Saturday, August 11, 2007
WE KNOW IN PART
Be still, and know that I am God.
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only True God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I want to know Christ.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord7 Or who has been his counsellor?... For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
(Psalm 46:20; John 17:3; Philippians 3:/.0; Ephesians 3:17-19; Romans 11:33-36 - all NIV)
Do you realise that many of the world's greatest inspirational books have come from extremely busy people? Thousands have benefited from the masterly studies on the inner life written by A.W. Tozer, who had a crowded schedule as a Chicago pastor and editor. Augustine, J.l. Packer and others have demonstrated the possibility of being both busy and deeply conscious of God's presence at the same time. The Quaker poet, J.G. Whittier, held out the following promise:
Not to ease and aimless quiet Doth that inward answer tend, But to works of love and duty As our being's end Not to idle dreams and trances, Length of face, and solemn tone, But to faith, in daily striving And performance shown.
O'er life's humblest duties throwing Light the earthling never knew, Freshening all its dark waste places, As with Hermon's dew.
Not a vain and cold ideal, Not a poet's dream alone, But a presence warm and real, Seen and felt and known.
My intention is to instruct those who live in towns, in households... and who, by reason of their circumstances, are obliged to lead an ordinary life in outward show: who very often, under colour of an alleged impossibility, are not willing even to think of undertaking the devout life... while living in the midst of the pressure of worldly occupations. And I show them that... a vigorous and constant soul can live in the world without receiving any worldly taint, can find springs of sweet piety in the midst of the briny waters of the world...
St Francis de Sales, The Devout Life
How well, and with what practical results, do we know God?.
Divine knowledge is not as the light of the moon to sleep by, but as the light of the sun to work by.
William Secker, The Nonesuch Professor
Some don't know better as they grow older; they merely know more.
How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is demanding, but simple. It is that we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.
J.l. Packer, Knowing God
'Be still and know'. How can God give us visions when life is hurrying at a precipitate rate? I have stood in the National Gallery and seen people gallop round the chamber and glance at twelve of Turner's pictures in the space of five minutes. Surely we might say to such trippers, 'Be still, and know Turner!'
J.H. Jowett, Thirsting for the Springs
When Christ comes in, the wonder is not that one has emotion, but the wonder is that one can be so restrained.
E. Stanley Jones
Has the wonder of God broken in upon us in a vital way?
Wonder is the opposite of cynicism and boredom; it indicates that a person has heightened aliveness, is interested, expectant, responsive. It is essentially an 'opening' attitude... an awareness that there is more to life than one has fathomed, an experience of new vistas of life to be explored as well as new profundities to be plumbed.
In the divine Scriptures, there are shallows and there are deeps; shallows where the lamb may wade, and deeps where the elephant may swim.
John Owen, Works
When we cannot, by searching, find the bottom, we must sit down at the brink and adore the depths.
Matthew Henry, Commentary
The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.
I seem to have been only a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
(We) need no longer pause in fear to enter the Holy of Holies. God wills that we should push on into his presence and live our whole life there. This is to be known to us in conscious experience. It is more than a doctrine to be held, it is a life to be enjoyed every moment of every day.
The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the church is famishing for want of his presence. The instant cure of most of our religious ills would be to enter the presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and that God is in us.
What a broad world to roam in, what a sea to swim in is this God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
Knowledge is proud that he learned so much; Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
W. Cowper, Poems
Great saints and spiritual leaders have often displayed glaring differences from each other. Are we able to identify a common factor in their lives? I venture to suggest that the one vital quality which they had in common was spiritual receptivity. Something in them was open to heaven, something which urged them Godward... They had spiritual awareness and they went on to cultivate it until it became the biggest thing in their lives. They differed from the average person in that when they felt the inward longing, they did something about it. They acquired the lifelong habit of spiritual response. They were not disobedient to the heavenly vision.
A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
0 God, You are my God, earnestly I seek you; My soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1, NIV
Give to every believer a sweet sense of pardoned sins, a blessed consciousness of divine love, a holy peace of mind, a blessed restfulness in Christ. Give also perfect consecration, strong resolve to serve the Lord while here below to the utmost of our capacity. Give more receptiveness that we may be ready to hold. Lord, enlarge us; give much faith to believe great things and to lay hold of great things. Amen.
C.H. Spurgeon, Behold the Throne of Grace
O Lord, one thing I desire and seek, that I shall dwell in your presence and gaze, not glance, upon your beauty all the days of my life, in whatever circumstances of bustle and pressure l may find myself. l have tasted your goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. Draw me on to enter more deeply into a conscious sense of your presence, to know you in a more ravishing way that I may be a worshipper before I am a worker, that your work may be done in your way and that rivals for your affection may be diverted from my soul. Amen.
May his love be poured out into your heart by his Holy Spirit, may the knowledge of him be deeply impressed upon your mind, and may his strength enable you to keep on keeping on. Amen.
>From Rowland Croucher ed., Still Waters Deep Waters, Albatross/Lion, 1987/1998, chapter 3