Saturday, May 12, 2012

Book Review: Experiencing the Presence of God

Experiencing the Presence of God: Teachings from the Book of Hebrews. A.W. Tozer. 2010. Regal (Gospel Light) 224 pages.

From chapter one: In the deep recesses of man's soul lies an overwhelming yearning toward the Creator. This is a common thread through all humanity, created in the image of God. Unless and until that desire is fully met, the human soul remains restless, constantly striving for that which is ultimately unattainable. 

While I'm not sure that this book is my favorite, favorite, favorite Tozer, I can definitely say that I LOVED this one. I read it for many reasons: a) the subject (this one is ALL about how Christians should seek to experience God daily in their lives. How they should be living in communion with God, and having an intimate relationship with their Lord and Savior) b) the author (I am just in a very Tozer mood at the moment!) c) the key references (I don't know about you, but I find Hebrews a bit intimidating. It can be a LOT to try to understand and absorb. There's a richness to it, but it is a richness wrapped in mystery and more mystery. I think this is especially true for contemporary readers. To fully understand this one, we need to LEARN the background of the Old Testament, learn all the details--great and small--about the Jewish religion. We have to learn the images, the concepts, we have to grasp their significance.)

There are fifteen chapters (or sermons) from his teachings from the book of Hebrews:

  • Striving Toward God's Presence
  • Hindrances on the Pathway to God's Presence
  • Man is Naturally Drawn Toward God's Presence
  • Our Personal Guide Into God's Presence
  • Man's Revolt Against God's Presence
  • The Nature of God's Presence Among Men
  • Finding True Freedom in God's Presence
  • Paving the Way Into God's Presence
  • Enjoying the Manifest, Conscious Presence of God
  • The "Sanctum Sanctorum" of God's Presence
  • The Dimension of God's Presence
  • Our Mutual Fellowship in God's Presence
  • The Threat to Our Delighting in God's Presence
  • Maintaining Our Spiritual Confidence in God's Presence
  • The Daily Practice of God's Presence

Each chapter concludes with a poem/hymn.

Purpose of the book: "This book is a small attempt to fan the flame of holy desire toward God. I hope you will catch the passion and press forward to delight in the conscious, manifest presence of God." (26)

Favorite quotes:

The most important thing we can devote ourselves to is giving attention to the things of God to save our soul. This must be an active, persistent and deliberate intent on our part, regardless of the difficulties that lie in our path. (30)

The great labor of the Church has always been to get people to give serious attention to spiritual matters. A great many pastors and preachers do not worry about this at all, because they do not expect anything and, therefore, they do not get it. But a man of God, with the burden of the Holy Spirit on him, will want to stir the people to serious attention. Until serious attention has been given to the claims of Christ, it is for us as if the Bible had never been written. (33)

Any religion that ignores the truth that man is fallen and separated from God is a sham religion. (57)

Redemption is wrought by God and not by man. There is not any place in the head of a man or in the fingers of a man, however skilled or brilliant, for redemptive plans or purposes. God purposed redemption in Christ Jesus before the world began, and it does not need any editing on my part or on the part of any living man. (97)

We have today what is called the relativity of morals. When you come to the things of God, open your Bible and put away this woozy idea of relativity, this floating standard of morals. (98)

God's words are not for me to edit and tinker with, but to believe and obey. (99)

Regarding God's Word, let us love it and live in it and eat it and drink it and lie down on it and walk on it and stand on it and swear by it and live by it and rest in it. (105)

Mark Twain famously said, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." It is very important that we get hold of the right words and know exactly what they mean. There has been a big effort in recent times to colloquialize Christianity. By that, I mean to get rid of all the old standard words we have used ever since English was spoken and put in their places words more familiar. When that happens, we lose the meaning when we lose the word that contains the meaning. (149)

Christian writers today are busy writing down to the people and making morons out of us. Have enough gumption and intellectual verve to learn the simple language of the Bible, that when the Word says "repent" it means a certain thing; and when it says "born again," it means a certain thing. Find out what it means. It would not take you a minute and half, and from that time on, until you die, you will know exactly what you mean when using that language. (151)

There is not a Christian alive but has to die, and die daily, to thoughts of self-importance. (209)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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