The quote by A.W. Tozer above was taken from the Singapore Christian blog. This is my comment below:
I Corinthians 9: 20-22: “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
I believe too many Christians take the above scripture and re-translate it like this: “I must be conformed to the world so that I can save the world.” Too many worldly Christians on this planet. The Lord has called us to be a holy people–separate from the world system.
The Holy Ghost Fire really separates the wheat from the chaff.
II Corinthians 6: 17-18: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
James 4: 4: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
Something to meditate on:
Why did John the Baptist camp out on the other side of the Jordan River?
[John 1: 28: “These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.]
John the Baptist lived a very short life; very little is written about him in the New Testament. Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest man ever born of woman. Maybe we could say that John the Baptist was a greater prophet than Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah and all the rest of the Old Testament prophets. The Book of Isaiah has 66 chapters; the Book of Jeremiah has 52 chapters; much more is written about Samuel and Elijah than John the Baptist.
Why is the life of John the Baptist still a powerful witness unto this day?
Probably because the crucified life has more power than the words that come out of our mouth.
The Spirit of a Prophet
Wearing a Rough Garment
Outside the Camp
Locusts and Wild Honey
Josephus on John the Baptist
John the Baptist and the Fire of God
The Spirit and Power of John and Elijah
“Tell me what time you spend alone with God . . .
and I’ll tell you how spiritual you are.”
John Milton, 1608-1674
This is from the blog The Voice of One:
John Milton was a Christian and poet in the 1600’s. By age 44, he went blind. Milton wondered if he could continue serving God without eyesight. Sometimes, he simply felt useless.
Milton’s anxiety and grief spill out in his 19th sonnet: “When I consider how my light is spent.” The sonnet ends with the Lord’s wonderful ministry and comfort–
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
I have mentioned I’m in a season of rest
. At least, I think that’s what it is. I know I’m not doing much in the way of study, projects, or anything else. Sometimes, I just feel like I’m wasting my life.
On days when I feel like a broken, failed person, Milton’s words come back to me: “who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. […] They also serve who only stand and wait.” I love this image. In any court there are those coming and going. But there are also those who stand waiting for the king’s order. Activity is only useful if the king requests it. To busy oneself without the king’s command is not to serve Him but self.
So it is with the King of kings. I am not my own. I am His. I wait for His Spirit to rouse me to action. ‘Til then, I stand, I wait, I listen for His word.
This reminds me of another who sat listening to Jesus: Mary of Bethany. When Mary’s busy sister scolded her for not busying herself to serve Jesus, the Lord replied, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41).
In this season, I hope to know Jesus more: the one who is necessary, the one who is better than busy-ness. My prayer is that I value Him more than serving Him.
This is from the blog A Word in Season:
“But what things were gain to me,
those I counted loss for Christ”
In this scripture we read the language of one in whom the Cross of Christ was a living reality. This expression is the “the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”. The power of God revealed within the life of an individual is summed up in this one verse. Men and women may fast and pray for this power but the essence of God is expressed through the lives of those who walk in the substance of this truth.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:
for it is the power of God unto salvation
to every one that believeth…”
Religious people often pray for things that only obedience can unlock. Prayer is essential to a life in the Spirit; it is through prayer that we find Grace and divine enablement to live the life of obedience. Religion attempts to replace obedience with prayer. The true Christian experience is through prayer we become obedient. When power is lacking in God’s house it is the result of the church embracing a crossless Gospel. The Gospel of the Cross of Christ will bring His Life, His Power, His character and His Glory into this dark world through the medium of a surrendered people.
“But what things were gain to me,
those I counted loss for Christ”
The measure of all that we do, embrace, declare and allow into our lives is to be measured by this one principle: His Life in us. The decree of God is such that in order to live in one realm we must experience death in the other. We cannot find life in this world and expect to hold on to His Life in the other. We are living in a day of choice. Discipleship is a decision that no one else can make for us. It is a decision of the heart; a decision based upon love. What men love they serve, as Jesus sums up so succinctly in this verse…
“For where your treasure is,
there will your heart be also”
It takes very little discernment in our interactions with others to discover what the treasure is in their lives. Out of the abundance of the heart men speak and thereby reveal their primary love.
“So is he that lays up treasure for himself,
and is not rich toward God”
Spiritual poverty is the result of the choices we make. We are the “epistles” read of all men. The depth and power of God is expressed through “earthen vessels” and as such we must bear the responsibility for the life we express. We have lost sight of our responsibility to show forth His light and life in this world. It is the fruit of a Gospel which has lost sight of God; a gospel that is centered upon people rather than God. Where men absolve themselves of accountability and relegate their walk to words, teaching and statements of faith, Godlessness and unrighteousness become acceptable. It is in such a time that God raises up the Prophetic to “show the (heavenly) house to the (earthly/fallen) house” (Ezekiel 43:10).
“Thou son of man,
shew the house to the house of Israel,
that they may be ashamed of their iniquities…”
The religion of today wants to be able to love this world, walk and live in the ways of this world and yet take hold of all the things of God. Such things will never be.
“Love not the world,
neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world,
the love of the Father is not in him”
1 John 2:15
It is through the true fellowship of the Spirit and in the worship of Him where the things of His life become more real to us than the dim things of earth. Wherever His people gather and commune together in the Love of Jesus that men and women are drawn out of this world and into His.
“But ye, beloved,
building up yourselves on your most holy faith,
praying in the Holy Ghost,
Keep yourselves in the love of God,
looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ
unto eternal life”
“This dandelion has long ago surrendered its golden petals, and has reached its crowning stage of dying–the delicate seed-globe must break up now–it gives and gives till it has nothing left.”
Art Work by Lilias Trotter (14 July 1853 – 28 August 1928) A Missionary who poured out her life to the call of Christ in Algeria. Her artwork is the expression of her devotion to that Call.
I have been writing about the current Great Awakening since I began this blog in May of 2011. Though it remains in the early stages, there should no longer be any doubt that it is coming forth.
When I first received the revelation and told a few of my associates, they had yet to see any indicators. And as I have explained a few times on this site in other posts, as time passed, they reported back that they were certainly seeing them. Remember, when the Lord brings something forth gradually over time it looks to most observers as not a new thing at all; it merely looks like life as usual. But when one receives a revelation of what will happen beforehand and then observes it coming forth exactly as predicted, one has a front row seat, so to speak, of a revelation becoming reality.
In the five and half years of this blog I have often put forth truth that has been soundly rejected and even disparaged by some Christians. This is all part of the process. People in general resist change. People invested in untruth don’t appreciate their stock being depreciated or their beliefs being questioned. All Christians are, of course, completely ignorant of all things spiritual in the beginning. That’s why it’s a born again experience. The problem is that the majority appear to stay in the beginning and resist further development. They invest in certain doctrines and beliefs and resist the consideration of greater truth.
CHURCHES AS ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
I often use the elementary school illustration for churches in general. Why? –Because they are. Most churches, though they may be great places filled with wonderful people, are elementary. The majority of the Christians in these places do not care for greater truth. They do not want to graduate to the third or fourth grade. Thus, they remain unaware.
Anyone who spends a lot of time studying hard and doing in-depth research knows it is very difficult work. It is not the realm of the lazy. Christians who would rather take it easy can always find a place to fit in, because many churches are comprised of such people. This is not a knock against them but simply an acknowledgement of reality.
Some Christian groups make it to high school but they are very few and far between. Almost no churches at all in America ever get to the spiritual university level. This means individual Christians, if they want to grow, develop as strong and mature disciples, and gain greater truth and revelation, must do the vast bulk of it on their own.
YOU GOT YOUR GOSPEL WHERE? THE DESERT?
For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. [Galatians 1:11-12]
The problem arises, however, that when the apostle Paul came back from Damascus and the desert, much of it being alone with the Lord for three years receiving revelation, and returned to Jerusalem, the first disciples he met up with did not fully believe his conversion. It is also why, later in his travels, many unbelieving Jews did not understand what he was talking about or trying to relate, and thus rejected his teachings. This is in part why Paul later found such great success among the Gentiles. They were less concerned about obeying cultural religious precepts and keeping up appearances within religious establishments and much more concerned with a practical application of real Christianity that changed their lives for the better.
It is obviously right and good to protect and stand for the ancient paths, as long as the ancient paths were authored by the Lord. It is terrible thing, however, to stand up and fight for untruth, false doctrines, bad narratives, and outright deception. The Christians who fall for this stuff and never correct it have only themselves to blame. I confess right now to you all, my readers, that I have believed stuff that turned out to be wrong, but as Paul said once, I believed it from ignorance. I didn’t know any better. It’s what the preacher said. It’s what the book author said. It’s what I was taught. Whatever. Through continuing study I discovered facts that proved unfacts wrong.
But again, with reference to Paul, the man who goes to the desert often finds he is no longer welcome when he returns. The people you used to hang with want you to junk all the new truth the Lord gave you and return to being a dummy. They will not work to be a better disciple and they get upset when their lack of greater discipleship is exposed. They get convicted. It is often the case that a person doesn’t have to say anything at all and still get a bad reaction. It is how the enemy works. The enemy goes into demonic derangement syndrome in a heartbeat and flies off the handle. Here is a case in point:
And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the Sabbath; and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” [Luke 4:31-34] 
Do you notice how the Lord was being a real Man and speaking with great authority? And had the dunamis to back it up? That usually never happens in many churches. The Lord, however, during His ministry, was POWERFUL. He shook things up. The people were amazed. The religious leaders were shocked. He was a real man’s Man and beyond. People took notice. Sinners were instantly convicted. But demons were scared to death. That’s why the synagogue demon flipped out. And this is also why they flip out in churches when someone brings in some real truth that clashes with the accepted curriculum.
People who have never been to the wilderness or the desert will usually never accept anything from the wilderness or the desert.
In the next post I will list some trends to watch for in the coming year. Until then I encourage you to look over some of my recent posts and especially posts that concern the Great Awakening. There is a search box in the left column entitled Seek and Ye Will Find.
But first, to read the prediction of five years ago, begin here: 2011: The Year in Review.
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
This is from the Singapore Christian blog:
Why are so many churches desolate, poor and in ruin. According to Watchman Nee, the late Chinese church leader and Christian leader, who was writing in his book ‘The Ministry of God’s Word‘, it is because they lack proper ministers whom the Lord can use to deliver His Word.
One basic problem in the church is the lack of proper ministers of the word. This does not mean that God’s word is rare or that the vision or light is unclear. It means that there is a shortage of men whom God can use. God desires that the spirits of prophets be subject to prophets. Who are the prophets to whom the spirits of the prophets will be subject? Can the spirits of prophets be subject to those who walk according to their own will, who give ground to the flesh, and who are stubborn in their mind and emotion? If a man does not bear the mark of the cross in his spirit, he is a wild and proud man. He may have suffered years of discipline, but he is not yet defeated. The Lord’s smiting hand may have been on him once, twice, or even ten times, but he is still not defeated. In spite of the Lord’s repeated chastisement, he is still unyielding. Such a man proves himself to be a useless vessel. Is the problem before us a shortage of vision, light, or the word? No. It is a shortage of prophets whom God can use.
[Indeed], the problem today lies entirely with the ministers. There is no scarcity of vision, light, or God’s word. The problem today is that God cannot find proper ministers. Many times God’s light ceases to be visible to others when it is put into our mouth. Many people speak about the Holy Spirit in their messages, but others do not touch the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, they touch the flesh. Many people speak about God’s holiness, but others do not sense any holiness in them. They only touch a frivolous spirit. Some speak about the cross on the platform, but others can sense that they have never passed through any dealings. There is not even a trace of the cross in them. Some like to speak of love, but only temper, rather than love, is expressed through them. All of these cases speak of a basic problem – something is wrong with the ministers. If all the preaching on this earth today were in the principle of ministry, the church would be very rich. It is unfortunate that there is very little of God’s word despite all of the preaching! This is the basic problem in the church today. Without ministers, there is no inspiration and no revelation. With many people, the more they preach, the further their speaking is from being an inspiration, from being the release of any light, and from being qualified to be called revelation. The problem is with the preachers; they are not the ones whom God can use. God cannot use such men, yet He does not want to speak alone. This is a problem. He has the word, yet He does not want to release this word by Himself. He does not want to be the minister of the word; He wants man to be the minister of His word.
Brothers, God will not speak by Himself. If ministers cannot speak His word, what will be the condition of the church? The church is desolate, poor, and in ruin because human elements have not come up to the standard of God’s word. If God can find a person who has been dealt with by Him, who is broken, and who is prostrate on his face, God’s word will flow through him. We are looking all the time for God’s word, but He is looking all the time for men whom He can use. We are looking for God’s word, while He is looking for ministers. If we are unwilling to be dealt with, we will not be able to work for God. We must not think that such dealings are optional. We should not presume that, after hearing a certain number of messages, we can release the same word. No! If a person is not proper, his message will not be proper. Man can hinder God’s word. The Holy Spirit is not released through the word alone. When God’s word comes to us, we must be free from all hindrances. We must be broken, and we must bear the mark of the cross. Our spirit must be a smitten spirit. God can only use such persons, and the Holy Spirit will only flow through such persons. If the Holy Spirit is locked within us, the hindrance and frustration is our outer man, our emotion, and our temperament. When such things are present within us, surely God’s word cannot flow through us. Even if we deliver a wonderful sermon, in reality it is nothing but words, teachings, and doctrines; there is not the word of God.
This is from Myabishai’s Blog:
“For wickedness burned like a fire,
consuming briers and thorns;
it kindled the thickets of the forest,
and they swirled upward in a column of smoke.
Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts
the land was burned,
and the people became like fuel for the fire;
no one spared another.
They gorged on the right, but still were hungry,
and they devoured on the left, but were not satisfied;
they devoured the flesh of their own kindred;
Manasseh devoured Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh,
and together they were against Judah.
For all this his anger has not turned away;
his hand is stretched out still.
Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees,
who write oppressive statutes,
to turn aside the needy from justice
and to rob the poor of my people of their right,
that widows may be your spoil,
and that you may make the orphans your prey!
What will you do on the day of punishment,
in the calamity that will come from far away?
To whom will you flee for help,
and where will you leave your wealth,
so as not to crouch among the prisoners
or fall among the slain?
For all this his anger has not turned away;
his hand is stretched out still.” Isaiah 9.18-10.4 (NRSV)
The hunger of wickedness is never sated. It burns with a fire that consumes everything around until it finally turns back on the hungry ones themselves. In doing so, the wicked bring destruction upon themselves.
I had a frank conversation with some friends of mine from Cuba, concerning the death of Fidel Castro and the feelings of the people of Cuba. In the US, Castro had a reputation of infamy, but in Cuba, among the rich and poor alike, there were mixed feelings about his leadership. As harsh as his rule had been, he successfully kept much of the drug trade and human trafficking out of Cuba, especially in camparison to much of Central and parts of South America. Many of those other countries had political freedom at the cost of oppression by the wealthy. The concern was that these drug lords would sweep in to take over the nation.
The ancient philosopher Plato wrote that governments shift in cycles. We see all the time, one dictator replaced by another. The corruption of one party makes way for the corrupt leadership of the opposition when it finally rises. When the oppressed take up arms and become revolutionaries – beating, looting, and killing any who get between them and their justice, we are simply making way for the next oppressors.
Isaiah’s words of warning are not just for the rich. They are for everyone. If we let our hunger for possessions rule us instead of a hunger for righteousness, we will lose our way and find ourselves on the path of wickedness. That path ends in flames and our own destruction. It is more than a problem of just wickedness and the quest for power, because, as Paul reminds us in Romans, we all fall short and are subject to temptation and corruption. If we simply eliminated everyone who had ever been wicked, we would have no one left.
I think the answer to avoiding this fiery judgment upon ourselves and our communities can be found in a simple piece of economic wisdom: Don’t go grocery shopping when you are hungry. What does that have to do with power and politics in our lives? It means we need to check our motives before seeking power. Those who feel insecure themselves often seek power over others and just as often end up being poor leaders. Whether you are running for political office or just thinking about having or raising children – you need to make sure you are secure enough yourself and “well fed” spiritually, emotionally, physically, etc… to be able to lead, nurture, and protect anyone else. It is only from this place of being full and satisfied, (which can only be fully realized in a relationship with God) that we find ourselves secure enough in our weakness to ask God for help instead of jumping in and trying to fix things ourselves… often taking us all out of the frying pan and into the fire.
This is from the blog Grayson Pope:
This is the first article in a series called The Knowledge of The Holy in which each article will be based around a chapter from A.W. Tozer’s book of the same name (my review). This is a journey worth taking because not only is Tozer’s book a classic in the spiritual world, but the subject matter is God’s character.
Before Tozer begins to talk through the attributes of God’s character, he lays a crucial foundation that must be considered. He wisely knows that without this foundation, everything else will go awry. That foundation is what we think about when we think about God. That’s because we will never rise above our understanding of the Almighty, and, “we tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our image of God.”
Thinkly rightly about God affects not only our theology, but how we live as well. Tozer speaks of knowing God as being the foundation for worship which, like the foundation for the temple, will begin to collapse as soon as the foundation is found to be inadequate or out of plumb. And surely this has been seen to be true. How many cults, strange offshoots, and shameful pursuits have we seen as we trace the history of the Church?
More than anything, Tozer is calling his readers to think rightly about God; “rightly,” meaning according to what the Bible tells us about Him. As his famous quote from above tells us, this is the most important thing about us. As if that was not heavy enough, he ups the ante, rightly saying,
All the problems of heaven and earth, though they were to confront us together and at once, would be nothing compared with the overwhelming problem of God: That He is; what He is like; and what we as moral beings must do about Him.
This is the pursuit of all of philosophy and theology, and mankind will forever be reckoning with the fact that there is a God, regardless of what they determine to do about it.
But for the person who comes to terms with God and understands and accepts His gospel, he, “is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems,” because he sees that they all pale in comparison to that which God is at work doing in the world. But unless “the weight of the burden is felt the gospel can mean nothing to the man; and until he sees a vision of God high and lifted up, there will be no woe and no burden.” If we don’t think rightly about God, we will not see our need for God and the goodness of His grace and mercy in the cross of Jesus. This is nonsense to those who don’t yet know Him, of course, but it is the power of salvation for those who believe.
Tozer writes with such force because he sees a right view of God slipping away, endangering not only the institution of the church, but the very Truth it stands for. The danger is that, “Low views of God destroy the gospel for all who hold them.” These low views of God pave the way for the most destructive of all sins — idolatry; the essence of which, Tozer writes, “is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.”
When considering how much of the New Testament is a rebuke of false teaching or an exhortation for others to correct false teaching, this makes a great deal of sense. False teaching leads to false thinking which leads to false gods. Any entertainment of a god other than the God as revealed in the Bible is idolatry because it epitomizes that which is not actually God. “The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.”
What a message for today when we are so susceptible to wrong thinking. The rampant pluralism, intense social pressure, and increasing secularism of the day make for an ideal moment for the Enemy to attack our understanding of God. This was the first and most dangerous temptation first uttered in the Garden. And our epidemically low Bible literacy makes it like shooting fish in a barrel.
And perhaps this is precisely how Tozer felt when he wrote of his own day that,
The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has done not deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic.
Surely Tozer was viewed as a doomsdayer by some when he wrote that, and perhaps the same will be said of me. But I cannot help but feel like the situation is even more dire today. Those in the Church are daily giving way to low views of God and His Word, handing over not only the foundation for their convictions, but the very foundations of the faith itself. It feels as if the Devil learned from his reign in Babylon that he can succeed in turning us away from God by simply assimilating the world into the faith, thereby assimilating the faith into the world. This strategy is an ingenious, insidious plot to replace a high view of God with a far lesser and far lower one. This, “low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us,” Tozer writes. “A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.”
There is only one way out of this mess. I’ll let Tozer himself explain:
The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him — and of her. In all her prayers and labors this should have first place. We do the greatest service to the next generation of Christians by passing on to the undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God which we received from our Hebrew and Christian fathers of generations past. This will prove of greater value to them than anything that art or science can devise.