He is no longer dead! Have you seen Him? Oh, yes!!! He can be seen! He is alive! Well, you ask, where is He so that I can see this Man who was dead? You won’t see Him as He was when He vacated the tomb. However, you can see Him anytime, as often as you want to and for as long as you want to, as you go to where He is found. He is found in your Bible! It is in the Scriptures that He is viewed from Genesis through Revelation. It is not the paper or the print; it is in the message. It is not the message as a recounting of numerous facts; it is the message activated by the Holy Spirit. The meaning and implications of the message impact our hearts and minds, causing us to realize that we are interacting with One Who was dead but is alive evermore. To the Spirit renewed mind, He is more alive than any other person that we can see with our physical eye. Unsaved people cannot grasp this. The genuine Christian knows Him in a very personal way. As God’s Word is discerned by us, we become conscious of His Presence in fellowship. It’s not history, it’s 24/7 current events. This is because the Spirit opens our hearts to gaze upon Him, as we devotionally spend quality time with Him. “In Him was (and is) Life; and the Life was (and is) the Light of men.” (John 1:4). Selah! He is alive and dwelling in the hearts of all who have had a valid conversion. Ron
Guest Article By A.W. Tozer
Why does the gospel Christian of today find the reading of great books almost beyond him? Is the intellectual capacity of the evangelical of today inferior to that of his spiritual progenitor of two hundred years ago? The answer to the first question is somewhat complicated, but the second can be answered easily and correctly with an emphatic No. Intellectual powers do not wane from one generation to another. We are as smart as our forefathers. Any thought they could entertain we can entertain if we are sufficiently interested to make the effort. The major cause of the decline in the quality of current Christian literature is not intellectual; it is spiritual. To enjoy a great religious work requires a degree of consecration to God and detachment from the world that few modern Christians have experienced. The early Christian Fathers, the mystics, the Puritans, are not hard to understand, but they inhabit the highlands where the air is crisp and rarefied and none but the God-enamored can come. Rather than climb the mountain we choose to dig our shallow caves a few feet above the floor of the valley. Our spiritual moods and emotions are degraded. We eat and drink and rise up to play. We take our religious instruction in the form of stories, and anything that requires meditation bores us. And writers and publishers contribute to our delinquency by providing us with plenty of religious nothing to satisfy our carnal appetite.
O ye Americans, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged!
“Give attendance to reading” (1 Timothy 4:13, KJV).
From “Warfare of the Spirit”-Moody Press
Guest Article By A.W. Tozer
Guarding the Heart
The reading habits of the average evangelical Christian in the United States, as far as I have been able to observe them, are so wretchedly bad as actually to arrest the spiritual development of the individual believer and block the progress of the faith he professes to hold. So powerful is the effect of the printed page on human character that the reading of good books is not only a privilege but an obligation, and the habitual reading of poor ones a positive tragedy. Of course I do not here refer to the output of the yellow press. I think we may safely assume that no true Christian would stoop to read the under-the-counter literary obscenities of the corner newsstand or the hole-in-the-wall bookstore. By “poor” books I mean the religious trash being turned out these days by the various publishers under the name of Christian. Tons of this stuff are produced each year to satisfy a market which a previous output has in large measure helped to create. This religious rubbish is mostly fiction and serves three ends: It helps to fatten the bank account of the evangelical “novelist” who writes it; it keeps the publishers in business, and it feeds the depraved, or at least underdeveloped, appetites of the demi-Christians who find serious reading hard going but who lap up the denatured pabulum of the press as avidly as a kitten laps cream. And if I were allowed a choice I would go along with the kitten, for cream is both tasty and nutritious, while the average religious novel is wholly lacking in nutriment and is found palatable only by those persons whose taste buds have been debauched by prolonged exposure to Christian literature which is, if the truth were told, neither Christian nor literature.
From “Warfare of the Spirit”-Moody Press
By “we” I mean those who are born again. We are alive, but how many are oblivious to the enormity of God’s amazing engagement with us? We are recipients of some of the most astounding miracles ever to be worked! However, to look at many of those who have been the objects of these miracles, you’d think too many of them don’t seem to have a clue. Why, for example, should God love us? Born, spiritually dead, did we or could we reach out to God, if He didn’t seek us first? Who do you know that would sacrifice what God sacrificed to rescue us? Who else could deliver us from spiritual death? These are just the beginning of amazing miracles. He takes us into His family. He puts His very own life in us, honoring and blessing us with His power and Presence. He gives us daily perfect guidance for all that living entails. We have a manual (the Bible) to show us how to live life to the fullest. He uses us to help and bless others. One day, He will take us to a perfect environment, there to live forever. This doesn’t even take into account His watchcare and provision all through our lives. How can we possibly fail to be thrilled to the core of our beings for these gracious manifestations of God’s love? “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. for scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ….if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His Life.” (From Romans 5:6-10) Selah! Do we need Someone to shake us awake to these marvelous realities? Ron
What separates Christianity from religion is the fact that our Lord died and three days later returned to life. No religious leader ever did that! Jesus’ resurrection is one of the most attested to facts of human history. Indeed, “Death cannot keep its prey.” After what preceded the cross and what occurred on the cross, nothing short of the miraculous could account for His return to life. If that constituted the whole miracle, it would be beyond astonishing. However, the miracle goes on! That Life (the Life of God) enters the humanity of all who receive Him as Lord and Savior. Therefore, as we walk in the Light, His Life is seen in us. Walking with Him, His Person, His character, His values, His attitudes, His love, His teaching, furnishes proof of His being alive. More lives have been transformed by His redeeming Presence than from all the religions and philosophies combined. Furthermore, any moral improvements from these are only good for this life. His transformations are for this life and forever! “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of Life” (Romans 6:4). Selah! Think of the impact of His omnipresent Life working through millions of His saved ones around the world. What more evidence is needed today than the expressing of His deity in our humanity? Don’t let anything dim the view! Ron
New life? What do we mean by that? Spiritually, we were born dead. Physically, all we had to animate and motivate was the life that we inherited from Adam. This was the life of the “flesh” (our earthly desires and interests). This life is corrupt and condemned. Our only hope to escape eternal condemnation and separation from God forever is to receive new life. This new life enters into our deadness in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). This is not the renewal of the old life. This is brand new life given to us at the moment of Spiritual rebirth (see John 3:3). This isn’t just an improved life; it is God’s own life come to reside in us, in the Person and Presence of the Holy Spirit. But what of the old life? Judicially, it was nailed to the cross. In actuality, it is being purged out of us by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit as He applies, and we respond to, the Holy Scriptures. The more the new life takes hold in us, the more the old life loses its hold on us. This is an inevitable process, if we are truly reborn. Paul, under inspiration, speaks of this in II Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” Selah! The old life could never enter Heaven! When a saved person dies, any residue of the old life is completely purged! This leaves only God’s life. This is the only Life that secures entrance to Heaven! Ron
As you will probably realize, we have visited this subject a few times before. Why more? Because this may well be one of the least known means of not falling prey to temptation. Picture two combatants on opposite sides trying to influence you to respond their way. Keep in mind this fact found in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh….” Satan uses our imaginations to stir our emotions in the direction he wants to take us; the gratification of our flesh (our desires). The Spirit brings God’s Word to bear on our thoughts urging us to act on God’s commands and principles. We are inclined to respond to what feels good and seems good in our imaginations, instead of putting the brakes on our runaway emotions and firmly submitting to Godly Truth. The bottom line is how will we decide. We will be controlled by our emotions or governed by Scripture. If we concede to the draw of our emotions we will have enabled our flesh. We will have made provision for our flesh to win. However, in Romans 13:14, we are instructed to, “….make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” This means that when our enemy stimulates our emotions to motivate us to do his bidding, we must cast “….down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteh itself against the knowledge of God, and bring(ing) into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (From II Corinthians 10:5). The winner is the one to whom we give heed! Selah! If we are truly Christ’s, we must learn to subdue unGodly imaginations, put a clamp on emotions that pull us toward yielding to our flesh, and discipline our thinking to yield to His principles. It may take His discipline to teach us to be disciplined by His Word and to not be defeated by our “feelings.”. Ron