A Spiritual Father: Abide in Christ in Faith-filled Surrender

A Spiritual Father:  Abide in Christ in Faith-filled Surrender

How do I abide in Christ? How do I live the Christian life if it's by faith and not about "doing?" What is faith? These were questions that circled around, on and on in the midst of my confusion...that is until I "met" Andrew Murray.  Actually, I had read him early in my Christian walk, but that was during the time that "faith formulas" and "to do lists" and "theological systems" were more the answers to my quests than was Christ Himself (although I didn't realize it at the time).


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A Spiritual Father: a Modern-day Prophet

A Spiritual Father: a Modern-day Prophet

My husband John and I were students at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in the mid-1970's.  It was during our student days at Moody that we were introduced to A.W. Tozer.  My impression of Tozer at that time was that he was a somewhat controversial Chicago pastor of recent years who had a unique gift for being very sound biblically but at the same time shaking up the conservative evangelical "troops." I bought a set of his volumes entitled, The Tozer Pulpit and enjoyed his fiery words.  He said such things as...

One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. . . .

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The Dance of FAITH: Moving with His Life-giving Flow

The Dance of FAITH: Moving with His Life-giving Flow

A few years ago, my husband and I were at some friends’ house.  This couple liked to gather miscellaneous people who knew them but not each other. True to form, they asked a great icebreaker question.  The particular question that evening was, 

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would that be? Your secret ambition?

 

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The Key to the Christian Life ... Always!

The Key to the Christian Life ... Always!

As we are beginning a new fall season of new beginnings ... school, cooler weather, wardrobe changes, closed toed shoes (instead of sandals), and yes, ladies' Bible Studies*, Awana, and other church programs of many kinds, I thought of this blog post. The heart of everything ... especially our so-called "spiritual activities" is JESUS!

So just in case you need a reminder along with the rest of us, here is the Key to the Christian Life ... actually the Key to it all!

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The Rest of Faith: the Real Thing!

The Rest of Faith: the Real Thing!

Faith is a popular commodity these days.

There are "faith-based initiatives." We can name & claim something if we have enough faith. There is the faith that intellectually assents to what is assumed is truth. "The faith" can be a body of doctrines that a person holds to. Faith can be the means by which we can earn something with God. And on and on. 

But what is a true, living faith, according to God's definition?

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The Rest of FAITH: Living the “Yet Not I, but CHRIST” Life

The Rest of FAITH:  Living the “Yet Not I, but CHRIST” Life

About twelve years ago, our son-in-law was stationed in Tucson, Arizona [home of our Alma Mater, the U of A, "Go Wildcats!"  But I digress...].  When the school year for my ESOL class had ended in June, I flew to Tucson for an extended visit.

Beth and Nate were both working during the daytime, so I had some lovely, restful, sun-filled (and "Son-filled") time alone by the pool.  At that time, I was reading some of Brennan Manning's books.

One day I was reading The Signature of Jesus: The Call to a Life Marked by Holy Passion & Relentless Faith as I soaked up the Arizona sun by the pool.  I was somewhat annoyed to see that a man lying on a lounge nearby was straining to see what I was reading.  

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Longing & Learning to Hear God

Longing & Learning to Hear God

As far back as I can remember, I longed to know God.  At my mother's knee, I would sit and listen to stories she would tell me from our big gilded Bible.  You know the one...with the records of births and deaths, marriages and first communions. But it wasn't until later, in my young adulthood, that I became aware that I could hear God's voice speak to me...not audibly, but in the still, small voice of His sweet Spirit dwelling within.

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Resurrection ZOE -- the Dance of LIFE!

Resurrection ZOE -- the Dance of LIFE!

Easter isn't Easter unless it's Easter to YOU!

So declared a radio preacher early in Holy Week a few years ago. At first I said, "Yes!"  Then I thought about it awhile and said, "Not really! Easter is Easter whether I get it or not."

What is Easter anyway? Easter is the day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the grave. He had conquered sin and death on the cross and then was raised, so that we could walk in newness of life. (cf. Romans 6:4)

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Longing and Learning to Hear God

Longing and Learning to Hear God

As far back as I can remember, I longed to know God.  At my mother's knee, I would sit and listen to stories she would tell me from our big gilded Bible.  You know the one...with the records of births and deaths, marriages and first communions. But it wasn't until later, in my young adulthood, that I became aware that I could hear God's voice speak to me...not audibly, but in the still, small voice of His sweet Spirit dwelling within.

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The Key to the Christian Life

The Key to the Christian Life

Christianity is a PERSON, not a procedure; the LORD, not a list! Not church attendance, not Christ-like qualities, not good works, not the Christian "to-do list" (which may vary depending on the group and "camp" you are in)...

Not evangelism, not mission trips, not a quality "quiet time," not Scripture memorization or Bible study...

Not spiritual disciplines, not prayer, not fasting, not obedience, not miracle-working faith...

Not ______________________ (you fill in the blank with your favorite supposed "godliness-producing external" activity).

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The Dance of FAITH: Moving with His Life-giving Flow

The Dance of FAITH: Moving with His Life-giving Flow

A few years ago, my husband and I were at some friends’ house.  This couple liked to gather miscellaneous people who knew them but not each other. True to form, they asked a great icebreaker question.  The particular question that evening was, 

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would that be? Your secret ambition?

 

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The Acceptance of FAITH: Embracing that I Am who I Am... by Grace

The Acceptance of FAITH: Embracing that I Am who I Am... by Grace
If God Himself is the Strong One who does the doing, what is my part…yes faith, but what about my doing? 

To answer that, let’s look again at our second “yet not I” verse:

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God with [sun, united with] me. (1 Corinthians 15:10 NET)
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A Living FAITH: What is it?

A Living FAITH: What is it?

What is a living faith? 

To understand a faith that is alive, vibrant, real and restful, we need to explore two verses and two questions.  Both of our verses contain the same interesting phrase, “yet not I.” And both are from Paul’s writings: Galatians 2:20 and 2 Corinthians 15:10.

1. What is “the faith” by which we live while on this earth? 

I am crucified [united with] Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

2. If God lives the life that only He can live in and through me, what about me? Do I do anything? 

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God with [united with] me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)

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The Rest of FAITH: Living the “Yet Not I, but CHRIST” Life

The Rest of FAITH:  Living the “Yet Not I, but CHRIST” Life

About twelve years ago, our son-in-law was stationed in Tucson, Arizona [home of our Alma Mater, the U of A, "Go Wildcats!"  But I digress...].  When the school year for my ESOL class had ended in June, I flew to Tucson for an extended visit.

Beth and Nate were both working during the daytime, so I had some lovely, restful, sun-filled (and "Son-filled") time alone by the pool.  At that time, I was reading some of Brennan Manning's books.

One day I was reading The Signature of Jesus: The Call to a Life Marked by Holy Passion & Relentless Faith as I soaked up the Arizona sun by the pool.  I was somewhat annoyed to see that a man lying on a lounge nearby was straining to see what I was reading.  

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Running my Unique Lap in the Race of Faith (Part 2)

Well, friends, we have come to the end of our class called "Running the Race of Faith" at Patterson Park Church this fall. Some of you have joined us and followed along. Since we have taken some detours along the way at "A Branch in the Vine," click here for Part 1.

Now enjoy the remainder...and keep on running!

4.  My success in running depends on my focus.

...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of  faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.”   Heb 12: 2-3

See Lessons from a Family Vacation: We become like what we focus on.  Glory and grace when we focus on HIM!

5.  Submission to my “Coach’s” training program is key.

--His process is "discipline" (complete child training):

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;

--His motive is love:

For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,

--His method is ruthless, but fatherly:

And He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but...

See The Father's Pruning

--His goal is holiness; family resemblance:

He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

--His result is fruitfulness--righteousness, peace:

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

See Return to the Vineyard: Reflections on Growth

--His exhortation is "cooperate":

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Heb 12: 4-13

See Love's Abiding Harvest

6.  I must be a “team participant”.

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. Hebrews 12: 14-17

It's so easy to get bitter over life's hardships and the "irregular people" in our lives...even "irregular Christian people."  Yes, there are fellow teammates who just don't get it...actually we may be one of those at times, huh?

I love this quote by Henri Nouwen entitled, "Stepping Over Our Wounds."

Sometimes we have to "step over" our anger, our jealousy, or our feelings of rejection and move on [a.k.a. run on].  The temptation is to get stuck in our negative emotions, poking around in them as if we belong there.  Then we become the "offended one," "the forgotten one," or "the discarded one."  Yes, we can get attached to these negative identities and even take morbid pleasure in them.  It might be good to have a look at these dark feelings and explore where they come from, but there comes a moment to step over them, leave them behind and travel on [a.k.a. run on]. Bread for the Journey, Henri Nouwen.

Conclusion

Do you see what all this means -- all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?  It means we’d better get on with it.  Strip down, start running -- never quit!  No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.  Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.  Study how he did it.  Because he never lost sight of where he was headed -- that exhilarating finish in and with God -- he could put up with anything along the way:  cross, shame, whatever.  And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.  When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that will shoot adrenline into your souls. Hebrews 12: 1 - 3  (The Message)

Running my Unique Lap in the Race of Faith (Part 2)

Well, friends, we have come to the end of our class called "Running the Race of Faith" at Patterson Park Church this fall. Some of you have joined us and followed along. Since we have taken some detours along the way at "A Branch in the Vine," click here for Part 1.

Now enjoy the remainder...and keep on running!

4.  My success in running depends on my focus.

...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of  faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.”   Heb 12: 2-3

See Lessons from a Family Vacation: We become like what we focus on.  Glory and grace when we focus on HIM!

5.  Submission to my “Coach’s” training program is key.

--His process is "discipline" (complete child training):

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;

--His motive is love:

For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,

--His method is ruthless, but fatherly:

And He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but...

See The Father's Pruning

--His goal is holiness; family resemblance:

He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

--His result is fruitfulness--righteousness, peace:

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

See Return to the Vineyard: Reflections on Growth

--His exhortation is "cooperate":

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Heb 12: 4-13

See Love's Abiding Harvest

6.  I must be a “team participant”.

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. Hebrews 12: 14-17

It's so easy to get bitter over life's hardships and the "irregular people" in our lives...even "irregular Christian people."  Yes, there are fellow teammates who just don't get it...actually we may be one of those at times, huh?

I love this quote by Henri Nouwen entitled, "Stepping Over Our Wounds."

Sometimes we have to "step over" our anger, our jealousy, or our feelings of rejection and move on [a.k.a. run on].  The temptation is to get stuck in our negative emotions, poking around in them as if we belong there.  Then we become the "offended one," "the forgotten one," or "the discarded one."  Yes, we can get attached to these negative identities and even take morbid pleasure in them.  It might be good to have a look at these dark feelings and explore where they come from, but there comes a moment to step over them, leave them behind and travel on [a.k.a. run on]. Bread for the Journey, Henri Nouwen.

Conclusion

Do you see what all this means -- all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?  It means we’d better get on with it.  Strip down, start running -- never quit!  No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.  Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.  Study how he did it.  Because he never lost sight of where he was headed -- that exhilarating finish in and with God -- he could put up with anything along the way:  cross, shame, whatever.  And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.  When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that will shoot adrenline into your souls. Hebrews 12: 1 - 3  (The Message)

Running my Unique Lap in the Race of Faith (Part 1)

running the race of faith
running the race of faith

...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus  Hebrews 12: 1-2

God calls us to own our lives...to hug them to our breasts and to live them with all our hearts!  No place do we see this truth more clearly than in the letter to the Hebrews, chapter 12.

Using the imagery of running, God says that now it's...

...our turn to run our lap in the race of faith! 

And as we run, we each need to remember these truths:

1.  I’m part of something bigger than myself.

Since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us... Heb 11:1 - 12:1a

See the  Hebrews 11 blog to meditate on this truth.

Hebrews 11
Hebrews 11

2.  There are hindrances to my running.

...let us also lay aside every encumbrance [weight], and the sin which so easily entangles us... Heb 12: 1b

spider web photo July 2011
spider web photo July 2011

See Caught in the Web.

3.  My lap is uniquely mine.

    ...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...  Heb 12: 1c

For encouragement to be who God made you to be and stop comparing yourself to others or letting others deter you by their own insecurity, see: The Green-Eyed Monster and other Fruit Killers

eric liddell
eric liddell

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We’re pilgrims on the journey Of the narrow road And those who’ve gone before us line the way Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses Let us run the race not only for the prize But as those who’ve gone before us Let us leave to those behind us The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Chorus Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful May the fire of our devotion light their way May the footprints that we leave Lead them to believe And the lives we live inspire them to obey Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone And our children sift through all we’ve left behind May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

The Pilgrim Spirit of Faith (Hebrews 11)

We are so tied to the here and now, aren't we?  But at the heart of the life of faith is belief in the unseen God and trust in His promises that this world is not all there is.  People of faith are "pilgrims," "aliens."

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth...Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.  Hebrews 11:13,16

pilgrimage
pilgrimage

A bumper sticker I recently saw says it well,

We are not human [temporal] beings having a spiritual [eternal] experience. We are spiritual [eternal] beings having a human [temporal] experience.

If our existence on this earth is temporal, then it is temporary.  And according to God, it's fleeting...and we need to come to grips with that if we are to have the correct perspective of life on earth.  So...

...let these Scriptures wash over you, and then humbly worship the unseen God, our Father, Who loves us!

Hear my prayer, O Lord!    Listen to my cries for help!    Don’t ignore my tears.For I am your guest    a traveler passing through,    as my ancestors were before me. Psalm 39:12 NLT

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,    who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,    it will become a place of refreshing springs.    The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger,    and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. Psalm 84:5-7 NLT

Your word has been the music of my lifethroughout the years of my pilgrimage. Psalm 119:54

Those who are wise will take all this to heart;    they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.Psalm 107:43 NLT

your life a vapor
your life a vapor

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14 NASB

grass of the field
grass of the field

As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children... Psalm 103:15-17 NASB

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.2 Cor 4:16-18 NASB

So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 NASB

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Who am I, that the lord of all the earth Would care to know my name Would care to feel my hurt? Who am I, that the bright and morning star Would choose to light the way For my ever wandering heart?

Not because of who I am But because of what you've done Not because of what I've done But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading Here today and gone tomorrow A wave tossed in the ocean A vapor in the wind Still you hear me when I'm calling Lord, you catch me when I'm falling And you've told me who I am I am yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin Would look on me with love And watch me rise again? Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea Would call out through the rain And calm the storm in me?

Not because of who I am But because of what you've done Not because of what I've done But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading Here today and gone tomorrow A wave tossed in the ocean A vapor in the wind Still you hear me when I'm calling Lord, you catch me when I'm falling And you've told me who I am I am yours

Not because of who I am But because of what you've done Not because of what I've done But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading Here today and gone tomorrow A wave tossed in the ocean A vapor in the wind Still you hear me when I'm calling Lord, you catch me when I'm falling And you've told me who I am I am yours

I am yours Whom shall I fear? Whom shall I fear? 'Cause I am yours I am yours

A Spiritual Father: a Modern-day Prophet

My husband John and I were students at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in the mid-1970's.  It was during our student days at Moody that we were introduced to A.W. Tozer.  My impression of Tozer at that time was that he was a somewhat controversial Chicago pastor of recent years who had a unique gift for being very sound biblically but at the same time shaking up the conservative evangelical "troops." I bought a set of his volumes entitled, The Tozer Pulpit and enjoyed his fiery words.  He said such things as...

One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. . . .

We might be wise to follow the insight of the enraptured heart rather than the more cautious reasoning of the theological mind. The Knowledge of the Holy

Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Pursuit of God

Current evangelicalism has...laid the altar and divided the sacrifice into parts, but now seems satisfied to count the stones and rearrange the pieces with never a care that there is not a sign of fire upon the top of lofty Carmel. But God be thanked that there are a few who care. They are those who, while they love the altar and delight in the sacrifice, are yet unable to reconcile themselves to the continued absence of fire. They desire God above all. They are athirst to taste for themselves the "piercing sweetness" of the love of Christ about Whom all the holy prophets did write and the psalmists did sing.

There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals of the faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives. They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy.

Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts. Pursuit of God

Tozer has fed my soul for years with his classics Pursuit of God and Knowledge of the Holy.  When I was trying to get free of, what I call, to do list Christianity, I rediscovered the Pursuit of God.  That precious little volume, hastily written by Tozer on a train ride, became my regular reading year after year for many years.

When asked why I kept reading the same book over and over again, I replied, "because I want to brainwash myself with spiritual truth.  I've already been brainwashed with the lie of the Christian to-do list. Now I want God's way to do life."

And so now when I come back to those treasured words in that well-worn volume, it's as if coming back to a beloved friend. I'm forever grateful!

So let me tell you a bit about A.W. Tozer...

A.W. Tozer

Aiden Wilson Tozer was an American evangelical pastor, speaker, writer, and editor. After coming to Christ at the age of seventeen, Tozer found his way into the Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination where he served for over forty years. In 1950, he was appointed by the denomination's General Council to be the editor of "The Alliance Witness" (now "Alliance Life").

Born into poverty in western Pennsylvania in 1897, Tozer died in May 1963 a self-educated man who had taught himself what he missed in high school and college due to his home situation. Though he wrote many books, two of them, "The Pursuit of God" and "The Knowledge of the Holy" are widely considered to be classics.

A.W. Tozer and his wife, Ada Cecelia Pfautz, had seven children, six boys and one girl.

You can read Pursuit of God in its entirety right here.  Each chapter has been a favorite for me at one time or another. So you too can take your pick.  My guess is that every time you read, it will be a different one for whatever God is saying to you at that given time.

th-2

th-2

Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from Pursuit of God, just to wet your appetite:

About Life and Faith:

Jesus calls us to his rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort.

Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.

About Religion:

Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all...

When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself. The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the "and" lies our great woe. If we omit the "and" we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.

About the Voice of God and the Scriptures:

One of the great realities with which we have to deal is the Voice of God in His world. The briefest and only satisfying cosmogony is this: "He spake and it was done." The why of natural law is the living Voice of God immanent in His creation. And this word of God which brought all worlds into being cannot be understood to mean the Bible, for it is not a written or printed word at all, but the expression of the will of God spoken into the structure of all things. This word of God is the breath of God filling the world with living potentiality. The Voice of God is the most powerful force in nature, indeed the only force in nature, for all energy is here only because the power-filled Word is being spoken.

The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." The life is in the speaking words. God's word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God's word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book.

The Bible will never be a living Book to us until we are convinced that God is articulate in His universe. To jump from a dead, impersonal world to a dogmatic Bible is too much for most people. They may admit that they should accept the Bible as the Word of God, and they may try to think of it as such, but they find it impossible to believe that the words there on the page are actually for them. A man may say, "These words are addressed to me," and yet in his heart not feel and know that they are. He is the victim of a divided psychology. He tries to think of God as mute everywhere else and vocal only in a book.