Posted by Jerry White on Dec 31, 2009
“The more I think of and pray about the state of religion in this country, and all over the world, the deeper my conviction becomes that the low state of the spiritual life of Christians is due to the fact that they do not realize that the aim and object of conversion is to bring the soul even here on earth, to daily fellowship with the Father in heaven. No, he needs each day to receive new grace from heaven through intercourse with the Lord Jesus. When once this truth has been accepted, the believer will perceive how indispensable it is to the spiritual life of a Christian, to wait upon God for His presence and His love to be revealed.
But how can Christians be taught this lesson, and to live in obedience to it? The first thing is that they must be convinced of the great need of daily fellowship with God. They must be brought under the impression, that it is not enough at conversion to accept forgiveness of sins or even to surrender themselves to God. That is only a beginning. The young believer must understand that he has no power of his own to maintain his spiritual life. No, he needs each day to receive new grace from heaven through intercourse with the Lord Jesus. This cannot be obtained by a hasty prayer, or a superficial reading of a few verses from God’s Word. He must take time quietly and deliberately to come into God’s presence, to feel his weakness, and his need, and to wait upon God through His Holy Spirit, to renew the heavenly light and life in his heart. Then he may rightly expect to be kept by the power of Christ throughout the day, and all its temptations.”
Andrew Murray (1828-1917, South African Dutch Reformed pastor / leader)
God’s Best Secrets, Introduction
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 (ESV)
To neglect regularly seeking the Lord for fellowship is to deny Him what He wants from you.
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 28, 2009
“Just as there is a continuity between earthly and heavenly relationships with the people of God, so those who cultivate a growing appetite for the experiential knowledge of God in this life will presumably know him better in the next life than those who kept God in the periphery of their earthly interests. As A. W. Tozer put it, ‘Every Christian will become at last what his desires have made him. We are the sum total of our hungers. The great saints have all had thirsting hearts. Their cry has been, ‘My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?’ Their longing after God all but consumed them; it propelled them onward and upward to heights toward which less ardent Christians look with languid eye and entertain no hope of reaching.’ I can conceive of nothing more significant and compelling than the beatific vision of the living God, and if our capacity for this vision relates to faithfulness in this life, every other concern should pale in comparison.”
Conformed to His Image, 140
My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
Isaiah 26:9 (ESV)
How few of this generation and culture make seeking the Lord’s face the priority of their daily life. Many other lesser things take precedent. When one yearns for the Lord with deep thirst then he or she is compelled to seek Him. Missing time alone with the Lord does not bring guilt but rather a sense of loss and an increased longing to find time to be with the Lord Jesus.
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 24, 2009
Let the stable still astonish:
Straw—dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child,
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said, “Yes,
Let the God of all the heavens
Be born here, in this place?”
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler rooms
Of our hearts and says, “Yes, let the God
Of Heaven and Earth be born here—
In this place.”
Leslie Leyland Fields
That the Creator Himself would be born as a creature in a stable is astonishing, but that He would actually come to live inside His followers by His Spirit is incomprehensible. That the Lord Jesus is all the fullness of God in a body is unfathomable, but that we as His believers have this very same fullness in Him is staggering (Colossians 2:9-10). What difference would it make to us if we really believed that we have all of His fullness in our very selves—that we are literally the temple of His Holy Spirit—that He is truly closer to us than our own breath—that we are as one with the Lord Jesus as He is with His Father? For this miraculous Gift I praise you, O God! I receive it with deep thankfulness. I marvel at how You love me!
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 21, 2009
“It [the supreme mystery] lies, not in the Good Friday message of atonement, nor in the Easter message of resurrection, but in the Christmas message of incarnation. The really staggering Christian claim is that Jesus of Nazareth was God made man—that the second person of the Godhead became the ‘second man’ (1 Cor. 15:47), determining human destiny, the second representative head of the race, and that He took humanity without loss of deity, so that Jesus of Nazareth was as truly and fully divine as He was human. Here are two mysteries for the price of one—the plurality of persons within the unity of God, and the union of Godhead and manhood in the person of Jesus. It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. ‘The Word was made flesh’ (John 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. And there was no illusion or deception in this: the babyhood of the Son of God was a reality. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the incarnation.”
J. I. Packer
Knowing God, pp. 45-46
InterVarsity Press (September, 1974)
And the Word [Christ] became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled—fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile—among us.
John 1:14 (Amplified Bible)
Jesus, the very thought of Thee with sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see, and in Thy presence rest.
Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame, nor can memory find
A sweeter sound than Thy blest Name, O Savior of mankind!
Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 17, 2009
“See the different state of Christ on earth and in heaven. Oh how is the scene altered!
When he was on earth, he lay in a manger; now he sits on a throne.
Then he was hated and scorned of men; now he is adored by angels.
Then his name was reproached; now ‘God hath given him a name above every name.’
Then he came in the form of a servant, and as a servant, stood with his basin and towel, and washed his disciples’ feet; now he is clad in his princes’ robe, and kings of the earth cast their crowns before him.
On earth he was a man of sorrows; now he is anointed with the oil of gladness.
On earth was his crucifixion; now his coronation.
Then his Father frowned upon him in desertion; now he has set him at His right hand.
Before, he seemed to have no form or beauty in him; now he is in the brightness of his Father’s glory.
Oh what a change is here! ‘Him hath God highly exalted.’
Body of Divinity
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:8-11 (ESV)
Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory, and honor and power.
Revelation 4:11, ESV
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 14, 2009
“The word became flesh! God became human! The invisible became visible! The untouchable became touchable! Eternal life experienced temporal death! The transcendent one descended and drew near! The unlimited became limited! The infinite became finite! The immutable became mutable! The unbreakable became fragile! Spirit became matter! Eternity entered time! The independent became dependent! The almighty became weak! The loved became the hated! The exalted was humbled! Glory was subjected to shame! Fame turned into obscurity! From inexpressible joy to tears of unimaginable grief! From a throne to a cross! From ruler to being ruled! From power to weakness!”
Pleasures Evermore, p. 154
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)
Someone has said that man aspires but God condescends. The eternal Son of God could have come in any way He chose, but He chose the lowest way, which expresses His pure humble character. Who were the first to be told about the Savior’s birth? Angels announced the Christ child’s birth to lowly shepherds, not proud aristocracy, world leaders, or even religious leaders. Shepherds were the first ones directed to go see the baby who was the Savior. God reveals Himself and His truth to those who are like “little children,” not to the wise and understanding. This is His gracious will (Matthew 11:25-26). If we want to experience the Lord Jesus and His truth revealed to our heart, He has made known the way. The way is to come before the Humble One with all humility. To the humble He dispenses grace.
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 10, 2009
“Behold here a sacred riddle or paradox—‘God manifest in the flesh.’ That man should be made in God’s image was a wonder, but that God should be made in man’s image is a greater wonder. That the Ancient of Days should be born, that he who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle; that he who rules the stars should suck the breast; that a virgin should conceive; that Christ should be made of a woman, and of that woman which he himself made; that the branch should bear the vine; that the mother should be younger than the child she bare, and the child in the womb bigger than the mother; that the human nature should not be God, yet one with God.”
Thomas Watson (1600s)
So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.
John 1:14 (New Living Translation)
The first characteristic of our Lord Jesus’ humanity was that He came in humility. I have sometimes wondered, “how far is it from sovereign Creator in the bliss of heaven to a helpless lowly creature in a sin filled world?” Only love beyond comprehension would cause the one we know as Jesus Christ to make so profound a choice. He was born in lowliness, entered into our world in lowest circumstances, lived His entire life as a lowly bondservant, and then died a lowly shameful death of a common criminal. His humble life exposes the pride of sinful humanity. It surely does mine. His call to His disciples is a call to live with humility. The more clearly we see Him the more clearly we see the ugliness of our proud flesh. The beauty of His humility causes any thirsty soul to want to be like Him. His Word says, “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility…” (Ephesians 4:2, ESV).
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 7, 2009
“In speech as in silence His perfect balance of character was displayed. He never spoke when it would have been wiser to remain silent, never kept silence when He should have spoken. Mercy and judgment blended in all His actions and judgments, yet neither prevailed at the expense of the other. Exact truth and infinite love adorned each other in His winsome personality, for He always spoke the truth in love. His severe denunciations of apostate Jerusalem were tremulous with His sobs (Matthew 23:27). True to His own counsel, He manifested the prudence of the serpent and the simplicity of the dove. His tremendous inner strength never degenerated into mere obstinacy. He mastered the difficult art of displaying sympathy without surrendering principle.
The excellencies of both sexes coalesced in Him. But while possessing all the gentler graces of womanhood He could never be regarded as effeminate. Indeed, He was linked in popular thought with the rugged Elijah, and the austere John the Baptist (Matthew 16:14). There is contrast yet not contradiction in His delicacy and gentleness in handling people who merited such treatment, and the blistering denunciations He poured on the hypocrites and parasites.”
J. Oswald Sanders
The Incomparable Christ, 2
Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly delightful.
Song of Solomon 1:16
“Most recently you have arrogantly challenged me saying, ‘Show me your God.’ I say, ‘Consider your soul –-your inner man—which cannot be seen and yet is real.’ Show me your soul, I say, and I will show you God. Though you may not yet be aware of it, the eyes of your soul have the ability to see—that is, to perceive the qualities of Him who is invisible. And the ears of your soul have the ability to perceive His voice as He calls in your heart. By these—the eyes and ears within, which are opened by faith—we behold God.”
Theophilus of Antioch (115-181 A. D.)
Reply to Autolychus
The eyes of our heart can behold the Lord Jesus and our souls can know the reality of His nearness through meditation on His Word and the ministry of His Spirit.
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 3, 2009
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
How does one draw near to God so this stunning promise will be fulfilled? Is it possible for us to really know the nearness of God? Can He really be incredibly real to me in this world of a million distractions that flood my soul with images through my senses? God says, if we will He will, and He cannot lie.
What is required for drawing near the Lord Jesus? Humility — because He gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Submission-–because He is worthy of supremacy in your life (James 4:7). Repentance—because He is holy and must be approached with clean hands and a pure heart (James 4:8-10; Psalm 24:3-5).
His presence near you brings comfort and peace and renewal and refreshing and increased desire to stay close to Him always, although full satisfaction for your longing soul He reserves for heaven. Nothing else does what His nearness does.
“Yes, it is true our Lord dwells with us now. He is in us, here present, embracing us and enclosing us in Himself, never to leave us, nearer than we can say in failing human words. Yet our soul will never cease from mourning, from this journey of seeking and longing, until that day when we emerge fully into Light and behold Him fully…and feel His embrace, with our face pressed against the face of our Lord.
In that moment, even the tiniest wisp of sadness will vanish in His risen light…”
Julian of Norwich (1342-1413)
I Promise You A Crown, 149
Edited by David Hazard