ALL AT ONCE IT WAS FOR ME
to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had
once feared to lose!..
You drove them from me,
you who are the true,
the sovereign joy.
You drove them from me and took their place,
you who are sweeter than all pleasure...
O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth,
and my Salvation.
Confessions, IX, I.
"Jesus Himself spoke of our hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Hunger and thirst are physical sensations which in their acute stages may become real pain. It has been the experience of countless seekers after God that when their desires became a pain they were suddenly and wonderfully filled. Occasionally there appears on the religious scene a person whose unsatisfied spiritual longings become so big and important in the life that they crowd out every other interest... His yearnings carry him away and often make something of a nuisance out of him. His puzzled fellow Christians shake their heads and look knowingly at each other, but like the blind man who cries out after his sight and was rebuked by the disciples, he "cries the more a great deal."
...It is easy to learn the doctrine of personal revival and victorious living; it is quite another thing to take our cross and plod on to the dark and bitter hill of self-renunciation. Here many are called and few are chosen!"
"The devil did not know Christ - but apparently he knows Christians! The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life have all been "Christianized" (not by the liberal, mind you, but by the evangelicals) and are now offered along with Christ to everyone who will "believe." Blind leaders of blind souls now insist that Christians should not cut themselves off from the pleasures of the world, so the very values that Christ scorned are now being used to attract people to the gospel.
We stand in need of warning: in spite of prophetic voices that are raised here and there among us, present-day believers are being drawn to the world with irresistible force!"
"We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed."
God is always speaking. But there is a secret to hearing His voice. It will not be heard above the excited babble and din of the throng. He will not shout to drown other voices that clamor to be heard. He waits till all other voices are stilled and you have put away from your heart and mind all your own striving, and the din of the multitude who shouts for your attention has completely died away. You must become insensible to the sound of all other voices and hear only the voice of His Spirit speaking to your spirit.
There is a wonderful peace in silence. When your brain is wracked to a turmoil and you have examined every avenue for a solution to the exasperating problems that confront you only to find that your search leads you to greater confusion, it is time for silence, repentance, and listening to the voice of Jesus. He will speak and give His wisdom, but not until all other voices are silent and all other wisdom has become foolishness. Be still and know that I am God. "Then He breaketh the bow, maketh war to cease, cutteth the spear in sunder, burneth the chariot in the fire, and is exalted among the heathen in all the earth."( Ps. 45) It was after the earthquake, the fire, and the terrific wind that Elijah wrapped his head in this mantel and listened to the still small voice of God. "He leadeth me beside sitll waters", said David. "Be still and know that I am God."
When God speaks to your heart He will not simply help you decide between two or more opinions already in your mind. When He speaks it
is revolutionary and the opinions of men are discarded for they are always contrary to His will. We will never find God building on the old
foundations we have laid. He will throw down every stone and build a temple after His own order. - George R. Hawtin
THE LONELINESS OF THE CHRISTIAN By A.W. Tozer
The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an
ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone.
The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way. The man [or woman] who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens.
He searches for friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart. It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else.
From his article "Comfort in the Night of Weeping" 1808-1889 Horatius Bonar
"Out of all evil comes good to the saints; out of all darkness comes light; out of all sorrow comes joy. Each pang, sharp or slight, is doing its work - the very work which God designs, the very work which we could not do without.....
In affliction we may be quite sure of learning something more of God than we were acquainted with before, for it is just in order to furnish an opportunity for bringing out this and showing it to us that He sends the trial. How little should we know of Him were it not for sorrow! That fullness of blessing comes out to us, what riches of love are spread out before us in the dark and cloudy day!...."
From "Comfort in the Night of Weeping" by Horatius Bonar
"Each pain is a nail driven through some sin, another blow inflicted on the flesh, destroying the very power of sinning....
The world and we have not yet fully parted company with each other. And, therefore, God drives affliction like a wedge between us and the world; or He sends it like a plowshare right across our most cherished hopes and brightest prospects till He thoroughly wearies us of all below.
"He hath made me weary," said Job (Job. 16:7). Nor do we wonder at the complaint. Wearisome nights were His....He might well by weary. So with us. God makes us weary, too, weary all over - thoroughly weary. We get weary of a present evil world, weary of self, weary of sin, weary of suffering, weary of this mortal body, weary of these vile hearts, weary of earth - weary of all but Jesus! Of Him no trial can weary us. Suffering only endears Him the more. Blessed suffering - that makes Him appear more precious and the world viler; that brings Him nearer to our hearts and thrusts the world away."
"In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust to and is therefore compelled to cast himself on his God alone....
Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone!
There is no getting at our God sometimes because of the multitude of our friends; but when a man is so poor, so friendless, so helpless that he has nowhere else to turn, he flies into his Father's arms and is blessedly
clasped therein! When he is burdened with troubles so pressing and so peculiar, that he cannot tell them to any but his God, he may be thankful for them, for he will learn more of his Lord then than at any other time." -Spurgeon
Nothing But God
"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." - Romans 14:12 What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they know they must do at the last day. For each of us the time is surely coming when we shall have nothing but God. Health and wealth and friends and hiding places will all have only God. To the man of pseudo-faith that is a terrifying thought, but to real faith it is one of the most comforting thoughts the heart can entertain.
It would be a tragedy indeed to come to the place where we have no other but God and find that we had not been trusting God at all during the days of our earthly sojourn. It would be better to invite God now to remove every false trust, to disengage our hearts from all secret hiding places and to bring us out into the open where we can discover for ourselves whether or not we really trust Him. That is a harsh cure for our troubles, but it is a sure one. Gentler cures may be too weak to do the work. And time is running out on us.
A. W. Tozer
Does it feel like your whole world is spinning out of control? Have you lost your way and can't find which way is up? If so, I have a quote here for you by T. Austin Sparks-
~~ Seek to have your life in God, not in things, not in people, not in places, not in circumstances, not in arguments, not in human intelligence, but in God. ~~ End quote.
A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us,
altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting for our response to His Presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality....
...A new God-consciousness will seize upon us and we shall begin to taste and hear and inwardly feel the God who is our life and our all. There will be seen the constant shining of the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. More and more as our faculties grow sharper and more sure, God will become to us the great ALL, and His Presence the glory and wonder of our lives! This is what will make heaven more real to us than any earthly thing has ever been.
...Even Christ could endure the cross only because of the joy set before Him.
The strongest steel breaks if kept too long under unrelieved tension. Believe it that God knows exactly how much pressure each one of us can take! He knows how long we can endure the night, so He gives the soul relief, first by welcome glimpses of the morning star and then by the fuller light that harbingers the morning.
Slowly you will discover God's love in your suffering.... You will feel and understand the ministry of the night; its power to purify, to detach, to humble, to destroy the fear of death, and what is more important to you at the moment, the fear of life. And you will learn that sometimes pain can do what even joy cannot, such as exposing the vanity of earth's trifles and filling your heart with longing for the peace of heaven!...
"The church is found wherever the Holy Spirit has drawn together a few persons who trust Christ for their salvation, worship God in spirit and have no dealings with the world and the flesh. The members may by necessity be scattered and separated by distance and circumstances, but in every true member of the Church is the homing instinct and the longing of the sheep for the fold and the shepherd." -Tozer
"A simple-hearted man was once asked how he managed to live in such a state of constant tranquility even though surrounded by circumstances anything but pleasant. His answer was as profound as it was simple: "I have learned to cooperate with the inevitable!" -Tozer
We Christians must simplify our lives or lose untold treasures on earth and in eternity!
Modern Civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible, multiplying distractions and beating us down by destroying our solitude. "Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still" is a wise and healing counsel, but how can it be followed in this day of the newspaper, the telephone, the radio and the television? These modern playthings, like pet tiger cubs, have grown so large and dangerous that they threaten to devour us all.
No spot is now safe from the world's intrusion. One way the civilized would destroy men is by preventing them from thinking their own thoughts. Our "vastly improved methods of communication" of which the shortsighted boast so loudly now enable a few men in strategic centers to feed into millions of minds alien thought stuff, ready-made and predigested.
The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today. Even the majority of Christians are so completely conformed to this present age that they, too, want things the way they are.
However, there are some of God's children who have had enough. They want to relearn the ways of solitude and simplicity and gain the infinite riches of the interior life. They want to discover the blessedness of what has been called "spiritual aloneness" -a discipline that will go far in making us acquainted with God and our own souls! -Tozer
Why do I worry and wonder?
Why do I feel depressed?
Because for an instant I silenced the thought
That my Lord is my HAPPINESS! By N.A.
"A good way to avoid the snare of empty religious activity is to appear before God every once in awhile with our Bibles open to the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. This passage, though rated one of the most beautiful in the Bible, is also one of the severest to be found in Sacred Writ.
The apostle takes the highest religious service and consigns it to futility unless it is motivated by love. Lacking love, prophets and teachers, orators, philanthropists and martyrs are sent away without reward. To sum it up, we may say simply that in the sight of God we are judged not so much by what we do as by our reasons for doing it! -Tozer
As a baby is not satisfied away from its mother, and as life on earth is impossible without the sun, so human beings need a present God, and they can be neither healthy nor satisfied without Him! -Tozer
"A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, and happiest when he feels worst! He dies so he can live, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible and knows that which passes knowledge. The man who has met God is not looking for something-he has found it. He is not searching for light-upon him the Light has already shined!..."
"There is a plain and evident fact in genuine Christianity that is often overlooked by eager evangelists bent on getting results: that to accept Christ it is necessary that we reject whatever is contrary to Him!....
...the fault lies with our leaders. They are too timid to tell the people all the truth. They are now asking men to give to God that which costs them nothing!
...When will Christians learn that to love righteousness it is necessary to hate sin? that to accept Christ it is necessary to reject self? that to follow the good way we must flee from evil? that a friend of the world is an enemy of God? that God allows no twilight zone between two altogethers where the fearful and the doubting may take refuge at once from hell to come and the rigors of present discipline? -Tozer
"Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. Great faith must have great trials."- Charles H. Spurgeon (on: suffering)
"There is no riding to heaven in a chariot; the rough way must be trodden; mountains must be climbed, rivers must be forded, dragons must be fought, giants must be slain, difficulties must be overcome, and great trials must be borne." - Anonymous
"The man who is seriously convinced that he deserves to go to hell is not likely to go there, while the man who believes that he is worthy of heaven will certainly never enter that blessed place....
'No fears, no grace,' said Bunyan. 'Though there is not always grace where there is fear of hell, yet, to be sure, there is no grace where there is not fear of God. For the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and they that lack the beginning have neither middle nor end."' -Tozer
"I believe that our Lord wants us to learn more of Him in worship before we become busy for Him." -Tozer
From his book "Renewed Day by Day"- July 22
"No law has ever been passed that can compel one moral being to love another, for by the very nature of it love must be voluntary...
"The love the Bible enjoins is not the love of feeling: it is the love of willing, the "willed tendency" of the heart."....
Religion lies in the will, and so does righteousness. The only good that God recognizes is a willed good; the only valid holiness is a willed holiness....
The first requirement in conversion is a rectified will. To meet the
requirements of love toward God the soul need but will to love and the miracle begins to blossom like the budding of Aaron's rod!" -Tozer
The Christian gospel is a message of freedom through grace and we must stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. But what shall we do with our freedom?
I think it might be well for us to check our spiritual condition occasionally by the simple test of compatibility. When we are free to go, where do we go? In what company do we feel most at home? Where do our thoughts turn when they are free to turn where they will? When the pressure of work or business or school has temporarily lifted and we are able to think of what we will instead of what we must, what do we think of then?
Are we willing to face up to the answers to these questions, which may tell us more than we can comfortably accept? -Tozer
"Jesus Himself spoke of our hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Hunger and thirst are physical sensations which in their acute stages may become real pain. It has been the experience of countless seekers after God that when their desires became a pain they were suddenly and wonderfully filled.
Occasionally there appears on the religious scene a person whose unsatisfied spiritual longings become so big and important in the life that they crowd out every other interest...His yearnings carry him away and often make something of a nuisance out of him. His puzzled fellow Christians shake their heads and look knowingly at each other, but the like the blind man who cries out after his sight and was rebuked by the disciples, he "cries the more a great deal."
...It is easy to learn the doctrine of personal revival and victorious living; it is quite another thing to take our cross and plod on to the dark and better hill of self-renunciation. Here many are called and few are chosen!" -Tozer
"Watchfulness, prayer, self-discipline and acquiescence in the purposes of God are indispensable to any real progress in holiness!"-Tozer
"For children of the new creation, the darker the night the brighter faith shines and the sooner comes the morning!"-Tozer
"We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Out Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed."
Just the moment that a man's experience in Christ can be broken down and explained by the psychologists, we have a church member on our hands-and not a Christian! ...
The professional can only stand off respectfully and say, "Behold the works of the Lord." He can never explain it! And in that great and terrible day to come, many will be shocked when they find that they depended upon a mental assent to Christianity instead of upon the miracle of the new birth! "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." -Tozer
Only the servants of truth can ever know truth. You can fill your head full of knowledge but the day that you decide that you are going to obey God, it will get down into your heart. You shall know!
The Christian who gazes too long on the carnal pleasures of this world cannot escape a certain feeling of sympathy with them, and that feeling will inevitably lead to behavior that is worldly. To expose our hearts to truth and consistently refuse or neglect to obey the impulses it arouses is to stymie the motions of life within us, and if persisted in, to grieve the Holy Spirit into silence. -Tozer
We must insist on New Testament sainthood for our converts, nothing less; and we must lead them into a state of heart purity, fiery love, separation from the world and poured-out devotion to the Person of Christ.
Only in this way can the low level of spirituality be raised again to where it should be in the light of the Scriptures and of eternal values!
Let a man become enamored of Eternal Wisdom and set his heart to win her and he takes on himself a full-time, all-engaging pursuit! Thereafter his whole life will be filled with seekings and findings, self-repudiations, tough disciplines and daily dyings as he is being crucified unto the world and the world unto him.
The regenerated man has been inwardly separated from society as Israel was separated from Egypt at the crossing of the Red Sea. The Christian is a man of heaven temporarily living on earth. Though in spirit divided from the race of fallen men he must yet in the flesh live among them. In many things he is like them but in others he differs so radically from them that they cannot but see and resent it.
Our fathers had much to say about stillness, and by stillness they meant the absence of motion or the absence of noise, or both. They felt that they must be still for at least a part of the day, or that day would be wasted!
God can be known in the tumult if His providence has for the time placed us there, but He is known best in the silence. So they held, and so the sacred Scriptures declare. Inward assurance comes out of the stillness. We must be still to know! -Tozer
The whole purpose of God in redemption is to make us holy and to restore us to the image of God! To accomplish this, He disengages us from earthly ambitions and draws us away from the cheap and unworthy prizes that worldly men set their hearts upon. -Tozer
You can fill you head full of knowledge but the day that you decide that you are going to obey God, it will get down into your heart. You shall know!...
If you're willing to obey the Lord Jesus, He will illuminate your spirit, inwardly enlighten you; and the truth you have known will then be known spiritually and power will begin to flow up and out and you will find you are changed-marvelously changed.
It is rewarding to believe in a Christianity that really changes men and women. In that great day of Christ's coming, all that will matter is whether we have been inwardly illuminated, inwardly regenerated, inwardly purified! -Tozer
No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness." Heb. 12:11
If God has singled you out to be special object of His grace you may expect Him to honor you with stricter discipline and greater suffering than less favored ones are called upon to endure. If God sets out to make you an unusual Christian He is not likely to be as gentle as He is usually pictured by the popular teachers. A sculptor does not use a manicure set to reduce the rude, unshapely marble to a thing of beauty. The saw, the hammer and the chisel are cruel tools, but without them the rough stone must remain forever formless and unbeautiful.
To do His supreme work of grace within you He will take from your heart everything you love most. Everything you trust in will go from you. Piles of ashes will lie where your most precious treasures used to be.
Thus you will learn what faith is; you will find out the hard way, but the only way open to you, that true faith lies in the will, that the joy unspeakable of which the apostle speaks is not itself faith but a slow-ripening fruit of faith.You will learn, too, that present spiritual joys may come and go as they will without altering your spiritual status or in any way affecting your position as a true child of the heavenly Father.
Then you will also learn, probably to your astonishment, that it is possible to live in all good conscience before God and men and still feel nothing of the "peace and joy" you hear talked about so much by immature Christians!
"Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him." Rom. 6:8
Do your realize that many, many persons now take it for granted that it is possible to live for Christ without first having died with Christ?
This is a serious error and we dare not leave it unchallenged! The victorious Christian has known two lives. The first was his life in Adam which was motivated by the carnal mind and can never please God in any way. It can never be converted; it can only die (Rom. 8:5-8).
The second life of the Christian is his new life in Christ (Rom. 6:1-14). To live a Christian life with the life of Adam is wholly impossible. Yet multitudes take for granted that it can be done and go on year after year in defeat. Worst of all, they accept this half-dead condition as normal!" -Tozer
Our break with the world will be the direct outcome of our changed relation to God. For the world of fallen men does not honor God. Millions call themselves by His Name, it is true, and pay some token respect to Him, but a simple test will show how little He is really honored among them. Let the average man be put to the proof on the question of who is above, and his true position will be exposed. Let him be forced into making a choice between God and money, between God and men, between God and personal ambition, God and self, God and human love, and God will take second place every time. Those other things will be exalted above. However the man may protest, the proof is in the choices he makes day after day throughout his life.
From his book, "Renewed Day by Day".
"All unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles....The evangelist tries to show that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher lever. The modern view is that the new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him!...
The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. In Roman times, the man who took up his cross and started down the road was not coming back. He was not going out to have his life redirected: he was going out to have it ended! The cross did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more!...
The race of Adam is under death sentence. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. Thus God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life! -Tozer
And what, Lord, is my life, save that embrace wherein Thy delightsome sweetness doth so lovingly enfold me?"1
So wrote Nicholas of Cusa four hundred years ago.
To a people caught in the tempest of the last great conflict God says, "Be still, and know that I am God," and still He says it, as if He means to tell us that our strength and safety lie not in noise but in silence.
It is important that we get still to wait on God. And it is best that we get alone, preferably with our Bible outspread before us. Then if we will we may draw near to God and begin to hear Him speak to us in our hearts. I think for the average person the progression will be something like this: First a sound as of a Presence walking in the garden. Then a voice, more intelligible, but still far from clear. Then the happy moment when the Spirit begins to illuminate the Scriptures, and that which had been only a sound, or at best a voice, now becomes an intelligible word, warm and intimate and clear as the word of a dear friend. Then will come life and light, and best of all, ability to see and rest in and embrace Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord and All. ...
Lord, teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them. Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to Thee, "Speak, for thy servant heareth." Let me hear Thee speaking in my heart. Let me get used to the sound of Thy Voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of Thy speaking Voice. Amen. -Tozer
(A. W. Tozer)
"I have refined you in the furnace of suffering." Isaiah 48:10
A sculptor does not use a 'manicure set' to reduce the crude, unshapely marble to a thing of beauty. The saw, the hammer and the chisel are cruel tools, but without them the rough stone must remain forever formless and unbeautiful.
To do His supreme work of grace within you, God will take from your heart everything you love most. Everything you trust in will go from you. Piles of ashes will lie where your most precious treasures used to be! "I have refined you in the furnace of suffering." Isaiah 48:10
The meek man cares not at all who is greater that he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort.
Thankfulness that is put into words has a healing effect upon the soul and has a good effect upon those who hear.
One hundred religious persons knit into unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team.
When the Holy Spirit is ignored or rejected, religious people are forced either to do their own creating or to fossilize completely.
The greatest danger we face from this machine age is that we will become engrossed with mechanical gadgets and forget we have hearts. Man cannot live by bread alone nor by machine alone.
"In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust to and is therefore compelled to cast himself on his God alone...
Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone!
There is no getting at our God sometimes because of the multitude of our friends; but when a man is so poor, so friendless, so helpless that he has nowhere else to turn, he flies into his Father's arms and is blessedly clasped therein! When he is burdened with troubles so pressing and so peculiar, that he cannot tell them to any but his God, he may be thankful for them, for he will learn more of his Lord then than at any other time." -Spurgeon
"His purpose for our lives is that the work of his Spirit happen through his Word and that the work of His Word happen through his Spirit.
The Spirit and the Word are inseparable in wakening and sustaining joy.... Prayer and meditation correspond to God's Spirit and God's Word."
I just LOVE this...and believe that it is SO true! Meditate on this deeply today, my sisters! :)