Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Spiritual Appetite"

For those of you who truly love to blog and express whats going on inside your world (mind)..I ask..How do you capture all your thoughts when away from the computer..I was at the gym this morning and I began to think about this blog and all of a sudden a stream of ideas came pouring into my mind and for about 10-15 minutes..I was overwhelmed with thoughts I wanted to share that might be fit for consumption but also to journal my thoughts for later that leads me to this composition..

"Spiritual Appetite" - We all have some degree of spiritual appetite and what we like to feast on and what barely nourishes the soul..Let me lay this out how it came to me.. By the way I am speaking about books here in this mental arena, so stay with me.. As soon as I made it home, I immediately begin to jot some notes down from some of the thoughts that raced thru my mind..I ran to my bedroom to the bookshelf that houses our collection of books.. As I peered over the random sample of literary works, I begin to label them as food..well sorta..Some are appetizers, some are meals, some are even desserts..and then there are also a few that would be like a green vegetable to a child..(or at least to my children)just difficult to choke down..(now please tell me I am not the only one who has read a book because of the wonderful title and plowing thru it felt like work..not much for the spiritual taste buds if you know what I mean)..AND THEN there are those you would label the Creme de la Crem'(msp)..The choicest Steak, the Most favorite pleasing to your senses meal..The Ruth's Chris' Sizzling, crackling with butter Steak..That meal..The one that not only noursihes the body but sets off a montage of pleasing emotions as it is consumed, bite by bite (chapter by chapter) much so that you just cant bear the thought of taking in your last bite.......

Well That leads me to the Book that is representative of that meal.. A book so spiritually nourishing and satisfying that it deserves a class of its own.. A book that is so well written that it flows like milk and honey from the writers point of view.. A piece of literary work that no Christian who THIRSTS for God should ever go without enjoying its contents..So amazingly insightful, tremendously challenging and capable of setting a new course in life.. Can you almost taste it.. Spiritually speaking that is..Does the mere description of it causes you spiritual faculties to salivate..It should..but let me digress before I divulge the Title of the book of this magnitude.

Appetizers - Spinach and Artichoke Dip (Man of Character in a World of Compromise), Quesadillas (When good men are tempted), Fried Mushrooms (Selling Among Wolves without Joining the Pack), Loaded Cheese Fries ( How a Man Prays for His Family), Cheese sticks ( Knowing God's Will)

Meals (everyday meals...if you will)- Pepperoni Pizza (God! Do You Hear Me?), Chicken and Broccoli w/ Garlic Sauce (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life), Hamburgers and Hotdogs(When Bad things happen to Good People)

Meals (reserved for Date Night- Special) - Babyback Ribs(The Case for Christ), Chicken Marsala from Olive Garden (Guiding Your Child Toward God), Ranchiladas from On the Border(The Battlefield of the Mind)

Special Meals on Rare Occassions but Oh so Good - Melting Pot Fondue ( Mere Christianity), Sullivans Steakhouse (The Divine Defense), Choose your own favorite(Purpose Driven Life)

Desserts - Tony's Milkshake ( Shepharding a Child's Heart), Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake( She Calls Me Daddy), Divinity (Strongwilled Child)

and then the ..........................

Creme de la Crem' - The Best of the Best - The one so Good that nothing else compares Meal - Ruth's Chris Steak and that book for me would be " The Pursuit of God by Aiden W Tozer..aka AW Tozer..

Folks I took this much time and detail to lay this out because I am convinced in my brief 36 years of existence, this has been the most spiritually satisfying, challenging life altering book I have ever picked up..Before this book was Mere Christianity in its place(although my spiritual infancy did not allow me to grasp much of the deepness CS Lewis had to share)but after reading "The Pursuit of God" I felt like a changed man..Never ever would I be the same.. My perspective on life and my walk (run) with the Lord had taken on new meaning, a new direction to some degree, and higher level of understanding.. I am forever a changed man after consuming such a meal..

Let me just share a few excerpts from the first couple of chapters that is but a sampling of a Gourmet Masterpiece...

(This is the exact email I sent to my beloved wife when I shared with her the journey I was embarking on as I begin to read this book)

********Hey I wanted to share some of the wisdom from AW Tozer from his book ( The Pursuit of God) I was reading last night..This man is as deep as CS Lewis and truly has a grasp of the Godhead like few others...Let me give you some excerpts from his Book

This is how he ends his preface and I must say this set the tone for what is about to be a spiritual journey not yet known to me, but anxiously awaiting I am

"This book is a modest attempt to aid God's hungry children so to find Him. Nothing here is new except in the sense that it is a discovery which my own heart has made of spiritual realities most delightful and wonderful to me. Others before me have gone much further into these holy mysteries than I have done, but if my fire is not large it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at its flame"

Chp 1 - Following Hard after God

"The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. Faith may now be exercised without a jar to the moral life and without embarrassment to the Adamic ego. Christ may be "received" without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver. The man is "saved", but he is not hungry nor thirsty for God. In fact, he is specifically taught to be satisfied and is encouraged to be content with little"

" You and I are in little what God is in large. Being made in His image we have within us the capacity to know Him. In our sins we lack only the power. The moment the Holy Spirit has quickened us to life in regeneration our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition. That is the heavenly birth without which we cannot see the kingdom of God. It is however, not an end but an inception, for now begins the glorious pursuit , the hearts happy exploration of the infinite riches of the Godhead. That is where we begin, I say, but where we stop no man has yet discovered, for there is in the awful and mysterious depths of the Triune God neither limit nor end"

" The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go,one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and has it purely, legitimately and forever"

and this one which stirred tremendous emotion inside my spirit

Chp 2 - The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing

Speaking of Abraham " God let the suffering old man go through with it up to the point where He knew there would be no retreat, and then forbade him to lay a hand upon the boy. To the wondering Patriarch He now says in effect " It's all right Abraham. I never intended that you should actually slay the lad. I only wanted to remove him from the temple of your heart that I might reign unchallenged there". I wanted to correct the perversion that existed in your love

And now listen to the beautiful which words become sweet like no other I have read

(end of Chp 1)
" Oh God I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul " Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away." Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.. In Jesus' name..Amen"

and the best one so far

(end of Chp 2)
" Father, I want to know Thee, but my cowardly heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from the Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there.. In Jesus' name. Amen"

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