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Manna for the Soul:   Previous Manna Messages

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  Mistaking Effect for Cause  

No matter how sincere they may be, ministers without discernment are sure to err. Their conclusions are inevitably false because their reasoning is mechanical and without inspiration. I hear their error in our pulpits and read it in our religious periodicals; and it all sounds alike: revived churches engage in foreign missions; hence let us plunge into missionary activity and spiritual refreshing is sure to follow. The healthy church wins souls; let us begin to win souls and we will surely be revived.

The early Church enjoyed miracles, so let?s begin to expect mighty signs and wonders and we will soon be like the early Church. We have neglected the ?social implications? of the gospel; let us engage in political activities and charitable endeavors and all will be well again. Miserable counselors these, and physicians of no value. Their advice is not only poor; it is spiritually damaging.

What doctor in his right mind would tell a patient dying of tuberculosis, ?Healthy men play football; go out and play ball and you will regain your health?? Such advice given under such circumstances would reveal only that effect was being mistaken for cause; and that is exactly what is happening these days in religious circles. The effects of revival are being mistaken for the causes of revival. And this to the confusion of everyone concerned and to the effective blocking of the spiritual refreshing for which so many are praying.

— A. W. Tozer

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  Power in Prayer  

No doubt by praying we learn to pray, and the more we pray the oftener we can pray, and the better we can pray. He who prays in fits and starts is never likely to attain to that effectual, fervent prayer which availeth much.

Great power in prayer is within our reach, but we must go to work to obtain it. Let us never imagine that Abraham could have interceded so successfully For Sodom if he had not been all his lifetime in the practice of communion with God.

Jacob's all-night at Peniel was not the first occasion upon which he had met his God. We may even look upon our Lord's most choice and Wonderful prayer with His disciples before His Passion as the flower and fruit of His many nights of devotion, and of His often rising up a great while before day to pray.

If a man dreams that he can become mighty in prayer just as he pleases, he labors under a great mistake. The prayer of Elias, which shut up heaven and afterwards opened its floodgates, was one of the long series of mighty prevailings with God.

Oh, that Christian men would remember this! Perseverance in prayer is necessary to prevalence in prayer.

Those great intercessors, who are not so often mentioned as they ought to be in connection with confessors and martyrs, were nevertheless the grandest benefactors of the church; but it was only by abiding at the mercy-seat that they attained to be such channels of mercy to men. We must pray to pray, and continue in prayer that our prayers may continue.

— Charles H. Spurgeon

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  God Exegesis  

There is only one Man whom we can trust to follow. That Man is Jesus Christ. Why is He different from any other person? Why do I refuse to follow other people, and yet follow this Man? Of no other person can it be said, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (1:14). Of no other person from Adam to now can it be said, "He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).

Of no one else can it be said that three days after He had gone into the grave He rose again. Of no other person can it be said that while they beheld Him, ...he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:9-11).

This is the King of glory, this Man; and this Man is the one who says, "Give yourself to me. Surrender to me and concentrate upon me. Be caught in the spell of the irresistible charm."

— A. W. Tozer

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  Costly Discipleship  

In our eagerness to make converts I am afraid we have lately been guilty of using the technique of modern salesmanship, which is of course to present only the desirable qualities in a product and ignore the rest. We go to men and offer them a cozy home on the sunny side of the brae.

If they will but accept Christ He will give them peace of mind, solve their problems, prosper their business, protect their families and keep them happy all day long. They believe us and come, and the first cold wind sends them shivering to some counselor to find out what has gone wrong; and that is the last we hear of many of them.

The teachings of Christ reveal Him to be a realist in the finest meaning of that word. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find anything visionary or overoptimistic. He told His hearers the whole truth and let them make up their minds. He might grieve over the retreating form of an inquirer who could not face up to the truth, but He never ran after him to try to win him with rosy promises. He would have men follow Him, knowing the cost, or He would let them go their ways.

All this is but to say that Christ is honest. We can trust Him. He knows that He will never be popular among the sons of Adam and He knows that His followers need not expect to be. The wind that blows in His face will be felt by all who travel with Him, and we are not intellectually honest when we try to hide that fact from them.

— A. W. Tozer

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  My Choice Is His Choice  

He shall choose our inheritance for us. (Psalm 47:4)

Our enemies would allot us a very dreary portion, but we are not left in their hands. The Lord will cause us to stand in our lot, and our place is appointed by His infinite wisdom. A wiser mind than our own arranges our destiny, The ordaining of all things is with God, and we are glad to have it so; we choose that God should choose for us. If we might have our own way we would wish to let all things go in God's way.

Being conscious of our own folly, we would not desire to rule our own destinies. We feel safer and more at ease when the Lord steers our vessel than we could possibly be if we could direct it according to our own judgment. Joyfully we leave the painful present and the unknown future with our Father, our Savior, our Comforter.

O my soul, this day lay down thy wishes at Jesus' feet! If thou hast of late been somewhat wayward and willful, eager to be and to do after thine own mind, now dismiss thy foolish self, and place the reins in the Lord's hands. Say, "He shall choose." If others dispute the sovereignty of the Lord and glory in the free will of man, do thou answer them, "He shall choose for me." It is my freest choice to let Him choose. As a free agent, I elect that He should have absolute sway.

— Charles H. Spurgeon

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  God's Soverign Work Through Suffering  

God permits some of His children to pass through floods of trouble, and through the furnace of affliction. The Psalmist says, "We went through fire and through water: but Thou broughtest us into a wealthy place" (Psalm 66:12). He says again, "...thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress..." (Psalm 4:1). If we want to be bread to the hungry, then God may take us through the mill of sorrow and suffering.

The path that Joseph trod led him through the valley of humiliation and suffering, but after he was on the throne, he said to his brethren who had sold him, "Ye thought evil against me: but God meant it unto good... to save much people alive" (Genesis 50:20).

Sorrow, suffering and disappointments are God's chariots to bring us to a fruitful and wealthy place. We are prone to see the seamy side, the knots and tangled threads; but, afterward we shall see the other side, the pattern with its beautiful design of many colors, wrought into the needlework which caused us so much sorrow and pain. Job had a blessed afterward as we read, "So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning..." (Job 42:12).

— S. J. Grabill

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  Holy Violence  

The exercises of the worship of God are contrary to nature; therefore, there must be a provoking of ourselves to them. The movement of the soul toward sin is natural, but its movement toward heaven is violent. The stone moves easily to the center. It has an innate propensity downward, but to draw up a millstone into the air is done by violence because it is against nature. So to lift up the heart to heaven in duty is done by violence and we must provoke ourselves to it. What is it to provoke ourselves to duty? It is to awaken ourselves and shake off spiritual slothfulness. Let us then examine whether we put forth this holy violence for heaven.

Do we set time apart to call ourselves to account and to try our evidences for heaven? "My spirit made diligent search" (Psalm 77:6). Do we take our hearts, as a watch, all in pieces to see what is amiss and to mend it? Are we curiously inquisitive into the state of our souls? Are we afraid of artificial grace, as we are of artificial happiness? Do we use violence in prayer? Is there fire in our sacrifice? Is the wind of the Spirit filling our sails, causing unutterable groans (Romans 8:26)? Do we pray in the morning as if we were to die at night? Do we thirst for the living God? Are our souls enlarged with holy desires? "There is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee" (Psalm 73:25). Do we desire holiness as well as heaven? Do we desire as much to look like Christ as to live with Christ? Is our desire constant? Is this spiritual pulse ever beating?

Are we skilled in self-denial? Can we deny our ease, our aims, our interests? Can we cross our own will to fulfill God's? Can we behead our beloved sin? To pluck out the right eye requires violence. (Matthew 18:9). Are we lovers of God? It is not how much we do, but how much we love. Does love command the castle of our hearts? Does Christ's beauty and sweetness constrain us? (2 Corinthians 5:14). Do we love God more than we fear hell? Do we keep our spiritual watch? Do we set spies in every place, watching our thoughts, our eyes, our tongues? When we, have prayed against sin, do we watch against temptation? Do we press after further degrees of sanctity? "Reaching forth unto those things which are before" (Philippians 3:13). A good Christian is a wonder; he is the most contented yet the least satisfied. He is contented with a little of the world, but not satisfied with a little grace.

How violent Christ was about our salvation! He was in agony; He "continued all night in prayer" (Luke 6:12). He wept, He fasted, He died a violent death; He rose violently out of the grave. Was Christ so violent for our salvation, and does it not become us to be violent who are so intimately concerned in it? Christ's violence was not only satisfactory, but exemplary. It was not only to appease God, but to teach us. Christ was violent in dying to teach us to be violent in believing.

—   By Thomas Watson

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  Progressive Growth  

Whenever a new vision is presented to the trusting soul a new crisis is created for that soul, and the soul will either obey and march into larger life, or disobey and turn backward. The man or woman who has the largest, fullest knowledge of Christ is the man or woman who is most conscious that he or she has hardly yet begun to see His glory. The Holy Spirit... is forever unveiling to the eyes of faithful, watching souls the glory of Christ; and as each new glory is revealed it calls the soul to some new adventure, to some new sacrifice... to some new area of spiritual growth.

Every response to light means fuller understanding and enlarged capacity for further revelation. The true Christian life is a growth, which finds no maturity in this world; the ultimate is never reached in this land of shadows. There is no exhausting of the light and glory and beauty of Christ, and if He has not startled and shamed me recently it is because somewhere in the past I disobeyed and have lost my power to see. Sanctification is progressive, the Spirit of God patiently leading us from point to point in life of faith and light and love, and forevermore astonishing us with new unveilings of the glory of our Master.

For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  (2 Corinthians 4:6)

—   By G. Campbell Morgan

"Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist,
and into them God enters suffering inorder that they might have existence."

Leon Bloy



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"When to seek God has become life and to glorify God has become self, then you have truly found God."