Am I Listening to the Voice of God?

January 2, 2012

My thoughts on reading The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine by A.W. Tozer

Chapter 6 – The Speaking Voice

As a speech/language pathologist, I enjoy thinking about communication, whether it is social or technical, spoken or written.  I’m pretty well educated in the events and lessons of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.  Yet, in this latest chapter, Tozer again taught me concepts that had never occurred to me before and had never been taught to me in 30-some years of listening to sermons and Sunday School teachers. The ideas are simple and straightforward, so they reveal the ongoing need for me and for all of us to just see God for Who He has revealed Himself to be.  We know He is complicated beyond our understanding, so we try to match that complex expectation with our human ideas, not realizing that He has made the greatest truths of Himself simple and straightforward so that anyone of us can understand.

The first of these great truths is that God is speaking.  I think of Genesis and how God spoke the universe and all of His creation into existence, and I think of that as being past tense; however, the truth is that His voice continues to resound throughout all of existence.  Tozer explains, “the expression of the will of God is the breath of God filling the world with living potentiality.”  For each of us, this begins when He creates each individual by choosing the parents for a fledgling soul, the time in history in which he or she will experience life on Earth, and what continent, government, and culture will surround him or her.  God gifts each one with talents and strengths as well as weaknesses so that each of us is given potentiality according to God’s wisdom and timing.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” ~ James 1:17-18

Read the rest of this entry »


Am I Looking for the Presence of God?

June 24, 2011

My thoughts on reading The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine by A.W. Tozer

Chapter 5 – The Universal Presence

The parameters of our physical reality seem to be the universe in which we live — a singular universe with boundaries, if they exist, so far-reaching that they have only in recent decades become “measurable” with man’s calculations and man’s numbering system. I imagine God laughs at our folly.

He is the One presence in our physical reality whose knowledge is complete, because He is the Creator of all that we observe. He is far above mere physical reality, yet in the material world He is ever present, no matter where we are in the universe, and no matter when we exist. He was there before the beginning, from the moment when He began to speak His Creation into existence, and He will still be present after our physical reality has ceased to exist.

“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You [are] God.” ~ Ps. 90:1-2

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!” ~ I Kings 8:27

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You [are] there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You [are there]. [If] I take the wings of the morning, [And] dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.” ~ Ps. 139:7-10

There is no place within this Creation that God is not present, so no matter where we go or how alone we feel, it is absolutely certain that He is there, not just watching as a casual observer, but seeing all the physical truth, all the emotional truth, and even the spiritual truth. We may feel intimidated by our circumstances, overwhelmed by our feelings, or out of touch spiritually; but that is merely a demonstration of the natural limitations of our perception, understanding only our own life experience, our own familiar places, and our own assigned time in history. Read the rest of this entry »


Reality Check

June 21, 2011

A Birthday Poem

by Ted Kooser

Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head
in a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
with his bucket
for the foamy white light,
and then a long day in the pasture.
I too spend my days grazing,
feasting on every green moment
till darkness calls,
and with the others
I walk away into the night,
swinging the little tin bell
of my name.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from people who are non-believers is that God, if He exists, is not taking care of all the problems in the world.  I imagine a number of believers wonder about this too.  As human beings, limited by time and space, we have a very linear perspective — We are born, we live a very short span of time, and then we die, as Ted Kooser’s poem so picturesquely describes.

We have no control over the era of history into which we are born, or the culture in which we will be raised.  We cannot choose our parents or grandparents, whether rich or poor, honorable or ignoble.  Even our genetic make-up is decided within the womb, and we have no choice in the matter.  These are all God’s decisions.  He has his reasons, and we cannot know them or judge them.  God’s character, based upon what His Word tells us, is really all we can know for certain; and we know His decisions and actions are a product of His character, and therefore above reproach.  Here is a passage that shows us Who God is, and what qualities describe Him:

“I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the LORD.
Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth,
And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy;
Then I will say to those who were not My people,
‘You are My people!’
And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’” ~ Hosea 2:19-20, 23

Is God really responsible for everything that happens? Read the rest of this entry »


Do I Have Eyes to See and Ears to Hear?

June 15, 2011

My thoughts on reading The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine by A.W. Tozer

Chapter 4 – Apprehending God

This chapter focuses on the manner in which we think about God. Which of these best describes your belief?

  • The evidence indicates that He must exist, so I believe.
  • Others have told me that He exists, so I believe.
  • I believe that God is another name for the essence of good that pervades all things.
  • I believe that God is another name for the sense of order in the universe.
  • The phenomena of life and creativity represents what God is to me.
  • My creed is that God is a person, my heavenly Father, so I therefore believe.
  • God is a personal being Whom I know through experience and spiritual discernment, so I therefore believe.

As humans, we experience the world around us through our five senses, and Scripture speaks to that reality:

Oh, TASTE and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!.” ~ Ps. 34:8
For in You, O LORD, I hope; You will HEAR, O Lord my God.” ~ Ps. 38:5

The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To SEE if there are any who understand, who seek God.” ~ Ps. 14:2

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-SMELLing aroma.” ~ Eph. 5:2

Bow down Your heavens, O LORD, and come down; TOUCH the mountains, and they shall smoke.” ~ Ps. 144:5

Even as we recognize the physical world by using our physical senses, it is possible to recognize spiritual realities by using spiritual discernment.  This ability, once obtained through faith, enables us to know God and experience spiritual life through Him.  This fact is supported by the Word of God:

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” ~ Romans 5:5

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” ~ Eph. 1:7

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” ~ Col. 1:9

Read the rest of this entry »


Have I Spent Time in the Fire?

April 30, 2011

My thoughts on reading The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine by A.W. Tozer

Chapter 3 – Removing the Veil

What is the chief purpose of man?

Certainly, to give our Creator pleasure: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” ~ Rev. 4:11 (KJV)

And not grief: Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man.” ~ Eccl. 12:13 (NIV)

But also, not that our relationship with him would be one-sided, but that it would be mutual. This is extremely important to God, as Jesus’ dearest friend, “the beloved disciple” John, reveals to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (I John 4:7-19 NKJV). Tozer calls this “divine communion… the sweet and mysterious mingling of kindred personalities”.

Men of God: one reminds me of Jesus and another of John

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world.”

“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.”

Tozer reminds us, “We have broken with God. We have ceased to obey Him or love Him, and in guilt and fear have fled as far as possible from His presence… [Therefore], the whole work of God in redemption is to undo the tragic effects of that foul revolt, and to bring us back again into right and eternal relationship with Himself.” Read the rest of this entry »


Who or What is On the Throne?

April 23, 2011

My thoughts on reading The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine by A.W. Tozer

Chapter 2 – The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing

The whole idea of what we value being “on the throne” in our hearts is, according to Tozer, “not a mere metaphor, but an accurate analysis of our real spiritual trouble.” The things that God gifted to us, which were intended to be outwardly enjoyed while He reigned on our inward, spiritual throne, have become “necessary — a development never originally intended.”

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? “ ~ Matt. 16:24-26 (NKJV)

Jesus’ use of the words “profit” and “gain” suggest the deep-rooted selfishness of our possessive, sinful hearts. This enemy within cannot be tolerated. Jesus tells us to do three things in order to keep Him on the throne:

  • Deny ourselves
  • Take up our cross
  • Follow Him

“Blessed [are] the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Matt. 5:3 (NKJV)

Tozer explains, “These blessed poor are no longer slaves to the tyranny of things… Free from all sense of possessing, they possess all things.” He further exhorts, “If we refuse one step (of this holy pursuit), we bring our progress to an end.” This principle is exemplified in the historical tale of Abraham and Isaac, because the long-awaited child of promise became such a delight to his old father’s heart that he soon became the center of it, an idol on the throne.

God’s request that Abraham sacrifice Isaac on the altar directly confronts this wrong priority in Abraham’s heart, a priority that is so easily understood by any parent. Isaac was not just any son; he represented the promises of God, the covenant with God, the hopes of the past and the Messianic dream of the future. How was Abraham able to offer this child on the altar of sacrifice?

“And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” ~ Gen. 22:8 (KJV)

The answer is TRUST. Abraham trusted God, and believed that He could raise Isaac from the dead, so he rose early and prepared to obey God to the letter. As he lifted the knife above Isaac’s throat, God’s voice stopped him, for now, God knew that once again, He was on the throne of Abraham’s heart.

It’s important to notice that TRUST is followed by OBEDIENCE. What happens in the heart is demonstrated in the deed. Read the rest of this entry »


Who or What is My First Love?

April 16, 2011

My thoughts on reading The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine by A.W. Tozer

Chapter 1 – Following Hard after God

prevenient grace = before a man can seek God or even think a right thought about God, God must first have sought the man and/or opened his eyes to wisdom. Tozer calls this “the secret cause of all desiring and seeking and praying”.

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” ~ John 6:44a (NKJV)

First Love. “The modern scientist has lost God amid the wonders of His world; we Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of His Word.”

This makes me think of the church of Ephesus as described in the book of Revelation: “…you have left your first love.” ~ Rev. 2:4 (NKJV)

How He Draws Us Near. “He communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills, and our emotions.”

Yes, in this personal one-on-one manner, God interacts with each believer, calling us to make Him our First Love. But I think it’s important to remember that this is not the only way that He communicates with us. The Scripture is also direct communication to us, which is why it is so important that we learn to understand and handle it respectfully and skillfully. He can also speak through the counsel of wise believers, although I think in this day and age they are extremely rare and precious. It’s a rare blessing for us that certain authors, like Tozer, have the ability (and can therefore be trusted) to share Glory and Truth without inserting their own “spin”. Read the rest of this entry »


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