A Suffering Savior

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 27, 2008

Expressing thankfulness for heaven’s incomparable and incomprehensible gift of the Lord Jesus Christ should always be clothed with a sense of inadequacy. Thoughts, songs, words and emotions can never express in a worthy manner gratitude for what the Lord Jesus did in His humble life and for what He endured for our sake and His Father’s glory. He did this for one reason—pure love—unfathomable love for you and for me.

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:3 (ESV)

“All to Him had been toil and suffering, trial and sorrow. Wearisome had been His pilgrimage, laborious His life, humiliating its every scene, and painful its every incident.
Creatures the best and fondest had disappointed Him, sources of the most promising created good had failed Him, and the hour of His deepest necessity and woe found Him treading the wine-press alone, forsaken by man, deserted by God! An atmosphere of sin had enveloped Him on every side; forms of suffering and pollution each moment flitted before His eye, and sounds of blasphemy and woe fell at each step upon His ear. At whatever point He turned, He saw His Father’s name dishonored, His Spirit grieved, His dignity outraged, His teaching despised, His gospel rejected, and His authority trampled under foot by men swearing allegiance to another and rival sovereign.”
Octavius Winslow
Morning Thoughts, July 13

Posted in Worship

Healing By Agape Love

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 24, 2008

“It is in the expression of agape love that healing of divisions may be found. On one occasion, the Moravian church in Germany was threatened with dissension. Count Zinzendorf suggested that instead of argument, they should meet together and study the first epistle of John. Day after day they met and read; then on August 13, 1727, a great thing happened.
They went to Berthelsdorf for their love feast, their agape. As they spoke and prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and a thrill went through the waiting company. They turned to each other and said, ‘What is this?’ Surely this must be the Spirit of Pentecost.’ Afterward, when they were asked to describe what had happened, they answered, ‘That day we learned to love; to love Christ and to love each other.’ And they never yet have returned to their argument. Instead of disputing, they started a prayer meeting which, in relays, lasted without intermission for over a hundred years.”
J. Oswald Sanders
Enjoying Intimacy with God, pp. 92-93

The Lord Jesus said that agape love would be the distinctive mark of His followers. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35, ESV). This love is not mere human emotion or affection. It is not ordinary human love. This is heaven’s brand of love—self-sacrificing, constant, pure, and humble. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and cannot exist apart from Him filling your soul. It is love that denies self in order to seek the highest good of another. It covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). It forgives and is patient with others, is full of compassion and is kind.
Do you diligently pursue and pray for agape love to be the expression of your life like a river of water flowing from you? This is what the Lord Jesus wants for you.

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more.

Philippians 1:9 (ESV)

Posted in Love For Others

Persistent Obedience

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 19, 2008

“This is the ‘instant’ age; if a thing is to be had, it must be had now. The idea goes something like this: The promises are there, claim them at this very moment and the prize is yours, whether it is instant sanctification, instant power, or instant healing. We live in an impatient society and the idea of humble submission, patient waiting and steady perseverance does not make a ready appeal. But the way of Christ was the way of persistent obedience. All his life was given to it. He strongly resisted the temptation to have it affected in a spectacular and supernatural moment. He resolutely pursued the will and the purpose of God. He knew that it could not be achieved in a magical minute.”
Raymond Brown
The Message of Hebrews

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
Hebrews 10:36 (ESV)

The Lord Jesus patiently waited while working as a carpenter in Nazareth and caring for His mother and half brothers and sisters. Finally, at His baptism, when He was about thirty years of age, His Heavenly Father verbally approved Him and began to lead Him into His public ministry. Until then many people were sick, demonized, had leprosy, were looking for answers for life, and dying and going to hell. But He could not heal them, give them answers in sermons, deliver them from the powers of darkness, or anything else He was able to do during His last three years. The reason is simple. It was not His Father’s will. He had to wait patiently on Him. Being a disciple of the Lord Jesus requires patience and persistence—faithful, steady obedience in ordinary daily life. This is the evidence of true faith.

Posted in Obedience

The Secret of Spiritual Freshness

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 17, 2008

“In my teens I knew a man, a miner by trade, whose spiritual freshness and radiance was responsible for turning many people to Jesus Christ. Just before he died, and in the company of several other Christians, I asked him: ‘What is the secret of your spiritual freshness? You always seem to be on top of things, always radiant…tell me how you maintain this inner poise and power.’ He replied in one word—meditation.
I pressed him for some further thoughts on the subject. This is not a verbatim quotation, but as far as I can remember, this is what he said: ‘Meditation is letting your heart become the workshop of the unseen Sculptor who chisels in its secret chambers the living forms that contribute to character development and an increasing likeness to Jesus Christ.’ That old man, now in heaven, was one of the greatest illustrations I have ever known of the spiritual freshness and fruitfulness that comes from meditating on God’s Word. This experience can be ours—if we meditate.
Selwyn Hughes
Every Day Light: Water for the Soul

He [the one who delights and meditates day and night in the law of the Lord, v. 2]
is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.
Psalm 1:3 (ESV)

There is no sweeter sound than to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus through His written Word when His Spirit speaks it to your heart and applies it to your life.
Is meditation on God’s Word a priority in your daily schedule? Does Psalm 1 describe the kind of person you are—one who is planted by streams of water (plural for abundance) in a dry, arid desert, one who is always spiritually fresh and fruitful? Oh, how the enemy likes to attack the weakness of our flesh through busyness in our lives and thereby distract us from meditating on God’s Word day by day. The enemy hates for us to become the blessed, happy person who is radiant to those around us.

Posted in Meditation

Peace In Turbulent Times

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 13, 2008

“We live in a very security-conscious age, so we endeavor to protect and insure ourselves against any unwelcome contingencies. Our affluent society makes abundant provision for us to enjoy our leisure and pleasures. We love to settle down in our fur-lined ruts and enjoy our comforts, which are only mildly disturbed by the tragic world around us. A good home, late-model car, pleasant recreations, happy holidays, congenial friends all tend to make heaven less attractive and allow the material to take the ascendancy over the spiritual.
But affluence and comfort often prove to be the foes of faith. Not that there is anything wrong with these things in themselves, for God ‘richly supplies us with all things to enjoy’ (1 Timothy 6:17). But unless we are on our guard, they become the chief end of life, and God and His Kingdom are gradually relegated to a minor place. To counteract that dangerous tendency, our loving Father at times disturbs the even tenor of our way. He is concerned that we should not miss the best in life.”
J. Oswald Sanders
Enjoying Intimacy With God, p. 96

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)

The hand of the Lord Jesus that guides and molds and cares for you is nail-scarred. Perfect love gives what perfect love deems best. True faith rests in this.

Posted in Faith

Nurturing Love For Christ

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 10, 2008

“How do you nurture a growing love relationship with Jesus? Quite simply, it is nourished when you spend time alone with Him. Staying on the path of fullness requires staying in close communion with your Lord. James wrote,  ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you’ (James 4:8). Here is an exquisite promise! Can you imagine anything more magnificent than almighty God personally drawing near to you? Your heavenly Father cherishes your nearness. He delights when you share your heart with Him and when you hear His heart. Here is intimacy beyond anything the world can offer, and it is more personal than any other relationship you can have…. God’s plan is for you to be near Him for continuous fellowship, to continue drinking of His life through meditation on His Word (Psalm 1:1-3), to know Him ever more deeply (Philippians 3:10), to become like Him in heart and soul, to become a living expression of His beautiful character as rivers of His love flow from you to those around you.”
The Spirit and Presence of Christ, pp. 97-98

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
Psalm 36:7-8 (ESV)

Simplify Your Life

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 6, 2008

Wang Ming Dao was a famous house church pastor / evangelist in China who was imprisoned 23 years for his faith. He was released from prison in 1980. The following was reported in Open Doors USA website and in their publication.

“For Wang, revival could only come upon those who knew that walking the way of Christ would be hard, requiring courage, determination and sacrifice. During a visit, I quizzed him on his prison experience. ‘I will probably never be put in jail like you, so how can your faith have any impact on mine?’
He replied by asking me a series of questions: ‘When you go back home, how many books do you have to read this coming month? How many letters to write, people to see, sermons to preach?’
Then he stopped and said, ‘You need to build yourself a cell. When I was put in jail, I was devastated. I was an evangelist. I wanted to hold crusades all over China. I was an author. I wanted to write books. I was a preacher. I wanted to study my Bible and write sermons. But I had no Bible, no pulpit, no audience, no pen and paper. I could do nothing. Nothing except get to know God. And for 20 years, that was the greatest relationship I have ever known.’
His parting advice was, ‘I was pushed into a cell, but you will have to push yourself into one. Simplify your life, so you have time to know God.’ For him, the absolute requirement is to go at a ‘walking pace,’ slowing down stilling yourself enough to commune properly with God.
Revival can only come to those who make room for God.”

But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Luke 5:15-16 (ESV)

Living By Choices

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 3, 2008

The Lord Jesus made choices.
He chose to become fully human like us and to live like we have to live. He lived by faith and obedience. He lived according to the priorities in His heart. He lived by reliance upon the Holy Spirit who filled Him without measure. He lived motivated by profound love for His Heavenly Father and needy sinful people. He made choices daily from situation to situation to do His Father’s will and to express His Father’s character.
He chose to go to quiet places to be alone with His Heavenly Father.
He chose to go to a sinner’s house to have dinner.
He chose to converse with a lost and rejected woman by a well in Samaria.
He chose to let a woman of bad reputation wash and kiss His feet in a proud Pharisee’s house.
He chose to go to Jerusalem for His final days.
He chose to wash His disciples’ feet with utmost love knowing what they would do that night of betrayal, denial, and running away.
He chose to endure the cross when He despised its shame.
We also live by choices—and do so according to what is in our heart.
We choose times to be alone with our Heavenly Father, or to be too distracted.
We choose to hold conversation with lost people about the Lord Jesus, or to let fear rule.
We choose to love God with all of our being, or to have idols.
We choose to see a world in need and love people, or to be selfishly absorbed in our own.
We choose to take up our cross daily and follow the Lord Jesus, or to possess our life.
We choose whatever our heart truly wants, and then we receive the results of whatever we choose.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
Galatians 6:7 (ESV)