A Holy Loving Pardon

Posted by Jerry White on May 31, 2012

I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Psalm 32:5 ESV

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“A soul in Christ is pardoned soul. It matters not how many sins he has committed. The iniquity of Jerusalem was very great. Its people had sinned against light and against love. All the prophets sent to them were stoned or killed. The Son of God came there; they cast Him out of the vineyard and killed Him! Their sins had grown up to heaven; yet no sooner do they turn to Christ than God says, ‘Her iniquity is pardoned’ (Isa. 40:2). And, observe, it is a present pardon. God does not say, ‘Her iniquity will be pardoned,’ but, ‘Her iniquity is pardoned.’

No sooner does a guilty, heavy-laden soul turn to Christ than this sweet word is heard in heaven—his iniquity is pardoned. ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Rom. 8:1). It is no future or uncertain pardon that is offered in the gospel, but a sure and present pardon—pardon now, this instant, to all who believe in Jesus. You are as completely pardoned in the moment of believing as ever you will be.

It is a holy pardon. Your iniquity is pardoned; another has died for your sins. It is an awful way of pardon. It is a pardon to make you tremble and hate sin with perfect hatred. Oh, can you ever love that which nailed Jesus to the tree, which bowed down His blessed head? Will you take up sin again, and thus put the spear afresh into His side? Some people say, ‘I am too vile.’ Are you viler than Jerusalem? When you take a pebble and cast it into the deep sea, it sinks and is entirely covered. So are the sins of those who take refuge in Christ.

The Best of Robert Murray McCheyne, 181-182

Edited and Compiled by Stephen W. Sorenson

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“May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore thy blessing, and in which I cannot invite thy inspection.”

The Valley of Vision, 219

Edited by Arthur Bennett




Posted in Forgiveness

Reason For Our Existence

Posted by Jerry White on May 27, 2012

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

Psalm 95:6 ESV

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“Yes, worship of the loving God is man’s whole reason for existence. That is why we are born and that is why we are born again from above. That is why we were created and that is why we have been recreated. That is why there was a genesis at the beginning, and that is why there is a re-genesis, called regeneration.

That is why there is a church. The Christian church exists to worship God first of all. Everything else must come second or third or fourth or fifth.

In Europe many generations ago, the dear old saint of God, Brother Lawrence, was on his deathbed. Rapidly losing his physical strength, he witnessed to those gathered around him: ‘I am not dying. I am just doing what I have been doing for the past 40 years, and doing what I expect to be doing for all eternity!’

‘What is that?’ he was asked. He replied quickly, ‘I am worshiping the God I love!’

Worshiping God—that was primary for Brother Lawrence. He was also dying, but that was secondary. He knew why he had been born into this world—and he knew why he had been born again.

Yes, and Brother Lawrence is still worshiping God. He died and they buried his body somewhere, but his was a living soul, created in the image of God. So, he is still worshiping with all the saints around the throne of God.

Sad, sad indeed, are the cries of so many today who have never discovered why they were born. It brings to mind the poet Milton’s description of the pathetic lostness and loneliness of our first parents. Driven from the garden, he says ‘they took hand in hand and through the valley made their solitary way.’

A W. Tozer

Whatever Happened to Worship, 56-57

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Did you worship yesterday? Are you worshiping today? Will you worship tomorrow?




Posted in Worship

Ordering Your Priorities

Posted by Jerry White on May 24, 2012

“Often Christians are so occupied with outward practical matters such as daily responsibilities, schedules, and needs—what Jesus calls ‘the worry of the world’ (Matthew 13:22) — that the clamor of external concerns crowds out the quiet inner voice of the Spirit. Ordering your priorities by deliberate and sometimes hard choices is absolutely essential if you want to stay in step with His Spirit. You will need regular and unhurried time alone with the Lord for worship, meditation in God’s word, and prayer. Neglecting intimate communion with your Lord guarantees spiritual failure in your walk. That is why the enemy, who walks about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8), relentlessly pursues you in order to distract you by worldly occupations. Jealously guard your time alone with your heavenly Father like Jesus did….

All glorious and loving heavenly Father,

You are worthy of no other gift than my complete abandonment to You every day. I cannot live worthy of Your Name except as I experience Your Spirit’s fullness and follow His leading. When You gave me new life, You planted in me the desire to become like Jesus, and I cannot be satisfied except as I know that I am growing in His likeness. I long to be like You, not only in character, but also by being an expression of Your compassionate love to those You give to me. I need Your fullness. Oh, how I need Your fullness in order to accurately represent Jesus by ministering His life. Please use me as Your instrument to increase Your kingdom in this world. Teach me Your ways, my Lord, and lead me in all the paths You have for me. I want, as strongly as I know how, for all of my life to bring glory and honor to You forever and ever. Amen!

JRW

The Spirit And Presence of Christ, 131-132

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And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

Mark 4:18-19 ESV




God’s Fellowship Lost

Posted by Jerry White on May 20, 2012

“When the believer sins, fellowship is interrupted and joy is lost until he comes to the Father in self-judgment, confessing his sins. Then the believer knows that he is forgiven, for God’s Word declares him so in 1 John.

Always remember that there is nothing as strong as the link of relationship and nothing so tender as the link of communion. All the power on earth cannot sever the relationship, but an impure motive or a word spoken out of turn will break the fellowship.

When you find that you have lost the joy of your salvation, humble yourself before God, find out what has caused you to lose your joy, and confess that sin to God your Father. However, you should never confuse your safety with your joy.

We may illustrate this truth thusly: The moon was full and shining with more than ordinary silvery brightness. A man was gazing intently at a deep, still pond, where he saw the moon reflected. He remarked to a friend, ‘How beautiful the moon is tonight! Did you ever see it so bright and full?’

Suddenly the friend tossed a small pebble into the pond. Then the man exclaimed, ‘Hey, something has happened! The moon is broken into pieces!’

‘Don’t be silly,’ his friend remarked. ‘Look up, man! The moon hasn’t changed a bit. It’s the condition of the pond that reflects it that has changed.’

Apply this simple illustration. Your heart is the pond. When there is no evil, God reveals to you the glories and wonders of Christ for your comfort and joy. But the moment a wrong motive comes to you or an idle word escapes your lips unjudged, the Holy Spirit begins to disturb the pond, your heart. Then your happy experiences are smashed to pieces, and you are restless and disturbed until you come to God and confess your sin. Only then can you be restored to the calm, sweet joy of fellowship with God.”

George Cutting

His Victorious Indwelling, 188-189

Nick Harrison, Editor




Applying God’s Word

Posted by Jerry White on May 17, 2012

“We have seen that bringing ourselves under the transforming influence of the Word of God means much more than just acquiring knowledge about the contents of Scripture. In fact, the mere acquisition of Bible facts or doctrinal truth without application to one’s life can lead to spiritual pride. As Paul said, ‘Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up’ (1 Corinthians 8:1). By contrast Paul also spoke of ‘the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness’ (Titus 1:1).

What is the difference between these two concepts of Bible knowledge? In the first instance the Corinthians were using their knowledge in a selfish and prideful way. They were ‘looking down their noses’ at people with different convictions from theirs. On the other hand, the knowledge that leads to godliness is knowledge of the Scriptures that is being applied to one’s life and results in godly behavior.

One of the banes of present-day evangelical Christianity is the way we sit every week under the teaching of God’s Word, or even have private devotions and perhaps participate in a Bible study group, without a serious intent to obey the truth we learn. The indictment of the Jewish people God made to Ezekiel could well be said of us today:

‘My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice….Indeed to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.’ (Ezekiel 33:31-32)

Our tendency seems to be to equate knowledge of the truth, even agreement with it, with obedience to it. James said when we do this we deceive ourselves (James 1:22). This is especially true when we focus on the more scandalous sins ‘out there’ in society to the neglect of the more ‘refined’ sins we commit.

We can not develop Bible-based convictions merely by storing up Bible knowledge in our heads. We do not even develop them by personal Bible study and Scripture memorization, though those practices certainly help us get started. As we begin to meditate on Scripture consistently we come closer. But convictions are really developed when we begin to apply the teachings of Scripture to real-life situations.”

Jerry Bridges

The Discipline of Grace, 181-182




Posted in Word Of God

Abiding In His Word

Posted by Jerry White on May 13, 2012

“Many of Christ’s followers who personally heard the words recorded in John 8 believed Jesus taught truth. At the risk of offending them (which He did), the Master called them to commit to His teaching. If you continue in My word indicates a lifestyle firmly based on following the message they had mentally accepted. Only when truth became the foundation of living could the promised results be expected.

Even for the disciples who followed all the way to that fateful betrayal, actions based on truth were required. When they argued about who was greatest among them, Jesus assumed the role of a servant to wash their feet. He pressed home the truth: service is greatness. Christ’s actions and words must transform the disciple’s actions, not merely inform his mind. If you know these things, He says, you are blessed if you do them.

Although knowing is never enough, too often, we stop with gaining knowledge. We live in an information age which equates knowing with being. People hear; they understand, yet they do not act in life’s critical moments. To understand why, we must go back to the nature of truth. You have heard it said of old comes before the truth. No person hears with an empty slate….

I fear that very few meditate on truth long enough to be transformed by the work of God’s Spirit. Our crowded, noisy lives make little allowance for meditation. No matter how powerfully and clearly a passage is expounded on a Sunday morning, it is all too often lost in a flood of entertainment, family interactions, business matters, or a hundred other daily pressures. For many Christians, just getting into the Word is enough of a challenge.”

Art Nuernberg

EI School of Biblical Training, CORE VALUES, 8-10




Posted in Word Of God

Special Places Alone

Posted by Jerry White on May 10, 2012

“Locate special places that can be used for silence and solitude. Find them within the home, within walking distance, within a few minutes’ drive, and for overnight or longer retreats.

The prophetic Welsh preacher Howell Harris, a friend of George Whitefield, had a special place for silence and solitude in a church building. Writing about the time before the Welshman’s evangelistic ministry, Whitefield’s biographer, Arnold Dallimore, says,

Harris’s knowledge of Divine things during these days was small. He simply knew he loved the Lord and wanted to love Him more, and in this pursuit he sought out quiet places where he could be secluded with Him in prayer. One of his favourite retreats was the church at Llangasty—the village in which he then taught school—and on one occasion shortly after his conversion he climbed into its tower to be more alone with the Lord. There, as he remained in intercession for some hours, he experienced an overwhelming sense of the presence and power of God. That lonely church tower became to him a holy of holies, and afterwards he wrote, “I felt suddenly my heart melting within me, like wax before the fire, with love to God my Saviour; and also felt, not only love and peace, but a longing to be dissolved with Christ. There was a cry in my inmost soul which I was totally unacquainted with before. ‘Abba, Father!’ … I knew I was His child, and that He loved and heard me. My soul being filled and satiated, cried, ‘It is enough! Give me strength and I will follow Thee through fire and water.’ ”

Donald S. Whitney

Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life, 188-189

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Alone with God is where men and women most often meet Him in life changing ways: Jacob alone in the night (Gen. 32:24-32); Moses in the desert or on the mountain (Ex. 3:1-6); and Peter on the rooftop for prayer (Acts 10:9-16). Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray (Luke 5:16). Testimonies and biographies of vibrant saints through the centuries affirm that most often the Lord revealed Himself to them when they were alone with Him. How slow this distracted modern generation is to learn this vital lesson.




Abba! Father!

Posted by Jerry White on May 6, 2012

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Galatians 4:6 ESV

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“When Jesus prayed, most scholars think he regularly addressed Father as abba. It is similar to our word papa. Their logic goes like this: We know the word abba because it burned itself on the disciples’ minds. They were stunned—no one had ever spoken to God so intimately before—that when they told the Greek Christians about Jesus, they carried over the Aramaic abba into the Greek translations of the Bible. This so shocked Paul that he used abba in both Romans and Galatians. Translators have continued the pattern set by the early disciples, and no matter what language Scripture is in, they still use abba.

This one-word prayer, Father, is uniquely Jesus’ prayer. His first recorded sentence at age twelve is about his father: ‘Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ (Luke 2:49). Abba is the first word the prodigal son utters when he returned home. It is the first word of the Lord’s Prayer, and it is the first word Jesus prays in Gethsemane. It is his first word on the cross—‘Father, forgive them’ (Luke 23:34)—and one of his last—‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ (Luke 23:46). Father was my first prayer as I began praying continuously, and I find that it is still my most frequent prayer.

I discovered myself praying simple two- and three-word prayers, such as Teach me or Help me, Jesus. The psalms are filled with this type of short bullet prayer. Praying simple one-word prayers or a verse of Scripture takes the pressure off because we don’t have to sort our exactly what we need. Paul tells us, ‘We do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words’ (Romans 8:26). Often we are too weary to figure out what the problem is. We just know that life—including ours—doesn’t work. So we pray, Father, Father, Father.”

Paul E. Miller

A Praying Life, 65-66




Posted in Prayer

Thirst

Posted by Jerry White on May 3, 2012

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 Expository Dictionary of Bible Words says, “Famine and drought were among the most feared calamities of biblical times. Hunger and thirst represent humanity’s most basic needs for survival. In a culture that saw God as the central reality, it is not surprising to find hunger and thirst linked in a number of ways with God.

In the material realm, God is looked to as the source of food and drink…Hunger and thirst are extended in Scripture to represent basic spiritual needs that also require satisfaction.’ Psalm 42:2 speaks about spiritual thirst, ‘My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.’ Jesus was speaking of spiritual thirst in John 7:37. Spiritual thirst is a sense of dryness in the soul that results in a craving, which only God can satisfy.

The path to fullness with the Holy Spirit begins with spiritual thirst. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “If anyone is thirsty.” Often Christians are so full of other things they do not thirst for God. Jeremiah wrote, “For My people have committed two evils:/ They have forsaken Me, / The fountain of living waters / To hew for themselves cisterns, / Broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13, NASB). The world’s cisterns never satisfy spiritual thirst. Only God’s presence and His fullness can satisfy the deep longing of a regenerate soul. Spiritual thirst is when you deeply and profoundly know your need for the Spirit’s fullness just like your parched mouth knows its need for water. Trying to satisfy your life with other things prevents you from your drinking living water, and therefore, you don’t experience the quality of Christian life God intends for all believers.

He freely and abundantly gives His fullness to those who thirst and come to Him to drink. If there is a hindrance to your enjoying His overflowing fullness then it is probably on your side, not His, because He is more willing to give than you are to receive.

JRW




Posted in Thirst for God