The Pursuit of God – Book Review

Having just begun to read for the third time the wonderful work of A. W. Tozer “The Pursuit of God” I have to say it is one of the most challenging books I have ever read.  The author’s absolute and often desperate heart of longing to know God is evident on every page. His objective in this book is to impress on the reader the possibility and necessity of a deeper and more tangible relationship with God.

Tozer himself was born in Pennsylvania, Ohio in 1897 and became a Christian as a teenager after hearing a street preacher say, “if you don’t know how to be saved you must call on God. Immediately he went home and heeded the preachers advice.  Throughout his life he wrote more than 40 books including this one. Another one was “The knowledge of the Holy”.

After re-reading just the first chapter I find Myself echoing the heart of Tozer, “I have tasted your goodness Lord I am painfully conscious of my need of your grace. I am ashamed of my lack of longing for you. I so want to want you more. Begin in me a new work Lord, soften my heart, open my eyes anew. Let me hear your voice calling me away with you, then give me the courage and desire to follow.

In Jesus name.

Mags Kiernan.

[Editor’s Comment: We are very grateful to Mags for writing this book review and sharing her thoughts with us.  It is a great encouragement when folk share what they have been reading or listening to and how God has been speaking to them.

For anyone wishing to read this book it is still in print and is also available to read on line at Pursuit of God ]

Beautiful Women’s Night – Daughters of the King

Beautiful Women’s Night

Another Beautiful Women’s Night was held on the 13th March at the Enniscorthy Rugby Club Room. It was amazing to see the Club Rooms transformed into the pink and purple venue for the evening.

The theme of the night was “Who Am I?” Magdalene Burt sang the song “Who am I?”, written by Casting Crowns. Shirley Martin was the guest speaker and the title of her talk was “So who do you say you are? I’m a daughter of The King”. (see a transcript of the talk below)

It was a great night with foot washing and manicure baskets put out on the tables for the women to help each other beautify each others nails. Portrait photos were taken and a quiz took place. With over 100 women in attendance it was a successful event.

[Transcript of Shirley’s Talk]

So who do you say you are? I’m a daughter of The King!

It’s a privilege to be here tonight and I want to share with you some of the keys I have learnt over the years.

The title of my talk is “So who do you say you are? I am a daughter of the King”. Now that might sound arrogant but I want you to bear with me.

I want you to think about who you say you are. Not your roles in life like being a mother or a wife or daughter, but who you think you are. What does the voice inside your head say to you about who you are? Perhaps you don’t have a voice in your head, but I think most people do. It is the self talk we do and it varies depending on the situation. Who are you when you’re on your own? What about when you’re in a crowd of your friends? Or when you’re in a crowd of unfamiliar people? When you are facing a stressful situation? When all is right with the world around you? When someone compliments you for something you have done? Or compliments you for your appearance? Or complains about you? I think in all these situations we have a voice telling us who we are.

In different situation maybe someone else’s voice appears in your mind. In a stressful situation where you need to have your say or do a presentation maybe your old teacher’s voice appears and tells you you will never amount to anything. Maybe when you are going for a job interview your parents voice appears and says that you will never be as good as your sister so you wont be getting this job. Maybe you are getting dressed for a night out and the vision of the skinny waif like girl on TV appears in your mind and your think that you are not attractive and you are too fat so what is the point of trying to dress up.

How we feel about ourselves is often based on what others have said about us or what we perceive others to think about us. It can make life very uncomfortable and can ruin our lives. We never quite measure up to be the person we would like to be and are discontent with who we are.

For me I think my forties have been the best years of my life. I know who I am and am happy with being me, most of the time.

When I was younger, it’s quite a few years ago now, while I was doing my Occupational Therapy training, I had a very negative voice in my head. As far as I know it wasn’t someone else’s voice. I had loving parents, a good relationship with my siblings, did ok at school and had friends. But I had this voice that kept telling me I was useless. Useless particularly in social situations. It completely knocked my confidence in my own abilities and in who I was. So much so that I failed all four of my clinical placements in my third year. If a tutor questioned what I was doing and why, I would clam up. I knew, but I was never able to answer. Not great for a person who wanted to be in a people profession. My tutor had worked out what was going on and she took me aside one day and asked me to state three positive things about me. I couldn’t think of one. After some time she told me I had a good sense of humour and I was to think of that every time I told myself something negative. It was life changing. I suddenly realised that it was me that was telling myself all the lies and I could change that by being positive about myself. I gradually increased my repertoire of positive things and life was quite different so long as things were going OK.

My first job was in a Psychiatric unit working with clients who were going through life crises. I continued to be positive myself and tried to encourage the clients to be as well as a lot of them had depressive illnesses or suffered from anxiety and worry. It worked to a degree for them, but I realised I had something that they didn’t. They would make one step forward but then have a bad day and take three steps backward because they liked the feeling of being positive but fall back into depression when it didn’t work. I was a Christian and had God and I was beginning to realise that what he said about me in the Bible was true and I could take hold of that. He was unchanging and faithful. He was always the same. It didn’t depend on my moods or what was happening around me. I could stand and hold my head up high because I knew what he said about me.

What does God say about us in his word the Bible? He created us the way we are. He is happy with how we look and he has a purpose for us on this earth. I can remember a time back then when I was fed up with being me. I was walking along a beach and I told God that I wanted him to change me from being an introvert into an extrovert. Quite a big ask, but I figured God was big enough. Shortly after that I opened my Bible to a verse that said “who are you oh man to talk back to God and say why did you make me like this”. Wooo. That made me sit up. I had slapped God in the face and he wasn’t too happy about it. I realised that God was happy with who I was and wanted to use me as I was. It was a good thing to happen ‘cos from there I began to accept who I was and became content and happy to be me and it gave me a strength and confidence with who I was. It says in Jeremiah that he has a plan and purpose for us that is for our good. He has put us on this earth for a reason, we just have to figure out what that is. It also says in Jeremiah that he loves us with an everlasting love. That means His love will always be there, no matter what we do. My God loves me and you. It says that we are the apple of his eye.

Casting Crowns, the group that wrote the song Magdalene sang wrote another song. It goes like this:

But the waves they are calling out my name and they laugh at me,
Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep telling me
Time and time again “Boy you’ll never win”!!

But the chorus emphasises what I have just been talking about. It says:

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says “Do not be afraid”
And the voice of truth says “this is for my glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.

That voice, God’s voice, is far more reliable than the voice in my head which tells me lies.

I mentioned purpose before. One of the reasons God created Adam and Eve way back in Genesis is that he wanted to have a relationship with them. He still wants to have a relationship with us. Adam and Eve did something that made God unhappy and destroyed that relationship. We do the same types of things. We sin and do things that God said we are not to do. We so often want to do our own thing and don’t care about the consequences. We can’t have a relationship with God if we sin.

How often does that voice in our heads tell us we are not a good person because we know we have sinned. We feel guilty, ashamed and fearful of the consequences. Confessing our sins only helps for a short time because we go out and blow it again.

The song Mags sang says:

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me.

How could God look on me with love if I have sinned? It’s because of what he did. God didn’t like the situation of not being able to commune with men and women. He wanted that relationship. His solution was to send his Son. He sent Jesus to the earth. He lived amongst mankind and then died for mankind. In his death he took all our sins to the grave and left them there. It meant that we could approach God and talk directly too him. We don’t need to be ashamed or feel guilty, Jesus has taken all our sins. When we believe this we are set free and can stand tall. We can feel God’s love and we can commune with him. It has nothing to do with who we are or what we have done, it is all about what he has done and who he is.

Do you know that in the Bible it says that because of what Jesus did on the cross it has allowed us to be adopted into His family. It says we are joint heirs with Jesus. That means I am a daughter of The King as I initially said. I am a princess in the family of God. Wow that is quite an idea to get your mind around.

When I allow God to speak into my life and he tells me that he loves me, that he has good plans for me and that I am free from sin, I can go into situations of all types with my head held high and can quiet the voice inside that would tell me differently. He has said I do not need to fear. He has said He will always be with me. He has said he will care for me and protect me. My confidence does waver when I take my eyes off God and start to look to myself and what people around me say. But when I look to God and remember that the way he sees me and the reason he has created me does not change, I can have confidence in my God.

These keys can be your keys too if you believe in Jesus and what He has done through dying on the cross.

[Editor’s Comment: This report was submitted by Shirley Martin and we are very grateful to her for sharing with us.]

Joan’s Christian Walk

I became a Christian when I was 13 years old. I had heard plenty previously about the wrath of God and hell fire, all of which did nothing for me. I responded to God’s invitation to give my life to Jesus, when I heard about the love of God. I was overwhelmed by the fact that with all the people on this Earth that God loved me!

That was the beginning of my life’s journey with God. Sadly it has been a rough path, and I have let God down so many times, but He has always remained faithful to me, loving me, caring for me, and lifting me up when life was hard. There were many times when I didn’t feel him near me, but knew from his promises that he was there all the time…right beside me.

If you take Christianity seriously, it is a very difficult life. It goes against all our natural instincts. We don’t want to forgive our enemies. We don’t want to love the unlovable. We don’t want to fight for justice for the oppressed. Yet it has been the most wonderful and rewarding life there is.

Jesus is my father, my guide, my comforter, my counsellor, my friend and so much more. He gives me a peace and joy which nothing else in the World can give you. When we are not actually feeling that, which can be many times, He is still there loving and caring for us.

My favourite song which we sing is….No not by might, nor even power, but by your Spirit, Oh Lord. Healer of hearts, Binder of wounds, Lives that are lost restored. Flow through this Land, till every man, praises your name once more.

I am proof that these words are true. Jesus is restoring my life; He is healing my heart and binding my wounds. If anyone feels lost today, Jesus is longing to restore your life too. No matter what you have been through, or what you have done, there is no judgement and no condemnation if you bring it to Jesus and ask him to forgive you. He wants to make you a whole person. Thank God, He is still working in my life, slowly making me a whole person. If you have put your trust in Jesus and drifted away, He is longing to take you back to him.

The longer I walk with Jesus, the more excited I get, the more thankful I am to him, for saving me and the more I realize that I don’t deserve it. But He died for me and he died for you. I would publicly like to testify what a mighty God we serve and what an amazing Saviour is Jesus!

[Editor’s comment: This testimony was very kindly shared with us by Joan.  We are very grateful to her for giving us permission to publish this testimony.]