Corrie Ten Boom/ A.W. Tozer/ A.B. Simpson/James Hudson Taylor/Amy Carmichael/D. Moody/Oswald Chambers/Jim Elliot/Abraham Lincoln/John Elias

 

 

Corrie Ten Boom

 

The Joy-Filled Life

 

     "'Follow me,' a young girl in an officer's uniform said to me. I walked slowly through the gate, never looking back. Behind me I heard the hinges squeak as the gate swung shut. I was free, and flooding through my mind were the words of Jesus to the church at Philadelphia: 'Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it . . . '" (Revelation 3:8


     On
December 28, 1944, after ten months of incarceration in concentration camps, Corrie Ten Boom was free. She had lost her father and beloved sister to the horrors of Nazi death camps. Gaunt, filthy, and weak, Corrie made her way to the railway station and boarded a train for a three-day journey home to Holland


     She later found out that an order had been given at the end of that very week to kill all women her age and older. An error in prison paperwork was the catalyst God used to release her. 


     The Ten Booms, all devout Christians, had provided a hiding place in their home for persecuted Jews during World War II. Corrie, who was fifty-nine at the time of her arrest, was placed in an isolation cell for the first few weeks of her imprisonment. Depression and the struggle to maintain a sense of hope consumed her. 


     "Only to those who have been in prison does freedom have such great meaning. When you are dying—when you stand at the gate of eternity—you see things from a different perspective than when you think you may live for a long time. I [stood] at the gate for many months, living in Barracks 28 in the shadow of the crematorium.

 
     "Every time I saw the smoke pouring from the hideous smokestacks I knew it was the last remains of some poor woman who had been with me in Ravensbruck. Often I asked myself, 'When will it be my time to be killed or die?'"

 
     Corrie vowed if God allowed her to live, she would tell as many people as possible about the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. She also promised to go wherever He led. She miraculously obtained a small New Testament from a prison worker and smuggled it past guards. 


     "Before long we were holding clandestine Bible study groups for an ever-growing group of believers, and Barracks 28 became known throughout the camp as 'the crazy place, where they hope.'" 


     No one is exempt from the fiery trials of life. All of us face times of adversity and suffering. For Corrie, the concentration camp was the fieriest place of all, becoming her classroom where she lived and learned the faithfulness of God. It was there she learned the faithfulness of God. It was there she learned to hide her life under the shadow of His wings while He trained her for a much higher calling. 


     "The school of life offers some difficult courses, but it is in the difficult class that one learns the most—especially when your teacher is the Lord Jesus Christ. The hardest lessons for me" wrote Corrie, "were in a cell with four walls. The cell in the prison at Scheveningen was six paces in length, two paces in breadth, with a door that could be opened only from the outside . . . After that time in prison, the entire world became my classroom." 


     God gave her a promise, telling her that she would reach far more people than she could imagine with the gospel message. For the next four decades following her release from prison, Corrie traveled extensively, speaking in more than sixty countries, captivating audiences with her inspiring faith and love for God. She is the author of nine books, one of which is The Hiding Place, a personal account of her arrest and time spent in prison. She also produced five films. 


     "God has plans—not problems—for our lives. Before she died in the concentration camp in Ravensbruck, my sister Betsie said to me, 'Corrie, your whole life has been a training for the work you are doing here in prison—and for the work you will do afterward.' 


     "The life of a Christian is an education for higher service. No athlete complains when the training is hard. He thinks of the game, or the race. (Romans 8:18-23


     "Looking back across the years of my life, I can see the working of a divine pattern which is the way of God with His children. When I was in a prison camp in
Holland during the war, I often prayed, 'Lord, never let the enemy put me in a German concentration camp.' God answered no to that prayer. Yet in the German camp, with all its horror, I found many prisoners who had never heard of Jesus Christ. 


     "If God had not used my sister Betsie and me to bring them to Him, they would never have heard of Him. Many died, or were killed, but many died with the name of Jesus on their lips. They were well worth all our suffering. Faith is like radar which sees through the fog—the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see."

 
     Perhaps you have been struggling with a fiery trial in your life. The pressure seems unbearable and there appears to be no way out. You may even be trapped in your own emotional prison. For Corrie Ten Boom the only place of refuge, the only place of hope, was within the shadow of God's wings. That is where our hope lies also. No matter what has touched your life, nothing is too big for Jesus Christ to handle. 

Please click the following URL to read the entire biography of Corrie Ten Boom:

 

http://www.soon.org.uk/true_stories/holocaust.htm

 

 

A.W. Tozer

Portrait of A.W. Tozer

 

A Life In Pursuit of God

 

     Although A. W. Tozer died in 1963, his life and spiritual legacy continue to draw many into a deeper knowledge of God. Tozer walked a path in his spiritual life that few attempt, characterized by a relentless and loving pursuit of God. He longed to know more about the Savior—how to serve and worship Him with every part of his being.


     Throughout his life and ministry, Tozer called believers to return to an authentic, biblical position that characterized the early church—a position of deep faith and holiness. "He belonged to the whole church," says James Snyder in the book, In Pursuit of God: The Life Of A. W. Tozer. "He embraced true Christianity wherever he found it."


     During his lifetime, Tozer pastored several Christian and Missionary Alliance churches, authored more than forty books, and served as editor of Alliance Life, the monthly denominational publication for the C&MA. At least two of Tozer's books are considered spiritual classics, The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy—a tremendous accomplishment for a man who never received a formal theological education. The presence of God was his classroom. His notebooks and tools consisted of prayer and the writings of early Christians and theologians—the Puritans and great men of faith.


     Tozer's conversion to Christianity came when he was seventeen. As a result he gained an insatiable hunger and thirst for the things of God. A cleaned-out area in the family's basement became his refuge where he could pray and meditate on the goodness of God. 


     Tozer once wrote, "I have found God to be cordial and generous and in every way easy to live with." To him the love and grace of Jesus Christ were a recurring astonishment," writes Snydner.


     Although he had not attended Bible college or seminary, Tozer received two honorary doctorates. He accepted an offer to pastor his first church in
West Virginia in 1916. By December 1921, Tozer and his wife, Ada, moved to Morgantown where they had the first of seven children, six boys and a girl.


     Money was extremely tight in the early days of his ministry. The Tozers made a pact to trust God for all their needs regardless of the circumstances. "We are convinced that God can send money to His believing children—but it becomes a pretty cheap thing to get excited about the money and fail to give the glory to Him who is the Giver!" 


     Tozer never swayed from this principle. Material things were never an issue. Many have said if Tozer had food, clothing, and his books, he was content. The family never owned a car. Tozer, instead, opted for the bus and train for travel. Even after becoming a well-known Christian author, Tozer signed away much of his royalties to those who were in need. 


     His message was as fresh as it was uncompromising. His single purpose in life was to know God personally, and he encouraged others to do the same. He quickly discovered a deep, abiding relationship with God was something that had to be cultivated. 


     While pastoring a church in
Indianapolis, Tozer noticed his ministry changing. While he did not depart from the theme of evangelism, God began to lead him into a new phase of ministry. For the first time he began to record his thoughts on paper. This change eventually carved out a place for him as a prolific writer.


     In 1928, Tozer accepted a call to pastor the Southside Gospel Tabernacle in
Chicago, where he remained for thirty years. The church grew from a small parachurch to a full-fledged church. Missions and the deeper life in Jesus Christ were its two primary focuses.


     "Tozer's sermons were never shallow," writes Snyder. "There was hard thinking behind them, and [he] forced his hearers to think with him. He had the ability to make his listeners face themselves in the light of what God was saying to them. The flippant did not like Tozer; the serious who wanted to know what God was saying to them loved him." 


     Everything Tozer taught and preached came out of the time he spent in prayer with God. It was there that he shut out the world and its confusion, focusing instead only on God. "Our religious activities should be ordered in such a way as to leave plenty of time for the cultivation of the fruits of solitude and silence," wrote Tozer


     He realized early in his ministry that Christ was calling him to a different type of devotion—one that required an emptying of self and a hunger to be filled to overflowing with God's Spirit. It was also a devotion that consumed him throughout his life. 


     Leonard Ravenhill once said of Tozer, "I fear that we shall never see another Tozer. Men like him are not college bred but Spirit taught."


     "God discovers Himself to 'babes,'" wrote Tozer, "and hides Himself in thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to Him. We must strip down to essentials and they will be found to be blessedly few.


     A. W. Tozer died on
Monday, May 12, 1963, almost a week after preaching his last sermon. The pursuit was over, the destination reached. A simple epitaph marks his grave in Akron, Ohio: A. W. Tozer—A Man of God.


     The wondrous pursuit of God is more than a legacy. It is a way of life passed on to us that we too might experience what A. W. Tozer lived. Have you begun your pursuit of God?

 

 

A.B. Simpson 

 

A Matter of Spiritual Vision

 

     Albert Benjamin Simpson was born on December 15, 1843, to parents of Scottish descent. He grew to be one of the most respected Christian figures in American evangelicalism. A much sought after speaker and pastor, Simpson founded a major evangelical denomination, published over 70 books, edited a weekly magazine for nearly 40 years, and wrote many gospel songs and poems. 


     However, the first few years of his life were spent in relative simplicity on
Prince Edward Island, Canada, where his father, an elder in the Presbyterian church, worked as a shipbuilder and eventually became involved in the export/import industry. To avoid an approaching business depression, the family moved to Ontario where the younger Simpson accepted Christ as his Savior at age fifteen and was subsequently "called by God to preach" the Gospel of Christ. 


     After graduating from
Knox College in Toronto in 1865, Simpson accepted his first pastorate at Knox Church in Hamilton, one of Canada's largest and most influential congregations. 


     After eight years at the church, God led Simpson to Chestnut Street Presbyterian Church in
Louisville, Kentucky. "God was answering his heart's yearning for 'better things,'" writes A. W. Tozer in Wingspread, a book that chronicles Simpson's life. He was also providing Simpson, whose health was suffering, with a break from the harsh Canadian climate. 

     Simpson realized that God was using his weakness to move him into a closer and deeper love for Jesus Christ. His dependence on God became natural as did his communion with the Savior. 


     William MacArthur, a friend and co-worker, said Simpson once told him: "I am no good unless I can get alone with God." MacArthur added: "His practice was to hush his spirit, and literally cease to think, then in the silence of his soul, he listened for the 'still small voice' [of God]." 


     Simpson discovered he was also developing a deep compassion for the lost. A desire to evangelize began to consume him. In his biographical article on Simpson, Daniel Evearitt wrote: "I discovered that those who knew [Simpson] paint a picture of a dynamic but humble worker for God who inspired others to total commitment to God's service and Kingdom. They portray him as a loving, caring, patient man."

 
     Paul Rader, former pastor of the
Moody Church in Chicago and Simpson's long time associate, said: "He was the greatest heart preacher I ever listened to. He preached out of his own rich dealings with God." 


     In
Louisville, God gave Simpson a vision for a city-wide revival. The result was astounding. "The city was moved to its depths and hundreds were converted. At the close of the campaign, large numbers were received in to the churches," writes Tozer


     "[Simpson] had become—though he did not yet realize it full—an evangelist to the masses . . . From here on he belongs no more to one church, but to all who need him, not to his parish only, but to all the lost world." 


     A time came when "in the privacy of his own room," Simpson yielded himself to God in total surrender. "Not knowing," he said, "but it would be death in the most literal sense." He later referred to this time as a death to self—the old man and the self-asserting ego. 


     From that point on, Simpson said he began to live "a consecrated, crucified, and Christ-devoted life." God's call to the unevangelized was now a full-blown part of his life.


     Simpson went on to pastor the
New York 13th Street Presbyterian Church. However in 1881, he resigned and began to hold independent evangelistic meetings in New York City. A year later, the Gospel Tabernacle was built, and Simpson began to turn his vision toward establishing an organization for missions.


     Simpson helped to form and head up two evangelization societies—The Christian Alliance and The Evangelical Missionary Alliance. As thousands joined these two groups, Simpson sensed a need for the two to become one. In 1897, they became The Christian and Missionary Alliance.


     Serving as pastor until 1918, Simpson continued to seek ways to reach the hurting and unsaved. Tozer writes: "For thirty years he continued to lead the society which he had formed, and never for the least division of a moment did he forget or permit the society to forget the purpose for which it was brought into being . . . 'It is to hold up Jesus in His fullness, the same yesterday, and today, and forever!'


     ". . . He sought to provide a fellowship only, and looked with suspicion upon anything like rigid organization. He wanted the
Alliance to be a spiritual association of believers who hungered to know the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ, working concertedly for the speedy evangelization of the world."


     On
October 28, 1919, Simpson slipped into a coma from which he never recovered. Family members recall that his final words were spoken to God in prayer for all the missionaries he had helped to send throughout the world.


     To the end, Simpson remained devoted first to his beloved Savior and then to all who would dare to take the gospel message to a lost and dying world. A. B. Simpson—a man of vision and faith.

 

 

James Hudson Taylor

 

The Exchanged Life

 

     James Hudson Taylor was born into a Christian home in England where zeal for Christ was the mainspring. Born in 1832, Taylor's parents had prayed: "Dear God, if You should give us a son, grant that he may work for You in China."


     That prayer was answered in 1854. Taylor, having spent several years studying medicine and theology while learning invaluable lessons of dependence on God, traveled by ship to China to begin his work as Christ's ambassador. 


     He labored for six years in
Shanghai and Ningpo. He then returned to England where he worked on translating the New Testament into the Ningpo dialect and prayed for God to send missionaries into inland China. He formed the China Inland Mission in 1865 and returned to China where he labored in Christ's vineyard for 40 years. At his death in 1905, there were 205 missionary stations with 849 missionaries and 125,000 Chinese Christians in the China Inland Mission.


     A noted present-day theologian said of
Taylor: "James Hudson Taylor was a tough, warmhearted, businesslike Yorkshireman, in whom by the grace of God, vision, passion, devotion, love, initiative, wisdom and sheer guts combined in heroic proportions. Taylor was a spiritual giant whose acquaintance we latter-day Christians do well to make."

 

Discovering The Exchanged Life


     After
Taylor's return to China in 1865, he feverishly worked and preached, attempting to meet the many needs of the spiritually and physically impoverished residents. 


     However, his struggles were also spiritual.
Taylor desperately desired to grow in holiness. But he also knew the frustration of aborted attempts of living the abundant life. He prayed. He fasted often. By the summer of 1869, his spiritual condition had reached the critical state. 


     "Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me. I knew that if only I could abide in Christ all would be well, but I could not. I began the day with prayer, determined not to take my mind off of Him for a moment; but pressure of duties, sometimes very trying, constant interruptions apt to be so wearing, often caused me to forget Him . . . Each day brought its register of sin and failure, of lack of power. To will was indeed present with me, but how to perform I found not." But as
Taylor sought the Lord, an answer came in the form of a letter from a friend, John McCarthy. 


     McCarthy wrote:  "I seem to have got to the edge only, but of a sea which is boundless; to have sipped only but of that which fully satisfies. Christ literally all seems to me now the power, the only power for service; the only ground for unchanging joy . . . 


     "How then to have our faith increased? . . . Not a striving to have faith, or to increase our faith, but a looking off to the Faithful One seems all we need; a resting in the Loved One entirely, for time and for eternity." As
Taylor laid McCarthy's letter down, his spiritual eyes were opened and his heart was warmed by the reality of his oneness and identity with Christ. In a letter to his sister some days later, Taylor jubilantly declared his discovery of the "exchanged life."


     "As I read [McCarthy's letter] I saw it all! 'If we believe not, he abideth faithful.' I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed!) that He had said, 'I will never leave you.' 'Ah, there is rest!' I thought. 'I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I'll strive no more. For has He not promised to abide with me—never to leave me, never to fail me? And, dearie, He never will! . . . .


     "The sweetest part . . . is the rest which full identification with Christ brings. I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this: for He, I know, is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest positions He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient . . .


     "So, if God places me in great perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? No fear that His resources will be unequal to the emergency! And His resources are mine, for He is mine, and is with me and dwells in me. All this springs from the believer's oneness with Christ."

 

Life's Application


     Like
Taylor, you need to understand your identity in Christ. You are "in Christ" and Christ is "in you." Once you received Christ as your Savior, you also receive Him as your very life. (Colossians 3:4) The Christian life is Jesus living His life through you by His indwelling Holy Spirit. It is not something you achieve but receive by the same faith you had at salvation. You do not have to strive to be victorious. You already are victorious in Christ. You have everything you need in Christ. Your sin is exchanged for His righteousness, your weakness for His strength, your inadequacy for His adequacy.


     This is not a call to passivity or license but of sweet submission to Christ. Obedience is necessary—but it is a delight, not a duty.

 

     Paul wrote the Galatians: "I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

 

Amy Carmichael

 

The Abandoned Life

 

     Amy Carmichael's life is a model of selfless dedication to the Savior, a life of discipleship and abandonment. She lived for one reason, and that was to make God's love known to those trapped in utter darkness. She was born in northern Ireland in 1867 and was the oldest of seven children. Her father's early death when she was eighteen had a profound effect on her, leading her to think seriously about her future and God's plan for her life. 


     Years before she became a missionary, God gave her a glimpse of the work she would one day do. His first prompting came on a wintry Sunday morning as the family returned home from church. Amy and her brothers spotted an old woman carrying a huge bundle. 


     She writes that they felt an overwhelming urge to help but also a feeling of embarrassment. "This meant facing all the respectable people who were, like ourselves, on their way home. It was a horrid moment. We were only two boys and a girl, and not at all exalted Christians. We hated doing it. Crimson all over (at least we felt crimson, soul and body of us) we plodded on, a wet wind blows in about us, and blowing, too, the rags of that poor old woman, till she seemed like a bundle of feathers and we unhappily mixed up with them." 


     As they passed a beautiful Victorian fountain, she heard the words of 1 Corinthians 3:12-14 in her spirit: "Gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble—every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be declared by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide." 


     She turned to see who was there, but there was no one—just the sound of the fountain's water and the laughter of a few passers-by. Before this time
Carmichael admitted to a preoccupation with her social life. However, now it appeared that God was calling her to "settle some things with Him." 

 

The Hand of God

    
     In September 1886 the
Carmichael family had traveled to Glasgow, England, to attend a conference in Keswick, in England's Lake District. It was there that Carmichael felt God's hand on her life. 


     The purpose for the conference was the promotion of holiness or the "higher Christian life."
Carmichael writes: "The hall was full of a sort of gray mist, very dull and chilly. I came to that meeting half hoping, half fearing. Would there be anything for me? . . . The fog in the Hall seemed to soak into me. My soul was in a fog. Then the chairman rose for the last prayer . . . 'O Lord, we know Thou art able to keep us from falling.' Those words found me. It was as if they were alight. And they shone for me." 


     Amy Carmichael realized nothing could be more important than living her life for Jesus Christ who, with nothing of worldly possessions, had given His very life for her. She knew He was calling her to do the same and give all of herself to Him. This meant she must become "dead to the world and its applause, to all its customs, fashions, and laws." 


     In 1895, she was commissioned by the
Church of England Zenana Missionary Society to go to Dohnavur, India, where she served fifty-six years as God's devoted servant without a furlough. A major part of her work there was devoted to rescuing children who had been dedicated by their families to be temple prostitutes.


     Amy Carmichael often recalled the image of the old woman carrying her heavy bundle alone. She realized God had given her a love for those in the world deemed unlovely. The overflow of this love God used to start the Dohnavur Fellowship in
India that became a place of safety and refuge for temple children.


     More than a thousand children were rescued from neglect and abuse during Amy's lifetime. To them she was known as "Amma," which means mother in the Tamil language. The world often was dangerous and stressful. Yet she never forgot God's promise to "keep them in all things."


     "There were days when the sky turned black for me because of what I heard and knew was true . . . Sometimes it was as if I saw the Lord Jesus Christ kneeling alone, as He knelt long ago under the olive trees . . . And the only thing that one who cared could do, was to go softly and kneel down beside Him, so that He would not be alone in His sorrow over the little children."


     She was a prolific writer with thirty-five books published to her credit. Even as a young girl,
Carmichael had showed talent as a writer. However, after a tragic accident in 1931, much of her time was spent in confinement in the Dohnavur Fellowship's compound. 


     Obedience, total commitment, and selflessness were the marks of Amy Carmichael's life. In a world where the thought of living one's life for Jesus Christ above all else is rapidly fading, she remains a bright and ever burning example of one whose sole existence was devoted to her beloved Lord and Savior.


     God may or may not take you, as He did Amy Carmichael, to some far away land. However, He does have a plan for your life—to use you as His light of eternal hope and forgiveness to others. Ask Him to make His will perfectly clear. The rewards of God are not based on human achievements or financial success. They are given, instead, to those who "settle some things with Him" and commit themselves to Christ through a life of obedience and selfless devotion.

 

 

D. Moody

 

The Empowered Life

 

     Dwight Moody was one of history's most influential and effective servants of God. 


     It is estimated that during Moody's lifetime, he traveled more than one million miles, spoke to more than 100 million people, and led hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 


     Presidents Lincoln and Grant both attended his famous revival services. At the Chicago World's Exhibition in 1893, more than 130,000 people attended Moody's revival services in a single day. 


     Moody's zeal for Christ was not limited to preaching and teaching, though that was always his primary love. He founded educational institutions - the
Northfield school for boys and girls that continue operating today and the Chicago Evangelism Society, later named the Moody Bible Institute. 


     Moody's tireless efforts also were catalyst for several Christian publishing ventures, one of which bears his name - Moody Publishing. 


     From an early age, Moody was a hard working entrepreneur. At age seventeen, he left his small home town for metropolitan
Boston where he worked as a shoe salesman at his uncle's store. He was saved at eighteen through the influence of his Sunday school teacher. 


     Within a year, he moved to
Chicago with a goal to earn $100,000. During the next four years, his industriousness and business sense helped him save the handsome sum of $7,000. 


     However, by age twenty-three Moody was led by Christ to minister to the poor Scandinavian and German immigrants in the inner city. Soon he left business completely to devote his life to Christ's service. 


     He used lecture halls and theaters as his pulpits, crossing over stubborn denominational lines. He was able to reach the masses who otherwise would not visit a church or listen to the claims of the gospel. His popularity grew quickly. 

 

Discovering the Spirit's Power 


     Despite Moody's success in the ministry, he felt a pressing need to know more of the Holy Spirit's empowerment. Three events changed his life and preaching. 


     The first occurred in
New York where he was invited to address a small Sunday school. As he got into his carriage to leave for yet another meeting, an elderly gentleman approached him with these words: "Young man, when you speak again, honor the Holy Ghost." 


     The second involved two godly women who attended Moody's services in
Chicago.

 
     "When I began to preach, I could tell by the expression of their faces they were praying for me," Moody later recalled. "At the close of the Sabbath evening services they would say to me, 'We have been praying for you.' I said, 'Why don't you pray for the people?' They answered. 'You need power,' 'I need power,' I said to myself. 'Why? I thought I had power.'" 


     Those incidents left Moody with a great hunger for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. After the
Chicago fire that destroyed Moody's lecture hall and several institutions he had founded, he traveled to New York to raise funds for rebuilding. God had something else in mind. 

     
     "My heart was not in the work of begging," Moody recollected. "I could not appeal. I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of
New York (on Wall Street) - oh, what a day! I cannot describe it. I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand."

 
     "I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you should give me all the world - it would be as dust in the balance."

 

The Spirit-Filled Life 


     The apostle Paul wrote: "be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians
5:18). He encouraged the Galatians to "walk by the Spirit" and bear the "fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16,22). He told the Corinthians that wisdom of God was available only through the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:6-16) Jesus told the disciples not to begin their ministry until they received power, "when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:8). 


     The believer has the full residence of the Holy Spirit. But the Spirit came not just to regenerate you but to restore your soul, renew your mind, and refresh your spirit. 


     The Holy Spirit desires to influence all you think, do, and say with the wisdom and power of God. He is your power source; and without Him, you can do nothing of eternal value. 


     The Greek tense Paul used with the Ephesians means to "always be being filled with the Holy Spirit." It is a conscious act of daily dependence upon the Spirit and a firm rejection to rely solely on your own ability. 


     Humbly ask God to daily fill you with His Spirit, and then thank Him for it. He will do it. And like Moody, all the world's allure and attraction will become as "dust in the balance." 

 

 

Oswald Chambers

 

The Surrendered Life

 

     Oswald Chambers was a man unbridled by the world and its desires. Some say he was one of the greatest Christian thinkers of our time. He would say if any credit is given, let it go to Jesus Christ, his Lord and Savior. Much like the apostle Paul, life for Oswald Chambers was but an open opportunity to glorify God.


     He was born on
July 24, 1874 in Aberdeen Scotland, where he became a Christian during his teen years under the ministry of Charles Spurgeon. God used many things to shape and mold Chambers. One of which was his acceptance into the University of Edinburgh. Rapid spiritual development followed as Chambers became intently interested in the things of God. After answering God's call into the ministry, he studied theology at Dunoon College. From 1906-10, he conducted itinerant Bible-teaching ministries in the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan. Upon his return home, he married Gertrude Hobbs. In 1911, he founded and was named principal of the Bible Training College in Clapham, London. The school closed in 1915 due to World War I. Chambers was then commissioned by YMCA to go to Zeitoun, Egypt, where he ministered to Australian and New Zealand troops.


     Many of Chambers' devotional lectures make up a large portion of My Utmost For His Highest, now considered a classic and his best-known book. His death, the result of a ruptured appendix in 1917, came as a shock to all who knew him. He had often told friends: "I feel I shall be buried for a time, hidden away in obscurity; then suddenly I shall flame out, do my work, and be gone."


     After his death, a fellow worker remarked: "It is a mighty thing to see even once in a lifetime a man the self-expression of whose being is the Redemption of Jesus Christ manifested in daily hourly living. He would have [simply] called himself 'A believer in Jesus.'" The fact is, God made this man "a refuge from the storm" for many downcast souls. Through his written words, God continues to touch and change lives for Christ's sake.

 

Through Trial God Brightens the Flame


     However, there was a time when answering God's call seemed difficult and painful. For several years, poverty and spiritual loneliness clouded his life. Then came the breakthrough. God had used a wilderness experience to "bring him to the end of himself." He became keenly aware of his utter worthlessness. He found his only worth to be that which God had given him in Christ. 


     There arose within Oswald Chambers' life a deep desire to abandon all for Christ's sake. He writes, "A sanctified soul may be an artist, or a musician [anyone]; but he is not a sanctified artist or musician: he is one who expresses the message of God through a particular medium. As long as the artist or musician imagines he can consecrate his artistic gifts to God, he is deluded. Abandonment of ourselves is the kernel of consecration, not presenting our gifts, but presenting ourselves without reserve [to Christ]." 


     Sooner or later God makes each of us aware of the areas in our lives where "self interest" abides. These are the areas He comes to touch and demand complete surrender.

 

Living the Surrendered Life


     The Cross of Christ took on a new dimension to Oswald. No longer was it just a point of salvation; it became the place of self abandonment and surrender to the call of God. 


     It was more than a place of forgiveness; it was a place of hollowed ground where he and we stand and willingly identify with Jesus Christ. It is where we "give up our right to ourselves" and die to self. 


     Out of this death comes life and the opportunity to live a Spirit-filled existence. (John 12:24) As we respond in obedience to God, He promises to lead and guide us through life with a sense of victory and hope. The times of trial, distress, and isolation are times God accomplishes His greatest work, when He molds us into the likeness of Christ. 


     "The one great need for the missionary (Chambers uses this term for those who have given their lives completely to Christ) is to be ready for Jesus Christ, and we cannot be ready unless we have seen Him." The way we come to see Jesus is through surrender. The blessing of living life abandoned to Him is to witness His daily power and grace alive and flowing through our lives into the lives of others.
     In abandonment and surrender we find the unbridled soul—one not tempted by the treasures of the world, but bound to the grace and glory of the Savior. Oswald Chambers' message is one that still calls to us today. It is a call to leave behind everything outside of Jesus Christ:


     "The battle is lost or won in the secret places of the will before God, never first in the external world. . . . Every now and again, not often, but sometimes, God brings us to a point of climax. That is the Great Divide in the life; from that point we either go towards a more and more dilatory and useless type of Christian life, or we become more and more ablaze for the glory of God - [Our] Utmost for His Highest."

 

 

Jim Elliot

Portrait of Jim Elliot

 

The Seeking Life

 

Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God. 

 

     The life and death of Jim Elliot was a testimony of a man committed to the will of God. He sought God's will, pleaded for it, waited for it, and—most importantly—obeyed it.


     His martyrdom at age twenty-eight and subsequent books on his life by his former wife, Elisabeth Elliot, have been the catalyst for sending thousands into the mission fields and stoking the fires of a heart for God. He was an intense Christian, bent on pleasing God alone and not man. 


     "[He makes] His ministers a flame of fire," Elliot wrote while a student at
Wheaton College. "Am I ignitable? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of 'other things.' Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame. But flame is transient, often short-lived. Canst thou bear this my soul—short life? In me there dwells the spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God's house consumed Him." 


     Elliot was a gifted writer, speaker, and teacher. He had a commanding presence while a student at
Wheaton, even starring on the wrestling mat where he became a champion. 


     Many of his friends were convinced Elliot's spiritual giftedness should be concentrated on building up the church in
America


     Elliot, however, wanted God's will, not man's. After many protracted and solitary prayer sessions, Elliot sensed God's call to a foreign field, specifically
South America. "Why should some hear twice," he said, "when others have not heard [the gospel] once?" 


     Correspondence with a former missionary to
Ecuador and hearing of a tribe—the Aucas—that was never reached with the news of Christ's redemption set his course.


     In the winter of 1952, Elliot and a friend who shared his vision set sail on a freighter, the Santa Juana, for the jungles of
South America

 

Focused On Obedience


     Elliot's focus on obedience to God's will led to a disciplined and slightly unorthodox courtship of Betty Howard, whom he met at
Wheaton. They longed to be husband and wife, but Elliot would not agree to the marriage yoke until he was certain of God's plan. 


     Elisabeth and Jim both were called to
Ecuador as missionaries. Almost one year after arriving, they were finally engaged. On October 8, 1953, they were married in a civil ceremony in Quito, Ecuador.


     After their wedding, Elliot continued his work among the Quichua Indians and formulated plans to reach the Aucas


     In the Autumn of 1955, missionary pilot Nate Saint spotted an Auca village. During the ensuing months, Elliot and several fellow missionaries dropped gifts from a plane, attempting to befriend the hostile tribe. 


     In January of 1956, Elliot and four companions landed on a beach of the
Curaray River in eastern Ecuador. They had several friendly contacts with the fierce tribe that had previously killed several Shell Oil company employees. 


     Two days later, on
January 8, 1956, all five men were speared and hacked to death by warriors from the Auca tribe. Life magazine featured a ten-page article on their mission and death. 


     "They learned about the Aucas as they and their wives were ministering to the Quichua-speaking and Jivaro Indians. The Aucas had killed all strangers for centuries.


     "Other Indians fear them but the missionaries were determined to reach them. Said Elliot: 'Our orders are: the Gospel to every creature.'"

 

The Good Will Of God


     Elliot wanted God's will. It ended in his death, but it was a death whose seed still brings forth fruit for the gospel's sake. 


     Many Aucas eventually came to accept Christ as Savior when Elisabeth Elliot bravely returned to share Christ with those who killed her husband. Her books, Shadow of the Almighty and Through Gates of Splendor, speak passionately of the power, majesty, and sovereignty of God while chronicling the life of her husband.


     You may or may not be called to the mission field, but each Christian is called to the delightful adventure of knowing and doing the will of God. This is the thrill of the Christian life - to experience God at the center of all you do, think, and say. 


     Are you seeking God's will for your life? It is the root of all blessings - for your family, your finances, your work, your relationships, your service, your life. God's will is His best.


     The process is not always easy, but God is willing to reveal His plan to those men and women who desire Him above all else and delight in Him. It means setting aside your agenda and asking God to "will and to work for His good pleasure" (Philippians
2:13). 


     There is usually a season of sifting, of waiting on God for His timing. The Elliots waited five years before sensing God's time was ripe for a marital union.


     Draw near to God. Confess and repent of sin. Put your heart and spirit in neutral, telling God you wish only to be an instrument in His hands. Wait for His response through circumstance, His Word, or the counsel of other mature believers. He will show you what He wants you to do because He loves you.


     You can live "to the hilt" as you seek and obey the good and acceptable will of God.

 

 

Abraham Lincoln

 

For such a time as this

 

     A Baltimore newspaper published the following story during the Civil War: "Passing through one of the hospitals devoted exclusively to Confederate sick and wounded, President Lincoln's attention was drawn to a young Georgian....


     "Every stranger that entered (was) caught in his restless eyes, in hope of their being some relative or friend. President Lincoln observed this youthful soldier, approached and spoke, asking him if he suffered much pain. 'I do,' was the reply. 'I have lost a leg, and feel I am sinking from exhaustion.'


     "'Would you,' said Mr. Lincoln, 'shake hands with me if I were to tell you who I am?' The response was affirmative, 'There should be no enemies in this place.'


     "Then said the distinguished visitor, 'I am Abraham Lincoln, President of the
United States.' The young sufferer raised his head, looking amazed, and freely extended his hand, which Mr. Lincoln took and pressed tenderly for some time."


     Abraham Lincoln hated war. He despised the pain and suffering and division it brought. From the time he took office until the day the South surrendered, he was consumed with two goals; end the war and preserve the
Union.


     However, historians agree
Lincoln was never ready to preserve the Union at all costs. Slavery was a bitter word that rose in his mouth whenever he allowed himself to think of the "monstrous injustice" it brought. It is a "cancer," said Lincoln, "one that is threatening to grow out of control in a nation originally dedicated to the inalienable right of man." Yet he held no prejudice against the South. "They are just what we would be in their situation."


     However, the issue of slavery and the conviction that something must be done to stop its spread were enough motivation to persuade
Lincoln to pursue a career in politics. In 1846 after having served one term on the Illinois State Legislature (1834), he was elected to the U. S. Congress. Four major defeats (to the Congress in 1848; the Senate in 1855 and 1858; and the U. S. Vice Presidential nomination in 1856) kept him from public office until 1860 when he was chosen to represent the Republican party during the Presidential election. 


     Election day found him waiting nervously at the
Springfield, Illinois, telegraph office for election results. By day's end, friends and family addressed him as President-elect. "The North had swept Lincoln into office," writes author Russell Freedman. "In the South, his name hadn't even appeared on the ballot."


     
Lincoln was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, in 1809. Thanks to the devotion of his mother, Nancy, who died when he was quite young, and then his stepmother, Sarah Bush, Lincoln grew to regard the Bible as a foundational tool for life. Lincoln once said: "This great book [the Bible]...is the best gift God has given to man...But for it we could not know right from wrong."


     At the age of twenty-two
Lincoln moved to New Salem, Illinois, where he opened his first store. Later, he met and became close associates with Mentor Graham, the town's schoolmaster. It was through this friendship and by joining Graham's debate team that Lincoln discovered his talent as a public speaker.


     Friend and attorney, John Todd Stuart, urged
Lincoln to study law, saying it was a good profession, especially if he wanted to enter politics. Three years later, he passed his exams and began practicing law. With his future set, Lincoln married Mary Todd on November 4, 1842. The Lincolns had three sons—Robert, Willie, and Tad. 


     Despite his Christian upbringing,
Lincoln did not accept Christ as his Savior until later in life. While he governed the nation by many of the principles written in God's Word, he lacked a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. After the death of his son, Willie, Lincoln heard for the first time of Christ's personal love and forgiveness for each man and woman.


     He wrote: "When I left
Springfield, I asked the people to pray for me; I was not a Christian. When I buried my son—the severest trial of my life - I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg, and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ."


     Finally,
Lincoln had found the inner peace he longed for all his life. Following his salvation experience, he worshiped regularly at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and planned to make a public confession of his faith. The war was winding down. Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9—Palm Sunday, and Lincoln was re-elected President. He gave thanks to God for bringing a close to the war and began turning the nation's interest toward reconciliation and reconstruction. However, five days later on Good Friday, he was shot by an assassin's bullet.


     Throughout his life,
Lincoln suffered many defeats - enough to make most men give up. But not Abraham Lincoln. His dedication and commitment found merit in heaven. He believed he was chosen "for such a time as this." 


     In his annual message to Congress in December 1862,
Lincoln said, "We cannot escape history. We...will be remembered in spite of ourselves.... In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free.... The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just -- a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless" (Kunhardt, Lincoln).

 

John Elias

 

"This is the place where he (John Elias) bent his knees to pray"
 
The following is an excerpt from the biography of John Elias, the greatest preacher in Wales who was born on May 6, 1774 and died on June 15, 1841. I pray that you may become a prayer warrior like John Elias


"To him the study was the "Holy of Holies." By meditation and prayer he made it a hallowed spot. We are told that Martin Luther was a great man in prayer; when exceptionally busy it was his rule to give at least three hours per day to devotional exercises, because he felt that great work could not be done without much fervent prayer. In this respect, at least, John Elias was like unto him. A large proportion of the time allotted to the study was spent on his knees. The wife and children were fully aware of this fact; sometimes Mrs. Elias would, from the room beneath, hear the cry of his soul as he agonized before God for a message.

Entering the room after he had gone out she would often find the chair sprinkled with tears,--the tears of a man in anguish as to what he would say to the multitude. Whilst accompanying him in the carriage to the great preaching gatherings, she saw him many a time kneel down as they drove along to plead earnestly with God for "something to say" to the people. That seemed to be his one request, he wanted "something to say." He would have God speak unto him as unto the prophet Ezekiel, saying,---"So thou son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the WORD AT MY MOUTH, and warn them from me."

In repairing the roof of Elias's house, the tradesman fixed the ladder near the window of the study. In ascending to do the work he was tempted to look in, and saw the preacher prostrate on the floor of the study. Having finished work in the course of an hour or so, he descended, and lo! Mr. Elias was in the same posture. He became alarmed, informed the servant of what he had seen, and she assured him that all was well, her master was only praying.

"To live in his family," said the daughter, "was to a great degree heaven upon earth. I can never forget the light that followed our family worship and the pleasure and edification we found in conversation. And never can I forget the tears I saw on the chair in his study by which he bent his knees; though nothing was heard, we were well aware that he was pouring out a profusion of tears in his secret prayers. Many times did I observe him coming out from his chamber like Moses coming down from the mountain, with so much of the image of God upon his countenance that no one could look him in the face. The simplicity, the tenderness, the humility of his countenance almost compelled men to worship God when they saw him."

The wife of the Rev. John Jones, Talysarn, paid a visit to Mrs. Elias in her sorrow after the death of her honoured husband.

Accompanied by Mrs. Jones, the widow unlocked and entered the study for the first time after her bereavement,--pointing to the ground where the carpet had been quite worn out, she said,--
"This is the place where he bent his knees to pray. I often came to call him to breakfast and found him on his knees. And on this very spot I frequently wiped away a flood of tears. I saw him many a time with the tears flowing in streams down his face, and, from mere awe and reverence, I was not able to say a word. I remember going with him once to the Association at Bangor. We were driving in a small phaeton. My husband had the reins, but when we were drawing near to the town, and when some of the buildings of the city appeared in the distance, he suddenly threw me the reins and fell down on his knees praying fervently, the tears flowing down his cheeks. In great agony of mind lie cried out, 'Who is sufficient for these things?'"