Posted by Jerry White on Jan 29, 2009
“God doesn’t look at the elegancy of your prayers to see how neat they are; nor at the geometry of your prayers to see how long they are; nor at the arithmetic of your prayers to see how many they are; nor at the music of your prayers; nor the sweetness of your voice; nor the logic of your prayers; but at the sincerity of your prayers, how hearty they are.”
Thomas Brooks, quoted in
Magnificent Prayer, by Nick Harrison
July 7, p. 257
And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matthew 6:7-8 (ESV)
Prayer is a heart issue. It is not a mental exercise or a special formula to be used to obtain something from God. Prayer is a beloved child’s heart calling out to his or her Heavenly Father with thanksgiving, worship, praise, and needs, either for self or for others. Your Heavenly Father does not have to be persuaded by many words to answer you because He loves you intimately and infinitely. He does not have to be told all the details of what He should do because He has perfect wisdom and does not need your counsel. His attention does not need to be gained because He tenderly watches over your whole life every moment and listens to your heart every second. Prayer should be simple, intimate, and trusting. It is a precious heart to heart relationship of a little child with their loving Heavenly Father. He knows your every need long before you ask Him. Asking brings you into relationship with Him, and as your loving Father He enjoys that. Pray simply, and simply pray. Your heart is what matters most to Him.
Posted by Jerry White on Jan 26, 2009
“How few of us are concerned about satisfying His heart. How I hear Him saying, ‘I thirst, give me to drink.’ May my Lord never let me grow cold in my longing to be a cup in His hand for the quenching of His own royal thirst.”
Oswald Chambers’ diary, July 12, 1909
From biography by McCasland, Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God, 167
A woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table.
[Jesus said] “She has done a beautiful thing to me.”
Matthew 26:7, 10 (ESV)
One who truly loves considers how to bless the beloved rather than looking for how the beloved can bless them. Selfish human nature wants to receive before it gives, or it gives with a selfish view to what blessing it may receive in return. How corrupt our sinful nature is with selfishness, even in the hidden parts of our being.
The Lord Jesus loves with no strings attached. He loves untainted by selfishness. He wholeheartedly wants the best for you, and He delights to bless you.
Significant progress in your relationship with Him occurs when you become primarily concerned about blessing him. When your desire is ruled by a longing to know His heart, and what you can do for Him rather than what He can do for you, you then enter into a new dimension of relationship. Although it is not wrong to ask your gracious Lord for what you need, if you love Him, you will want to know His heart and how you can bless Him. In the Gospel accounts very few came to give to the Lord Jesus without asking for anything in return. These seemed to touch His heart in a special way. And you can also.
Posted by Jerry White on Jan 22, 2009
Flesh is flesh—indwelling sin dominating mental, emotional, and bodily desires. Flesh can either be wicked or religious in its expression, but neither is acceptable before God. There is no such thing as new and improved flesh. Regardless of how long one has been in the way of sanctification, flesh is never transformed to become better flesh. Flesh is only kept at bay—overruled—by a soul walking in the Spirit. The moment a soul ceases to abide in Christ (walk by the Spirit) flesh exposes itself as ugly as ever—unchanged, totally absorbed in self-gratification, and still in rebellion against God. God says, Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16, ESV).
The only antidote to poisonous flesh is to walk by the Spirit. The Lord Jesus lived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and so must we. There is no other way!
“It takes the omnipotence of God—His complete and effective divinity—to live the life of the Son of God in human flesh.”
My Utmost For His Highest, April 11 reading
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Romans 13:14 (ESV)
Posted by Jerry White on Jan 19, 2009
Jesus of Nazareth—
Obeyed His Father perfectly, and yet remained humble.
Did all things well, and yet remained humble.
Conquered all that came against Him, and yet remained humble.
Was praised by some, cursed by others, and yet remained humble.
Was used by God for miraculous works, and yet remained humble.
Was crucified unjustly, and yet remained humble.
Was resurrected triumphantly, and yet remained humble.
Now reigns as Lord on the throne of heaven with all power and authority,
And yet remains humble.
To become like Him is to be humble like Him.
“When I look back upon my own religious experience, or round upon the church of Christ in the world, I stand amazed at the thought of how little humility is sought after as the distinguishing feature of the discipleship of Jesus.”
Humility: The Beauty of Holiness
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility…
Ephesians 4:1-2a (ESV)
Posted by Jerry White on Jan 15, 2009
For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.
Romans 7: 19, 21 (ESV)
“There is, therefore, a great need for discernment in our self-understanding. Who am I? What is my ‘self?’ The answer is that I am a Jekyll and Hyde, a mixed-up kid, having both dignity, because I was created and have been re-created in the image of God, and depravity, because I still have a fallen and rebellious nature. I am both noble and ignoble, beautiful and ugly, good and bad, upright and twisted, image and child of God, and yet sometimes yielding obsequious [subservient] homage to the devil from whose clutches Christ has rescued me. My true self is what I am by creation, which Christ came to redeem, and by calling. My false self is what I am by the Fall, which Christ came to destroy.”
John R. W. Stott
The Cross of Christ, p. 285
The Lord Jesus alone can save from God’s wrath and penalty for our sin. In the same way He alone can save us from sin’s power that relentlessly attempts to enslave us. In the same manner that He waited for us to call upon Him to save us at our conversion so He now waits for us to call upon Him to save us in our temptations. When Simon Peter began to sink into the water because he doubted he cried out, “Lord, save me or I perish,” and the Lord Jesus with kindness reached out and lifted him up (Matthew 14:30-31). Knowing the disciples were going to be severely tempted the Lord Jesus told them to pray that they would not enter into temptation (Matthew 26:41). With tender love He wants you to call upon Him to be your Savior from sin’s power and flesh’s weakness.
Posted by Jerry White on Jan 12, 2009
“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, p. 17
You will seek and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.
Jeremiah 29:13-14a (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 oh so easy for us to think that because we know the verses that speak of desiring God in the fullness of His presence, and because we agree that it is important for us to be doing so, that this is all that is needed. Ruthless honesty with ourselves about 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 the radical surgical choices necessary in my daily schedule so that my spiritual thirst can be gloriously quenched by heaven’s pure water? If not, do I recognize and admit my desperate need so that I persistently ask God to stir me until I thirst for Him with an insatiable desire? With compassion He will answer His child who asks in humility with persistent faith.
Posted by Jerry White on Jan 8, 2009
“But how shall I portray the man that is of a humble and contrite spirit? He truly knows the evil of sin, for he has felt it. He apprehends, in some degree, the holiness of God’s character, and the spirituality of His law, for he has seen it. His views of himself have undergone a radical change. He no longer judges himself as others judge of him. They exalt him; he abases himself. They approve; he condemns. And in that very thing for which they most extol him, he is humbling himself in secret. While others are applauding actions, he is searching into motives; while they are extolling virtues, he is sifting principles; while they are weaving the garland for his brow, he, shut in alone with God, is covering himself with sackcloth and with ashes. Oh, precious fruit of a living branch of the true vine! Is it any wonder, then, that God should come and dwell with such a one in whom is found something so good towards Him? Oh, no! He delights to see us in this posture and to mark a soul walking before Him in conscious sense of its poverty, the eye drawing from the cross its most persuasive motives to a deep prostration of soul at His feet.”
Morning Thoughts, July 20
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
Isaiah 66:2 (ESV)
The Lord Jesus searches for humble ones. These are the ones with whom He will dwell and bless. He resists the proud and holds Himself from them.
Posted by Jerry White on Jan 5, 2009
When the Lord Jesus is a very real person to you and not a distant one, when you have a heart revelation that He loves you personally with all that He is, when you catch a glimpse of His beauty as a genuine human being, and when once you have tasted the sweetness of His manifested presence because the Holy Spirit discloses Him to you, you can never be satisfied with anything other than Him. Bible meditation, prayer, worship, church attendance and every other means of spiritual growth become transformed. These familiar and habitual activities become saturated with a perpetual longing, a veritable craving, to be in His presence, to know Him more intimately, to drink more deeply of His satisfying goodness. Then you will arrange your life, be it very busy or relaxed, be it difficult or in a spacious place, to seek the face of Jesus Christ as your foremost compulsion.
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Psalm 105:4 (ESV)
“Our minds are accustomed to other entertainment and aren’t in shape for the faith-work of reflecting on Christ. That may be why most of us live at low spiritual tide, powerless and joyless in our religion.
But if we were in love with Christ, so that we couldn’t wait to see him again—and if we were in the spiritual habit of gazing on him and marveling at him—then our spirits would grow stronger. We would more faithfully represent Christ to the world. Strange as it sounds, death would begin to sound inviting to us, as the final release from everything that distracts us from the sight of our Lord.
We have to prize the glory of God in the face of Christ as the greatest privilege in this
Through The Looking Glass, p. 27
Posted by Jerry White on Jan 1, 2009
“ ‘Simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ’ (2 Corinthians 11:3) is the essence of devotional spirituality and the key to renewing and sustaining the passion of our first love (Revelation 2:4). We all experience a natural inertia, a downward pull, an entropy of relational energy that deteriorates our communion with God and with others. Unless we are vigilant, the flame of our initial love for Christ can quietly diminish, and even the embers can grow cold. But if we are faithful to the practice of meditating on the glory of God and the beauty of Jesus, we will love him by beholding him. If we spend time with him, practice his presence, follow him, and learn from him, we will love him and become like him.”
Conformed to His Image, pp. 190-191
The above paragraph by Dr. Boa captures the essence of what devotion to the Lord Jesus involves. The Lord has provided the means and the instructions necessary for each of us to maintain a spiritual fragrance and freshness in our souls. Stale Christians influence no one. Rivers of living water cannot flow from a dry soul. Distractions by the world, or busyness with life’s cares, or fleshly desires satisfied douse the flame of love and passion for the Lord. We must stir up our inner beings by seeking Him diligently, by cultivating heartfelt love for Him, and by pressing on with a longing to know Him ever more deeply and intimately. This will not happen by just sitting in a Bible study, or listening to sermons, or by reading books about the Christian life. Our Lord Jesus showed us the way to live. He often went out alone away from people—away from noise, crowds and distractions—to be with His Father to pray, to listen in the quiet, to meditate upon God’s truth. If we follow this way then there will be His fragrance about us and His life will flow from us.
Do you know how to do what the Lord Jesus did?
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Mark 1:35 (ESV)