The Highest Joy

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 30, 2009

“The highest joy of all is to possess the Father—till there remains no shred of darkness nor cloud nor even a mist between us and His endless pure light. The highest joy is to see Him as He is, to feel all the sweetness of His being nourishing our soul, rejoined to Him in our very substance….
I saw that the only thing that blocks us from living in the rays of God’s pure light now is sin: first, our hunger for sin; then the action of sin itself; finally, the wasting starvation sin causes to our souls. For such empty darkness can never feed our souls, which were made for endless light.”
Julian of Norwich
I Promise You A Crown, p. 144
Arranged and Paraphrased by David Hazard
~~~

If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7 (ESV)
~~~

Consciousness of our sinfulness never leaves us while we live on earth. This keeps us in the place of humility and dependence. We need the Lord Jesus who cleansed us at our conversion to continue cleansing us today. Continual fellowship with the Father is dependent on our walking habitually in the light as He is in the light. However, when there is sinful failure, which always comes with godly grief and shame afterwards, honest confession of sin to the Father is the way to appropriate the forgiveness and cleansing fully purchased by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus. Restoration from sinful stumbling can be instantaneous. Proud flesh wants to wallow in its guilt and shame and do penance of some kind to regain its place of restoration. Humble ones, however, confess with grief and repent of their sin before the Father and receive immediately His complete forgiveness and cleansing. As they return to walking habitually in the light of their Lord they are constantly cleansed from all sin—completely and forever. Life in the Lord’s light is the high place of love, joy, and peace.




Doubt Prevents

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 27, 2009

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.
2 Peter 1:3 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 1:3 (ESV)
~~~

“In our private prayers and in our public services we are forever asking God to do things that He has already done or cannot do because of our unbelief. We plead for Him to speak when He has already spoken and is at that very moment speaking. We ask Him to come when He is already present and waiting for us to recognize Him. We beg the Holy Spirit to fill us while all the time we are preventing Him by our doubts.”
A.W. Tozer
Quoted in Magnificent Prayer, p. 98
Edited by Nick Harrison
~~~

Everything we need for living a godly life has been given to us in Christ Jesus. We need not look anywhere else but Him. Every spiritual blessing in heavenly places has been given to us as His children. Absolutely nothing has been withheld. These “every spiritual blessing” are ours this moment because of our oneness with the Lord Jesus. All the life in the Vine is available for the branch to draw upon. All the blessings in our Lord are available for us to draw upon through quiet faith. But we must trust Him with no doubting (James 1:6). This is how His great and precious promises become ours in experience. It is impossible for Him to lie. You can believe His promises and trust His faithfulness to keep them. Take His Scriptural promises before Heaven’s Throne and confess with thankfulness that you trust Him to keep His Word. The Lord Jesus will be pleased and honored.




Posted in Faith

Waning Love

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 23, 2009

“Intimacy with God is a fragile thing that must be carefully guarded.
M. Basilea Schlink tells of her own experience of waning love:
‘I came to see that my relationship to my Lord Jesus Christ, with the passing years had eroded away, something like a marriage gone humdrum. What did I do when I found a little pocket of spare time, on Sunday or a holiday? I couldn’t wait to get together with other people—people I liked, people with whom I had something in common—so that we could share ideas and experiences. Or I read a stimulating book. Or I went out to enjoy nature. I even plunged further into my work, doing things that I normally didn’t have time for. But to go to Jesus—to give Him first claim on my spare time, that I did not do’ ”
J. Oswald Sanders
Enjoying Intimacy With God, p.43
~~~

I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.
Revelation 2:4-5 (ESV)
~~~

The Lord Jesus wants us to love Him— to love Him passionately with our whole heart. This is not because He needs our love because He does not. He is perfectly fulfilled in the love and joy of the Trinity. However, His great love for us causes Him to desire that we be most fulfilled, and He knows that loving Him supremely and desiring His nearness brings us the deepest fulfillment, peace, and joy possible.
Everything in our world is against intimacy with Christ. Our own flesh resists the discipline required for closeness with the Lord Jesus. The devil’s emissaries war against us to prevent us drawing near to God. If the evil one cannot stop us with the snare of sin then he will use good and respectable things to hinder us.
Love and thirst are powerful motivations. The young lover longs to be with the beloved and will seek every opportunity to make it happen. Thirst compels one to seek for what will quench its longing until it is found. The wonder of our Lord’s grace is that we can ask Him to give us strong thirst for Him and to strengthen our love for Him—and He will. He meets us where we are just for the asking. If we draw near, He will draw near.




Posted in Love for God

Holy Spirit Required

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 20, 2009

“The significance of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus extends to his followers in all of the little and the big things of their existences. The Spirit that helped Jesus overcome temptations, that strengthened him in weakness, that aided him in the hard job of taking on himself the hurts of the hurting, that infused him with a power to accomplish the impossible, that enabled him to stay with and complete the task God had given him to do, that brought him through death and into resurrection, is the Spirit that the resurrected Jesus has freely and lavishly (note the force of the verb in Acts 2:33) given to those who would be his disciples today!”
Gerald F. Hawthorne
The Presence & The Power, p. 242
~~~

The conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb was by the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus lived His life in the power of the Holy Spirit. He ministered for three years under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. He taught His Father’s truth through the Holy Spirit. He was resurrected and taken to the right hand of the Father by the Holy Spirit. Nothing about His life can be explained apart from the Holy Spirit. He was utterly dependent upon the Spirit for everything in His life and ministry. Without the Spirit He was helpless to do the Father’s will. In the same way He says to His followers, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5, ESV). Our need for the Holy Spirit is the same as the Son of Man’s. As a man He knew His desperate need for the Holy Spirit, so we also must know our desperate need. As the Father gave the Holy Spirit for His beloved Son’s life and ministry so He gave the Holy Spirit for us as well. If we know our utter need for His fullness we can receive Him in child-like faith because our Father delights to lavish His fullness upon us—just for the asking (Luke 11:13). It is as though He says, “Believe, my child, believe”.
~~~

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 (ESV)




Posted in Holy Spirit

Reverent Fear

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 16, 2009

“What then is filial fear? It is that indefinable mixture of reverence, fear, pleasure, joy, and awe which fills our hearts when we realize who God is and what he has done for us. It is a love for God which is so great that we would be ashamed to do anything which would displease or grieve him, and makes us happiest when we are doing his will.”
Sinclair B. Ferguson
Grow In Grace, p. 36
~~~

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
Acts 9:31 (ESV)
~~~

In our American culture of casualness, familiarity, and lack of respect for authority the danger exists of treating the Lord the same way. [Moses] take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground (Exodus 3:5 ESV). The Lord taught His people situation by situation that they must revere Him profoundly and approach Him as holy. Moses could not enter the promised land because he struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it as the Lord commanded, and the Lord said, Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them (Numbers 20:12, ESV).
Nowhere in Scripture does it teach that God’s children should approach Him with servile fear. Craven or cowardly fear must never be a Christian’s attitude before the Lord. We come before the Lord boldly because of what He has done in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and because He is our dear loving Heavenly Father. But we should always approach Him, whether privately or in church, with utmost reverence, filial fear, pleasure, joy, awe and devotion. The verse above reveals that the early church had comfort in the Holy Spirit and the fear of the Lord. Reverent love for the Lord Jesus wants never to displease Him because it feels a deep sense of accountability to Him.
Holy Father, please teach us to live before You always with reverent fear.
Jesus did.




Posted in Worship

Crucifixion With Christ

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 13, 2009

That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10-11 (ESV)
~~~
“This was the noble prayer of this holy man; he desired crucifixion with Christ, a crucifixion to indwelling sin, to sin in its every shape—to sin in principle, in temper, in worldly conformity, in conversation, in thought, in the very glance of the eye. He desired not only a crucifixion of one particular sin, but of all sin; not only the sin that most easily beset him, the sin that he daily saw and felt and mourned over, but the sin that no eye saw but God’s, the sin of the indwelling principle, the root of all sin, the sin of his nature.
This is to have fellowship with Christ in His sufferings. Jesus suffered as much for the subduing of the indwelling principle of sin as for the pardon of the outbreaking of that sin in daily practice. Have we fellowship with Him in these sufferings? There must be a crucifixion of the indwelling power of sin.”
Octavius Winslow
Morning Thoughts
November 11, pp. 650-651
~~~
Sin causes suffering. It inflicts pain from guilt and shame. It defiles and separates from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). It viciously destroys love, joy and peace. It ushers in death.  Tolerating sin is like permitting a venomous snake to live in your house. Either kill the snake or be poisoned by it.
The Lord Jesus accomplished everything necessary for us to utterly slay sin. By steadfast faith in Him and His finished work, and by the power of His Holy Spirit, we do not have to continue as slaves to wrong attitudes, or selfish thought patterns, or careless damaging words, or ungodly deeds, or neglect of doing what He has commanded. Through Christ we are more than  conquerors. We can declare war against the enemy of our souls and triumphantly win—in His Name, at His Word, by His Spirit.




I Crucified Jesus

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 9, 2009

`Twas I that shed the sacred blood;
I nailed him to the tree;
I crucified the Christ of God;
I joined the mockery.

Of all that shouting multitude
I feel that I am the one;
And in that din of voices rude
I recognize my own.

Around the cross the throng I see,
Mocking the sufferer’s groan;
Yet still my voice it seems to be,
As if I mocked alone.

Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)
~~~

“Let me never forget that the heinousness of sin lies not so much in the nature of the sin committed, as in the greatness of the Person sinned against.”
The Valley of Vision, p. 143
Edited by Arthur Bennett
~~~

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.
Acts 2:36 (ESV)




Posted in Cross of Christ

Sovereign With Love

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 6, 2009

“Not a drop of rain can fall outside the orb of Jesus’ sovereignty. All our days—our health, our illnesses, our joys, our victories, our tears, our prayers, and the answers to our prayers—fall within the sweep of the sovereignty of one who wears a human face, a thorn-shadowed face. All of God’s sovereignty is mediated through one who was crucified on my behalf. For Christians, that means God’s sovereignty can no longer be viewed as a merely creedal point, still less as the source of endless mystery. There is more than enough material for creedal confession here, and not a little mystery; but these mysteries revolve around one who died in my place. The mysteries of prayer remain, but they dissolve in worship and gratitude. It is far easier to accept the mysteries of divine sovereignty when the divine love is as great as the divine sovereignty.”
D. A. Carson
A Call To Spiritual Reformation, pp.179-180
~~~

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
John 15:9 (ESV)
~~~

Would the Heavenly Father love His only Son and not watch over every detail of His life? Possessing all authority, power, and wisdom would the Father allow His Son to go through any unnecessary trial or difficulty? Could Jesus of Nazareth live with even the slightest uncertainty about whether His Heavenly Father was in sovereign control of all His circumstances and relationships and was carefully guiding His steps? Could the Lord Jesus doubt for a second that His Father was hearing His prayers any time and especially in dark and turbulent times? When our Savior says that He loves us just like His Father has loved Him will I doubt Him? Will you? This love can never be measured or plumbed to its depth. It is pure, infinite, eternal and unchangeable. Do I believe that He watches over every detail of my life? Can I live with the certainty that He is in sovereign control of all my circumstances and relationships and is indeed guiding my steps, even when I don’t understand? Do I doubt for a moment that He hears my prayers when I am in a dark and troubling place? His divine sovereignty blends perfectly with His infinite love, and with His Father’s tender heart He shepherds you and listens to you when you pray. You can trust Him!




Posted in God's Love

Intercession

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 2, 2009

And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord God.
Ezekiel 22:30-31 (ESV)
~~~

The Lord Jesus Christ prayed. With all His brilliance and perfect character He found it necessary to pray—to pray often, to pray for others, and sometimes to pray long. He kept prayer as His priority whereas we often make it an add-on to everything else we do. He did not let people’s needs keep Him from going somewhere alone to pray. There was urgency in Him about prayer. There was inner compulsion for Him to pray. He knew that prayer was essential for His Father’s will to be done on earth. He knew that prayer was necessary if He was to know His Father’s will. In private communion He must share His heart completely with His Heavenly Father, and He must hear His Heavenly Father’s heart. Time alone with His Father must be obtained at any cost, even if it meant loss of sleep, or a missed meal, or leaving crowds of suffering humanity to go out alone. He knew that the Father hears prayer and answers. This is God’s appointed way for accomplishing His work on earth. The Lord Jesus marked the path we are to follow in prayer both by His teaching and by His practice.
~~~

“Intercession is to take a firm position before the Lord in a certain matter, or for certain people in their need, with a heart to share the burden of it, even while going about our daily work, in order to plead God’s promises until His agenda is fulfilled on earth for His own glory. God’s heart longs for those who will intercede—even with sacrifice—so His merciful will can be done.”
Compiled from Standing In The Gap,
Johannes Facius




Posted in Prayer