Posted by Jerry White on Feb 26, 2012
Do not be anxious about anything.
Philippians 4:6 ESV
“Christians are forbidden to be anxious (Matt. 6:31-34). ‘Look at the birds of the air,’ said Christ, ‘they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they?’ (Matt. 6:26). If you have a Father in heaven who cares for you, every little bird that sits on a branch and sings, even though it doesn’t have a grain of barley in all the world, should put you to shame if you are anxious. The birds live exempt from care, why not you?
Our Lord taught that anxiety is useless and needless. Care and worry cannot add one cubit to our stature (Luke 12:25). If the farmer worries about lack of rain, will this open the clouds of heaven? If the merchant is concerned because an unfavorable wind delays his loaded ship can this turn the gale to another quarter? We do not improve our lot by fretting and fuming. If we were infinitely wiser we would throw our cares on God. Prudence is wisdom, for it adapts a means to an end. Anxiety is folly, for it groans and worries and accomplishes nothing.
According to our Savior, anxiety about worldly things is heathenish, ‘for all these things the Gentiles seek’ (Matt. 6:32). Heathens have no God, and so they try to be their own providence. The believer who can say, ‘God’s providence is my inheritance,’ will not worry. Let the heirs of heaven live on a higher plane than sinners who live without God and without hope. If we are in Christ, let us believe in our God and leave the governing of both the outside world and the little world within to our heavenly Father.
‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths’ (Prov. 3:5-6).”
C. H. Spurgeon
Beside Still Waters, 215
Roy H. Clarke, Editor
Posted by Jerry White on Feb 23, 2012
“Contemplation is not the exclusive occupation of hermits or desert fathers. It is essential for a godly lifestyle and should accompany meditation.
While Christian meditation loves to lose itself in the minutiae of the Word, Christian contemplation, standing on the shoulders of meditation, sees into the very throne room of God Himself until it becomes ‘lost in wonder, love and praise.’
These two vital elements of our communion with God work best together. On its own, without the right goal, meditation on Scripture can deteriorate into an exercise in mental gymnastics. Then again, subjective mystical contemplation, unless anchored to the Rock of the Word, runs the risk of being swept away by strange currents into uncharted seas.
Perhaps our use of the term ‘Bible study’ subconsciously conjures up the thought of a textbook and an examination. Good though such knowledge is, it misses the mark unless it pursues the adoration of God Himself. Mary Lathbury captured the thought well in her much-sung hymn, ‘Break Thou the Bread of Life.’
Beyond the sacred page
I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee,
O living Word.
Contemplation is gazing at and worshiping with adoration the One who is described in the Scriptures we have been studying. As with Moses…, it is this gazing at God’s glory which brings about the change that both pleases God and impacts the world.”
Thirsting After God, 162-163
Whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining.
Exodus 34:34-35 ESV
Posted by Jerry White on Feb 19, 2012
David, a shepherd boy and then king of Israel, wrote down notes from his quiet times. Some times he sang in worship. Other times he cried out in anguish to the Lord for deliverance. Some of his notes overflow with praise while others give off a fragrance of calm assurance as he writes confessions of what is true about Yahweh, his Shepherd. Other lovers of God did the same and we now benefit from their devotional notes we call Psalms.
The penmen of the Psalms did not have the convenience of writing materials and instruments that we moderns have, but they found it important to write their notes for their own heart’s good. Making notes from their private worship and very personal relationship with Yahweh must have benefited them, and it surely has blessed millions down through the centuries. It is true that the Holy Spirit breathed upon them and wrote this portion of Scripture through them, but it is also true that they were unaware they were writing a part of God’s purely inspired Word. The notes came from their communion with God.
We also can benefit from writing down the expressions of our heart to the Lord. It will not be God’s inspired Scripture, but we can express honestly with personal notes our communion with our Father. I do not try to write every day or every week but only on those occasions when clear thoughts come bubbling up from deep within. Later when I revisit those notes I am refreshed and renewed in my desires for the Lord. I very rarely share these notes with others (except occasionally with my wife), but as an example I share one here I jotted down a couple of months ago:
Infinite, Holy One,
Here I am—created by you, my Father—redeemed by you, my Lord—indwelt by You, Holy Spirit.
I gladly acknowledge I have no rights. You purchased me to be Your bondservant. The price You paid for me I cannot imagine.
Your will for Your glory is the end of all things. Your will alone I choose for my days.
Your life alone can be my strength. Without You I can do nothing.
Without faith I cannot please You. Without obedience I do not prove my love for You.
I trust for Your life to flow through me like rivers.
I long for You to be pleased with me as Your purchased son.
Increase my love until all I do is saturated with love for You.
I quietly rest in Your declared faithfulness to hear and answer.
Posted by Jerry White on Feb 16, 2012
When you pray, do not heap empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Matthew 6:7 ESV
Prayer is the Heavenly Father and His child sharing their hearts with one another in a simple, loving, intimate and trusting relationship. God’s child does not have to try to gain His attention or to persuade Him with great intensity and many words. Many words do not persuade the Father of one’s sincerity, nor do many words demonstrate that one has faith. Furthermore, many words in prayer do not persuade Him to respond. Jesus said that your Father knows your need even before you ask (Matt. 6:8). With infinite tenderness and attentiveness He watches over you. He is always waiting for you to ask because He is more desirous to answer than you are to ask, and He will answer how and when it is best in His omniscient perfect sight. The foundation of prayer is twofold: the trust of a child’s heart and the profound love of the Heavenly Father’s heart.
Doubt and unbelief are treacherous enemies to this relationship of Father and child. We either choose to believe what the Lord Jesus said about our Heavenly Father’s love for us or we allow ourselves to doubt. We either believe that our Father attentively listens to our requests or we allow unbelief to rule our hearts. Jesus rebuked the disciples for their doubt and unbelief (Matt. 17:17). It disappointed Him. He would not have held them responsible if they could not have helped their failure. He fully expected them to believe His word and accept the fact of the Father’s loving concern for them. He promised that the Father in heaven would hear and answer their simple child-like requests (Matt. 7:7-11). We choose to believe the Lord Jesus and rest on His sure promise or we forfeit enjoying this relationship with our Almighty Father who loves us more than we can ever imagine.
The Lord Jesus contrasted simple prayer with the prayers of those who heaped empty phrases. He urged simple brief requests to the Father. His entire example of prayer is fifty-two words in the ESV (57 words in Greek). Those simple brief requests covered the Father’s desire and all basic human needs (Matt. 6:9-13). The one who knows he or she is a little child in God’s sight and that He is a tender and devoted loving Father who knows their every need even before they ask, enters into the beautiful secure shelter of the Most High and abides in the shadow of the Almighty (Psalms 91:1). Then prayer becomes a natural expression of the heart—any time, anywhere, all the time. Is it not remarkable how this pleases God’s heart (Psalms 147:22)?
Posted by Jerry White on Feb 13, 2012
“Thirsting and being alone with Jesus should lead to gazing on His beauty. As surely as we can gaze upon a beautiful sunset with our physical eyes, so we can gaze upon our holy God with our inner eyes. Jesus spoke about the pure of heart seeing God (Matthew 5:8). Paul wrote about gazing upon the glory of God and being transformed by what we see into that same image (2 Corinthians 3:18). John wrote about the return of Christ, ‘We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is’ (1 John 3:2). Is that not an extraordinary thought? So resplendent and powerful is a sustained view of Jesus that it transfigures us to become like Him. In His prayer to God the Father recorded in John 17, Jesus prayed for our ultimate experience in heaven, which is to see His glory that the Father has given Him (John 17:24). On earth we catch glimpses of His glory through His Word made alive to us, through the Holy Spirit’s revelation of Christ’s presence to us, and through what we see Him do by His power—-and we long for more. We anticipate heaven where we will have an unhindered and uninterrupted view of Him in all of His pure, holy brilliance.
To see the Lord’s beauty with the eyes of your heart is to increasingly love Him. To catch glimpses of Him now, however dim those glimpses may be, fills our hearts with wonder, awe, admiration, and reverence. His loveliness humbles us, and draws from us a desire to love Him more and a craving to know Him more intimately. It is like finding a gold nugget in an old mine; once you find one, you want to search until you find another. Spurgeon wrote, ‘We would rather have one mouthful of Christ’s love, and a sip of his fellowship, than a whole world full of carnal delights” [C. H. Spurgeon, Morning & Evening, January 8, Evening reading].
How do you gaze upon God? What does it mean to see Him with the eyes of your own heart? It means to contemplate His character, to mentally look upon His personhood reflecting upon various aspects of His character. It means to meditate upon the truth about Him revealed in Scripture.”
The Spirit and Presence of Christ, 100-101
Posted by Jerry White on Feb 9, 2012
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
How does the Holy Spirit effect such radical change in us? There is a parallel on the physical level in the ingestion and digestion of food. We eat our meal and forget all about it. Our bodily functions and gastric juices take over, and without any conscious volition or activity on our part, the food is gradually changed into another form and is incorporated into the texture of our physical bodies. It is changed into flesh, bone, blood, hair, and energy. And all without any conscious action on our part.
Similarly, as we spend time devoutly ‘beholding…the glory of the Lord’ in the face of Jesus Christ—His virtues, graces, achievements—the Holy Spirit not only reveals Him to us, but He reproduces Him in us. Without conscious volition on our part, He incorporates into the fabric of our spiritual lives the virtues and values we see in Christ, and transforms us increasingly into His likeness. ‘Beholding…the glory of the Lord [we] are being transformed into the same image’ (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Our transformation is progressive, for it is ‘from glory to glory’….
The inward change is not the result merely of some moment of high and holy exaltation. It is as we continue gazing at Him that we are continually being transformed. There is no grace we see in glorious character of our Lord that may not be ours in increasing measure as we rely on the Holy Spirit to reproduce in us….
Our part is to behold. The Spirit’s prerogative is to transform.”
J. Oswald Sanders
Enjoying Intimacy With God, 117-118
Beloved child of God, the enemy will tempt you to think, “what a waste of time. I have so much to do.” The Lord revealed the way to transformation by His Spirit. The issue is, will you believe Him, do what He says by taking time to gaze on the Lord, and let Him transform you from one degree of likeness to Jesus to a greater degree of likeness?
Posted by Jerry White on Feb 6, 2012
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 ESV
“Just as an infant’s hand can grasp the acorn which holds the giant oak within it, so the youngest child who can lisp ‘the Nicodemus sermon’ of John 3:16 may with truth be said to know the gospel. And yet in every word of it there is a depth and mystery of meaning which God alone can fathom.
Tell me what it means to perish, and enable me to grasp the thought of a life that is eternal. Measure for me the abyss of man’s wickedness and guilt during all the ages of his black and hateful history, that I may realize in some degree what that world is which God has loved. Then, pausing for a moment in wonder at the thought that such a world could be loved at all, hasten on to speak of love that gave the Son. And when you have enabled me to know this love, which cannot be known, for it passes knowledge, press on still and tell me of the sacrifice by which it has measured and proved itself—His Son, His Only-begotten Son.
Make me to know, in the fullness of knowledge, Him who declared that the Father alone could know Him. And when you have achieved all this, I turn again to the words of Christ, and I read that it was GOD who so loved the world, and I crave to know Who and What God is.
I can rise to the thought of love, perhaps even to an evil world, and the conception of love giving up an only son is not beyond me; but when I come to know that it was GOD who loved, that GOD was the giver, and GOD’s Son the gift, I stand as a wondering worshipper in the presence of the Infinite, and confess that such knowledge is too high for me.
Sir Robert Anderson
His Victorious Indwelling, 50-51
Nick Harrison, Editor
Posted by Jerry White on Feb 2, 2012
“I realize there are a number of principles I learned about thirsting after God. Let me try and summarize them:
1. God creates the thirst. We must cultivate it.
2. When I respond, God finds a way to encourage me, often through special people or circumstances.
3. God commands me to be filled with His Spirit, meaning it is my move next. He will respond to that.
4. I’ve noticed less resistance to the Spirit when I am alone, praying and reading His Word.
5. The fresh touch of God’s Spirit can come with or without accompanying physical manifestations.
6. God has already lavished on me the love I so desperately long for. That is why I long!
7. My growing sense of anticipation is actually faith beginning to appropriate that love.
8. The Spirit’s fullness is directly dependent on my confession of sin.
9. The Spirit’s infilling makes me neither immune to sin nor free from temptation.
10. Being filled with the Spirit makes me much more sensitive to sin. In thus seeing my true status, the initial euphoria may be dampened, but the end result is true joy through confession.
11. God uses mountaintop experiences to stimulate further longings, even much later in life.
12. We must not depend on such experiences for our growth as Christians, but when God grants them, each crisis must be followed by a process.”
Thirsting After God, 69-70
Thirst is need, desire, and even craving. Physically this speaks of a feeling of dryness in the mouth and throat that results in a desire or need for water. While dying on the cross Jesus said, ‘I thirst!’ Water is the most basic need of the human body along with air to breathe. The stronger your thirst becomes the more determined you become to find whatever will quench it. The same is true for a soul thirsting after God.