TOZER ON LEADERSHIP – SATURDAY, APRIL 11, 2020

Prayer: Oh!

Then said I: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” —Jeremiah 1:6

To be articulate at certain times we are compelled to fall back upon “Oh!” or “O!”—a primitive exclamatory sound that is hardly a word at all and that scarcely admits of a definition….

In theology there is no “Oh!” and this is a significant if not ominous thing. Theology seeks to reduce what may be known of God to intellectual terms, and as long as the intellect can comprehend it can find words to express itself. When God Himself appears before the mind, awesome, vast and incomprehensible, then the mind sinks into silence and the heart cries out “O Lord God!” There is the difference between theological knowledge and spiritual experience, the difference between knowing God by hearsay and knowing Him by acquaintance. And the difference is not verbal merely; it is real and serious and vital.

We Christians should watch lest we lose the “Oh!” from our hearts….

When we become too glib in prayer we are most surely talking to ourselves. When the calm listing of requests and the courteous giving of proper thanks take the place of the burdened prayer that finds utterance difficult we should beware the next step, for our direction is surely down whether we know it or not. Born After Midnight, pp. 86-87

“Lord, don’t ever let me lose the ‘Oh!’ Amen.”

Reprinted from Tozer on Christian Leadership by A.W. Tozer, copyright © 2001 by Zur Ltd. Used by permission of WingSpread Publishers, a division of Zur Ltd.

Tozer on Christian Leadership is protected by copyright and may not be copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, translated, transmitted or distributed in any way.

Tozer on Christian Leadership was compiled by Ron Eggert.

Make It a Strong Close

by Sheri Rose Shepherd

It is always the last act of love, the last word spoken, the last move made that is the one remembered most.

Have you ever fought hard for something or someone you really believed in? You gave your all, your love, your time and your talent only to have it come to a bitter end where it seems you lost everything that mattered most to you including your faith? I have been there, and in these broken-hearted moments I could not find anyway or anything to restore what was lost or repair the damage done. But I discovered in the word of God that the ONE thing I can do is choose to lay down my feelings and bring a strong close to whatever is coming to an end. I can choose to react in a way that will bring glory to God. I know it is hard to push through painful places when you’re hurting, but it is even harder to look back with regret and know you wasted the pain and became part of the problem.

If you are in a season of painful change and things seem to be coming to an end, allow me to share with you some Bible Life Coaching tips that will give you peace, perspective and help you persevere so you finish with a strong close…

  • Pray for a bigger picture than your own pain and it will help purpose you to Finish Strong!
  • Do what is right and Refuse to engage with whomever is attacking you or you become like them.
  • Focus on God’s will and not your rights. Remember that our God is a just God and He will repay those who have come against His children.
  • Turn your hurt into Hope for the future and, rather than fix your mind on what you’re losing, choose to trust God for new beginnings that will lead to His plans for you!

God’s Letter to You

I believe if The Lord was going to write you a personal letter about battles this life brings it may read like this….

My Beloved Child,

Your life lived for me will become the legacy that lives on long after you are gone. Your fight will never be forgotten. You are a hero of the faith and your commitment to the call will carve character into the next generation. Every prayer you prayed will become a blessing passed down. Every tough choice you made to obey me will become a foundation of faith your family will stand on in their tough times.

Your courage will continue to bring comfort to many during their difficult times. Your Trust in me will remain in others who watched you walk in peace. I, your God, declare on this day that your children’s children will be forever blessed because you lived your life for an audience of One… Me!

Love,
Your Lord and Savior who died for you

Treasure of Truth

Happy are those who delight in doing what He commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will never be forgotten. — Psalm 112:1-3

The Weekly Focal Point – April 9, 2020

Love Like Jesus

Having spent years walking through Israel with Jesus, having listened to him teach, and having seen him heal the sick and even raise the dead, the Apostle John distilled Christ’s love into this intriguing statement: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1Jn.3:16a). Without reference to any warm feelings or emotions, John elevates the painful sacrifice of Christ’s execution as his defining act of love.

While the connection of biblical love with Christ’s tortuous death may sound familiar to experienced churchgoers, I would argue the paradox is often missed in the minds of modern Christians. Maybe we can more readily see it when we read the rest of John’s sentence: “…and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (v.16b). As we imagine the biblical call to love our fellow Christians, I suspect we envision the joy and camaraderie of spiritual brothers and sisters happily encouraging each other over a meal or after a prayer meeting.

I don’t think we visualize the pain of death. Yet, our call to “love” each other is a call to sacrifice our comfort, our freedoms, or our advantages for the good and benefit of others. This “dying” to ourselves and our own agendas comes incrementally when we love in the manner of Christ. But don’t miss the fact that those painful sacrifices are the essence of Christlike love. So don’t hold back today. Go the extra mile, stay the extra hour, or spend the extra dollar for the edification of a brother or sister in Christ.

–Pastor Mike

Transformation Garden – April 11, 2020

Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:

“As thy days, so shall thy restfulness be.”

Deuteronomy 33: 25

Modern Translation

“Oh, if Christians would only live by the moment, not the year! ‘Day by day’ is the limit of the Lord’s prayer. ‘Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,’ saith the Lord. ‘As thy days, so shall thy strength be’ is the promise which years have not exhausted.’”

A. B. Simpson

“Day by day and with each passing moment,

Strength I find to meet my trials here;

Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,

I’ve no cause for worry or for fear,

He whose heart is kind beyond all measure

Gives unto each day what He deems best,

Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,

Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day the Lord Himself is near me

With a special mercy for each hour;

All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,

He whose name is Counselor and power,

The protection of His child and treasure

Is a charge that on Himself He laid;

As your days, your strength be in measure,

This the pledge to me He made.”

Carolina Sandell Berg

(1865)

Today’s Study Text:

“Surely goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life.”

Psalm 23: 6

Amplified Bible

EXPLORATION:

Psalm 23 Part 27

“Our Persistent Lover”

“For however devoted you are to God, you may be sure that He is immeasurably more devoted to you.”

Meister Eckhart

How would it make me feel to know that my Father in heaven would never, ever give up on me?

When I hear the word “pursue,” what image comes to my mind?

“In His love He clothes us, enfolds us and embraces us; that tender love completely surrounds us, never to leave us.”

Julian of Norwich

INSPIRATION:

“I took my children up in my arms…I drew them with cords of love to me – with affection and love. I picked them up and held them to my cheek.”

Hosea 11: 3-4

Amplified Bible

Good News Bible

I’ve always been fond of reading biographies about individuals down through history. It has especially been the legacy left behind by those who have suffered a great deal and overcome tremendous odds which have inspired me in my own life.

Several years ago, I happened to find a short biography about the Scottish pastor and hymn-writer, George Matheson. He was the oldest of eight children and by all accounts, a brilliant young man who graduated at the top of his class at the University of Glasgow where his educational focus was on the classics – specifically logic and philosophy.

However, at the age of only 20 years, George was told he was going completely blind and there was nothing doctors could do to prevent this tragedy from happening. At the time, he was engaged to a young lady, who upon hearing this news, informed her financé that she could not go through life with a blind man.

A number of years later, on the evening before his sister married, George Matheson penned the words to the now beloved hymn, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.”  It had been his dear sister, who had helped him finish his studies toward his theological degree, who was now leaving him and it is likely, that the pain of the one person leaving his side on whom he had depended for such a bond, along with the memory of the shattered heart he had endured when his own love left him because of his disability, that as George Matheson relates, helped him pen the words to the hymn “like a dayspring from on high in just five minutes.”

I’d like to share the words to this hymn for they convey the thoughtful expression which David shared with his heavenly Father: “Let me fall, I pray You, into the hands of the Lord, for very great and many are His mercies” (1 Chronicles 21: 13, Amplified Bible).

“O love that will not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in Thee,

I give Thee back the life I owe,

That in Thine ocean depths its flow, \

May richer, fuller be.

O light that followed all my way,

I yield my flickering torch to Thee,

My heart restores its borrowed ray,

That in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day,

May brighter, fairer be.

O joy that seekest me through pain,

I cannot close my heart to Thee,

I trace the rainbow through the rain,

And feel the promise is not vain,

That morn shall tearless be.”

Don’t we all long to have a love that we can count on? A love that we can be certain about? A love that looks out for us? Indeed, a love that does not ever let us go?

Obviously, this was what David longed for too. No matter how many wives he accumulated, just having a spouse wasn’t enough. Just having the subjects in his kingdom laud him, didn’t do the trick for David either.

The fact is that what most of us have come to recognize in our lives is that there is an emptiness that earthly pleasure and people cannot fill. And so, as the Psalmist tells us, God’s goodness and mercy, His heavenly gifts, have been given to us all throughout our lives.

In Pastor John B. Rogers comments on Psalm 23, he expresses the fact that it might revolutionize our understanding of God as well as “the way we live with life’s joys and sorrows, if we took seriously that God always takes the initiative with us – a shepherd leading us toward himself, following us in our wanderings so that we never get beyond the love that will not let us go.”

When David stated that God’s goodness and mercy will follow us, the translation of the word “follow” is actually a very strong Hebrew word meaning to “chase” or to “pursue.” We could even say that it means that God’s qualities of goodness and mercy will “hunt” us down. Author Tony Horsfall points out that “David had often found himself pursued by his enemies, but now he realized that even in those dark and dangerous moments the love of God relentlessly hunts him down.”

It may likely have been this thought that God is in pursuit of each of us throughout our lives which inspired the poet Francis Thompson to refer to God’s search for each of us in the poem, “The Hound of Heaven.” I always find my heart touched by these words at the end of this descriptive piece of literature, “Lo, all things fly thee, for thou flyest Me! Strange, piteous, futile thing, wherefore should any set thy love apart? Seeing none but I makes much of naught, and human love needs human meriting: How hast thou merited – of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot? Alas, thou knowest not how little worthy of any love thou art! Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee, save Me, save only Me?”

The life-lasting love we seek is truly the love that only our heavenly Father can bestow upon us. And His love will pursue us forever, as David tells us. As one unknown author so touchingly penned:

“I sought the Lord, and I knew

He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me;

It was not I that found, O Saviour true,

No, I was found of Thee.

Thou didst reach forth Thy hand and mine enfold;

I walked and sank not on the storm vexed sea, –

‘Twas not so much that I on Thee took hold,

As Thou, dear Lord, on me.

I find, I walk, I love, but, O the whole

Of love is but my answer, Lord, to Thee.

For thou wert long before –hand with my soul,

Always thou lovest me.”

In the words of the great pastor and evangelist Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “He who counts the stars and calls them by their names, is in no danger of forgetting His own children. He knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature He ever made, or the only (child) He ever loved.” This is your Father whose goodness and mercy is in pursuit of you, all the days of your life.

“His love in times past

Forbids me to think

He’ll leave me at last

In trouble to sink;

Each sweet Ebenezer

I have in review,

Confirmed His good pleasure

To help me quite through.”

John Newton

AFFIRMATIONS:

Whoso Draws Nigh to God

“Who so draws nigh to God one step through doubtings dim,

God will advance a mile in blazing light to him.”

Author Unknown

“Wilt thou not visit me?

The plant beside me feels thy gentle dew,

And every blade of grass I see

From thy deep earth its quickening moisture drew.

Wilt thou not visit me?

Thy morning calls on me with cheering tone;

And every hill and tree

Lend but one voice – the voice of thee alone.

Come, for I need thy love,

More than the flower the dew or grass the rain;

Come, gently as thy holy dove;

And let me in thy sight rejoice to live again.

I will not hide from them

When thy storms come, though fierce may be their wrath,

But how with leafy stem,

And strengthened follow on thy chosen path.

Yes, thou wilt visit me:

Nor plant nor tree thine eye delights so well,

As, when from sin set free,

My spirit loves with thine in peace to dwell.”

Jones Very

1813-80

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus

Dorothy@TransformationGarden.com

P. S. Thank you so much for the gifts you send to Transformation Garden which continue to assist our ministry here in the United States and in 192 countries around the world.  100% of your donation goes directly to providing for our daily devotionals and gift bookmarks. Transformation Garden is a non-profit organization so your gift is tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt for any gift you send.sefsef

Many of you have asked how to send a gift to Transformation Garden. You can help support our work by giving a gift through Paypal or you can send your gift to: Transformation Garden, 2675 West SR89A, PMB 1121, Sedona, Arizona 86336. Thank you so much.

Also, if you should happen to miss a devotional for some reason, you can go to www.transformationgarden.com and you will find archived devotionals. We also place the daily devotionals on Facebook so you can find them on that site also.

My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com and www.Christianbook.com or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian.  Thank you so much for your support of Transformation Garden.

For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.

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