Senin, 11 Desember 2017

HOW to FIX THE CHURCH? - Tozer

COULD THIS be OUR MOST CRITICAL NEED?
by A.W. Tozer

When viewing the religious scene today, we are tempted to fix on
one or another weakness and say, "This is what is wrong with the
church. If this were corrected, we could recapture the glory of the
early church and have pentecostal times back with us again."

This tendency to oversimplification is itself a weakness and should
be guarded against always, especially when dealing with anything
as complex as religion as it occurs in modern times. It takes a very
young man to reduce all our present woes to a single disease and
cure the whole thing with one simple remedy. Older and wiser heads
will be more cautious, having learned that the prescribed nostrum
seldom works for the reason that the diagnosis has not been correct.
Nothing is that simple. Few spiritual diseases occur alone. Almost
all are complicated by the presence of others and are so vitally
interrelated as they spread over the whole religious body that it
would take the wisdom of a Solomon to find a single cure.

For this reason, I am hesitant to point to any one defect in present-
day Christianity and make all our troubles to stem from it alone.
That so-called Bible religion in our times is suffering rapid decline
is so evident as to need no proof, but just what has brought about
this decline is not so easy to discover. I can only say that I have
observed one significant lack among evangelical Christians which
might turn out to be the real cause of most of our spiritual troubles.
Of course, if that were true, then the supplying of that lack would
be our most critical need.

The great deficiency to which I refer is the lack of spiritual
discernment, especially among our leaders. How there can be
so much Bible knowledge and so little insight, so little moral
penetration, is one of the enigmas of the religious world today.
I think it is altogether accurate to say that there has never before
been a time in the history of the church when so many people
were engaged in Bible study as are so engaged today. If the
knowledge of Bible doctrine were any guarantee of godliness,
this would without doubt be known in history as the age of
sanctity. Instead, it may well be known as the age of the
church´s Babylonish captivity, or the age of worldliness, when
the professed Bride of Christ allowed herself to be successfully
courted by the fallen sons of men in unbelievable numbers. The
body of evangelical believers, under evil influences, has during
the last twenty five years gone over to the world in complete
and abject surrender, avoiding only a few of the grosser sins
such as drunkenness and sexual promiscuity.

That this disgraceful betrayal has taken place in broad daylight
with full consent of our Bible teachers and evangelists is one of
the most terrible affairs in the spiritual history of the world. Yet I
for one cannot believe that the great surrender was negotiated by
men of evil heart who set out deliberately to destroy the faith of
our fathers. Many good and clean-living people have collaborated
with the quislings who betrayed us. Why? The answer can only
be, from lack of spiritual vision. Something like a mist has settled
over the church as "the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet
that covers all nations" (Isaiah 25:7). Such a veil once descended
upon Israel: "For their minds were made dull, for to this day the
same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been
removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day
when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts" (2 Corinthians 3:
14-15). That was Israel´s tragic hour. God raised up the church
and temporarily disfranchised His ancient people. He could not
trust His work to blind men.

Surely we need a baptism of clear seeing if we are to escape the
fate of Israel (and of every other religious body in history that
forsook God). If not the greatest need, then surely one of the
greatest is for the appearance of Christian leaders with prophetic
vision. We desperately need seers who can see through the mist.
Unless they come soon, it will be too late for this generation. And
if they do come, we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name
of our worldly orthodoxy. But the cross is always the harbinger of
the resurrection.

Mere evangelism is not our present need. Evangelism does no
more than extend religion, of whatever kind it may be. It gains
acceptance for religion among larger numbers of people without
giving much thought to the quality of that religion. The tragedy is
that present-day evangelism accepts the degenerate form of
Christianity now current as the very religion of the apostles and
busies itself with making converts to it with no questions asked.
And all the time we are moving farther and farther from the New
Testament pattern.

We must have a new reformation. There must come a violent
break with that irresponsible, amusement-mad, paganized
pseudo-religion which passes today for the faith of Christ and
which is being spread all over the world by unspiritual men
employing unscriptural methods to achieve their ends.

When the Roman church apostatized, God brought about the
Reformation. When the Reformation declined, God raised up the
Moravians and the Wesleys. When these movements began to
die, God raised up fundamentalism and the "deeper life" groups.

Now that these have almost without exception sold out to the
world-what next?

~Source-

'We travel an appointed way', A.W. Tozer, chapter 8


GREAT QUOTES on the POWER OF GOD

GREAT QUOTES on the POWER OF GOD

"There is a place where God, through the power of the Holy Ghost, 
reigns supreme in our lives."
- Smith Wigglesworth

"Such a state is not easily reached, and the men God uses have 
paid a price in wrestlings and prevailing prayer. But it is such men 
who rise from their knees confident of His power and go forth to 
speak with authority."
- Vance Havner

"A necessary pre-cursor of any great spiritual awakening is a 
spirit of deep humiliation growing out of a consciousness of sin, 
and fresh revelation of the holiness and power and glory of God."
- John R. Mott

"From the day of Pentecost until the present time, it has been 
necessary to be of one accord in prayer before the Spirit of God 
will work with mighty converting power."
- John R. Mott

"They spend more time in analyzing, in collecting materials, and 
in hard thinking than on prayer, on seeking God's mind, and on 
waiting for the power from above."
- Watchman Nee

"They need to yield specifically to the Lord, forsake every 
doubtful aspect in their life, be willing to obey fully God's will, 
and believe through prayer that He will flood their spirit with His power."
- Watchman Nee

On Earth as It Is in Heaven!

On Earth as It Is in Heaven!
We recite it in private and pray it in unison; we have even sung it in reverence on select Sunday mornings. It's been a familiar prayer at somber cultural events, such as memorials or funerals. Yet I wonder if we really grasp what was in Jesus' heart when He taught His disciples the Lord's Prayer.
The disciples asked Him, "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1). In response, the Lord gave them a prayer, not just to help them cope but something that was militant in nature. This was more than a prayer -- it was a proclamation of war (Rev. 11:15; Dan. 2:44).
For centuries the holy realities of the Lord's Prayer have been obscured by traditions of religious unbelief --as though ritualistic repetition of this prayer would provide special blessings in the afterlife. The deception was that Jesus was speaking only of eternity, as though this prayer was disbarred from affecting conditions on earth now. In recent years, however, the Spirit of Truth has again filled the words of this heavenly anthem, so that "Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on Earth!" is increasingly becoming the anthem of the righteous--a prayer for now as well as eternity!
The words of this prayer are best understood as emphatic statements. They ought to be punctuated with exclamation marks. This is Heaven's "Pledge of Allegiance." At its core, the Lord’s Prayer is a faith-decree that God's will, through our living union with Christ, should be accomplished today on earth. Where is the room for compromise in those words? Jesus is saying that, with miraculous power, abounding joy and unwavering mercy, God's will must be fulfilled "on earth as it is in Heaven!"
We call this the Lord's Prayer, yet more appropriately, it might be called the Disciple's Prayer or the Kingdom Prayer, for it is something Jesus gave to ignite fire in the hearts of His followers. Indeed, this prayer is revolutionary.
We have been too polite with God. I do not mean we should be disrespectful or irreverent; I am saying the Lord's Prayer is not a weak, pleading prayer. Yes, there is a time for pleading with God, but this is a prophetic prayer. There is not a please anywhere in it.
We already know it is the "Father's good pleasure" to give us His kingdom (Luke 12:32 NKJV). Jesus is not instructing us to beg for a blessing or two; He is commanding us to call for God's kingdom to rule on earth: in war zones, in places of poverty or plagues or famine, and especially in our very lives and circumstances.

This is a prayer of authority. The Son of God wants us to pray like we were created to bring Heaven to earth. Our prayer simply aligns us with what is already God's great pleasure to give us.
Of course, it is vital we embrace repentance for our sins and the sins of our forefathers. But this is the prayer of those fully committed to the vision of God! It embodies the expanse of what Jesus came to establish. Although men and women are both called to proclaim the words of this decree, the tone of this prayer is decidedly masculine. These are fighting words.
Remember, this form of prayer is not my idea; it's Christ's. He told faltering, fumbling, often sinful disciples to pray like they were mature, victorious warriors. He didn't say this prayer should be prayed only when they had become perfect. No. He was saying this is how we should pray right now, even while we are imperfect. Yes, we humble ourselves; yes, we confess our sins. Yet we must learn to pray with unsheathed spiritual authority, with heroic faith, and with the fire of divine possibilities burning in our souls.
Beloved, a time is coming when God's people will have reached the depth of their repentance. Knees bent and worn from the weight of prolonged kneeling will slowly creak upward. Heads will lift and then hands. Like the rumbling of a volcano no longer dormant, the cry "Thy kingdom come" will begin to gather and then rise from within the deep spirit of the redeemed.
Yes, even now, the armies of God in Heaven are beginning to unite with the armies of God on earth. Lightening-like power is beginning to fill the backbone of the redeemed. Can you feel it? From every nation, a holy remnant shall stand upright before the Most High. In their mouths will be the words taught them by the Son of God Himself: "Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!"
~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
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Minggu, 12 November 2017

THE CALL to FORSAKE ALL

THE CALL to FORSAKE ALL
by Michael Carl.

"As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his
brother Andrew casting a net into the sea?for they were fishermen.
And Jesus said to them, 'Follow me and I will make you fish for
people.' And immediately they left their nets and followed him."

What did it mean when Jesus strolled the shore of Lake Galilee
and call those men to serve Him without reservation?  Well, in
one way or another, it meant a complete surrender to Jesus.
When they heard Him say, "'If any want to become my followers,
let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me'"
(Mark 8.34), they eventually learned that He meant it.

For most of them, it meant dying for the Lord.  We all know from
Foxe's Book of Martyrs that all of the original Apostles, second
edition (with Matthias), except John went to a martyr's death.
Thomas, not realising the full impact of what he was saying, said
it correctly when he said in John chapter eleven, "'Let's go back
to Judea so we may die with Him.'"

Yet, we have to ask today, what does it mean when Jesus says,
"'Follow me and I will make you fish for people'"?  Is there any
real meaning behind Jesus' own words, "'If any want to become
my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross
and follow Me'" for us today?  Do we really believe this or have
Christ's own words simply become a romanticised exercise in a
formulaic religious contemplation for today's 21st Century North
American Christian?

In truth, we have to come to terms with the reality that if we don't
really believe He means what He says in these Mark passages,
then in fact we are denying the truth and efficacy of God's Word.
As one of my teachers along the way said, "We´re professing
believers; but in fact, we´re practical atheists."

The good professor was blunt, but brutally true.  When it comes
to obeying the Word of God, we don´t do too well with the
passages requiring personal sacrifice.

Folks, this must change.  If we're ever to realise the depth and
beauty of a vital relationship with our Lord, we have to let go and
be willing to trust Him with ALL of His Words.

Are we willing to do that?

If not, then our practical doubts are going to rob us of the very
meat and meaning for which we deeply long.

Let us resolve this day that we're not going to be spectators;
we're going to take a step from the shore, wade in and fully
become "a fisherman".

More GREAT QUOTES

More GREAT QUOTES

"Churches don't need new members half so much as they need 
the old bunch made over."
- Billy Sunday

"Beware, I pray thee, of presuming that thou art saved... if there be 
no vital change, no inward godliness; if there be no love to God, no 
prayer, no work of the Holy Spirit, then thy saying "I am saved" is 
but thine own assertion, and it may delude, but it will not deliver thee."
- Charles Spurgeon

"Revival begins in the individual's heart. Let it begin with you on 
your face alone before God. Turn from every sin that might hinder. 
Renew yourself to a new devotion to the Savior."
- Lee Roberson

"While others still slept, He went away to pray and to renew His 
strength in communion with His Father. He had need of this, 
otherwise He would not have been ready for the new day. The 
holy work of delivering souls demands constant renewal through 
fellowship with God."
- Andrew Murray

"To forsake sin, is to leave it without any thought reserved of 
returning to it again."
- William Gurnall

"No matter what the ruin of any life may be there is always a place 
to start. There is a place where you must begin. You need to 
apologize to someone. You need to go to somebody and straighten 
something out. You need to stop some practice that is wrong. You 
need to open yourself up to counsel. You need to seek advice. You 
need to get some guidance. There is always a first step. That is 
where you must begin."
- Ray C. Stedman

Overcoming Offences

Overcoming Offences
(En EspaƱol)
When we study what Jesus taught, it is obvious to me that He came to make us "unoffendable." Consider: He says that if someone slaps you on one cheek, offer him the other (Luke 6:29). He said to love our enemies and bless those who curse us (Luke 6:27-28). What He's really doing is showing us how an unoffendable heart of love overcomes all adversity.
We pray, "Lord, I want to change." To answer our prayer, He sometimes must put us in situations that perfectly offend us. The offense itself awakens our need of grace. Thus, the Lord precipitates change by first offending the area of our soul He desires to transform. He does not expect us to merely survive this adversity but to become Christlike in it.
Ask Joseph in the Old Testament: the land of offense became the land of his anointing and power because he possessed an unoffendable heart. He never stopped trusting God in spite of the injustices and trials he faced.
Listen my friends: the destiny God has for us unfolds or withers at the junction of offense. How we handle offense is the key to our tomorrow.
"Those who love [God's] law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble" (Ps. 119:165).
Lord, grant me that new creation heart that can walk as Jesus walked through a world of offenses without stumbling. I want to see everything as an opportunity to pray, everything as an opportunity to become Christlike. Lord help me to interpret offenses as opportunities that lead to transformations. Grant me, Lord Jesus, the pulse and beat of Your unoffendable heart. Amen.

More GREAT QUOTES

More GREAT QUOTES

"Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved
yourself."
- Charles Spurgeon

"It´s not our business to make the message acceptable, but to
make it available. We are not to see that they like it, but that they
get it." - Vance Havner

"The first duty of the gospel preacher is to declare God´s law and
to show the nature of sin."
- Martin Luther

"Let´s quit fiddling with religion and do something to bring the
world to Christ."
- Billy Sunday

"God save us from living in comfort while sinners are sinking into
hell." - Charles Spurgeon

"The Jesus that men want to see is not the Jesus they need to
see." - G. Campbell Morgan

"It´s a poor sermon that gives no offense; that neither makes the
hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher"
- George Whitefield

"It´s a sad and shocking fact that many religious people are in
hell." - John R. Rice