Saturday, April 21

A Commemoration of A. W. Tozer on His Birthday

I owe a debt to A. W. Tozer for his God-given ability to dig into the heart of Christianity and expose the truth. Such an expose enlightens, not darkens those who are exercised by truth. I am therefore, happy to re-post this and to draw anyone's attention to his part in the discipling of the body of Christ at large. God bless you as you read his writings and, hopefully gain a deeper understanding of the true God.

10 Inspirational A. W. Tozer Quotes

Posted: 21 Apr 2012 08:09 AM PDT

Aiden Wilson (A. W.) Tozer was born in a small farming community in Western Pennsylvania on April 21, 115 years ago. His spiritual path opened up when, as a 15-year-old, Tozer responded to a street evangelist. Five years later, with no theological training, he began pastoring his first church.

Tozer spent the rest of his life as a pastor, rising to national prominence during his tenure at Southside Alliance Church, Chicago, IL (1928–1959). Tozer wrote the spiritual classic The Pursuit of God during his time in Chicago, and over his lifetime authored more than 40 books. His steadfast call to repentance and faith earned him the nickname “the 20th-century prophet.”

On May 12, 1963, he went to be with his Lord after suffering a heart attack. The epitaph on his tombstone simply reads: “A. W. Tozer—A Man of God.”

To celebrate this remarkable man of faith, I put together 10 of my favorite Tozer quotes:

“I want the presence of God Himself, or I don’t want anything at all to do with religion. You would never get me interested in the old maids’ social club with a little bit of Christianity thrown in to give it respectability. I want all that God has, or I don’t want any.”—from The Counselor

“I wonder also how many Christians in our day have truly and completely abandoned themselves to Jesus Christ as their Lord. We are very busy telling people to “accept Christ”—and that seems to be the only word we are using. We arrange a painless acceptance.”—from Who Put Jesus on the Cross?

“The world lives in such a time of crisis. Christians alone are in a position to rescue the perishing. We dare not settle down to try to live as if things were normal.”—from Born After Midnight

“But a lot of people have gone too far and have written books and poetry that gets everybody believing that God is so kind and loving and gentle. God is so kind that infinity won’t measure it. And God is so loving that He is immeasurably loving. But God is also holy and just.”—from The Attributes of God, Volume One

“I can only say, let us be tolerant wherever we can be, and let us be charitable toward all those we cannot tolerate. But let us not imagine for a minute that we are called upon to take a top-of-the-fence stand, never knowing exactly what we believe.”—from Faith Beyond Reason

“It is a high Christian privilege to pray for one another within each local church body and then for other believers throughout the world. As a Christian minister, I have no right to preach to people I have not prayed for. That is my strong conviction.”—from Tragedy in the Church: The Missing Gifts

“In some circles, God has been abridged, reduced, modified, edited, changed and amended until He is no longer the God whom Isaiah saw, high and lifted up.”—from Whatever Happened to Worship?

“No matter what the circumstances, we Christians should keep our heads. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind. It is a dismal thing to see a son of heaven cringe in terror before the sons of earth.”—from The Warfare of the Spirit

“Rightly understood, faith is not a substitute for moral conduct but a means toward it. The tree does not serve in lieu of fruit but as an agent by which fruit is secured. Fruit, not trees, is the end God has in mind in yonder orchard; so Christ-like conduct is the end of Christian faith.”—from The Size of the Soul

“The only fear I have is to fear to get out of the will of God. Outside of the will of God, there’s nothing I want, and in the will of God there’s nothing I fear, for God has sworn to keep me in His will.”—from Success and the Christian: The Cost of Spiritual Maturity

Wednesday, April 18

All or Nothing Christianity. Where is it these days?

“Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus . . . has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:17, ESV)
Here Ananias obeyed God against his "better judgment" and went to help Saul (later Paul) to regain his sight. (Remember Saul in his Pharisaical zeal had been a persecutor of the church). But now he had quite literally been blinded by the light of God from heaven as he was on the road to Damascus to persecute more Christians. From this time forward Paul's driving principle altered drastically. "For I decided not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). That was, as I said, his driving principle. I fear for far too many of us in the realm of Christianity, this has become an unreal expectation, or at least an untested or ignored expectation! We can quote the right verses, even nod our heads to orthodox teachings, and yet, for many of us it could not be honestly said, "Jesus Christ is his driving principle." I fear that we tend to quote the verses, but end up "consulting" God instead of obeying him implicitly. Notice that I said IMPLICITLY, "without qualification," or "absolutely." Oswald Chambers put it this way:
The abiding characteristic of a spiritual man is the interpretation of the Lord Jesus Christ to himself, and the interpretation to others of the purposes of God. The one concentrated passion of the life is Jesus Christ [emphasis mine]. Whenever you meet this note in a man, you feel he is a man after God’s own heart.
Never allow anything to deflect you from insight into Jesus Christ. It is the test of whether you are spiritual or not. To be unspiritual means that other things have a growing fascination for you [mine again].
‘Since mine eyes have looked on Jesus,
I’ve lost sight of all beside,
So enchanted my spirit’s vision,
Gazing on the Crucified.’
Chambers, O. My Utmost for His Highest
It seems that what I am finding in ministry (nothing new frankly) is that many so-called believers exhibit a life that treats God and the church like a second opinion, where their compliance to His will is still in their own hands to either follow or reject. Jesus never presented the gospel in such a manner. Ananias did what God told him to do. Why? Because God told him to do it! What more need be said? We treat "Thus saith the Lord" too often as an opinion. As Ted Koppel once said to the Duke graduating class in 1987, "When Moses came down from the mountain, he did not bring with him 'Ten Suggestions.'"

If Ananias had not lived the God-driven life, he would not have helped Saul become Paul. And if Paul had not lived the God-driven life then . . . !! We don't want to even think of what that would've looked like!

Does every other opinion but God's have an increasing fascination to you? Does His will mean more to you than life or death? That's where we need to be, not vacillating between opinions. God help us!

Sunday, April 15

Sometimes It's Good to Admit We Were Wrong!

OK, that's too broad a statement, I admit it!! Narrowed down, we in Christendom have tended to place a separation between God himself and our eternal life, between the Holy Spirit and our power. What do we tend to believe? We tend to limit our belief in salvation to a gift FROM God instead of the gift of GOD HIMSELF. Of course, salvation is also FROM God, but that could never trump the GIFT HIMSELF! 

Likewise, we read of the power we've received from the Spirit's filling and relegate it only to a super power inside each of us. But the power is not separated from the Holy Spirit, rather that power IS the Holy Spirit! There's a big difference isn't there? Too often, well meaning Christians live out their lives with this subtle, yet most significant misconception. It is a very serious oversight, and one of which we must ask help from the Spirit. Oswald Chambers wrote:  
Eternal life was the life which Jesus Christ exhibited on the human plane, and it is the same life, not a copy of it, which is manifested in our mortal flesh when we are born of God. Eternal life is not a gift from God, eternal life is the gift of God. . . .

“Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost”—not power as a gift from the Holy Ghost; the power is the Holy Ghost, not something which He imparts. . . .

Jesus came to give us endless supplies of life: “that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Eternal Life has nothing to do with Time, it is the life which Jesus lived when He was down here. The only source of Life is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The weakest saint can experience the power of the Deity of the Son of God if once he is willing to ‘let go.’ Any strand of our own energy in ourselves will blur the life of Jesus. We have to keep letting go, and slowly and surely the great full life of God will invade us in every part, and men will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus.

Chambers, O. My utmost for his highest: Selections for the year.
Let us resolve to shed this, perhaps inherited, yet most false view. To miss this causes us to miss out to a serious degree on God's very presence! 

Friday, April 6

Afraid to Die or Afraid to Live?

It depends. 

Most are afraid to die for obvious reasons. They live solely for this life and so have no good stake in the life that is to come. Others are afraid because they are not convinced that there IS a life to come, so their motto is carpe diem ("live for today"). 

But for the Christian, the true believer in Jesus Christ, the conviction increases throughout his life that his time on earth is but a precursor to that which is greatly improved, the lesser giving way to the vastly greater life in Christ. So it was for Robert Chapman (1803-1902) of England. Born into a wealthy home in Denmark, taught the classics in literature, fluent in 7 languages as well as biblical Hebrew and Greek, Chapman, though raised in a religious home, came to know Christ savingly at age 20. Though a successful lawyer, he always had a philosophical bent, so he tended to consider things deeply. This is true about the Christian life and, of course, death which we all must face. Here is what he said on the subject: 
I remember the time when I was afraid to die.… But on coming to Christ and being saved by Him, I passed from that state to another, that of being afraid to live, for I feared that if I lived I might do something that would dishonor the Lord, and I would rather die a hundred times than do such a thing. But thanks be to God, I did not remain long in this state, for I saw clearly that it was possible to live in the world without dishonoring God.

Peterson, R. L. (1995). Robert Chapman: Apostle of Love (27). Littleton, CO: Lewis and Roth Publishers.
We see the difference don't we? Fear of dying or fear of living depends on what we hold dear. If we love this world, the world of the seen, then we fear leaving it. But if we fear God, then we fear offending Jesus Christ. This will make little sense to those whose lives have been perpetually indoctrinated with self-determination. But for those who know (and love) Christ, it makes all the sense in the world.

Jesus rose from the dead that those who die with him may also be raised into a new life, a life which grounds all success and failure on its willing adherence to loving law of Christ. "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above . . ." (Col. 3:1). 


Wednesday, April 4

The Mega Millions Lottery Is a Suicidal Craze - John Piper

At the risk of RE-posting two days in a row, I feel the need to do it. Oddly, I've heard of at least two Christians who've purchased this ticket (since yesterday), one quite reluctantly who has since repented. (I think many figure that it is wrong on some level, but go ahead anyway . . . "just this once!") So, is it right for Christians to purchase lottery tickets? John Piper is no stranger to much of the Christian world. He is known for his biblical stance on many subjects. I appreciate his candor and careful exegesis. So, allow me to quote his post for my readers. It's application certainly goes far beyond just money. It applies to every area of life. 


Tonight a ticket will be chosen worth over half a billion dollars. Lottery agents in New York were selling 1.3 million Mega Millions tickets per hour Thursday.

Officials were expecting to sell about 1.2 billion tickets total before the drawing.
“Americans spend about $60 billion on the lottery every year,” says Stephen Dubner, co-author of “Freakonomics.” “More than $500 per American household goes to playing the lottery.” (CBS This Morning)

There are at least seven reasons you should not gamble with your money in this way — and should tell your congressmen not to support it.

1. It is spiritually suicidal. “Those who desire to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. . . They have pierced themselves with many a pang” (1 Timothy 6:7–10).

2. It is a kind of embezzlement. Managers don’t gamble with their Master’s money. All you have belongs to God. All of it. Faithful trustees may not gamble with a trust fund. They have no right. The parable of the talents says Jesus will take account of how we handled his money. “They went and worked” (Matthew 25:16). That is how we seek to provide for ourselves (1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; Ephesians 4:28)

3. It’s a fool’s errand. The odds of winning are nearly 176 million-to-one. You take real money and buy with it a chance. That chance is so infinitesimally small that the dollar is virtually lost. 175,999,999 times. The smaller amounts paid out more often are like a fog to keep you from seeing what is happening.

4. The system is built on the necessity of most people losing. The Lottery is just another form of gambling (without any of the glamour and glitz of Las Vegas, of course). The “house” controls the action, the players will all eventually lose. (See International Business Times)

5. It preys on the poor.
It supports and encourages “yet another corrosive addiction that preys upon the greed and hopeless dreams of those trapped in poverty. . . The Consumerist suggested that poor people in the U.S. — those earning $13,000 or less — spend an astounding 9 percent of their income on lottery tickets. . . making this ‘harmless’ game a ‘deeply regressive tax.’” (International Business Times)

6. There is a better alternative. A survey by Opinion Research Corporation for the Consumer Federation of America and the Financial Planning Association revealed that one-fifth (21 percent) of people surveyed thought the lottery was a practical way to accumulate wealth. We are teaching people to be fools.

If the $500 a year that on average all American households throw away on the lottery (see above) were invested in an index fund each year for 20 years, each family would have $24,000. Not maybe. Really. And the taxes on these earnings would not only support government services, but would be built on sound and sustainable habits of economic life.

7. For the sake of quick money, government is undermining the virtue without which it cannot survive.
A government that raises money by encouraging and exploiting the weaknesses of its citizens escapes that democratic mechanism of accountability. As important, state-sponsored gambling undercuts the civic virtue upon which democratic governance depends. (First Things, Sept., 1991, 12)

So, if you win, don’t tithe your lottery winnings to our church. Christ does not build his church on the backs of the poor. Pray that Christ’s people will be so satisfied in him that they will be freed from the greed that makes us crave to get rich.

Monday, April 2

Screwtape on Easter

Purchase the book HERE
The following is a clever way of coming at the truth. White "borrows" a style popularized by C. S. Lewis in his little book, The Screwtape Letters. For those who may not be aware, the book reveals a series of letters from a fictitious demon named Screwtape to his underling and nephew, Wormwood. Remember as you read that everything is turned around. The "Enemy" is God. The goal of the minions of hell is to neutralize and if possible, destroy the Church and Christians who live in on an earth they classify as "Enemy territory." I think this is not just clever, but all too true, and like the book itself, full of matter which we do well to digest.
It was from the imagination of C.S. Lewis that we were first exposed to a devil’s diabolical advice for the capturing of the human heart through the correspondence between a senior devil, Screwtape, to his nephew, Wormwood.
Below is a fresh correspondence, just intercepted, from Screwtape to Wormwood.
James Emery White
My dear Wormwood,
It is that dreadful time of year again when even those most firmly in our clutches find themselves maddeningly open to venturing into Enemy territory and attending a service celebrating that event-which-must-not-be-named.
Granted, we have been effective at neutralizing much of the threat this time of year poses to patients such as yours by ensuring the stupid humans go on vacation. Making the time surrounding that event-that-must-not-be- named prime time for vacations and school breaks was one of the more brilliant suggestions from our tactical division.
I am, however, concerned that this year you report your patient is staying home. This makes him vulnerable. If he goes at all, make sure it is to one of those sappy affairs that is all butterflies and sunrises, eggs and bunnies – all new beginnings and positive thoughts. Sappiness we can deal with.
But it is best if he doesn’t go at all. And certainly not to anything that would actually introduce him to that event-that-must-not-be named! That noxious moment when He refused to admit defeat at the hands of Our Father Below and resorted to trickery and deceit – and called it a victory! We were cheated!
(I must calm down…I feel myself turning into a newt!)
This means you must be on guard against the Enemy’s more annoyingly earnest followers who would invite him to one of their pathetic celebrations. Particularly the ones where someone might actually try and explain things from the Enemy’s point of view!
We can’t afford a repeat of what happened with your former patient. Need I remind you how you let her slip through your fingers?  Yes, I think I will. First, you let her begin that friendship with that most awful of creatures, an actual follower of the Enemy. Not one of the overbearing, obnoxious, self-righteous, legalistic types I actually recommend you bring into her orbit, but the most revolting kind of all; the likable, normal, authentic kind. Oh, how I hate them! 
It wasn’t long before they began hearing of grace (I can barely bring myself to write such a contemptible word!), the most powerful of the Enemy’s weapons and the one thing we try most to protect humans from believing. 
Indeed, if you recall, it was precisely at this time of the year that she accepted an invitation from the aforementioned type of nauseating creature to precisely the kind of service I am warning you about. And it was the worst possible kind – one where the event-that-must-not-be-named was not only celebrated, but the disgusting human who spoke even gave reasons to appeal to her mind! Her mind! The one area we pride ourselves on owning, and have convinced the world one must abandon to even consider the Enemy!
This must not happen again.
Don’t rely on any of our departments brewing bad weather this weekend – even we can’t bring rain everywhere at the same time. And the Enemy has a way of bypassing those effort s and luring them anyway (we aren’t really quite sure what happens when those idiots pray – it’s an area we have yet to be able to invade). 
And don’t settle for mischief with the service itself (bad microphones and the like). Have your fun with such things, but remember that you are not a junior tempter anymore! Be a true warrior of the Father Below and rise to the occasion of preventing the Enemy of gaining any ground by keeping him away from any of those sniveling Enemy-lovers who would take it upon themselves to invite him to one of their revolting services.
Every day we lure more of their pathetic lives into our own ravenous desire that, in the end, consumes their very soul. This is the satisfying route. Yet the Enemy would have them as sons and daughters! It makes me want to vomit.
So whatever you do, keep your patient safe. The event-which-must-not-be-named must be neutralized!
All to say, it is a dangerous time of year.   
Your affectionate uncle
With debt to C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters.