Daily Archives: April 23, 2016

To Spiritually Float Is to Dangerously Drift

Audio Transcript

Christians who float will drift off course — this is a sobering warning from 2 Peter 1:5–11. I’ll read the text to begin today’s episode. Peter writes:

READ/LISTEN HERE

 

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Isaiah 60

60 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.

Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.

All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.

Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?

Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.

10 And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.

11 Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.

12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.

13 The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.

14 The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee; The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

15 Whereas thou has been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.

16 Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

17 For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.

18 Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.

19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

22 A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time.

 

Inferior Misgivings About Jesus


Inferior Misgivings About Jesus

By Oswald Chambers


      ‘Sir, Thou hast nothing to draw with.’
John 4:11

      “I am impressed with the wonder of what God says, but He cannot expect me really to live it out in the details of my life!” When it comes to facing Jesus Christ on His own merits, our attitude is one of pious superiority – Your ideals are high and they impress us, but in touch with actual things, it cannot be done. Each of us thinks about Jesus in this way in some particular. These misgivings about Jesus start from the amused questions put to us when we talk of our transactions with God – Where are you going to get your money from? How are you going to be looked after? Or they start from ourselves when we tell Jesus that our case is a bit too hard for Him. It is all very well to say “Trust in the Lord,” but a man must live, and Jesus has nothing to draw with – nothing whereby to give us these things. Beware of the pious fraud in you which says – I have no misgivings about Jesus, only about myself. None of us ever had misgivings about ourselves; we know exactly what we cannot do, but we do have misgivings about Jesus. We are rather hurt at the idea that He can do what we cannot.

      My misgivings arise from the fact that I ransack my own person to find out how He will he able to do it. My questions spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, let me bring them to the light and confess them – “Lord, I have had misgivings about Thee, I have not believed in Thy wits apart from my own; I have not believed in Thine almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it.”

 

A SACRED GIFT OF SEEING

 


A SACRED GIFT OF SEEING

By A.W. Tozer


         As God created us, we all have to some degree the power to imagine. That imagination is of great value in the service of God may be denied by some persons who have erroneously confused the word “imagination” with the word “imaginary.” The gospel of Jesus Christ has no truck with things imaginary.

The most realistic book in the world is the Bible. God is real. Men are real and so is sin and so are death and hell! The presence of God is not imaginary; neither is prayer the indulgence of a delightful fancy. The value of the cleansed imagination in the sphere of religion lies in its power to perceive in natural things shadows of things spiritual. A purified and Spirit-controlled imagination is the sacred gift of seeing; the ability to peer beyond the veil and gaze with astonished wonder upon the beauties and mysteries of things holy and eternal. The stodgy pedestrian mind does no credit to Christianity!

 

The Living God (1961) by T. Austin-Sparks

The Living God (1961)
by T. Austin-Sparks

One of the supreme distinguishing titles by which God is known in the Bible is “The Living God”. This title not only distinguishes Him in a general way from the dead gods of the heathen, indeed it does, but it relates Him in a practical way to many aspects of human life. There are gods many in this world; philosophic, aesthetic, artistic, idealistic, deistic, etc., which, if they have any value at all, never – at best – reach beyond the psychological, that is, the auto-suggestive effect.

We have only to look at the varied context of the occurrence of the title – The Living God – to see the uniqueness, the difference, and the livingness of the God who is our God, and is the only wise and true God (John 17:3; Rom. 16:27).

1. HE IS THE GOD WHO SPEAKS (Deut. 5:26)

“For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire…?”

This is the most outstanding feature of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Everywhere, in almost every book – the exceptions are very few –  the God of the Bible is a God who speaks. Indeed, it is largely a record of what God has actually said – “…by divers portions and in divers manners” (Heb. 1:1). Supremely, comprehensively, and finally God has spoken in His Son, and in His Son again and again by His Spirit to this very time, God is known to speak as personally and intimately as any one human person could speak to another, and with greater effect. This God speaks livingly and powerfully, and unnumbered men and women can testify to the fact that He has spoken  – actually spoken – to them.

2. HE IS THE GOD WHO GIVES EVIDENCE OF HIS PRESENCE (Joshua 3:10-17).

“And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you…”

In this piece of history, the evidence of the presence of the Living God was His making a dry passage in and through a river inundating all its banks, and a great host of many thousands of people quietly marching through its deep bed at such a time with dry feet. Moreover, five strong and terrible nations were successively and irresistibly subdued and destroyed, not by the natural or trained superiority of this people, but by the presence and power of the Living God enabling them. This is history. But how many impossible situations have been negotiated by the power of God in the lives of His people and the experience of His Church in all ages because they trusted in the Living God!

3. HE IS THE GOD WHO CONTROLS THE FORCES OF THE UNIVERSE (Jeremiah 10:10).

“But the Lord is the true God, He is the living God… at His wrath the earth trembleth…”

Here, the context relates to cosmic and terrestrial upheavals and preservations attributed to the Living God, or to the voice of the Living God. God speaks in phenomena. God can be known in tempests and in the quelling of them, whether they be in nature, in nations, or in personal human affairs and experiences. What a record could be written by many, such as missionaries in wild and dangerous places, of the hand of God in both raising ‘stormy winds’ and quelling them in the interests of His Name and testimony!

4. HE IS THE GOD WHO DELIVERS HIS SERVANTS AT HIS WILL (Daniel 6:26).

“I make a decree, that in all my dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for He is the living God, and stedfast for ever…”

This was said, as is seen, when God had closed the mouths of the lions and delivered Daniel from them right in their den.

This Living God is the God who delivers when He chooses, and miraculously so. The people of God have known not a few dens of lions, both in number and variety, and their history is strewn with miracles of deliverance. There are many books written of these deliverances, and the facts are unassailable. “He is the living God, and stedfast for ever”, and although that was said by a very fickle and inconsistent king, he at least spoke the truth then.

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“It is God that justifies.” Rom. 8:33

 

EVENING THOUGHTS, or
DAILY WALKING WITH GOD

Octavius Winslow, 1858

“Let my prayer be set forth before you as
incense; and the lifting up of my hands
as the evening sacrifice.”  Psalm 141:2

“It is God that justifies.” Rom. 8:33

IT would appear that there are two links in this marvelous chain—the purpose of God, and its final consummation; both so remote and invisible, as to bring the mind to a calm, unquestioning belief in certain doctrines of God’s word, which may more properly belong to the “deep things of God.” But while the two extremes of this chain of truths must for the present be left invisibly locked in God’s hand; there are certain intermediate and visible links, upon which if the perplexed and inquiring reader lay hold, he shall be saved, though all the rest remains wrapped in the profoundest mystery—like its Divine Author, dwelling in lone and unapproachable grandeur.

It is not essential to our salvation that we lift the veil of that awful mystery, and penetrate the depths of a past predestination, and a future glory; but it is essential to our salvation that we are called of God, and that by God we are justified. We may arrive at heaven without fathoming the awful profound of the one extreme, and with but twilight views of the magnificence spreading over all the other; but we cannot get to heaven without the Spirit’s grace and Christ’s righteousness. Grasp in faith, and receive into your heart, these two central and essential truths, and they will by and by lift you into a sunnier region, where all the rest will stand forth, clear and transparent, bathed in the noontide splendor of heaven’s own glory.

“It is God that justifies.” We believe that by many this cardinal doctrine of God’s justification is but imperfectly understood, and but indistinctly seen in its results. The lofty position of security in which it places the believer, the liberty, peace, and hope, into which it brings him, are points dim and obscure in the spiritual vision of many. We also believe that much of the weak, sickly Christianity of numbers is traceable, in a great measure, to the crude and gloomy conceptions they form of God, produced by not clearly seeing the interest which he felt, and the initiatory part which he took, in the great matter of our justification. Let our faith but trace the act of our justification to God, and we have placed ourselves upon a vantage-ground of the boldest defiance to all our enemies. Survey the truth in this light for a moment. Against whom have you sinned? Adopting David’s confession, you exclaim, “Against You, You only, have I sinned.” Having sinned against God, from God, then, you looked for the condemnation. You had violated His law, and from the lips of the Lawgiver you waited the sentence. When, lo! He declares Himself on your side.

Descending as from His tribunal, He comes and stands in your place, and avows Himself your Justifier. “It is God that justifies.” Upon you, a culprit, trembling at His bar, He throws His own righteousness, “which is unto all, and upon all those who believe;” and from that moment you are justified. Shall we, then, be indifferent to the part the Father took in the great question of our acceptance? Shall we cherish the shy and suspicious thought of God, as if He looked coldly at us, and felt that in pleading for His mercy, we were infringing upon His righteousness? Oh, no! Away with such thoughts of God! He it is who pronounces the act of your acquittal, and from His lips sound the glorious words, “No condemnation!” “It is God that justifies.”