“Although your foot may slip often, yet your heart cleaves to God’s commands and will not let you lie where you fell, but you get up again, resolved to watch your step better. Know this, then, that your sincere respect for the commandment is ample evidence of your title to the promise.
“When David confessed to his love for God’s law he did not question his title to the promise: ‘I hate vain thoughts; but Thy law do I love’ (Psalm 119:113). He did not say that he was free from vain thought but that he hated them. And he did not say that he fully kept the law but he loved it, even though he sometimes failed in total obedience. Because of the testimony which conscience gave concerning David’s love for the law, his faith settled the question once for all: ‘Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in Thy Word’ (Psalm 119:114).”
—William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.
Love God First, People Second
We erect terrific standards, and then criticize men for not reaching them. The standard of Christianity is not that of a man, but of God; and unless God can put His Spirit into a man, that standard can never be reached. …
If I am not related to God first my love becomes cruel, because I demand infinite satisfaction from the one I love; I demand from a human being what he or she can never give. There is only one Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. …
There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us. … Remember that “there is none good but One, that is, God.”
From Shade Of His Hand
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandments were, the first one He listed was love God with all you’ve got. Then, said Jesus, the second commandment is love others.
The order is crucial! If I try to love others first, my finite love will dry up. But if I make loving God the priority, then I become a channel of Infinite Love.
Only God’s love can satisfy my heart. Only God’s love can equip me to truly love others.
A.W. Tozer had a great ear for poetry that would help Christians better glimpse the heart of God. In his collection called The Christian Book Of Mystical Verse he shares dozens of these poems. Check out my review of this collection by clicking here, and then enjoy these short passages I have highlighted.
If you enjoy poetry, I post a new poem every Saturday. Enter your email address in the box to the right, and click “Sign me up!” to be notified whenever a new poem is posted.
“A false peace is sweeping through many churches today, a peace that will fail in the troubled days ahead. Moses called stubborn Israel ‘self-blessed,’ meaning self-deceived. He warned Israel that a curse would come upon all wicked, disobedient children of God who walked in idolatry. They would plaster over their sinful ways with a false sense of peace: ‘When he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart’ (Deuteronomy 29:19).
“Moses is describing the child of God who decides to satisfy his lust for evil by finding a cozy doctrine that tells him he’s still saved, heaven bound—while still sinning. He says to himself, ‘I will do as I please and still not lose the peace in my heart.’ False peace!” —David Wilkerson (emphasis added)
Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. In this case, the writings A.W. Tozer collected between the covers of this book is exactly what the title says—The Christian Book Of Mystical Verse: A collection of poems, hymns, and prayers.
A.W. Tozer was a first-class scholar, but he didn’t stop with mere head knowledge. He loved plunging deep into the spiritual realms to let God touch his heart, mind and emotions. So we find among his extensive library, collections of poems and mystical writings to enliven the heart and mind.
Don’t get thrown by that word “mystical.” Tozer himself describes it this way—
The word ‘mystic’ as it occurs in the title of this book refers to that personal spiritual experience common to the saints of Bible times and well known to multitudes of persons in the post-biblical era. I refer to the evangelical mystic who has been brought by the gospel into intimate fellowship with the Godhead. His theology is no less and no more than is taught in the Christian Scriptures. … He differs from the ordinary orthodox Christian only because he experiences his faith down in the depths of his sentient being while the other does not. He exists in a world of spiritual reality.
I have a natural bent to be more left-brained, logical, and fact-seeking. Years ago I discovered that poetry and other “mystical” writings unlocked my right-brain hemisphere with all its emotion and passion, and made the left-brained stuff so much more real. The collection of writings in this book “scratches an itch” unlike any academic book ever can.
Should you read The Christian Book Of Mystical Verse? I think so. Tozer said, “This is a book for the worshiper rather than for the student.” So if you are longing to worship God more deeply, this is a great book to dive into deeply.
I am a Moody Publisher book reviewer.
“See you not, then, that God may take away your comforts and your privileges, to make you the better Christians? Why, the Lord always trains His soldiers, not by letting them lie on feather-beds, but by turning them out, and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long march with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. This is the way in which He makes them soldiers—not by dressing them up in fine uniforms, to swagger at the barrack gates, and to be fine gentlemen in the eyes of the loungers in the park. God knows that soldiers are only to be made in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times. We may grow the stuff of which soldiers are made; but warriors are really educated by the smell of powder, in the midst of whizzing bullets and roaring cannonades, not in soft and peaceful times.
“Well, Christian, may not this account for it all? Is not thy Lord bringing out thy graces and making them grow? Is He not developing in you the qualities of the soldier by throwing you into the heat of battle, and should you not use every appliance to come off conqueror?” —Charles Spurgeon (emphasis added)