God is getting His people ready for another world, and He uses the local church as a workshop in which to carry on His blessed work.

That Christian is a happy one who has found a company of true believers in whose heavenly fellowship he can live and love and labor. And nothing else on earth should be as dear to him, nor command from him such a degree of loyalty and devotion.

From Alliance Weekly, 30 September 1950

HOW CAN I ALWAYS REJOICE?

1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always

THE position of our text is very suggestive. Observe what it follows. It comes immediately after the precept, “Rejoice evermore;” as if that command had somewhat staggered the reader, and made him ask “How can I always rejoice?” and, therefore, the apostle appended as answer, “Always pray.” The more praying the more rejoicing. Prayer gives a channel to the pent-up sorrows of the soul, they flow away, and in their stead streams of sacred delight pour into the heart. At the same time the more rejoicing the more praying; when the heart is in a quiet condition, and full of joy in the Lord, then also will it be sure to draw nigh unto the Lord in worship. Holy joy and prayer act and react upon each other.

Observe, however, what immediately follows the text: “In everything give thanks.” When joy and prayer are married their first born child is gratitude. When we joy in God for what we have, and believingly pray to him for more, then our souls thank him both in the enjoyment of what we have, and in the prospect of what is yet to come. Those three texts are three companion pictures, representing the life of a true Christian, the central sketch is the connecting link between those on either side. These three precepts are an ornament of grace to every believer’s neck, wear them every one of you, for glory and for beauty; “Rejoice evermore;” “Pray without ceasing;” “in everything give thanks.” Spurgeon

Rejoice evermore;
But how can I always rejoice?
Pray without ceasing;
In everything give thanks.
It is not emotion, it is a choice.

“Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life” Oswald Chambers

DWELL ON THE CROSS OF CHRIST

2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.

If I dwell on the Cross of Christ, I do not simply become inwardly devout and solely interested in my own holiness— I become strongly focused on Jesus Christ’s interests. Our Lord was not a recluse nor a fanatical holy man practicing self-denial. He did not physically cut Himself off from society, but He was inwardly disconnected all the time. He was not aloof, but He lived in another world. In fact, He was so much in the common everyday world that the religious people of His day accused Him of being a glutton and a drunkard. Yet our Lord never allowed anything to interfere with His consecration of spiritual power.” Oswald Chambers

I will help thee-thus with Jesus,
He who knows thy every need;
Fear not, He will ne’er forsake thee;
He will keep His Word indeed.

He is strong, and true, and loving-
Greater is His love to thee
Than thou knowest; while thou waitest
Watch, and thou shalt surely see.

He would keep thee ever closer,
Full partaker in His cross;
Let His truth be shield and buckler,
And for Christ count all things loss.
Florence Mott