In Everything by Prayer: A. W. Tozer on Prayer by: A.W. Tozer , W.L. Seaver (Compilation)

In Everything by Prayer: A. W. Tozer on PrayerIn Everything by Prayer: A. W. Tozer on Prayer by A.W. Tozer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tozer has succinctly captured God’s desire for communion with Him and His desire to change or impact our sphere of influence in this fallen world through prayer. Personally, I am concerned that my prayerlessness at times as a result of my own sin or busyness or poor priorities could nix God’s best in some situations, but the big loser is that I have missed being a co-laborer with the infinite and almighty God of the universe. May we sense this loss and ever be empowered by the Holy Spirit to keep praying until we pray.

This study on prayer left me undone plain and simple. It is not a study on how to pray but to whom I pray and why. There is so many books on prayer that is pragmatic in nature however they lack the real purpose of prayer to be in God’s will and that our hearts are bent towards him.

Truly I was enlightened by so much insight to prayer on this book. One aspect that I am guilty of is the familiar tune that God answers all prayer with a yes, no or later. But is that biblical? What are my reasons that my heart is comforted by this well known tune? The explanation that this is not biblical will challenge your faith but in a good way. It will actually draw you closer to the Lord. 1) The failure of the believer to ask God the Holy Spirit to search his heart and expose the worldliness or ungodly perspectives that hinder the answered prayer. 2) A diminished hunger for the meat of the word. 3) a growing lack of discernment between good and evil, 4) a decline in discipline and persistence in the things of God, 5) lack of growth in holiness, and 6) a strong tendency to conform more and more to the world.

The study is well laid out with each chapter quoting writings from Tozer followed by Exploring with Tozer and the last part a guideline that encourages you to think, reflect and apply.

You will define prayer differently, reverently and humbly with this study. It does not put you on the treadmill of doing but reminds you of your position in Christ. This is definitely a resource that belongs in my favorites.

A Special Thank You to Moody Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Citizenship? What is it Good For?

 

 

Where do you feel at home?    The bigger question is what makes a home a home?  Is it acceptance?  Acceptance to be who you are.  Home can be complicated.  The complications come from our desires and authority.  What makes our home is what shapes us with our desires and how we view authority.    When we accept God’s authority in our lives, do we understand the citizenship of heaven.  Citizenship reflects where we belong and who we belong to.

In the Book of Philippians, Paul renounced his citizenship to Rome and to his past to know Jesus.    Taking the citizenship of God’s Kingdom is giving authority to who God is and living in submission to my brokenness.   With the citizenship of God, there is benefits, responsibilities and allegiances.   I have protection from God that is eternal .   I live for the applause of one not many.  I belong to a family of God that helps me to follow Jesus, to complete my citizenship in service to others.  My happiness does not come from consumerism, but in the pursuit of growing the Kingdom.

Philippians 3:17-4:1English Standard Version (ESV)

17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Therefore, my brothers,[a] whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

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My God Will Supply Your Needs….

 

Is this an ideal or reality?     The reality of God supplying my needs is coming to the realization of what my true needs are.    Knowing what my true needs are I can then bank on the riches of God and be satisfied.

Do I believe it and will I be satisfied by it.

We all are in search of something.  That thing that will give us ultimate satisfaction.  The thing that will say my life is complete.  What is the thing you are chasing in your pursuit of contentment?  What is the economic cost of your discontent?

Do I even know what will satisfy?   Do I know what I am chasing? or Why?  Is the thing that I am chasing, is it what I am made for.  Scripture says that I am created for God.  To find satisfaction in Him.  Christianity is not a intellect, moralistic, but a gift of good news.  Am I content with the gift of salvation and the implication of salvation.  Contentment comes with partnership of the Gospel and building the Kingdom of God.

 

My God will supply your needs according to His riches. 

 

 

Philippians 4:10-23English Standard Version (ESV)

God’s Provision

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

14 Yet it was kind of you to share[a] my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.[b] 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit

All other things will fail.  It is in my struggle that I have enough or that I am missing something is where my anxiety breeds.  It is in contentment that humbleness and humility grows.

 

 

 

1-3 John (Reformed Expository Commentary) by: Douglas Sean O’Donnell

1-3 John (Reformed Expository Commentary)1-3 John by Douglas Sean O’Donnell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Apostle John wrote this letter so that we might know certain things about ourselves and others within the Christian community, as well as those who have left it. To him, orthodoxy, (right belief in Jesus) and orthopraxy (obedience and love) are accurate indicators of an eternal fellowship with God.

The key to this study and foundation is apostolic authority and testimony. Because of the importance of membership, the teaching of Christ, false teaching, we can have assurance of the Gospel. What I found that was most helpful was the apostolic authority and testimony which I would say is not as relevant as we may think it is. Let me say, my eyes were opened and encouraged. It is in the creeds that we have a firm foundation of the apostolic authority and testimony.

The books of I-3 John relate to the Christian and to living as a Christian. Dealing with sin but also how we are desensitized to the effects of sin. It is not moralism but it is sin that rules our lives if we are not dealing with it correctly. Living in union with Christ is dealing with our sin. Dealing with our sin, leads us to love God and others. It is the books of John that the theme of love is addressed more than 51 times. We are told in 1 John 2:15 not to love the world is our only negative. In not loving the world, it can lead to more questions. If God created the world which is good, what does this mean? It means that we must not love the world that is against the Lord. In loving the world, we are putting our hope in the things of the world that will pass. There is no future in worldliness. That needs to be tattooed to my head. We love God first, trust in the Son for our salvation and live in according to word that is our future. That will have everlasting consequences. It is by replacing our love for the world with a love for the things of God. This is daily, minute by minute, running to the cross. I loved what he says that the glory of Christ is our antidote for all that dazzles and sparkles but fades.

Some quotes that I found encouraging.

When one walks in God’s light, that light shows us who we are – sinners! As a result, the only way forward is to cling to the cross, or to follow the metaphor here, to be washing in the blood.

Almighty God, you love us, but we have not loved you. You call, but we have not listened. We walk away from our neighbors in need, wrapped in our own concerns. We condone evil, prejudice, warfare, and greed. God of grace, help us to admit our sin, so that you come to us in mercy, we may repent, turn to you and receive forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen

In John’s writing, the world has a wide range of meaning. To summarize the data: on one hand, the world was made by God through Christ and is loved by God through Christ. On the other hand, the world lies in the grip of Satan and comprises people on earth who oppose and ignore God and seek to live independent of him. It is obvious that it is this second “world” that John has in mind.

It’s loving the values and pursuits of the world that stand opposed to God. More specifically, it is to gratify and exalt oneself to the exclusion of God. It rejects God’s rule and replaces it with our own. Does outward prosperity appeal to you more than growth in godliness? Do you esteem and crave approval of those around you? Do you go to great lengths to avoid looking foolish or being rejected for your Christian faith? Do you consider present and material results more important than eternal reward? Have you departed from God and adopted idols instead?

You cannot have God as your spouse and still have the world as your mistress. You cannot be in an intimate relationship with both God and the world. You cannot love all that God is and has to offer and still love this world and all that it has to offer.

Very informative and convicting study that challenges any believer to examine their own heart and how we must respond. Is this important? Yes, I think is. In the Old Testament, you can recall in worship, the Ark of the Covenant (no one must touch it), that worship is important. We cannot worship God the way that seems right to us but in spirit and in truth. It is hard teaching but we have the righteousness of Christ that humbles our heart to His.

A Special Thank you to P & R Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the blessed opportunity to post an honest review.

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Delighting in God by A.W. Tozer

Delighting in GodDelighting in God by A.W. Tozer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Our passion for God should lift us above the elements of the world into heavenly spheres, where God’s praise is supreme. Theology is not an end in itself, but rather points to the One who is greater than theology. When theology becomes an end in itself, it ceases to be a way into the knowledge of God. What people need today is truth-truth organized in a way that allows us to understand what God is about.

To know God and enjoy God where we have a hunger and thirst for him that never satisfies. What is our perception of God? Our perception at different times in our life can be different. Have you experienced something, maybe a place, and come back years later and find that it was not what you remember. We can do that with God. With 18 short chapters to sharpen how we think about God, each chapter is a perception that we may have that does not coincide with what the word reveals.

Each chapter is not a better way to do this or that but a better way all together. Just like David whose heart was after God was always searching for God. A passion for God. That I may know him. Is it enough just to know him or do we want the feel good, want this, and acclaim to that type of “religion”?

From our perception of God of his love and mercy to his wrath and justice, we can create an idol and miss the very presence of God.

Some of the quotes that I found encouraging and convicting.

The more you get to know God and understand His holiness, the more you will begin to magnify God in your life, and God will become the biggest thing in your life. If something in your life is bigger than God, I can assure you that God is not in your life. The goal I have as a Christian is to magnify God. The great discipline of the Christian life is to live in a way that magnifies God.

What we need to understand is that God cannot be entertained, especially by the flesh. Once we get this into our heads, we begin to look at our relationship with God a little differently. God is not going to entertain me, and God is not going to be entertained by me. The fact rules out a lot that passes for worship today.

We want to be comforted when we ought to be stirred up and made discontented. A noble discontent is always more desirable for a Christian than an ignoble contentment.

We have one awful loss: the loss of our perception of a majestic God who is worthy to be worshipped.


The core of this book is knowing God and by knowing God, we are known by him. It is this that gives us rest from the need to be affirmed by others that often leads us away from God. Let us be honest, the struggle is hard but it leads us to rest. I appreciate a study that is honest about it. This will stir your heart and challenge you. It stirred my heart that I ordered this book for loved ones that like me struggle to know him greater still!

A Special Thank you to Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review

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The Christian Life: Cross or Glory? By: Steven A. Hein

The Christian Life: Cross or Glory?The Christian Life: Cross or Glory? by Steven A. Hein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Cross and The Crown is the paradox of Christianity. While some would rather die than have a spiritual life so centered, it is God who demands just that, your death, in order for your spiritual life to be rightly centered. Your death to sin is demanded by the very same cross that crucified your Lord. You must with Christ, in order to live with Him.

The paradox of Christianity does seem to leave a sinner with the question “how than should I live”? The better question is how than should I die to self. It is by the Gospel. This study of the paradox and tensions of Christianity is asking the question are you willing to consider the implications of Christ the crucified. The author brings you to Luther’s reflection of the cross in Luther’s famous Heidelberg Theses of 1518 and where you will apply them in greater detail.

It is in the tensions of Christianity that pulls our heart to Christ or to sin. It is the law that that God uses to bring us to repentance and God’s grace to humble us to serve others. Reading this study awakens your heart to the tensions that pull. The tensions of the cross keep us from being complacent and engaged in our condition before God.

Some quotes that I found encouraging.

Duty damns if we do it, and it damns if we don’t – for both destroy love.

Love was the constant condition of human existence in Paradise, until Adam and Eve exchanged their trust in God for trust in themselves.

The Law without the Gospel leads either to despair or self-righteousness.

This book is not about being comfortable, tension calls for action of faith and trust. It is these tensions where we find where our faith lies. It is a feel good Christianity or is one of working out our salvation? The tensions force us to ask questions about our faith without assuming it. A great resource that is foundational, challenging, and engaging. I highly recommend it.

A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own

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Don’t Bring Your Resume

With expectations from others and ourselves, we can lose our identity.    We can become compulsive, passive, bitter, prideful when we listen to the voices of expectations.     It is the expectations that we create rules and rules for others to follow.   How is that resume looking?    Do we bring a resume in our relationships with others and with God.  This is what I am doing for you God!  As we talk with our friends, do we want to impress with our good deeds or do we want to proclaim Jesus?

 

Philippians 3:1-11English Standard Version (ESV)

Righteousness Through Faith in Christ

3 Finally, my brothers,[a] rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.

2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God[b] and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,[c] blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

When we strive to please God and others, we become outsiders.  Our resumes reflect the confidence we have in the flesh and what we value.  Do you see yourself in need of God?  Our need of God reflects our dependence of God.    In managing our own identities, we strive to gain security, acceptance, and love.  It is Christ Alone, In the Word Alone, In Faith Alone, we can begin to work against our own self-identity.

 

Can we present our resume to God and know Him at the same time?  Do we know where we are doing that?   Do we see ourselves making ourselves ok.    Do I make myself ok by the way I serve, give and know others.    It is in presenting my resume to others that I lose my intimacy with others.    I have nothing and I have everything in Christ.  This is part of my sanctification in Christ.  That I treasure the right thing and not to find value in what I do but who I know.  That my affections do not feed my pride and but satisfy the deep longings of my soul.

All people should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, to and why?  James Thurber

What happens if you spend your existence making yourself, only to look at your life and realize that you hate everything about it, everyone in it, that the position you’re in embodies everything you hate?  Do you want to be the self you made?  Jackson Cuidon and Alissa Wilkinson.