Paths To Power (book review)

As I read A.W. Tozer’s words I find myself saying two things: (1) “Ouch!” and (2) “Amen!” Tozer’s Paths To Power is a continuation in those responses as he outlines what robs the Church and individual Christians of the power God wants them to have.

Right at the outset, Tozer identifies a key element robbing the Church of power: a lack of obedience in the things God has commanded us. “A knowledge of the truth is not enough,” he writes. “The truth must be followed if we would realize in actual experience the blessedness which is here described.”

Another power-blocker is an unwillingness to let God confront us and help us change. We get stuck in a this-is-how-it’s-always-been rut and then shut our eyes to the times of refreshing God wants to send to us. Other blockers include poor doctrine, putting the Holy Spirit in a box, justifying our sin, and not unleashing our faith, to name just a few.

Thankfully, Tozer also points us to the straightforward cures for all of the blockages to power. If we are willing to open our eyes, ears, and hearts to God’s voice, His unlimited blessings could flow uninterrupted into our lives and churches.

Paths To Power contains only seven short chapters, but the digestion, contemplation, and implementation of Tozer’s cures will be something that will involve a lifetime commitment for those ready for God’s fresh power to be poured into their lives.

I am a Moody Publishers book reviewer.

Where Preachers Are Powerless

To my dear pastor friends, please ponder carefully these wise words from Oswald Chambers:

“As preachers and teachers we are powerless to make saints. Our duty is to put the seed into the right place and leave the rest to God. …

“Modern evangelism makes the mistake of thinking that a worker must plough his field, sow the seed, and reap the harvest in half-an-hour. Our Lord was never in a hurry with the disciples, He kept on sowing the seed and paid no attention to whether they understood Him or not. He spoke the truth of God, and by His own life produced the right atmosphere for it to grow, and then left it alone, because He knew well that the seed had in it all the germinating power of God and would bring forth fruit after its kind once it was put in the right soil. …

“Sow the Word of God, and as sure as God is God, it will bring forth fruit. …

“Sow emotions, and the human heart will not get beyond you. There are men and women at work for God who steal hearts from God, not intentionally, but because they do not preach the Word of God. They say, ‘I don’t want anyone to think about me’; that should never need to be said. If the thought of ourselves is lurking anywhere as we preach, we are traitors to Jesus Christ. Our duty is to get people through to God. … See that you sow the real seed of the Word of God, and then leave it alone.” —Oswald Chambers, in The Servant As His Lord

These words prompt me to take a close look into God’s mirror to see if I’m preaching in a way that God can bless. How about you?

10 Quotes From “The Servant As His Lord”

Whenever I read an Oswald Chambers’ book, I know I’m going to get exceptional content that is really going to make me think. The Servant As His Lord lived up to my expectations! I have shared several passages from this book already in my weekly “Thursdays With Oswald” posts (more about that in a moment), but here are a few more quotes I wanted to pass along to you.

“I continually come across people with rusty ‘thinkers,’ they think about their business but about nothing else, and the forces within have become desperately weak; consequently when tribulation comes their minds are confused, and the result is that errors come into the life. If the forces within are strong and healthy they give us warning and enable us to crush in a vice on the threshold of the mind everything that ought not to come there. God can impart to a man the power to select what his mind thinks, the power to think only what is right and pure and true.”

“God has no favorites, but when we let Him have His right of way through us He begins to unveil something more of His purposes in our lives. … Is tribulation making you wilt? making you swoon for sympathy? making you stagnate? It is an easy business to want to get away from tribulation, but fighting makes us strong, gloriously strong.”

“God grant we may be so filled with the Holy Spirit that we listen to His checks along every line. No power can deceive a child of God who keeps in the light with God. I am perfectly certain that the devil likes to deceive us and limit us in our practical belief as to what Jesus Christ can do. There is no limit to what He can do, absolutely none. ‘All things are possible to him that believeth.’ Jesus says that faith in Him is omnipotent. God grant we may get hold of this truth.”

“Look at the world either through a telescope or a microscope and you will be dwarfed into terror by the infinitely great or the infinitely little. Naturalists tell us that there are no two blades of grass alike, and close inspection of a bee’s wing under a microscope reveals how marvelously it is made. What do I read in the Bible? I read that the God of heaven counts the hairs of our heads. Jesus says so. I read that the mighty God watches the sparrows so intimately that not one of them falls on the ground without His notice. I read that the God who holds the seas in the hollow of His hand and guides the stars in their courses, clothes the grass of the field. Through the love of God in Christ Jesus we are brought into a wonderful intimacy with the infinitely great and the infinitely little.”

“The great need today amongst those of us who profess sanctification is the patience and ability to work out the holiness of God in every detail of our lives.”

“We are only safe in taking an estimate of ourselves from our Creator, not from our own introspection.”

“There is no one in the world more easy to get to than God. Only one thing prevents us from getting there, and that is the refusal to tell ourselves the truth.”

“God does not do what false Christianity makes out—keep a man immune from trouble, there is no promise of that; God says, ‘I will be with him in trouble.’ … No matter what actual troubles in the most extreme form get hold of a man’s life, not one of them can touch the central citadel, that is, his relationship to God in Christ Jesus.”

“The afflictions after sanctification are not meant to purify us, but to make us broken bread in the hands of our Lord to nourish others.”

“If we are self-willed when God tries to break us and will do anything rather than submit, we shall never be of any use to nourish other souls; we shall only be centers of craving self-pity, discrediting the character of God.”

“Thursdays With Oswald” is a weekly feature where I share a longer section from an Oswald Chambers book, along with a thought or two of my own. You can subscribe to my blog and get notified each time I share one of these posts, or you can type Thursdays With Oswald in the search box.

You can read my review of The Servant As His Lordclicking here by .

8 More Quotes From “The Christian In Complete Armour”

“A man of humble spirit loves a low seat; he is not ambitious to tower above the thoughts of others; and while he stoops in his own opinion himself, the same bullet flies over his head which hits the proud man in the chest.”

“The reason so many Christians complain about the power of their corruptions lies in one of two roots—either they try to overcome sin without acting on the promises, or else they only pretend to believe. They use faith as an eye but not as a hand; they look for victory to drop from heaven upon their heads but do not prayerfully fight to get it.”

“Despair, more than other sins, puts a man into a kind of possession of hell itself. As faith gives substance to the word of promise, so the cruelty of despair gives existence to the torments of hell in the conscience. This drains the spirit and makes the creature become his own executioner. … Faith quenches the fiery dart of despair. … Only faith handles sin in its fullest strength by giving the soul a glimpse of the great God.”

“Christ does not ration out His blood, some to one and some to another; but He gives His whole Self to the faith of every believer. … A man’s faith in Christ is accepted for righteousness; that is, at the judgment he will escape the sentence as if he had never strayed a step from the path of the law.”

“Christian, you have no more effective argument to defeat temptation than hope. … The Christian’s choice is inferior when he must use the wicked man’s argument to cut through temptation.”

“The devil deprives some people of this scriptural relief by mere laziness. They complain about doubts and fears like sluggards crying out of their poverty as they lie in bed. But they will not get up and search the Word for the satisfaction of their need. Of all others, these sell their comfort most cheaply. Who pities the starving man who has bread before him but refuses to move his hand to take it?

To some Christians, satan presents false applications of the Word and thereby troubles their spirits. The devil is an exceptionally bright student in theology and makes no other use of his Scripture knowledge than to lure the saint into sin—or into despair for having sinned. He is like a dishonest lawyer who attains legal skill merely to force an honest man into serious problems by the tangled suit he brings against him.”

“If we spend all our thoughts on our unworthiness of heaven we shall never realize we are among the chosen ones who will enjoy it. But when we believe the pleasure God takes in demonstrating His greatness—making miserable creatures happy instead of allowing their misery to continue in eternal damnation—and the cost He paid for His mercy to reach us, we see Him as the Most High God! When we weigh and meditate on these truths they open our hearts, though fastened with a thousand bolts, to believe without question all that He has said.”

“It is absurd to think of being a Christian without knowledge of God’s Word and some skill to use this weapon. This weapon is both defensive and offensive. The rest of the apostles’ armor are defensive arms…. But the sword both defends the Christian and wounds his enemy.”

You can check out my review of this book by clicking here, and you can read the first set of quotes I shared by clicking here. And be sure to follow me on Twitter or Tumblr for more inspirational quotes posted every day.

Seated In Heavenly Places

In 2017, may we all learn how to quiet ourselves in God’s presence, and to becoming increasingly aware that we are continually in His presence.

quiet-waters“This is our rightful place, to be ‘seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,’ and to ‘sit still’ there. But how few there are who make it their actual experience! How few, indeed think even that it is possible for them to ‘sit still’ in these ‘heavenly places’ in the everyday life of a world so full of turmoil as this.

“We may believe perhaps that to pay a little visit to these heavenly places on Sundays, or now and then in times of spiritual exaltation, may be within the range of possibility; but to be actually ‘seated’ there every day and all day long is altogether another matter; and yet it is very plain that it is for Sundays and week-days as well. …

“You may not see or feel the operations of this silent force, but be assured it is always working mightily, and will work for you, if you only get your spirit still enough to be carried along by the currents of its power.” —Hannah Whitall Smith

Poetry Saturday—See God In Everything

lake-michigan“Give me a new idea,” I said,
While musing on a sleepless bed;
“A new idea that’ll bring to earth
A balm for souls of priceless worth;
That’ll give men thoughts of things above,
And teach them how to serve and love,
That’ll banish every selfish thought,
And rid men of the sins they’ve fought.” 

The new thought came, just how, I’ll tell:
‘Twas when on bended knee I fell,
And sought from Him who knows full well
The way our sorrow to expel.
See God in all things, great and small,
And give Him praise whate’er befall,
In life or death, in pain or woe,
See God, and overcome thy foe.
I saw Him in the morning light,
He made the day shine clear and bright;
I saw Him in the noontide hour,
And gained from Him refreshing shower.
At eventide, when worn and sad,
He gave me help, and made me glad.
At midnight, when on tossing bed
My weary soul to sleep He led.

I saw Him when great losses came,
And found He loved me just the same.
When heavy loads I had to bear,
I found He lightened every care.
By sickness, sorrow, sore distress,
He calmed my mind and gave me rest.
He’s filled my heart with gladsome praise
Since I gave Him the upward gaze.
‘Twas new to me, yet old to some,
This thought that to me has become
A revelation of the way
We all should live throughout the day;
For as each day unfolds its light,
We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.
Life will, indeed, a blessing bring,
If we SEE GOD IN EVERYTHING.” —A.E. Finn

12 Quotes From “I Stand At The Door And Knock”

I Stand At The Door And KnockCorrie ten Boom was an amazing woman! To experience the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp, and still retain such a sweet, godly spirit is indeed a miracle of God’s grace. This beautiful spirit of hers come through loud and clear in her book I Stand At The Door And Knock (you may read my book review here). Below are just a few of the many quotes which I highlighted as I read.

“You see, if you and I want to be used, we needn’t rely on ourselves, because it is the Holy Spirit who does it. And that is why we can be at peace in our day-to-day lives. The fact that we wish to be used is a gift from the Holy Spirit in itself.”

“A piece of good advice is to forgive anyone immediately—and I mean immediately— if they say or do something against you. Then the devil won’t have a chance to keep a shadow in your heart.”

“Holiness can bring about a new conflict. We need to take care. The devil wants to lead us into the energy of our inner selves. Preaching yourself, relying on yourself, boasting about your faith, taking pride in your own experiences. And then the devil will say, ‘Revel in your own experiences.’ But that is not right. You should not rely on your past experiences. It may strengthen your faith, but holiness is living out the Jesus Christ living in you.” 

“Imagine, when I had a watchmaker’s shop, you came to me and you bought a gold watch with a gold strap. Imagine that when I wrapped it up for you, I removed the gold strap and hid it. When you came home, you saw that you only had a watch. What would you do? You would say to everybody, ‘Don’t ever buy something from Corrie ten Boom; she doesn’t give you value for money.’ If you and I do not give ourselves entirely to the Lord, we do not give Him the value He has paid for us on the Cross. We were bought at a very high price. That Cross was horrendous. It was an extremely high price to pay for you and me.”

“In my short-sightedness, I thought I had to do everything with my own power, according to my abilities. But everything depends on Hisability, Hispower.”

“The devil may laugh at our plans. He smiles when we are up to our eyes in work. But he quakes when we pray. When we are faithful intercessors he often says to us, ‘Shouldn’t you stop? You have been doing this for such a long time, and can’t you see, the Lord doesn’t listen.’ But he is a liar. Not one of our prayers is lost. … satan laughs when we try hard. He mocks our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.”

“While I was imprisoned during the war, I knew the Morse code, but it didn’t really help me. What actually supported me was every text and every Christian song I knew by heart. Learning Bible texts and Christian songs by heart is a preparation which we can all do today.”

“Lord Jesus, please forgive us that we so often live a life poor in You, while You suffered so heavily on the Cross so that we would become the King’s rich children. Holy Spirit, open our eyes. Give us a vision, an understanding of our wealth.”

“Religion is no security. The Antichrist will be very religious. A world religion will develop, and he himself will become its god.” 

“Jesus said, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.’ Our citizenship is in heaven. We are heaven dwellers. Our home is there.”

“The Bible says, ‘Be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18), which means not only do I have the Holy Spirit, but also does the Holy Spirit have me?”

“We should not rely on our capacities, but on God’s capacities. We shouldn’t draw from our limited resources, but from His immense power.”

I will also be sharing some of Corrie’s quotes on Twitter and Tumblr, so follow me there for more great content.

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