Posted by Jerry White on Aug 8, 2016
“What is the enjoyment of heaven? Not merely exemption from trial, freedom from sorrow, rest from toil, and release from conflicts—oh no! It is the presence, the full unclouded presence of our Father there. To be with Christ, to behold His glory, to gaze upon His face, to hear His voice, to feel the throbbing of His bosom, to bask in the effulgence of God’s presence—oh, this is heaven, the heaven of heaven!
The twilight of this glory we have here on earth. ‘I am not alone,’ each sorrowful and banished soul can exclaim, ‘because the Father is with me.’ Yes, beloved, your own Father; thou shall call Him your Father. In Jesus, He is your reconciled, pacified Father, whose thoughts that He thinks of you are all peace, and whose ways that He takes with you are all love. The presence, the voice, the smile of a parent, how precious and soothing, especially when that presence is realized, that voice is heard, and that smile is seen in the dark, desolate hour of adversity.
God is our heavenly Parent. His presence, His care, His smiles are ever with His children…. He is with you to cheer your loneliness, to sweeten your solitude, to sanctify your sorrow, to strengthen your weakness, to shield your person, to pardon your sins, and to heal all your diseases. In your deep solitude, listen to His own touching words: ‘Fear thou not; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee: yea. I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness’ (Isa. 41:10).”
Octavius Winslow (1808-1878)
Morning Thoughts, 399-400
Posted by Jerry White on Aug 1, 2016
“We live but once. The years of childhood, when once they pass, are gone forever. It matters not how ardently we may wish to live them over; it avails us nothing. What is gone is gone.
So it is with other stages of life. The past is no longer ours. It has gone beyond our reach. Regardless of our social standing, bank accounts and investments, education, or anything else—we cannot reach back. What we have made of our past days shall remain. There is no power in heaven or on earth that can change our yesterdays. The record of our past stands forth in bold and ineffaceable characters, open to the all-seeing eyes of God. There it stands, and one day we shall give an account of it.
The present moment alone is ours. Today is a day that we never had before, which we shall never have again. It rose from the great ocean of eternity and again sinks into its unfathomable depths.”
Thomas DeWitt Talmage
Fill Me With Hope, April 11
Someone has said that the apostle Paul had two dates on his calendar, today and that day. He lived today for that coming day before the Lord. It will be our eternal loss if we do not live today for that day in our Lord’s presence. The Lord Jesus lived each of His days for the eternal day. Our motivating motto can be: DOING EVERYTHING WITH ETERNITY IN VIEW.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV)
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 25, 2016
“It would seem that admission to the inner circle of deepening intimacy with God is the outcome of deep desire. Only those who count such intimacy a prize worth sacrificing anything else for are likely to attain it. If other intimacies are more desirable to us, we will not gain entry to that circle.
The place on Jesus’ breast is still vacant, and open to any who are willing to pay the price of deepening intimacy. We are now, and we will be to the future, only as intimate with God as we really choose to be.”
J. Oswald Sanders
Enjoying Intimacy With God, 17
You will seek and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.
Jeremiah 29:13-14 (ESV)
Saints in the Bible speak of gazing on the Lord, thirsting for God, wanting to know Him, desiring to see His glory, meditating on Him, asking for His presence, waiting for Him in silence, and other terms that express this longing. Saints through the ages have testified through their writings of having this same desire. Augustine wrote, “God thirsts to be thirsted after.” Jonathan Edwards spoke often of what he called “vehement longings of soul.” It is easy for us to agree that desiring God’s presence is good. It is simple for us to agree on the importance of seeking Him diligently. More is needed, however. Ruthless honesty with ourselves is required if we are going to make any progress in our pursuit of God. Am I really like the deer panting for water (Psalm 42:1)? Do I truly anticipate the hour when I can draw aside to be alone with the Lord Jesus (Psalm 42:2)? Am I really content with my present level of intimacy with Him? Or am I willing to make disciplined choices necessary in my daily schedule so that my spiritual thirst can be generously quenched by heaven’s pure water? The Lord alone can work in one’s heart so it is stirred with fresh thirst for Him. He will compassionately answer His child who humbly asks with a believing heart.
Lord, as I diligently seek You, please give me a growing thirst for You.
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 18, 2016
“God’s people have no assurance that the dark experiences of life will be held at bay, much less that God will provide some sort of running commentary on the meaning of each day’s allotment of confusion, boredom, pain, or achievement. It is no great matter where we are, provided we see that the Lord has placed us there, and that He is with us.”
“We are moved by the act of God. Omniscience holds no conference. Infinite authority leaves no room for compromise. Eternal love offers no explanations. The Lord expects to be trusted. He disturbs us at will. Human arrangements are disregarded, family ties ignored, business claims put aside. We are never asked if it is convenient.”
Samuel Chadwick, quoted by J. Oswald Sanders Enjoying Intimacy With God, 97
In your darkest night the Lord of love has not forgotten you. The hand that guides you is nail scared because He loves you. Your Father who directs your steps sacrificed His all for you in His Son. When you have unanswered questions and heaven seems silent you can know your Shepherd is tending you. Jesus said to a father in a dark time of receiving word of his daughter’s death, “Do not fear, only believe” (Luke 8:50, ESV).
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 11, 2016
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, ESV)
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (John 14:2, ESV)
In these turbulent days it is good and profitable to remember that this is a temporary journey towards a glorious destination. Easily we can be so occupied with looking down to where our feet tread that we fail to look up to the beautiful home that will be ours forever.
One of my favorite writers, Octavius Winslow (1808-1878), wrote:
“We are but wayfarers at an inn, abiding only for a night. Here we have no abiding city; we are strangers and sojourners, as all our fathers were. But this, beloved, is the reconciling, animating thought: we are journeying to the mount of God. We are on our way to the good land which the Lord our God has promised us, to the kingdom and the mansion which Jesus has gone to take possession of and to prepare for us. In a word—and this image is the climax of the blissful prospect—we are hastening to our “Father’s house” the home of the whole family in heaven and in earth, the residence of Christ, the dwelling place of God. Each believer in Jesus is journeying to this. The road is difficult; the desert is tedious and sometimes perilous from its smoothness, or painful from its roughness; its confinement now wearing, it’s intricacy now embarrassing. But who will complain of the path that conducts him to his home? Who would yield to the sensation of fatigue when journeying to an eternal rest?” (Morning Thoughts, 336)
Lord, I want to run my race faithfully for You on earth while I look forward to coming Home. Amen!
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 4, 2016
God’s kind of love is the strongest and most compelling motivation of all motivations. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son (John 3:16). Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends(John 15:13). If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15). The Greek word agape is used in all three references. This indicates it is the powerful motivator for sacrificial actions—to give all one can give, to lay down one’s life for another, to obey at all cost. An excellent definition for agape is “the sustained direction of one’s will toward the highest good of another regardless of the cost.”
The greatest commandment according to Jesus is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27).This is a commandment to be obeyed. Obedience is a choice of the will, not first and foremost a matter of feelings. One chooses to obey a command, with or without affectionate feelings. Anyone can choose with their will. Aligning one’s will to obey God’s command allows the Holy Spirit to unleash His power to make the choice real in one’s heart and soul. Without a deliberate choice, nothing will change. When the choice is made to love God with all of one’s being, the Holy Spirit is free to bear His fruit, and the fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22). Being motivated by God’s love filling the soul is why His yoke is easy, His burden is light and His commands are not burdensome. God’s kind of love is a delightful, satisfying and fulfilling motivation.
To regard lightly the Lord’s commands is because of not loving Jesus. To tolerate known sin in one’s life is because of not loving Jesus. Not to spend enjoyable time alone with the Lord is because of not loving Jesus. Not to pursue worshiping the Lord as first priority is because of not loving Jesus. To neglect giving of one’s money freely and joyfully is because of not loving Jesus.
The critical question is, do you love the Lord Jesus with all of your being? Have you made a deliberate and sustained choice with your will to seek the Lord’s highest good no matter what it may cost you? If Jesus asked you, as He did Simon Peter, Do you love (agape) Me? What would your answer be? Do you want the Lord Jesus to be blessed by your love for Him?
Posted by Jerry White on Jun 27, 2016
My people are bent on turning away from me. Hosea 11:7 (ESV)
“The divine life has its dwelling-place in a fallen fleshly nature. It is encompassed by all the corruptions, weaknesses, infirmities, and assaults of the flesh. There is not a moment that it is not exposed to assaults from within. There is not a natural faculty of the mind or throb of the heart that is favorable to its prosperity, but all are contrary to its nature, and hostile to its advance. As there is nothing internal that is favorable to a state of grace, so there is nothing external that encourages it forward. It has many and violent enemies. Satan is ever on the watch to assault it. The world is ever presenting itself in some new form of fascination and power to weaken it. A thousand temptations are perpetually striving to ensnare it. Thus its internal and external enemies are leagued against it. Is it then any wonder that faith should sometimes tremble, that grace should sometimes decline, and that the pulse of the divine life should often beat faintly and feebly? The saints in every age have felt and lamented this.”
Morning Thoughts, 251-252
“If we hope to overcome them [the spiritual forces of evil], we shall need to bear in mind that they have no moral principles, no code of honour, no higher feelings. They recognize no Geneva Convention to restrict or partially civilize the weapons of their warfare. They are utterly unscrupulous, and ruthless in the pursuit of their malicious designs.”
John R. W. Stott
The Message of Ephesians, 264
Posted by Jerry White on Jun 20, 2016
Grief. Loneliness. Suffering. Rejection. Betrayal. Disability. False accusation. Pain comes to us through many avenues, but for God’s children it only comes with the Father’s permission. Whatever comes has God’s fingerprints on it because He is molding His chosen vessel for His eternal glory. The clay on the potter’s wheel must be kneaded, pressed, shaped and refined for His use. It is painful—sometimes deeply painful—but the sufferings now are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed to us in the final day (Romans 8:18). Self wants to focus on the pain. One’s heart must focus on the Potter who is molding the clay with tenderest love. In the midst of pain God’s promises are our anchor, His love our comfort, and His faithfulness our hope. These are steadfast, true, and sure.
B. J. Hoff wrote:
Pain, you are a terrible deceiver…
parading yourself as an angry foe,
pretending to be unyielding.
You shadow me, hound me, taunt me,
as if by your mere presence
you could conquer my spirit.
But I have learned to measure
your ultimate strength,
not by how much hurt you can inflict,
but by how much of God’s grace
you call forth.
not by how deeply you can wound,
but by how frail you really are
when put in perspective by His power…
And I have learned at last,
to believe that, even at your worst,
you can never outlast a promise of God…
you can never outlive his love.
Posted by Jerry White on Jun 13, 2016
“God is perfectly capable of taking care of His own affairs, and the reason so little is being accomplished by the Church of Jesus Christ today is that we have all too often organized God out of business. Millions of man hours and countless millions of dollars are being misspent on man’s promotional activity, unasked, on God’s behalf. This is not to challenge the sincerity of those who are thus employed, but we so often confuse bustle for business, and plant for power, and perspiration for inspiration. What an embarrassment it would be to you if you had a pair of hands that always tried to demonstrate how busy they were! Do you expect your fingers to tell you each morning what their program is for the day, and then demonstrate their enthusiasm by a vigorous show of uncontrolled activity? Do you think you would be successful in playing the piano on that basis? I would not like to ask a barber who had hands like that to shave me! Surely, what the head demands of every member of the body is restful availability, and prompt response to every impulse of the head in instant obedience, producing the co-ordinated activity of the whole, and the orderly fulfillment of that purpose to which each, as a member of the team, has been committed in particular. The challenge we hear so often today in the name of consecration is ‘Do more! Give more! Be more!’ Go! Go! Go! But God says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’! In other words, quit the panic! Just let God be God!”
Major W. Ian Thomas
The Saving Life of Christ, 64, (1962 edition)
When the Lord Jesus prepared His disciples for His departure from earth, He gave them simple instructions. Among several key commands He left was this one, “Abide in me, and I in you (John 15:4). In simple words, “Obey My Word; follow My Spirit.” Acts recounts how the Holy Spirit empowered the early believers and faithfully led them to fulfill God’s Word. Kingdom growth did not happen because of their astute planning and promotional skills. God’s agenda was accomplished because they learned how to abide in Christ and obey His Spirit’s guidance. Total availability to obey His Word and His Spirit’s promptings is still His way.
Posted by Jerry White on Jun 6, 2016
It is far better to know God’s presence by faith than to know it by feelings.
This generation wants to feel something, whether it is the loud music from huge speakers at a concert, or the thunderous sound of explosions in a movie theatre, or stirring praise music in church. Political correctness has become an issue because of various sensitivities. We are instructed that we must not hurt anyone’s feelings so everyone feels included and their feelings are protected.
In recent years among Christians an increasing emphasis on sensing or feeling God’s presence has occurred. I have been a part of this, but I have had a growing discomfort about it. Has this become a badge of God’s blessing upon one’s ministry? Does it represent God’s approval? Is it a sign of success? Oh, there are times when our Lord graciously draws near and His presence deeply affects us. We bow and humbly worship. But just because our feelings are stirred up does not mean the presence of God has been revealed among us. Beautiful praise music with stirring words can move our souls to tears but it is not necessarily because of God’s presence.
Faith pleases God; good feelings please me. This raises a question. Do I want to please and honor Him or do I want Him to bless and please me? I cannot think of a Scripture where the early believers emphasized feeling God’s presence. There were times of dramatic encounters with the living God, but they were the exception, not the rule.
Through faith on the basis of God’s sure Word I can always know God’s presence, and this honors Him. Feelings, or sensing, has nothing to do with it. Believing God’s promises has everything to do with it. He promised His invisible presence repeatedly. The issue is, will I believe it, receive it and enjoy it with a glad, rejoicing and thankful heart? Knowing God’s presence by faith delivers me from needing anything other than God’s promise. I do not need special music, or a worship gathering, or a worship leader. Alone in a quiet place one can profoundly know the Lord’s presence again and again without any outside stimulus. An open believing heart receives, and this faith pleases and honors God. When He is pleased there will be moments when He gives Himself so there is a deep sensing of His nearness.