Spiritual Anesthesia

Posted by Jerry White on Feb 28, 2013

“TELEVISION IS THE MOST POWERFUL CULTURAL INFLUENCE ON THE planet, but it does little to promote either simplicity or biblical spirituality. Instead, like spiritual anesthesia, TV dulls the sensitivity of the soul.

For instance, almost any show you see will laugh at something God says is good or normalize something God calls sin (see Isaiah 5:20). Television frequently contradicts God, almost as directly as the serpent in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3:4). It saturates the mind of the viewer with the world’s way of thinking. Television displays a rapid succession of pictures that we passively observe (in contrast to forming mental pictures ourselves, as when reading), which causes the imagination to atrophy with inactivity. And this makes the concentration and meditation on Scripture more difficult. On top of everything else, watching TV simply takes time, time that we later say we don’t have for our spiritual disciplines. Other than (possibly) a very few obscure Christian broadcasts, where on TV can you find a good example of what you want to be spiritually?

Beyond its impact on our spirituality, TV is no friend of anyone trying to simplify, either. In fact, TV’s very existence depends upon an incessant parade of advertising intended to make us feel discontented with our experiences, possessions, relationships, and appearance. In the words of writer Wendell Berry, TV persuades us to believe ‘that all worth experiencing is somewhere else and that all worth having must be bought.’

I cannot pronounce God’s complete will for you regarding TV. But as you seek Him on what is good for your soul in this matter, remember James 4:17: ‘Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.’ Television may not have the power to kill the Christian soul, but it anesthetizes it by the hour. Wake up!”

Donald S. Whitney

Simplify Your Spiritual Life, 108

~~~

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)




Looking Unto Jesus

Posted by Jerry White on Feb 25, 2013

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us looking to Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)

~~~

“Only three words, but in those three words is the whole secret of life.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS

In the Scriptures, to learn there what He is, what He has done, what He gives, what He desires; to find in His character our pattern, in His teachings our instruction, in His precepts our law, in His promises our support, in His person and in His work a full satisfaction provided for every need of our souls.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS

Crucified, to find His shed blood our ransom, our pardon, our peace.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS

Risen, to find in Him the righteousness which alone makes us righteous, and permits us, all unworthy as we are, to draw near with boldness, in His Name, to Him Who is His Father and our Father, His God and our God.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS

Glorified, to find in Him our Heavenly Advocate completing by His intercession the work inspired by His lovingkindness for our salvation; (1 Jn. 2:1). Who even now is appearing for us before the face of God (Heb. 9:24), the kingly Priest, the spotless Victim, continually bearing the iniquity of our holy things (Ex. 28:38).

LOOKING UNTO JESUS

Revealed by the Holy Spirit, to find in constant communion with Him the cleansing of our sin stained hearts, the illumination of our darkened spirits, the transformation of our rebel wills; enabled by Him to triumph over all attacks of the world and of the evil one, resisting their violence by Jesus our Strength, and overcoming their subtilty by Jesus our Wisdom; upheld by the sympathy of Jesus, Who was spared no temptation, and by the help of Jesus, Who yielded to none.”

Theodore Monod (1836-1921)

Translated from the French by Helen Willis




Posted in Faith

Prayer For Praise

Posted by Jerry White on Feb 21, 2013

Fill thou my life, O Lord my God,

In every part with praise,

That my whole being may proclaim

Thy being and thy ways.

Not for the lip of praise alone,

Nor e’en the praising heart,

I ask, but for a life made up

Of praise in every part;

Praise in the common things of life,

Its goings out and in;

Praise in each duty and each deed,

However small and mean.

Fill every part of me with praise:

Let all my being speak

Of thee and of thy love, O Lord,

Poor though I be and weak.

So shalt thou, Lord, from me, e’en me,

Receive the glory due;

And so shall I begin on earth

The song for ever new.

Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

~~~

“Worshipping God is the great essential of fitness. If you have not been worshipping…when you get into work you will not only be useless yourself, but a tremendous hindrance to those who are associated with you.”

Oswald Chambers




Posted in Worship

Blessing Gained Or Missed

Posted by Jerry White on Feb 17, 2013

“The fullness of God’s blessing through the fullness of God’s Spirit living and working in and through our lives is available for every Christian. Enjoyment of Christ’s nearness is possible for every believer—without exception! So while we are not to seek after what Oswald Chambers called ‘exceptional moments of inspiration,’ we are to desire God and pursue Him with the expectancy that He is eager to grant to us the pleasure of His companionship, His nearness, and His fullness to be evidence of His presence in our lives.

Jonathan Goforth, a missionary to China in the early nineteen hundreds who experienced an outpouring of the Spirit where he served, wrote in his book, By My Spirit, ‘We are convinced that the majority of Christian people are living on a plane far below what our Master planned for them.’ Andrew Murray, who was a pastor in South Africa around the same time, wrote: ‘God wills a great deal of blessing to His people which never comes to them. He wills it most earnestly, but they do not will it, and it cannot come to them.’ Psalm 91 says, ‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High / Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.’ Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the great preacher of England in the late 1800s, commented on this verse in his book, The Treasury of David:

The blessings here promised are not for all believers, but for those who live in close fellowship with God. Every child of God looks towards the inner sanctuary and the mercy seat, yet all do not dwell in the most holy place; they run to it at times and enjoy occasional approaches, but they do not habitually reside in the mysterious presence. Those who through rich grace obtain unusual and continuous communion with God, so as to abide in Christ and Christ in them, become possessors of rare and special benefits, which are missed by those who follow afar off, and grieve the Holy Spirit of God.”

JRW

The Spirit and Presence of Christ, 166-167




Posted in Holy Spirit

The Spirit’s Ministry

Posted by Jerry White on Feb 14, 2013

These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

1 Corinthians 2:10 (ESV)

~~~

“There is no darkness that God’s own Spirit cannot scatter, no difficulty He cannot remove, no portion of the Word He cannot explain. All that is necessary to your salvation is revealed in the Word; all that can be known of Jesus is there discovered. All this the blessed Spirit stands prepared to make known to you. He leads you to Jesus; Jesus lifts the veil and reveals the Father; and the Father, when revealed, appears full of love, mercy, and forgiveness to the poor returning prodigal, who in penitence and lowliness, seeks an asylum in His heart. And, oh, how ready is the Spirit to instruct you! He has such love and grace in His heart that the heavenly dove seems always poised on wing, ready to fly to the soul who even sighs for His inward teaching. Does He see a soul oppressed with a sense of guilt? He hastens to apply the atoning blood of Jesus. Does He mark one weary with his fruitless toil? He seals the promise of the Savior on the heart, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy leaden, and I will give you rest’ (Matt. 11:28). Does He find a soul combating with temptation, tormented with fear, harassed with doubts, struggling with infirmity, or halting through weakness? Oh, how ready is He to show that soul where its great strength, comfort, and grace lie—in the fullness of a most loving, precious, and all-sufficient Savior!

Oh, then, in the name of Jesus, seek this glorious gift of God. Seek Him as a life-giving Spirit who makes Jesus known to you; leads you into the deep things of God’s Word; deeply sanctifies you; imparts to you the love, confidence, and consolation of an adopted child; comforts you in every sorrow; strengthens the divine life in your soul; and proves to be your earnest and seal of eternal glory.”

Octavius Winslow

Evening Thoughts, 75-76

~~~

Often, modern day Christians with busy, distracted minds neglect consciously trusting the loving Holy Spirit who indwells them. His presence does no good without faith.




The True Christian Life

Posted by Jerry White on Feb 11, 2013

“The true Christian life, which begins with a supernatural transition, consists and continues in a supernatural transfusion.

The very life and nature of Christ are transfused into the innermost being of the Christian believer by the Holy Spirit. Thus our Saviour’s word is fulfilled: ‘Because I live, ye shall live also’ (John 14:19). Paul not only says, ‘I live, yet not I’; he goes on to say, ‘but Christ liveth in me.’ There is not only transition; there is transfusion. This is the most precious and sacred secret of the Christian life…. The man of the world neither understands it nor even suspects it. Yet oh, how real it is to our Lord’s own!

Now just because of this supernatural transfusion, the New Testament ideal for our Christian life is that there shall be within us a continual displacement of the old self-life, and an ever-clearer enthronement of the new Christ-life. All of us, by nature, are ego-centric, self-centered; but we are meant to become Christocentric, or Christ-centered. Christ is to be the new life within our life; the new mind within our mind; the new will within our will; the new love within our love; the new Person within our personality.

We cannot always be on the mountaintop of transfiguration, seeing heavenly visions and hearing heavenly voices. We cannot always be experiencing spiritual raptures and sensory ecstasies. A high frequency of these is neither necessary nor desirable in our present state; nor could our nervous system sustain too much of it.

Often we must be down on the long-stretching plains of every-day hum-drum realities; and sometimes we must needs be down in some grim valley, drawing the sword in fierce battle against Apollyon himself.

Yet, whether up on the mountain top, or down on the monotonous plain, or deep in some valley of trial, I am convinced of this, that we Christian believers need never lose an uninterrupted consciousness of our indwelling Saviour. Surely this is implied in the words, ‘Christ liveth in me.’ To be Christocentric is to be all the while Christ-conscious.”

J. Sidlow Baxter

His Victorious Indwelling, 105-106

Nick Harrison, Editor




Choose to Pray

Posted by Jerry White on Feb 7, 2013

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

Luke 22:39 (ESV); Luke 5:16 (NASB)

~~~

“In prayer, there must be deliberateness—the secret place, the inner chamber, the fixed time, the shut door against distraction and intruders. In that secret place, the Father is waiting for us. He is as certainly there as He is in heaven. Be reverent, as Moses when he took the shoes off his feet. Be trustful, because you are having an audience with One who loves you more than any other. Be comforted, because there is no problem He cannot solve, no knot He cannot untangle.

God knows even better than we do what we need and should ask for. He listens to our pleas and requests, and He rejoices to meet our needs according to His holy plans. You may be sure that, in some way or other, your heavenly Father will meet your particular need. When you have definitely put a matter into God’s hands, leave it there. Be assured that He has heard you and will respond.”

The Best of F. B. Meyer, 114

~~~

“Prayer should first be experienced in a secluded place. That does not rule out praying with a partner or in a group, but it highlights the importance of individual prayer. Jesus demonstrated it by his daily walk. Not owning a home, he was often a guest of others. Mark 1:35 tells us, ‘Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.’ Even when his disciples were with him, most of the time he left them and went out to pray by himself. Private prayer is the foundation of prayer with others. It takes priority, all our lives. Jesus showed us the way by example as well as by teaching. He let nothing hinder the primacy of prayer in his demanding and busy life. He prayed often; he prayed much; he prayed alone.”

JRW

Fellowship With God, 21-22 (1995 edition)




Posted in Prayer

Receiving God’s Word

Posted by Jerry White on Feb 4, 2013

Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Deuteronomy 8:3 (ESV)

~~~

“God’s Word is received through meditation that opens us to the Lord and translates what he is saying to us. He speaks by the Holy Spirit, applying the truths of the Bible to our own lives.

The best definition of meditation I have read is in Dr. J. I. Packer’s book, Knowing God. ‘Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to one’s self, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God. Its purpose is to clear one’s mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let his truth make its full and proper impact on one’s mind and heart.’

As you read the Bible, listen attentively to what the Lord may say. He, the indwelling Spirit, is your resident counselor. He knows exactly where you are on your Christian pilgrimage. He knows to the nth degree what has been accomplished in your spiritual growth and what still needs doing. He knows what you must hear next, the correction you need, truth to enlighten, and command to obey. He is your personal tutor.

Not every passage will speak to you. That doesn’t mean your reading is without effect. The Holy Spirit is still quietly active in the unseen and unfelt realms of your inner being using God’s Word. It’s like sowing seed. For awhile nothing appears to be happening; but soil and seed are interacting, and growth will come. So it is with the Word and the Spirit in your heart.

Go slowly and do your utmost to understand what you read. At times a passage, a verse, a phrase, or even just a word will come alive to you. It will grab your attention and strike a responsive chord. With quiet power and light it will shine upon your soul. You’ll know that the Holy Spirit is bringing the Word home to you. Pause right there. Listen. The Lord is speaking to you. You don’t want to miss anything. Think on it; ponder and pray over it. Don’t leave it until it has the full effect the Spirit intends, at which time he will release you to move on. It may take hours or days. You may often find yourself drawn to that same passage. That is up to the Spirit.”

JRW

Fellowship With God, 40-42 (1995 edition)




Posted in Word Of God