RSS

Category Archives: A. W. Tozer

Let God’s wisdom guide your life

Book Review: The Wisdom of God: Letting His Truth and Goodness Direct Your Steps, by A. W. Tozer, compiled and edited by James L. Snyder

“Why is it that man, with drastically limited wisdom, insists on making all the decisions in his life while a good portion of the time he is wrong?” This question lies at the heart of A. W. Tozer’s book, The Wisdom of God: Letting His Truth and Goodness Direct Your Steps. Author James L. Snyder combed through 400 never-before-published audiotapes of Tozer’s sermons to compile this material on the subject of wisdom.

Tozer believed that far too often, we settle for man’s wisdom. In contrast, he presents the idea that we need to seek an “afflatus,” literally a breath, an inspiration of divine wisdom to invade our lives. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, making God’s wisdom a reality in their life.

The opening chapters describe the Hebrew idea of wisdom and demonstrate that wisdom is ultimately found in Jesus Christ.

Comparing these passages (Proverbs 9:1-4 and Matthew 22:1-4), it is almost word-for-word from the book of Proverbs. This indicates that the Lord Jesus Christ literally was the incarnation and the fulfillment of this voice of wisdom carried out to the sons of men. He is not only the Lord and head of the church; He is that, but that is not all. He is not only the coming King of kings and King of the world; He is that, but that is not all.

He is the Enlightener, the Illuminator, the Quickener, the Anointer. In every way, he is the absolute incarnation of wisdom as defined by the Hebrew doctrine of wisdom.

Tozer demonstrates that wisdom is not merely a philosophical concept, but also a practical tool for living the best possible life. Some of the chapters deal with important topics such as overcoming temptation, seeing and appreciating God’s hand in everything, and how not to be double-minded but fully committed to God.

Fans of A. W. Tozer will appreciate this volume.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Bethany House through the Bethany House Blogger Review Program http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/bethanyhouse/bookreviewers. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 10, 2017 in A. W. Tozer, Books, Quotes, Theology

 

God shaping events

challies_jan15-21-04

Samuel Rutherford once stated that we should “praise God for the hammer, the file and the furnace.”  He went on to explain that the “hammer molds us, the file shapes us and the fire tempers us.”  All three experiences of course are painful, but we can praise God for them because we know and love the God who wields them.

A. W. Tozer, commenting on Rutherford’s statement, wrote, “The devil, things and people being what they are, it is necessary to use the hammer, the file and the furnace in the holy work of preparing the saint for the sainthood. It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply.”

(Gene Getz, Joseph: Overcoming Obstacles Through Faithfulness.  Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1996, p. 109.)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 20, 2017 in A. W. Tozer, Joseph, Quotes, Tim Challies

 

Develop a more accurate understanding of who God is

the-real-godBook Review: The Real God: How He Longs for You to See Him, by Chip Ingram

“What comes into your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you.” This quote by A. W. Tozer challenged pastor and author Chip Ingram when he was a college student. It started him on a lifetime of discovery to develop a more accurate understanding of who God is.

Chip’s book, The Real God: How He Longs for You to See Him, not only describes his journey, but also goes into greater depth explaining seven attributes of God—his goodness, sovereignty, holiness, wisdom, justice, love, and faithfulness. Each chapter describes the attribute in greater detail and how to experience it in one’s daily life. The book combines biblical explanations, personal illustrations, and practical applications.

The book was originally published in 2004 under a different title, God: As He Longs for You to See Him. It is now rereleased under the new title. My only complaint about the book is that the illustrations and examples seem a bit dated. It would have been helpful if the author updated the material and used more current examples and illustrations for today’s readers. I only found one example of a current illustration in the book, and it was dated 2009. The reader will need to do some personal work to figure out how to bring the concepts into 2016.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 19, 2016 in A. W. Tozer, Books, Theology

 

Is the Holy Spirit active in your life?

alive-in-the-spiritBook Review: Alive in the Spirit: Experiencing the Presence and Power of God, by A. W. Tozer, Compiled and Edited by James L. Snyder

What does a Spirit-filled life look like? What does a Spirit-filled church look and act like? How do you balance biblical instruction and personal experience regarding the role of the Holy Spirit? These are the questions asked and answered in A. W. Tozer’s book, Alive in the Spirit: Experiencing the Presence and Power of God.

The book contains material previously unpublished. Dr. James L. Snyder combed through numerous sermons by Tozer to compile the material. He tried to capture Tozer’s conversational tone as well as his passion for the church, the body of Christ.

Tozer’s conviction was that the church had largely ignored the Holy Spirit.

I believe we need to bring the Holy Spirit of God back into the church, back by prayer, obedience, and confession, until He literally takes over. Then there will be life and light and power and victory and joy and fruit in our lives. We can live on a different level altogether, a level we never before dreamed possible.

Every church has an obligation to regularly examine itself to see if what it is doing is on the solid foundation of the Holy Spirit. The tendency is to drift, as the Scriptures often warn us. I need to be careful that my life is solid on that foundation. If I am not building my life and ministry on the foundation of the Holy Spirit, I will not be pleasing and glorifying to God.

Throughout the book, Tozer addresses both personal as well as corporate aspects of the Spirit’s ministry. He describes what a personal walk with the Spirit looks like as well as how a church should function when the Spirit is at work.

Tozer places a high priority on what Scripture says on the subject before factoring in personal experience with the Holy Spirit.

I want to pursue this Holy Spirit every day of my life. I want my walk to be in complete harmony with the Holy Spirit. This has been the challenge of my life and will be until the day I graduate from this life into the next. Then I will pursue Him even more and with better equipment.

Throughout this book, I have tried to be as careful as I can to back everything up with the Word of God. If you find anything in this book that does not square with the Word of God, you have the obligation to throw it out. Nothing we say about the Holy Spirit should in any way contradict the Word of God.

Reading Tozer’s thoughts on the Holy Spirit and the state of the church, you have to remind yourself that he died in 1963. His evaluation and perspective is still very accurate today.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Bethany House through the Bethany House Blogger Review Program http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/bethanyhouse/bookreviewers. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 19, 2016 in A. W. Tozer, Books, Holy Spirit, Quotes, Scripture

 
Image

Don’t just fill your life with amusement

PowerPoint Presentation

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 21, 2016 in A. W. Tozer, North Carolina, Photos, Quotes

 

What’s in a name?

The great poet William Shakespeare once posed this question:

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.

Romeo and Juliet (Act II, Scene II)

Most people would probably agree. Rather than placing an emphasis on the significance or meaning of a name, many parents pick a name because it is creative or “sounds good.”

Here are some of the more creative names (of real people) I’ve collected over the years. April Schauer, Dusty Sandmann, Ima Hogg (daughter of governor of Texas), Rex Easley (taught traffic safety at Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, WA), Shanda Lear (daughter of “Bill” Lear who designed the Lear Jet), and Will Wynn (two-term mayor of Austin, TX). In the medical profession, there is Dr. Bender (chiropractor in FL), Dr. & Dr. Doctor (married doctors in Norwalk, CT), Dr. Hurt (pediatrician in MI), Dr. Look (ophthalmologist in HI), Dr. Payne (plastic surgeon in OH), and Dr. Stonebreaker (dentist in CA).

Over the course of the summer, our church has been studying the names of God. When we began the study, I explained the guiding principles—(1) The names were revealed by God himself; (2) God demonstrates his desire to know and to be known by us; and (3) God meets us at our point of need.

Here are 16 of God’s names in the order they are revealed in the Old Testament. (We studied ten of them during our series.) Each name gives us a new perspective of God’s character and attributes. Added together, they function like the facets of a diamond to give us a brilliant view of the majesty of God.

  1. Elohim – “The Strong One” (Genesis 1:1). Elohim has the power to create, restore, and keep his promises.
  2. El Elyon – “God Most High” (Genesis 14:19-20). Rather than turn to lesser gods, El Elyon deserves our wholehearted worship and allegiance.
  3. El Roi – “The God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). El Roi sees us at our point of need and steps in to meet our needs.
  4. El Shaddai – “God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1-2). El Shaddai is all powerful and all sufficient. His strength is best seen in our weakness.
  5. El Olam – “The everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33). The everlasting God is always and eternally available to us.
  6. Jehovah Jireh – “The Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14). Jehovah Jireh provides all we need and more besides.
  7. Yahweh – “The self-existent one” (Exodus 3:13-14). Yahweh is present, gracious, and keeps his promises.
  8. Adonai – “Lord” (Exodus 4:10-16; Isaiah 6:1-8). Since God is Lord over all, we should obey, serve, and worship him.
  9. Jehovah Rapha – “The Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:22-27). Jehovah Rapha reminds us that health and healing are linked to obedience.
  10. Jehovah Nissi – “The Lord is our banner” (Exodus 17:8-16). The banner of the Lord leads us to victory.
  11. Jehovah M’kadesh – “The Lord who sanctifies you” (Leviticus 20:7-8). Jehovah M’kadesh sets us apart for himself and calls us to live holy lives.
  12. Jehovah Shalom – “The Lord is Peace” (Judges 6:24). A mind set on God’s presence brings life and peace, shalom.
  13. Jehovah Sabaoth – “The Lord of Hosts” (1 Samuel 1:10-11; 17:45-46). The Lord of Hosts fights for his people.
  14. Jehovah Rohi – “The Lord my shepherd” (Psalm 23). Because the Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.
  15. Jehovah Tsidkenu – “The Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5-6). As a righteous God, God cannot overlook sin. God allowed Jesus to take our punishment, and through his death, we are declared righteous.
  16. Jehovah Shammah – “The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35). Jehovah Shammah is present among his people.

A deeper and more accurate understanding of God’s names does more than give us background to win a Bible trivia game. Scripture tells us that knowing God has great benefit for us personally. A more accurate understanding of God results in …

  • Spiritual power (Daniel 11:32b).
  • Honor for God (Exodus 20:7; Matthew 6:9).
  • More effective praise and worship (Psalm 8:1, 9).
  • Security and protection (Proverbs 18:10).
  • A more consistent walk with God (Psalm 86:11).
  • More effective prayer (John 14:13-14).

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church on August 21, 2016. It is the final message in a series on The Names of God. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

God Will Provide

A. W. Tozer once wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

If we believe God is caring, we will bring our concerns to him. But if we think he is impersonal, we will avoid a relationship with him. If we believe God is holy, we will strive to avoid sin. But if we think he is tolerant, we will live by our own standards since he just winks at sin. If we believe he is a shepherd who leads and guides, we will follow his direction. But if we think he just leaves us on our own, we will avoid asking him for wisdom.

One of my convictions is that God will provide. In fact, one of his names is Jehovah Jireh, “The Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14). I am convinced that not only does God meet each one of us at our point of need, he also provides all we need and more besides. I believe he is generous rather than stingy.

In the story of the feeding of the 5,000 (Mark 6:30-44), Jesus meets seven specific needs for different types of people. He provides:

  • Rest for the weary (30-32)
  • Compassion for the lost (33-34a)
  • Instruction for the seekers (34b)
  • Challenge for the self-sufficient (35-37)
  • Significance for the inadequate (38)
  • Satisfaction for the hungry (39-42)
  • Encouragement for the faint-hearted (43-44)

Back in verses 7-13, Jesus sent his twelve disciples out on their first short-term ministry trip. When they return (30-32), he desires to take them away on a staff retreat for a well-deserved rest. However, the crowds continue to follow. Rather than view them as an inconvenience, Jesus had compassion and saw them as sheep without a shepherd (33-34). They were lost and helpless, without guidance, nourishment, or protection.

As Jesus taught the crowds, the shadows lengthened. Late in the day, the disciples encouraged Jesus to let the people go so that they could find food (35-37). In a surprising twist, Jesus told the disciples to feed the people. Their caustic reply emphasized their lack of resources and what they viewed as an impossible demand. It’s interesting that God often puts us in situations where we don’t have enough so that we will learn to depend on him completely.

The disciples scope out the crowd and discover one boy who brought a bag lunch of five loaves and two fish. Not exactly much to feed a hungry crowd of 5-20,000 people. (The text mentions 5,000 men. If you assume women and children, the number swells considerably.) Jesus takes the lunch, looks up to heaven, gives a blessing, and distributes the meal to all. While no explanation is given as to how the miracle occurred, all ate enough to go away satisfied. There was even leftovers to take home.

I take away two primary lessons from this story. The first is the conviction that God will provide. A God who can feed 5,000+ from five loaves and two fish can do anything. Not only does he meet our needs, but he does it in an abundant, extravagant manner. That makes me ask the question, am I willing to put my trust in the God who provides in every situation?

The second lesson is that Jesus involves his disciples at every level of ministry. He gave them the assignment of feeding the crowd. When they said it couldn’t happen, he sends them out to see if there is any food. Once he blesses the meal, he has them distribute it. I am struck with the conviction that spiritual growth comes from serving. If my faith isn’t increasing, it may be because I am not engaged. Again, that forces me to be face another question, where am I using my gifts and talents to serve God?

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA, on April 12, 2015. It is part of a series in the Gospel of Mark. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.