Dulling Your Appetite

Posted by Jerry White on May 28, 2009

“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable and almost incurable.”
John Piper
A Hunger For God, p. 14
~~~

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Psalm 34:8 (ESV)
~~~

We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

Bernard of Clairvauz (1091-1153)
~~~

Holy Father, if we are to see the good things that dull our appetite for You, then You must reveal them to us. Please expose what we do not see but need to. Amen!




True Repentance

Posted by Jerry White on May 25, 2009

“True repentance must include awareness of the magnitude of our spiritual destitution; therefore real repentance must begin with recognition of God’s incomparable and unachievable holiness.
When we do not apprehend the true nature of our wrongdoing, we do not hate it sufficiently to seek its expulsion. True repentance requires grief and remorse that cries out, ‘How could I have done such a thing? Please, God, take the guilt and presence of this evil from my life!’
Without such a loathing of the sin that has been magnified by God’s holiness, not only will we fail to repent, we will not even see our wrong.”
Bryan Chapell
Holiness By Grace, p. 74
~~~

O Father, I have sinned! I have done
The thing I thought I never more should do!
My days were set before me, light all through;
But I have made dark—alas, too true!
And drawn dense clouds between me and my Sun.

Septimus Sutton
~~~

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret.
2 Corinthians 7:10 (ESV)




Posted in Repentance

Christ Centered

Posted by Jerry White on May 21, 2009

“In her book Between Walden and the Whirlwind, author Jean Fleming points to the example of ‘simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ’ in the life and letters of the apostle Paul: ‘The apostle Paul’s obvious center was Christ. His writings never digress from Christ. They ring with the steady, predictable hammer striking the anvil of life; life is in Christ, of Christ, through Christ, by Christ, with Christ, for Christ, from Christ. To live is Christ, and to die is more of Christ.’ ”
Donald Whitney
Simplify Your Spiritual Life, p.26
~~~

How much there is to distract us from the Lord Jesus in this present generation and culture! In addition to the usual distractions by worldly appeals to the flesh many different spiritual winds are blowing among God’s people. Whenever the focus shifts from Jesus Christ to the third person of the Trinity, or some new fad in church life, or some supposed new work of God that does not exalt the Lord Jesus Christ, we have moved into dangerous territory. The enemy does not care whether it is one of his worldly appeals that works or if it is one of his spiritual counterfeits that is effective as long as he can distract attention from the Lord Jesus. This is his determined purpose. He despises Jesus Christ. Whatever he can use to draw attention from the Lord Jesus, or however he can deceive by counterfeiting Him, this will be his weapon. Vigilance is required. Passionate focus on Christ and what is Biblically true about Him is our protection against distraction and deception. Purest love for the Lord Jesus should rule our soul. In 1 Corinthians 1 Paul refers to Jesus Christ nine times in the first nine verses. We are correctly focused when we can say from the depths of our being, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21, ESV), and my determined purpose in life is “that I may know him …” (Philippians 3:10). Is there any place else to look?
~~~

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV)




An Humble Servant

Posted by Jerry White on May 18, 2009

William Carey (1761-1834) was a missionary to India. From sixteen until twenty-eight he worked as a shoemaker. Converted at age eighteen and while working he became a preacher and eventually a pastor. He became burdened for the lost heathen and proposed the formation of the first modern missionary society. In 1793 he and John Thomas sailed for Bengal, India where he quickly mastered the Bengali language. He was made manager of an indigo factory. While working he translated the whole Bible into the Bengali language while at the same time he was doing evangelistic and pastoral duties. He then had to set up his own press to print the newly translated Bible. He established schools and medical work. In 1800 he moved to a Danish colony where he worked untiringly at his missionary service, which included Bible translation and production, evangelism, church planting, education, and medical relief. His influence spread throughout India. He served as professor of Saskrit, Bengali, and Marathi at the College of Fort Williams, supervised and edited translations of the Scriptures into thirty-six languages, produced a massive Bengali-English dictionary, pioneered social reform, and founded the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India. He is considered the “Father of modern Missions.”
~~~
Charles Spurgeon wrote:
“When Dr Carey was suffering from a dangerous illness, the enquiry was made, ‘If this sickness should prove fatal, what passage would you select as the text for your funeral sermon?’ He replied, ‘Oh, I feel that such a poor sinful creature is unworthy to have anything said about him; but if a funeral sermon must be preached, let it be from the words, ‘Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness; according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.’ In the same spirit of humility he directed in his will that the following inscription and nothing more should be cut on his gravestone:
WILLIAM CAREY, BORN AUGUST 17TH, 1761 DIED—
“A wretched, poor, and helpless worm
On Thy kind arms I fall.”
~~~

So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, “We are unworthy servants, we have only done what was our duty.”
Luke 17:10 (ESV)




Posted in Humility

Love Like God

Posted by Jerry White on May 14, 2009

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8 (ESV)
~~~

God is love. This statement helps define who God is. The new commandment our Lord Jesus gave us is to love one another like He loves us (John 13:34). He said that this would be our witness to the world that we are His (John 13:35). We are to love the just and the unjust like He does (Matthew 5:43-48). The fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22). His love flowing out of us like rivers [abundance] of living water should define who we are (John 7:38). Practically what does this kind of love look like?
~~~

“I am patient with you because I love you and want to forgive you.
I am kind to you because I love you and want to help you.
I do not envy your possessions or your gifts because I love you
and want you to have the best.
I do not boast about my attainments because I love you and want to hear about yours.
I am not proud because I love you and want to esteem you before myself.
I am not rude because I love you and care about your feelings.
I am not self-seeking because I love you and want to meet your needs.
I am not easily angered by you because I love you and want to overlook your offenses.
I do not keep a record of your wrongs because I love you,
and ‘love covers a multitude of sins.’ “

Jerry Bridges
Action Statements based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
The Discipline of Grace, p. 39




Posted in Love For Others

Simple Relationship

Posted by Jerry White on May 10, 2009

“We have over-complicated our God and His ways of coming to us. We have organized Him, strategized Him and compartmentalized Him. We have reduced His ways of working with us to cute little formulas, and we have stood off in our corners critical of others who seek His face in ways that differ from our own temperaments or styles of perception. But it is clear that God longs to restore a spiritual passion within us.”
Gordon MacDonald
Restoring Your Spiritual Passion, pp.217-218
~~~

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:2-3 (ESV)

~~~

When the Lord Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure for heaven He told them how to continue without His physical presence with them. He simply said, “Abide in me”. Abiding in Him would happen as they trusted, obeyed, and loved Him. So uncomplicated and peaceful is this way because it is His ordained way. His commands are not a heavy burden. There is no formula by which we can live the Christian life or else He would have given it. No list of principles exists to which we must adhere for godly living or else the Lord Jesus would have listed them for us. Living the Christian life is the overflow and outflow of a simple loving relationship with the Lord Jesus, one of quiet trust in Him and loving obedience to Him.  Seeing Him—knowing Him—adoring Him—loving Him—and enjoying Him is the way to keep our passion burning for Him. Each must find his or her way in this. Finding it is life abundant.




The Lord’s Correction

Posted by Jerry White on May 7, 2009

“Oh, what an unveiling of the heart of God may be seen in a loving correction! No truth in experimental religion is more verified than this, that the severest discipline of our Heavenly Father springs from His deepest, holiest love. That in His rebukes, however severe, in His corrections, however bitter, there is more love, more tenderness, and more real desire for our well-being than exists in the fondest affection a human heart ever cherished. And oftentimes in His providential dealings with His children, there is more of the heart of God unfolded in a dark, overhanging cloud than is ever unveiled and revealed in a bright and glowing sunbeam. But this truth is only learned in God’s school.”
Octavius Winslow
Morning Thoughts, April 15
~~~

My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son whom he receives.
Hebrews 12:5-6 (ESV)
~~~

No child likes the pain of discipline and wants to run from it rather than to it. Yet, discipline is necessary for child training. Discipline now is for blessing later. Our disobedience requires the Lord’s disciplining hand in order for blessing to come later. Tears will be turned into laughter, mourning into joy. Disobedience unchecked now would eventually lead to destruction. Our Father loves us too much to let that happen. He knows perfectly the corruption of our flesh. He has known it all along and yet loves us with all that He is without end. He measures the correction we need by His tender love. Using conviction, circumstances, and people He brings upon us the pressure we need for our correction, repentance, restoration, and renewed obedience. This is a necessary part of His completing the wonderful work He has begun in us. Welcome His firm dealings as much as His tender blessings because both are expressions of His endless pure love for you, and they are for your best and eternal good.
Loving Father, thank you the peaceful fruit of righteousness that comes from Your painful discipline and that by it we can share in Your holiness (Hebrews 12:10-11).




Posted in God's Love

Longing For Christ

Posted by Jerry White on May 4, 2009

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, ”Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
Matthew 9:14-15 (ESV)
~~~

“Fasting is a future-oriented counterpart to the past-oriented celebration of the Lord’s Supper….
But by not eating—by fasting—we look to the future with an aching in our hearts saying: ‘Yes, he came. And yes, what he did for us is glorious. But precisely because of what we have seen and what we have tasted, we feel keenly his absence as well as his presence. The Bridegroom has gone away. He is not here. He was here, and he loved us to the uttermost. And we can eat and even celebrate with feasting because he has come. But this we also know: he is not here the way he once was. As Paul said, ‘While we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.’ And his absence is painful. The sin and misery of the world is painful. The people of Christ are weak and despised—like sheep in the midst of wolves (Matthew 10:16). We long for him to come again and take up his throne and reign in our midst and vindicate his people and his truth and his glory.”
John Piper
A Hunger For God, pp. 83-84
~~~

The Lord Jesus taught us to ask and continue asking for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). If we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us as His children then why would He instruct us to keep on asking our Father for the Spirit? For the same reason that the Lord Jesus told us when the bridegroom was taken away we would fast. We need the Lord’s presence here and now. He is physically absent from us and we want to know the reality of His presence with us on earth. His Spirit alone can communicate His presence. When we thirst to know this reality and cannot live without it, then we will pray persistently, and even fast, as we seek Him to satisfy our longing for His presence. He promises to answer the one who persistently seeks, asks, and knocks with faith. And when He does we will know that the Lord Jesus is here.




Posted in God Manifested