One definition of a Christian mystic is someone who engages in deep, prayerful pondering of the nature of God, as He is revealed in the Scriptures, and then emerges from those intimate encounters to share with us what he or she has learned. I would put A.W. Tozer in this category, especially in his book The Knowledge Of The Holy—The Attributes of God: Their Meaning in the Christian Life.
Tozer himself described the Christian mystic more fully than I could in his book The Christian Book Of Mystical Verse. In that book, Tozer shared some poetic verses from some of his favorite mystical thinkers. He noted, “The hymns and poems found here are mystical in that they are God-oriented; they begin with God, embrace the worshipping soul, and return to God again.”
In The Knowledge Of The Holy, Tozer takes us on his own personal journey into the immeasurable depths of God’s greatness. Whereas many theologians tend to focus on one attribute of God at a time, Tozer has a God-given ability to help us see all of God’s attributes operating in their infinite fullness.
Even as Tozer plunges deep into the attributes of God’s self-existence, self-sufficiency, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, love, mercy, justice, grace, and sovereignty, he reminds us, “Because God is immutable He always acts like Himself, and because He is a unity He never suspends one of His attributes in order to exercise another.”
This is not a book you can ready lightly or casually, or even quickly. This is a book that invites you to read slowly and reverently each of the short chapters, and then to meditate long on the immenseness of an All-Powerful, All-Loving God who wants to reveal Himself to you.
The Knowledge Of The Holy is a soul-expanding book!
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.
You Cannot Hide Your Heart From God
Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men? (Proverbs 15:11 KJV)
God knows the burial places of all His people. He notes as well the resting place of the man who is buried tombless and alone as the man over home a mighty mausoleum has been raised. He saw the traveler who fell in the barren desert, whose body became the prey of vultures and whose bones were bleach in the sun. He saw the mariner, who was wrecked far out at sea and over whose corpse no dirge was ever wailed, except the howling of the winds and the murmuring of the wild waves. God knows the thousands who have perished in battle, unnumbered and unnoticed; the many who have died alone amid dreary forests, frozen seas, and devouring snowstorms; all these and the places of their sepulcher. God has marked that silent grotto within the sea, where pearls lie deep, where now the shipwrecked one is sleeping, as the death place of one of His redeemed. …
Yes, hell, horrible as it is and veiled in many clouds and covered over with darkness, is naked before the vision of the Most High. There is the grand fact stated: “Hell and destruction are before the Lord.” After this the inference seems to be easy: “How much more, then, the hearts of the children of men?” …
God who sees death and hell sees our hearts, for they are far less extensive. … Scarcely have we time enough to tell the story before it comes to its end. Surely, then, God may easily understand the history of a man, when He knows the history of the monarchies of death and hell. [see Psalm 44:21; Jeremiah 23:24; Revelation 2:23] …
God does not judge by the appearance of a man’s great heart, or the outside appearance of a good heart. But He puts it in the scales and weighs it; puts His own Word in one scale and the heart in the other. He knows the exact weight. He knows whether we have grace in the heart, which makes us good weight, or only presence in the heart, which makes us weigh light when put into the scale. He searches the heart in every possible way. …
Oh, you may endeavor as much as you can to hide your faults from God. But beyond a doubt, He will discover you.
From God, The All-Seeing One
When—not if—God looks at your heart, what will He find?
Yes, we should pray—Search me, O God, show me anything that is offensive to You [Psalm 139:23-24]—but then we must repent and ask forgiveness when the offense is revealed. No excuses, no covering up!
The Lord reigns… (Psalm 93:1).
When biblical authors use repetition or parallelism, it’s important to take note. They are wanting to make sure their message is heard loud and clear. They want what they’re sharing to stand out from everything around it. This is sort of how we would use bold or italics, a different colored font, or even a LARGER FONT to make something stand out.
In this Psalm…
…the Lord is clothed in majesty and strength
…He is established, immovable, everlasting, from time immemorial, firm, unshakeable
…“God is mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea—the Lord on high is mighty”
…His Word is very sure, lasting forever, holy, unchangeable, endless
The bottom line—
Some good reading from today…
“Just because no one complains, it doesn’t mean that all parachutes are perfect.” —Anonymous
“I am not young enough to know everything.” —Oscar Wilde
“It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” —James Thurber
More appalling misery created by the pro-abortion crowd: Planned Parenthood’s Horrible Treatment.
Very good: 7 Things All Great Friends Do.
“I must pray for the strength and courage to be truly obedient to Jesus, even if He calls me to go where I would rather not go.” —Henri Nouwen
“One of the greatest mercies God bestows upon us is His not permitting our inclinations and opportunities to meet. Have you not sometimes noticed that when you had the inclination to a sin there has been no opportunity, and when the opportunity has presented itself you have had no inclination towards it? satan’s principal aim with believers is to bring their appetites and his temptations together….” —Charles Spurgeon
“This is not Predestination: your will is perfectly free: but all physical events are adapted to fit in as God sees best with the free actions He knows we are going to do.” —C.S. Lewis
Some good reading & watching from this weekend…
[VIDEO] John Maxwell has some good insight on dealing with skeptics, even if the skeptic is you!
“The begging in ministries today is a result of men doing good things without being sent by God’s voice. Their own desires are being mistaken for God’s bidding.” David Wilkerson shred 4 ways to know you are correctly hearing the voice of God.
“The heart knows so much more than the mind.” —Henri Nouwen
“Lord, grant we may always keep between the two extremes of distrusting or tempting Thee.” —George Whitefield
“The principle virtue of music is a means of communication with God.” —Igor Stravinsky
“Where would you have been but for grace? To repeat the old saying of John Bradford, when he saw a cartful of men going off to Tyburn to be hanged, ‘There goes John Bradford but for the grace of God.’ When you see the swearer in the street, or the drunkard rolling home at night, there are you, there am I, but for the grace of God. Who am I? What should I have been if the Lord, in mercy, had not stopped me in my mad career?” —Charles Spurgeon
“There can be no such thing as chance from God’s point of view. Since He is omniscient His acts have no consequences which He has not foreseen and taken into account and intended.” —C.S. Lewis
[VIDEO] This short film is based on a true story from the front lines of a World War I battlefield on Christmas Eve 1914…
In 1880, Edwin A. Abbott wrote Flatland, a book that would later become a favorite of Albert Einstein. Abbott was a college-trained mathematician and a theologian; in fact he was actually better known for his theological writings than for Flatland. Later on Einstein would say that “things should be made as simple as possible, not simpler.” In other words, don’t dumb-down the concept, but state it on a level where more people can grasp it. That’s why, I believe, Einstein loved Flatland.
Flatland is told through the eyes of Square, a two-dimensional shape that lives in Flatland. Square has length and width, but no height. So the inhabitants of Flatland can move back-and-forth, and side-to-side, but not up-and-down. To get an idea of this, put your eye right on the level of a tabletop, and look at an item on the table. Imagine you can only see what is touching the tabletop (but nothing that rises any higher or lower than that), and you will get an idea of Square’s two-dimensional world.
One day Sphere visits Flatland. Sphere is three-dimensional, so he can move up-and-down. This means that Square can only see the part of Sphere that happens to be in his line of sight at that immediate moment. So he sees just a “slice” or “layer” of Sphere as Sphere moves through Flatland. Sometimes Sphere is nothing more than a disembodied voice when he is hovering above Flatland.
This gives us a little bit of an idea of how we perceive God. He exists in dimensions that we cannot fully comprehend, so we only see “slices” of Him as He passes though our line of sight. Sometimes He is just a disembodied Voice—or as the Bible calls Him, the Word of God.
But the Word of God compressed Himself into our dimension (John 1:14). All of the fullness—all of the other-dimension-ness—of His omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience came to our “level” in the Person of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:6-7). The Word was the complete and total fullness of God (John 1:1-3; Colossians 2:9). But unlike Square who couldn’t fully know Sphere, God is fully knowable in The Word… in Jesus Christ!
The question is: What are you going to do with The Word? The Word of God (the Bible) allows us to fully know The Word of God (Jesus). But we need to be willing to let the Holy Spirit strip away our puny, smaller-dimensioned, finite thinking of God.
I would modify this to say, “Those illiterate of The Word (Jesus) are not those who cannot read The Word (the Bible), but those who won’t let the Holy Spirit help them learn, unlearn, and relearn who God is.”
There is so much more to learn about The Word (Jesus), so let the Holy Spirit guide you in your reading of The Word (the Bible). I pray as Paul did that you will begin to experience more of the multi-dimensional-ness of God as revealed in The Word—
I pray that out of God’s glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)