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« Reply #765 on: March 12, 2009, 04:20:55 PM »

The "Rote" to "Rutness"
By A.W. Tozer

       We can go one step further and come to what I will call the rut, which is bondage to the rote. When we are unable to see and sense bondage to the rote, we are in a rut. For example, a man may be sick and not even know it. The doctors may have confided in the man's wife and said, "We don't want to frighten your husband, but he could drop any minute. He is critically ill, so just expect it at any moment." But the man himself does not know he is seriously ill. He goes about his business as though nothing is wrong. He may play golf or tennis, maybe even go on a hunting trip. He is sick, and yet he does not know how sick he really is. This may in fact hasten his end. Not knowing is risky business and full of danger. Spiritually speaking, the rut is bondage to the rote, and the greatest danger lies in our inability to sense or feel this bondage.
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« Reply #766 on: March 12, 2009, 04:22:00 PM »

THINK LIKE GOD THINKS
By A.W. Tozer

      If God knows that your intention is to worship Him with every part of your being, He has promised to cooperate with you. On His side is the love and grace, the promises and the atonement, the constant help and the presence of the Holy Spirit. On your side there is determination, seeking, yielding, believing. Your heart becomes a chamber, a sanctuary, a shrine in which there may be continuous, unbroken fellowship and communion with God. Your worship rises to God moment by moment! We have all found that God will not dwell in spiteful and proud and selfish thoughts. He treasures our pure and loving thoughts, our meek and charitable and kindly thoughts. They are the thoughts like His own! As God dwells in your thoughts, you will be worshiping-and God will be accepting. He will. be smelling the incense of your high intentions even when the cares of life are intense and there is activity all around you. This leaves us no argument. We know what God wants us to be. He wants us to be worshipers!
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« Reply #767 on: March 12, 2009, 04:22:36 PM »

Thinking Well
By A.W. Tozer

      The creative religious thinker is not a daydreamer, not an ivory tower intellectual carrying on his lofty cogitations remote from the rough world; he is more likely to be a troubled, burdened man weighed down by the woes of existence, occupied not with matters academic or theoretical but the practical and personal. The great religious thinkers of the past were rarely men of leisure; mostly they were men of affairs, close to and very much a part of the troubled world. Neither will the sanctified thinker of our times be a poet gazing at a sunset from some quiet secluded spot, but one who feels himself a traveler lost in a wilderness who must find his way to safety. That others will later follow the path he makes will not be primary in his thinking. Later he will understand this, but for the time being he will be all engaged hunting the way out for himself. To think well and usefully a man must be endowed with certain indispensable qualifications. He must, for one thing, be completely honest and transparently sincere. The trifler is automatically eliminated. He is weighed in the balance and found too light to be entrusted with the thoughts of God. Let but a breath of levity enter the mind and the power to do creative thinking instantly goes out. And by levity I do not mean wit or even humor; I do mean insincerity, sham, the absence of moral seriousness. Great thoughts require a grave attitude toward life and mankind and God.
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« Reply #768 on: March 12, 2009, 04:23:23 PM »

Those Museum Pieces
By A.W. Tozer

      Now I do not think that Satan much cares to destroy us Christians physically. The soldier dead in battle who died performing some deed of heroism is not a great loss to the army but may rather be an object of pride to his country. On the other hand the soldier who cannot or will not fight but runs away at the sound of the first enemy gun is a shame to his family and a disgrace to his nation. So a Christian who dies in the faith represents no irreparable loss to the forces of righteousness on earth and certainly no victory for the devil. But when whole regiments of professed believers are too timid to fight and too smug to be ashamed, surely it must bring an astringent smile to the face of the enemy; and it should bring a blush to the cheeks of the whole Church of Christ. The devil's master strategy for us Christians then is not to kill us physically (though there may be some special situations where physical death fits into his plan better), but to destroy our power to wage spiritual warfare. And how well he has succeeded. The average Christian these days is a harmless enough thing. God knows. He is a child wearing with considerable self-consciousness the harness of the warrior; he is a sick eaglet that can never mount up with wings; he is a spent pilgrim who has given up the journey and sits with a waxy smile trying to get what pleasure he can from sniffing the wilted flowers he has plucked by the way. Such as these have been reached. Satan has gotten to them early. By means of false teaching or inadequate teaching, or the huge discouragement that comes from the example of a decadent church, he has succeeded in weakening their resolution, neutralizing their convictions and taming their original urge to do exploits; now they are little more than statistics that contribute financially to the upkeep of the religious institution. And how many a pastor is content to act as a patient, smiling curator of a church full (or a quarter full) of such blessed spiritual museum pieces.
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« Reply #769 on: March 12, 2009, 04:24:44 PM »

Those Sanctifying Effects of Suffering
By A.W. Tozer

      Instant Christianity tends to make the faith act terminal and so smothers the desire for spiritual advance. It fails to understand the true nature of the Christian life, which is not static but dynamic and expanding. It overlooks the fact that a new Christian is a living organism as certainly as a new baby is, and must have nourishment and exercise to assure normal growth. It does not consider that the act of faith in Christ sets up a personal relationship between two intelligent moral beings, God and the reconciled man, and no single encounter between God and a creature made in His image could ever be sufficient to establish an intimate friendship between them. By trying to pack all of salvation into one experience, or two, the advocates of instant Christianity flaunt the law of development which runs through all nature. They ignore the sanctifying effects of suffering, cross carrying and practical obedience. They pass by the need for spiritual training, the necessity of forming right religious habits, and the need to wrestle against the world, the devil and the flesh. Undue preoccupation with the initial act of believing has created in some a psychology of contentment, or at least of non-expectation. To many it has imparted a mood of disappointment with the Christian faith. God seems too far away, the world is too near, and the flesh too powerful to resist. Others are glad to accept the assurance of automatic blessedness. It relieves them of the need to watch and fight and pray, and sets them free to enjoy this world while waiting for the next. Instant Christianity is twentieth century orthodoxy. I wonder whether the man who wrote Philippians 3:7-16 would recognize it as the faith for which he finally died. I am afraid he would not.
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« Reply #770 on: March 12, 2009, 04:27:23 PM »

THOUGHTS ON COMMUNION
By A.W. Tozer

      What a sweet comfort to us that our Lord Jesus Christ was once known in the breaking of the bread. In earlier Christian times, believers called the Communion "the medicine of immortality," and God gave them the desire to pray: Be known to us in breaking bread, But do not then depart; Savior, abide with us and spread Thy table in our heart. Some churches have a teaching that you will find God only at their table-and that you leave God there when you leave. I am so glad that God has given us light. We may take the Presence of the table with us. We may take the Bread of life with us as we go. Then sup with us in love divine, Thy body and Thy blood; That living bread and heavenly wine Be our immortal food! In approaching the table of our Lord, we dare not forget the cost to our elder Brother, the Man who was from heaven. He is our Savior; He is our Passover!
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« Reply #771 on: March 12, 2009, 04:28:09 PM »

Three Degrees of Knowledge
By A.W. Tozer

       In a recent letter a man from Jamestown, NY, quoted a statement from an editorial, ?Three Degrees of Religious Knowledge,? . . . and asked for clarification.

      The quotation was taken from that part of the editorial dealing with the third degree of knowledge: ?. . . it is knowledge by direct spiritual experience . . . Since it was not acquired by reason operating on intellectual data, the possibility of error is eliminated.?

      The letter comments on this as follows: ?This statement seems to me to parallel the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility. I was always taught that the holy Scriptures are the only rule of faith and life. My observation has been that most of the false cults base their so-called doctrines and revelations on personal spiritual experience. I would appreciate your further clarification on this editorial statement . . . defining the boundaries with which 'direct spiritual experience? can be depended upon without danger of departure from the revealed Word of God as contained in the holy Scriptures and as projected in the earthly life of Christ.?

      This matter deserves further explanation and I?ll be glad to make it.

      In my editorial I said that there are three degrees of knowledge open to Christians. The first is the common knowledge shared with all normal persons, namely, the data furnished by the senses and by reason operating upon such data. This embraces all knowledge of natural things from the first scrap of knowledge enjoyed by an hour-old baby to the highest reaches of scientific information acquired by the pooled efforts of the race.

      The second is the knowledge received by faith. It consists of data given by divine revelation and received by the believing mind without proof. It is taken on trust and cannot in the very nature of it be demonstrated as being true. Were proof possible then it would belong in the first category and faith would be unnecessary.

      The third kind of knowledge is that given by direct spiritual experience. This differs radically from both of the others. It has nothing to do with the senses and so is not physical or natural data. It has nothing to do with ethics or doctrine and so is not moral or theological knowledge. I do not believe that God teaches doctrine by direct unmediated experience. The exact opposite is true. The Scriptures are the source of all rational knowledge about moral and religious things, except those things that are revealed by nature as mentioned in Psalm 19:1-4 and Romans 1:19-20, and they are few and inadequate.
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« Reply #772 on: March 12, 2009, 04:29:31 PM »

Three Faithful Wounds
By A.W. Tozer

      "Faithful are the wounds of a friend," says the Holy Spirit in Proverbs 27:6. And lest we imagine that the preacher is the one who does the wounding, I want to read Job 5:17,18: "Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: for he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole."

      You see, the one who does the wounding here is not the servant, but the Master Himself. So with that in our minds, I want to talk to you about three faithful wounds of a friend.

      In order to get launched into my message let me introduce a little lady who has been dead for about six hundred years. She once lived and loved and prayed and hadn't much light and she hadn't any way to get much light, but the beautiful thing about her was that with what little Biblical light she had, she walked with God so wonderfully close that she became as fragrant as a flower. And long before Reformation times she was in spirit, an evangelical. She lived and died and has now been with her Lord nearly six hundred years but she has left behind her fragrance of Christ.

      England was a better place because this little lady lived. She wrote only one book, a very tiny book that you could slip into your side pocket or your purse, but it's so flavorful, so divine, so heavenly, that is has made a distinct contribution to the great spiritual literature of the world. The lady to whom I refer is the one called the Lady Julian of Norwich.

      Before she blossomed out into this radiant, glorious life which made her famous as a great Christian all over her part of the world, she prayed a prayer and God answered. It is prayer with which I am concerned tonight. The essence of her prayer was this: "Oh God, please give me three wounds; the wound of contrition and the wound of compassion and the wound of longing after God." Then she added this little postscript which I think is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read: "This I ask without condition." She wasn't dickering with God. She wanted three things and they were all for God's glory: "I ask this without condition, Father; do what I ask and then send me the bill. Anything it costs me will be all right with me."

      All great Christians have been wounded souls. It is strange what a wound will do to a man. Here's a soldier who goes out to the battlefield. He is full of jokes and strength and self- assurance; then one day a piece of shrapnel tears through him and he falls, and whimpering, beaten, defeated man. Suddenly his whole world collapses around him and this man, instead of being the great, strong, broad-chested fellow that he thought he was, suddenly becomes a whimpering boy, again. And such have even been known, I am told, to cry for their mothers when they lie bleeding and suffering on the field of battle. There is nothing like a wound to take the self-assurance out of us, reduce us to childhood again and make us small and helpless in our own sight.

      Many of the Old Testament character were wounded men, stricken of God and afflicted indeed as their Lord was after them. Take Jacob, for instance. Twice God afflicted him; twice he met God and one time it came as a wound, and another time it came actually as a physical wound and he limped on his thigh for the rest of his life. And the man Elijah, was he not more than a theologian? He was a man who had been stricken; he had been struck with the sword of God and was no longer simply one of Adam's race standing up in his own self-assurance; he was a man who had an encounter with God, who had been confronted by God and had been defeated and broken down before. And when Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, you know what it did to him. Or take Ezekiel, how he went down before his God and became a little child again. And there were many others.Let's talk about these three wounds in their order.

      THE FIRST IS THE WOUND OF CONTRITION. Now I've heard for the last thirty years that repentance is a change of mind, and I believe it, of course, as far as it goes. But that is just what's the matter with us. We have reduced repentance to a change of mind. It is a mental act, indeed, but I point out that repentance is not likely to do us much good until it ceases to be a change of mind only and becomes a wound within our spirit. No man has truly repented until his sin has wounded him near to death, until the wound has broken him and defeated him and taken all the fight and self- assurance out of him and he sees himself as the one who nailed his Savior on the tree.

      I don't know about you, but the only way I can keep right with God is to keep contrite, to keep a sense of contrition upon my spirit. Now there's a lot of cheap and easy getting rid of sin and getting your repentance disposed of. But the great Christians in and out of the Bible, have been those who were wounded with a sense of contrition so that they never quite got over the thought and the feeling that they had personally crucified Jesus.

      Let us beware of vain and over hasty repentance, and particularly let us beware of no repentance at all. We are sinful race, ladies and gentlemen, a sinful people, and until the knowledge has hit hard, until it has wounded us, until it has got through and past the little department of our theology, it has done us no good. Repentance is a wound I pray we may all feel.

      THEN THERE IS THE WOUND OF COMPASSION. Now compassion is an emotion identification, and Christ had that in full perfection. The man who has this wound of compassion is a man who suffers along with other people. Jesus Christ our Lord can never suffer to save us any more. This He did once for all, when He gave Himself without spot through the Holy Ghost to the Father on Calvary's cross. He cannot suffer to save us, but He still must suffer to win us. He does not call His people to redemptive suffering. that's impossible; it could not be. Redemption is a finished work. But He does call His people to feel along with Him and to feel along with those that rejoice and those that suffer. He calls His people to be to Him the kind of an earthly body in which He can weep again and suffer and love again. For our Lord has tow bodies. One is the body He took to the tree on Calvary; that was the body in which He suffered to redeem us. But He has a body on earth now, composed of those who have been baptized into it by the Holy Ghost a conversion. In that body He would now suffer to win men. Paul said that he was glad that he could suffer for the Colossians and fill up the measure of the afflictions of Christ in his body for the church's sake.
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« Reply #773 on: March 12, 2009, 04:30:18 PM »

Time with God
By A.W. Tozer

      Moses was dead, but the God of Moses still lived. Nothing had changed and nothing had been lost. Nothing of God dies when a man of God dies.

      Here we acknowledge (and there is fear and wonder in the thought) the essential unity of God's nature, the timeless persistence of His changeless Being through out eternity and time. Here we begin to see and feel the Eternal Continuum. Begin where we will, God is there first. He is Alpha and Omega.

      . . . . I am often caused to wish that there were some way to bring modern Christians into a deeper spiritual life painlessly by short easy lessons; but such wishes are vain. No short cut exists. God has not bowed to our nervous haste nor embraced the methods of our machine age. It is well that we accept the hard truth now: the man who would know God must give time to Him. He must count no time wasted which is spent in the cultivation of His acquaintance.

      We talk of Him much and loudly, but we secretly think of Him as being absent, and we think of ourselves as inhabiting a parenthetic interval between the God who was and the God who will be. And we are lonely with an ancient and cosmic loneliness. We are each like a little child lost in a crowded market, who has strayed but a few feet from its mother, yet because she cannot be seen the child is inconsolable. So we try by every method devised . . . to relieve our fears and heal our hidden sadness; but with all our efforts we remain unhappy still, with the settled despair of men alone in a vast and deserted universe. (A. W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest, pp. 21-23).

      And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. . . . And I am no more in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are (John 17:3, 11).
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« Reply #774 on: March 12, 2009, 04:31:07 PM »

To Know God is to Love Him
By A.W. Tozer

      God is love, and is for that reason the source of all the love there is. He has set as the first of all commandments that we love Him with all our hearts, but He knows that the desired love can never originate with us. We love him, because he first loved us, is the scriptural and psychological pattern. We can love Him as we ought only as He inflames our minds with holy desire. Yet there is also a love of willing as well as of feeling. Though we may not be conscious of any great degree of inward sensation, we may set our wills to love God and the feeling will come of itself. Let us bring ourselves under obedience to His revealed Word and our love for Him will grow. Obedience will strengthen faith and faith will increase knowledge. And it is a well-known law of the spiritual life that our love for God will spring up and flourish just as our knowledge of Him increases. To know Him is to love Him, and to know Him better is to love Him more.

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« Reply #775 on: March 27, 2010, 12:43:06 AM »


TO SIN IS TO REBEL
By A.W. Tozer

Some of you will object to my saying this, but it is my opinion that in Christianity we have over-emphasized the psychology of the lost sinner's condition. We spend time describing the sinner's woes and the great burden he carries until we almost forget the principal fact that the sinner is actually a rebel against properly constituted authority! That is what makes sin SIN! We are rebels, we are sons of disobedience. Sin is the breaking of the Law and we are fugitives from the just laws of God while we are sinners. We are fugitives from divine judgment. But thankfully, the plan of salvation reverses that, and restores the original relationship, so that the first thing the returning sinner does is confess: "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in Thy sight and I am no more worthy to be called Thy son. Make me as one of Thy hired servants!" Thus, in repentance, we reverse that relationship and we fully submit to the Word of God and the will of God, as obedient children!


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« Reply #776 on: March 27, 2010, 12:43:47 AM »

TOO MUCH "AT HOME"


By A.W. Tozer

One of the most telling indictments against many of us who compose our Christian churches is the almost complete acceptance of the contemporary scene as our permanent home! We have been working and earning, getting and spending, and now we are enjoying the creature comforts known to human beings in this land. You may bristle a bit and ask: "Is there anything wrong with being comfortable?" Let me answer in this way: if you are a Christian and you are comfortably "at home" in Chicago or Toronto, in Iowa or Alberta - or any other address on planet earth, the signs are evident that you are in spiritual trouble. The spiritual equation reads like this: the greater your contentment with your daily circumstances in this world, the greater your defection from the ranks of God's pilgrims enroute to a city whose architect and builder is God Himself! If we can feel that we have put down our roots in this present world, then our Lord still has much to teach us about faith and attachment to our Savior!

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« Reply #777 on: March 27, 2010, 12:44:21 AM »


Translating Biblical Truth Into the Language of the Pew
By A.W. Tozer

. . . Invariably the newly learned, like the newly rich, overdo everything, and that is just what the evangelical-rationalists are doing. They forget that Moses, David, our blessed Lord Himself, John, Luther, Wesley, Bunyan, Schopenhauer, William James (to bring together a few very different but very effective teachers), could state their doctrines in language as simple as childhood talk and as clear as distilled water. These modern teachers aren't so easy to comprehend. They write in an academic jargon that only another of them can understand. At the rate they are going it will take at least one generation for their teaching to filter down to the man on the street and the worshiper in the pew. And maybe that is good after all.

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« Reply #778 on: March 27, 2010, 12:44:53 AM »


Trials Are Only Temporary
By A.W. Tozer

The man whom Christ illuminates with His message has eyes, and that resolves the old difficulty of blindness; but he must use his new eyes in a blind world, and that creates another problem. The world in its blindness resents his claim to sight and will go to any lengths to discredit the claim. The truth of Christ brings assurance and so removes the former problem of fear and uncertainty, but that assurance will be interpreted as bigotry by the fear-ridden multitudes. And sooner or later this misunderstanding will get the man of God into trouble. And so with many other of the blessed benefits of the gospel. As long as we remain in this twisted world, these benefits will create their own problems. We cannot escape them.

But no instructed Christian will complain. He will rather accept his problems as opportunities for the exercise of spiritual virtues. He will turn them into useful disciplines for the purification of his life and will rejoice that he is permitted to suffer with his Lord. For however severe may be a Christian's trials, they cannot last very long, and the blessed fruit they bear will last while the ages endure.
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« Reply #779 on: March 27, 2010, 12:46:03 AM »


True Love
By A.W. Tozer

Among the innocent victims of this effete and degenerate age, there is none so pure and so beautiful as love.

Next to the word God with its various forms, there is no word so fair in all the language. Yet it may be said without qualification that this beautiful word has so suffered in the house of its friends as now to be scarcely recognizable. For the great mass of mankind, love has lost its divine meaning. The novelist, the playwright, the psychoanalyst, the writer of popular love songs, have abused this fair being too long. For filthy lucre, they have dragged her through the sewers of the human mind until she appears to the world as no more than a blowzy and bloated strumpet for whom no one any longer has the least trace of respect, the mention of whose name brings no more than a wink or an embarrassed simper. By losing the divine content from the concept of love, modern man now has remaining only what we might expect--a brazen-faced dowd whom he courts at all hours of the day and night with songs that should make a chimpanzee blush.

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