Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Great Devotional Thought From Tozer

Just what attracts us to the church we attend? What a question to ask, especially from a pastor. Still, after nearly 41 years of walking with the Lord, and after 38 years of ministry, the things Tozer says are things I and many of my fellow pastor friends see quite regularly. Is the church you attend helping you to really know Jesus and His word? Tozer says it well, and what he says should be heard clearly. Here you go, may the Lord minister to us all!

Failure and Success: The Great Goddess Numbers

Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. --1 Corinthians 3:12-13

The emphasis today in Christian circles appears to be on quantity, with a corresponding lack of emphasis on quality. Numbers, size and amount seem to be very nearly all that matters even among evangelicals. The size of the crowd, the number of converts, the size of the budget, the amount of the weekly collections: if these look good the church is prospering and the pastor is thought to be a success. The church that can show an impressive quantitative growth is frankly envied and imitated by other ambitious churches.

This is the age of the Laodiceans. The great goddess Numbers is worshiped with fervent devotion and all things religious are brought before her for examination. Her Old Testament is the financial report and her New Testament is the membership roll. To these she appeals as arbiters of all questions, the test of spiritual growth and the proof of success or failure in every Christian endeavor.

A little acquaintance with the Bible should show this up for the heresy it is. To judge anything spiritual by statistics is to judge by another than scriptural judgment. It is to admit the validity of externalism and to deny the value our Lord places upon the soul as over against the body. It is to mistake the old creation for the new and to confuse things eternal with things temporal. Yet it is being done every day by ministers, church boards and denominational leaders. And hardly anyone notices the deep and dangerous error.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Will You Also Go Away?

John 6:67  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will you also go away?

         I had gotten to the point of where I just wanted to give up.
         I am not sure why, but so many things had piled up on me at one time that I had just gotten to the point of breaking. Work, college, teaching two Bible studies a week, an emotional letdown, plus an assortment of other concerns had just pushed me over the edge. I had gotten to the point of just wanting to give up.
         I just didn't care anymore.
         I can still remember my mother's face when I told her that Christianity was a good philosophy for some, but as for me, it just didn't seem to work. She was so upset, and understandably so. I had led her to the Lord in January of 1971, and here it was November of 1975 and I was talking about throwing in the towel.
         I had been teaching Bible studies in my parents' home since September of 1973, and had shared many times about the faithfulness of God, the purpose of trials, and how God would never leave you nor forsake you. I knew these things, but for me, it seemed as if the heavens were brass and God had turned His face from me. I somehow was convinced that God loved other people, but He just didn't love me. So I told her, "Christianity just doesn't work for me". As she walked out of the den, I felt terrible. I didn't want to be a cause of stumbling for her and yet I honestly was so depressed I just blurted out what I was feeling.
         I can still remember sitting on a couch in the den with my bible open next to me. I didn't want to read it, but I picked it up and began reading the gospel of John, chapter 6. Then I came to verse 67, "Will you also go away?" I can't explain it in any way but must simply say, I knew God was asking me the same question. I remember praying, "God, where is there for me to go? When I got saved, I lost all my old friends, I am in Bible College, and my only dream for the last five years has been to one day pastor a church. Where can I go? There is nowhere I can go"!
         These were not words of faith and love, but rather of confusion, anger, and frustration. I felt like I was stuck, and had no alternatives. After praying these words, I continued reading the passage. John wrote, "Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God" (V68-69).
         As I read these words, I began to cry. I remember praying, "Where can I go Jesus? What is there in life, but You? I am hurting so much inside, I feel like I could die. But I am convinced that You have the words of eternal life. I know that you are the Son of the living God. Help me, please!"
         I wish I could tell you that immediately my depression left me, but it didn't. I struggled for some time after, but the struggle changed. I no longer felt like a helpless victim of circumstances, and no longer felt abandoned by God. I understood that the victory that would overcome the world would be faith; faith in a loving God Who would walk with me through the valley of the shadow of death. 
         My healing came through surrendering to God's word, and receiving God's promise to be with me and to never leave me. 
         Today, if you are hurting or feeling low, trust in the promises of God and return to His word. After all, where can you go?
             He has the words of eternal life.

Monday, May 12, 2014

For the Love of David

Deut. 6:6-7 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

         Such a beautiful baby boy. 
         There really was no question what we would name him. Though I had toyed with the idea of naming him Aaron Michael, the moment he was placed into my arms I knew he would be named David. 
         David Aaron. My son. My namesake. My first little boy. 
         He had dark brown hair, and large brown eyes, and was absolutely beautiful.
         So beautiful was he that we would be stopped by strangers who would just stare at him and inevitably say, "What a gorgeous little girl!"  Immediately I would correct them. "This is not a little girl. This is a little boy! His name is David!"
         Little boys have a way of worming their way into your heart, and he was no exception. Filled with energy, always running, always getting into one adventure after another. 
         When David was two years old, his aunt Pattie bought him a Superman cape, and from that moment on, he and his cape were inseparable. He had to wear his little cape 24 hours a day. He would wear it when he went to bed, and he wore it throughout the day, only removing it when he took his daily baths.
         I remember vividly coming home from the office every night only to be greeted by Superbaby, as he would hold his little arms out in front of his little body, and would pretend to be flying from room to room, always off on a new adventure, always protecting his family from danger. 
         I loved him so much, my little boy, my David.
         On one occasion, our young family went on a vacation, and we took his older sister Carin and him to a museum in Morro Bay, California. We were standing in the parking lot, outside of the museum entrance, and David (wearing his cape) and I were standing next to our car as my wife Marie and Carin walked across the parking lot and stopped and waited by the curb. I told little David "Now stay right next to me while I get this bag out of the backseat" but David would have none of this. Like a bullet, he ran across the parking lot to his mother, not seeing a car coming in his direction. With a scream coming from both Marie and me, the driver of the car slammed on her brakes, narrowly missing my two-year old baby boy.
         When things like this happen, it is amazing what goes through your mind. At that moment, the Lord spoke to my heart. It was a simple question, but one that has remained with me from that point on.
         "Your little boy almost came home today. What have you poured into his heart that has really counted?"
         Obviously, how much can one pour into a two year old? Yet, that one thought has remained with me from that day on. What am I pouring into my son that really counts? If he is taken home before me, what thoughts will I comfort my wife, family, and myself with? What have I given him that will last eternity?
         Today we have an opportunity to pour into the lives of those we love lessons that will last literally for eternity.
         Let us have something to give them that will last.
         Let us give them faith and love. 
         Let us give them Jesus.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Look of Love

John 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

         She was the love of my life.
         She had won my heart before I had even met her, and from the first time I saw her, my heart was forever captured.  She had beautiful brown eyes, short curly brown hair, the most gorgeous complexion, an infectious smile, and skin as soft as a baby. 
         As a matter of fact, she was a baby. 
         But she was not just any baby, she was my baby. My first baby. My Carin Marie. And I was head over heels in love with her. 
         As many first time father's can understand, I was afraid when I first thought of being a father.  Would I be any good at it? Would I be loving, kind, gentle, fair? How will I discipline this baby? How will she affect my relationship with my wife? So many questions, so many prayers.
         And then it happened. Carin was born, and before you knew it, the doctor was placing in my trembling hands a little bundle of noise. 
         "Look, momma," I said to my wife Marie, "we have our little girl".
         We brought her home, but my questions still needed to be answered. How can I show her how much I love her? How can I learn to love her? How can I learn to love?
         One day, the Lord gave me the answer.
         I was standing next to Carin's bassinet, holding her in my arms, and looking deeply into her eyes. I can remember saying to her, "Baby, your daddy loves you. He loves you with all of his heart". My eyes were brimming with tears, and I was holding her tightly as I just gazed at this beautiful bundle of love, this gift from my Father to Marie and me. As I held her, and gazed at her, my sister in law came into the room. I can still remember turning to look at her, and the look I gave to her was the same look I was giving to my baby.
         At that moment, the Lord spoke gently to my heart.
         "You have been asking Me to show you how to love" He seemed to say. "If you desire to learn to love others, then you must first look at Me. If you look at Me in the way that you are looking at your baby, then you will see that it will not be so hard to love others. The key, My son, is to first look at Me."
         How simple, and how true. 
         Today, if you find it hard to love others, spend some time looking first at Jesus.