Posted by Jerry White on May 30, 2010
Knowledge about the contents of the Bible is not the same as knowing the Lord Jesus intimately. Knowledge about theology (doctrine) is not the same as close personal fellowship with the Lord Jesus. Knowledge about all the Biblical principles for Christian living is not the same as knowing the Lord Jesus with the fullness of one’s soul. Knowledge of how to serve in ministry is not the same as privately gazing with wonder and awe on the Lord in His beauty. Knowledge about the Lord’s supernatural working through the gifts of the Spirit is not the same as knowing in one’s inner being the reality of the Lord’s presence through faith.
To know Jesus Christ—to know Him ever more intimately—to see Him with eyes of heart ever more clearly—to enjoy His near presence with ever increasing spiritual reality—this is the goal, and all knowledge should point to this ultimate goal for life and eternity. Deep personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus brings heart satisfaction like nothing else, and this is what our Heavenly Father longs to give us. This kind of knowledge is what we must set our heart upon to seek. Here is where our soul finds rest. Then we are prepared to tell others with experiential authority, both lost and saved, the wonders of Jesus Christ.
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
John 17:3 (ESV)
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18 (ESV)
“That nearness is what we are to make daily efforts after, and that nearness is one capable of indefinite increase. We know not how close to His heart we can lay our aching heads. We know not how near to His fullness we can bring our emptiness. We have never yet reached the point beyond which no closer union is possible.”
Posted by Jerry White on May 27, 2010
But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
John 15:26 (ESV)
“Every Christian has a gift. The Spirit gives one to each person, just as he determines (1 Corinthians 12:11). What is this gift for? ‘To each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good’ (1 Corinthians 12:7). These are illuminating words indeed. A gift, Paul suggests, is a ‘manifestation of the spirit’. It is a means by which the Spirit shows us more of Christ. He does so by using some ability he has given us in the service of others.
Martin Luther used to speak about the Christian being ‘a little Christ’ to his neighbour. That is what Paul means here. Unlike many of us, Paul did not think of a gift of the Spirit as something which makes the recipient seem special or important. A gift of the Spirit is meant to show that Christ is special. The only person the Spirit wants to manifest is Jesus! (See John 16:12-14 and John 14:21, 23). When we exercise the gifts which Christ has given us we are really saying to our fellow Christians and others: See how much the Lord Jesus loves you and cares for you; he has sent me to love you and serve you in this way; he is using my hands and feet, my lips and ears, to show his love in this special way. It is a tragic mistake if we think that the message is: See what a super Christian I am; see the wonderful gifts I have.”
Sinclair B. Ferguson
Grow In Grace, 87
“Because the devil has such great powers to ensnare, we must beware at all times. For at the moment we forget our low estate and think we have become spiritual and specially gifted, we have become wrong-spirited and we are in grave danger. This is a serious warning to those who have experienced special inner guidance and spiritual gifts. Do not slip from your place in Christ on the misstep of hidden pride.”
John of the Cross (1542-1591)
You Set My Spirit Free, 123, (Arranged and paraphrased by David Hazard)
Posted by Jerry White on May 23, 2010
“The common drudgery of daily life can be a divine calling. We often speak of a young man as ‘being called to the ministry,’ but it is as fitting to speak of a carpenter being called to the workbench, the blacksmith to the forge, and the shoemaker to his wooden or metal form of a foot. ‘Brethren,’ said the apostle, ‘let each one remain with God in that calling in which he was called’ (1 Cor. 7:24).
Remember that your life has been appointed by God’s wise providence. God as much sent Joseph to the drudgery and discipline of the prison as to the glory and responsibility of the palace. Nothing happens to us that is not included in His plan for us, and incidents that seem most tiresome are often designed to give us opportunities to become nobler, stronger characters.
We are called to be faithful in performing our assigned duties. Not brilliance, not success, not notoriety, but the regular, quiet, and careful performance of trivial and common duties. Faithfulness in that which is least is as great an attainment in God’s sight as in the greatest.
Take up your work, then, you who seem to be nobodies, those tireless and faithful servants who draw little attention. Do it with a brave heart, looking up to Him who for many years toiled at the carpenter’s bench. Do everything as in His presence and to win His approval, Look for opportunities to cheer your fellow workers. Do not complain or grumble, but let your heart rise from your toil to God—your maker, Savior and friend.”
F. B. Meyer (1847-1929)
The Best of F. B. Meyer, 81-82
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
Whatever the Lord Jesus has you doing is a holy assignment. Washing dirty feet was the lowest slave’s job, but when the Lord Jesus did it, this simple humble service became a holy act. The lowest menial work can be a holy act of worship from your heart. Do it for His approval alone. Do it with joy—just for His smile.
Posted by Jerry White on May 19, 2010
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound (healthy) teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passion, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV)
The day when many who profess Christ will not endure sound doctrine is upon us. Many strange winds are blowing upon the church. In our day of instant gratification, pleasure seeking, and quick fixes, many professing Christians will not take time to diligently seek, study, meditate and pray over God’s Word so they can understand with mind and heart the vital doctrines of God. Too easily some accept what sounds spiritual from a winsome personality, when in fact it does not match up with God breathed Scriptures. Basic principles of Biblical interpretation are ignored. Fundamental truths the apostles considered crucial are overlooked. Many active in church cannot articulate sound doctrine and cannot even think straight about essential truth. Worse, these truths are not even considered important. “Don’t disturb me with what God truly says, I just want a happy and comfortable life.” The result is that many professing believers hold to a hodge-podge of beliefs that have absolutely no Biblical foundation.
We can show our love for the Lord Jesus by studying His Word so we understand exactly what He says and means. By this our lives can line up with His revealed truth. Otherwise we are spiritually crippled and cannot grow into His likeness. Truth is not about what makes us feel good; it is about what our Lord precisely says so we can stand upon solid Biblical truth, obey His clear commands, and rest upon His glorious promises.
“It was doctrine in the apostolic ages which emptied the heathen temples, and shook Greece and Rome. It was doctrine which awoke Christendom from its slumbers at the time of the Reformation and spoiled the Pope of one-third of his subjects. It is doctrine which gives power to every successful mission, whether at home or abroad. It is doctrine – doctrine, clear ringing doctrine – which like the rams’ horns at Jericho, casts down the opposition of the devil and sin.”
J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)
Posted by Jerry White on May 17, 2010
“When I was very young and green in the Lord, a missionary friend from Japan shared with me an incident in his life, which left an indelible impression on my own. He approached the godliest man he knew and asked him a very serious question, ‘What is the great key to becoming a man of God?’ The older saint answered without a moment’s hesitation, ‘Maintain a strong devotional life.’
Anyone who has read the biographies of godly saints would have to agree that this is certainly a common denominator with the godly. All of them maintained consistent devotional times with the Lord. John Wesley maintained the lifelong habit of rising every morning at four to seek his Lord. It was said of Hudson Taylor that the sun never rose over China but that it found Hudson Taylor on his face before God. Amy Carmichael was always seeking her Lord early in the morning and praying her way through her well-worn edition of Daily Light. The great Chinese Christian, Pastor Hsi often went to bed with his clothes on in order to rise more quickly in the early morning hours. All who have read A. W. Tozer’s books can testify to the freshness and uniqueness of his insights. This man would rise every morning at five thirty and seek his Lord in prayer.
The men of God in the Bible set the same pattern. David sought the Lord seven times a day (Psalm 119:164). Daniel, even as busy as he was as the Prime Minister of a world empire, sought the Lord three times a day (Daniel 6:10). And Jesus, the perfect Man, continually took time aside to pray alone with His Father (Mark 6:46).
Those Who Wait on the Lord…, 4
“Is it likely that God would call you to do more than he gives you time to do? No one who believes God is good and wise could answer yes. So when it seems you don’t have enough time to do your work, care for your family, love your friends, and devote yourself to prayer and meditation, the problem isn’t God’s providence. The problem may be that you’ve taken on yourself more than God intended.”
The Enemy Within, 74-75
Posted by Jerry White on May 13, 2010
“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, 96
And as for what [seed] fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.
Luke 8:14 (ESV)
If you are more occupied with all you have to do, with obtaining more of this world’s goods and enjoying its pleasures than you are with seeking the Lord Jesus, then you are in danger. Seeking the Lord first must be your daily choice and discipline, or else cares, riches and pleasures will quench your spiritual thirst and rob your days of God’s best.
Posted by Jerry White on May 10, 2010
I have been asking, seeking, and knocking persistently [the meaning of the original in Luke 11:9-10] for some serious matters in the lives of friends I deeply care about, but the answers have not come. This has required persistence without receiving much encouragement that the answer is on its way. I am sure many who read this have had a similar experience of apparently unanswered prayer. Why pray? Does it make any difference to pray? The Lord Jesus emphatically said that it does, and the strongest reason on top of what He taught is that He Himself prayed often and sometimes prayed long.
A respected author addresses this mystery of prayer quite honestly.
“God will hear me. What a deep mystery! There are difficulties that arise and perplex the heart. There is the question of God’s sovereign will. How can our wishes change His perfect will? He knows that is best and loves to give us the very best. How can our prayer change what He has ordained?
What is the need of persevering in prayer? If God is infinite love, delighting to give, why is there need for pleading, for urgency and long delay in answering our prayers?
What of the multitude of apparently unanswered prayers? Many have pleaded for loved ones and they die unsaved. Many cry for physical healing without result. This tries our faith and makes us hesitate when we say, ‘God will hear me.’
Prayer is a deep spiritual mystery. Answers can be given that remove some of the difficulty from our questions but, as little as we can comprehend of God, we can comprehend one of the most wonderful of His attributes—He hears prayer. It is a spiritual mystery.
God hears because we pray in His son and because the Holy Spirit prays in us. If we have believed in Christ and the Holy Spirit, we should not hesitate to believe in the power of our prayer, too. We can believe and rejoice in it, even where every question is not yet answered. We need to surrender our questions to God’s love, trust His faithfulness, and obey His command to pray without ceasing.”
Andrew Murray (1828-1917)
Teach Me To Pray, November 28 reading
Posted by Jerry White on May 6, 2010
“All of you have faced temptation, times of conflict between your natural conscience and the law of God. But that is not the contest in the believer’s bosom. It is warfare between the Spirit of God in the heart and the old man with his deeds. If any of you are groaning under this warfare, learn to be humbled by it, but not discouraged. It is intended to make you lie in the dust and feel acutely your need for Christ’s power and forgiveness. Even after you have received the Holy Spirit, you are still prone to wander and leave the God who rescued you.
Let this make you lie low. Let this teach you your need of Jesus. You need the blood of Jesus as much now as at first. You never can stand before God in yourself. You must go again and again to be washed. Even on your dying bed, you must hide under Jehovah, our righteousness. You must also lean on Jesus. He alone can overcome the sin in you. Draw nearer and nearer to Him every day.
Don’t be discouraged. Jesus is willing to be a Savior to such as you. He is able to save you to the uttermost. Do you think your case is too bad for Christ to save? Everyone whom Christ saves had just such a heart as you. Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold of eternal life. Take up the resolution of Edwards: ‘Never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however, unsuccessful I may be.’”
Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843)
The Best of Robert Murray McCheyne, 15-16
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is in my flesh.
Romans 7:18 (ESV)
“Christians pray to Christ to save them from their sins, but they know very little how the blessed work is done. The living Christ reveals Himself to us, and through the power of His love the love of sin is expelled. It is through personal fellowship with Him that Jesus saves from our sins.”
The Secret of Fellowship, 12
Posted by Jerry White on May 3, 2010
“Spiritual progress, therefore, is tied up in knowing Christ as our All. It takes place when we take Christ as our portion to be all things for us. Greater Bible knowledge will not do this for you. Increased religious activity or spiritual service will not do this for you. Neither will spending more time praying. Only a revelation of the vastness of Christ can meet the bill.
As I survey the landscape of modern Christianity, it seems to me that spiritual things and objects have replaced the person of Christ. The doctrines, gifts, graces, virtues, and duties that we so earnestly seek have substituted for Jesus Himself. We look to this gift and that gift, we study this truth and that truth, we seek to appropriate this virtue, we try to fulfill this duty, but all along we fail to find Him.
When the Father gives us something, it’s always His Son. When the Son gives us something, it’s always Himself. This insight greatly simplifies the Christian life. Instead of seeking many spiritual things, we seek only Him. Our single occupation is the Lord Jesus Christ. He becomes our only pursuit. We do not seek divine things; we seek a divine person. We do not seek gifts; we seek the giver who embodies all the gifts. We do not seek truth; we see the incarnation of all truth.
God has given us all spiritual things in His Son.”
From Eternity To Here, 302-303
He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:30-31 (ESV)
The enemy violently opposes your finding complete satisfaction in Christ alone. He cares not what he uses, whether the world’s pleasures, or the Lord’s blessings, or even ministry. He wants desperately to keep you occupied with anything but the Lord Jesus.