Posted by Jerry White on Mar 28, 2013
Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, ”Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
Matthew 9:14-15 (ESV)
“Fasting is a future-oriented counterpart to the past-oriented celebration of the Lord’s Supper….
But by not eating—by fasting—we look to the future with an aching in our hearts saying: ‘Yes, he came. And yes, what he did for us is glorious. But precisely because of what we have seen and what we have tasted, we feel keenly his absence as well as his presence. The Bridegroom has gone away. He is not here. He was here, and he loved us to the uttermost. And we can eat and even celebrate with feasting because he has come. But this we also know: he is not here the way he once was. As Paul said, ‘While we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.’ And his absence is painful. The sin and misery of the world is painful. The people of Christ are weak and despised—like sheep in the midst of wolves (Matthew 10:16). We long for him to come again and take up his throne and reign in our midst and vindicate his people and his truth and his glory.”
A Hunger For God, pp. 83-84
The Lord Jesus taught us to ask and continue asking for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). If we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us as His children then why would He instruct us to keep on asking our Father for the Spirit? For the same reason that the Lord Jesus told us when the bridegroom was taken away we would fast. We need the Lord’s presence here and now. He is physically absent from us and we want to know the reality of His presence with us on earth. His Spirit alone can communicate His presence. When we thirst to know this reality and cannot live without it, then we will pray persistently, and even fast, as we seek Him to satisfy our longing for His presence. He promises to answer the one who persistently seeks, asks, and knocks with faith. And when He does we will know that the Lord Jesus is here.
Posted by Jerry White on Mar 25, 2013
“For our salvation, all fullness was communicated to Christ, ‘for it pleased the Father that in him all the fullness should dwell’ (Colossians 2:9). And Christ did not receive the ‘Spirit by measure’ (John 3:34). So from this fullness, Christ is all sufficient to supply all the needs of his people (John 1:16). Had the Spirit been given to Christ by measure, we would soon have exhausted all his supplies. So because of his fullness, Christ has all sufficiency in himself to be to the soul all that the soul desires. Is the soul dead? Christ is its life. Is the soul weak? Christ is its strength. Is the soul ignorant? Christ is its wisdom. Is the soul guilty? Christ is its righteousness and justification.”
Communion With God
For in him [Jesus] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.
Colossians 1:19 (ESV)
What is your need just now for living a God glorifying life? Where do you have to go to obtain it? Our Heavenly Father made it so very simple for us. We need only turn to His Son, our Lord Jesus, in simple faith because all we need or will ever need is in Him. We do not have to learn some new principle, or discover some new rule, or attain some new state of spirituality. All He desires for us to do is to come to Him in simplicity and humility and quiet trust. His fullness is measureless, and His sufficiency is for you and me—personally. The veil of the temple was torn asunder when He was crucified so we can boldly enter by His shed blood anytime and anywhere to obtain grace and mercy in our time of need. His throne room is always open to His children, and He says, “Come, my dearly loved child. I have given all you will ever need in my beloved Son. Look nowhere else but Him, and trust Him by simply asking.”
Posted by Jerry White on Mar 17, 2013
“All our reasoning abilities amount to nothing, even if we search out theological complexities. Why? Because reason does not create in you a heart that perceives God, so that you are caught up in His holiness and beauty. Only then do you forsake all other pursuits, so your heart is ‘separated’ from the world, and you live a simple, clean, and holy life.”
Thomas a` Kempis
Come Lord Jesus
Devotional Readings from The Imitation of Christ, 24-25
Edited for Today’s Reader by David Hazard
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—
1 John 1:1 (ESV)
The disciples did not have formal training in theology and were considered by the rulers and elders and scribes to be “uneducated and common men”. But those leaders “recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13, ESV). Intimate heart knowledge of the Lord Jesus is far more than becoming conversant in systematic theology or possessing massive amounts of Bible knowledge. True knowledge that affects the atmosphere of your life and the way you live comes from spending time alone with the Lord Jesus so that He becomes intimately real to you. Your knowledge then is not hearsay, or something you have been taught, or something you have read about, but rather it comes from having been in His very presence. It comes from having heard Him for yourself and seeing Him with your eyes of heart and touching Him in His nearness. You have been with Him, and His wonderful sweet fragrance has permeated your soul.
Posted by Jerry White on Mar 14, 2013
How do you view Jesus? Do you see Him as completely human? Oh, yes, He was fully divine, but He was fully human and He lived as any human must live. If we see Him as only Divine and lose sight of His genuine humanity then we lose sight of the significance of what He did for us. He became a human, suffered as a human, was tempted as a human, defeated the devil as a human, and died as a human. He was as human as you and I are, yet without a sin nature. Severest temptation does not require a sin nature. Before his transgression Adam did not have a sin nature.
As a human, Jesus had meaningful relationships. He loved His mother and she loved him. He had close friends like Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and the disciples. He experienced the full range of human emotions like sorrow and grief, anger and joy, disappointment and distress. This is why He can sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).
When you see Him for who He really is as a human as well as the Lord, you will love Him more than you ever knew was possible.
“’There stood by the cross of Jesus his mother’ (John 19:25).
Where else would one expect to find such a mother? It was her very own Son who was suffering. The outstretched arms and nail-torn hands once had clung around her neck. The head now tortured with a crown of thorns was once pillowed on her breast. The mouth on which she had once lavished her kisses of love was now parched and swollen. Though powerless to help, she could at least be beside Him in loyalty and love.
Sympathetically she entered into all His sufferings. The spear pierced her heart as it rent His flesh. With joy she had followed His career, had feared and preyed for Him, had rejoiced in His successes and wept over His disappointments. But now He was dying as a criminal, not as a hero! What an end to the life of such a Son! Lest she add to His sufferings, she did not give way to uncontrolled weeping, but repressed her grief as the sword pierced her soul. She did not faint or swoon, she ‘stood.’ He had enough suffering of His own without her adding to his overflowing cup of sorrow.”
J. Oswald Sanders
The Incomparable Christ, 172-173
Posted by Jerry White on Mar 11, 2013
“Many of us suffer from the delusion that activity, accomplishments, size, and hubbub endear us to God and confirm his blessing. Although it runs against the grain of our surrounding culture, we must learn to practice the art of stillness, of quietness, of listening, and of receiving if we desire to be intimate with God. Because it takes time and loving attention to sustain a quality relationship, the Lord is more interested in our presence with him than in our performance for him. While we come to love God by knowing him, it is just as true that we come to know God by loving him. Contemplative prayer seeks to apprehend God through love and faith in such a way that theology is not merely speculative but lived.”
Conformed To His Image, 167
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
Psalm 62:1 (ESV)
“I accept the rebuke that religious busyness, ‘over activism,’ is a sign that one is still in spiritual adolescence. Maturity is marked by the repose in which lieth power. Therefore, I believe that, increasingly, I should endeavor to be silent unto God and should take time for that blessed culture. Already I have found that, when calm is upon the spirit, one is drawn out more readily in adoration.”
G. H. Morling
The Quest For Serenity
Posted by Jerry White on Mar 7, 2013
“Paul had already seen Christ exalted at the hand of God, but now He was revealed to Him by the Holy Spirit as dwelling in his unworthy heart. From that moment, there was a new dimension in his experience. ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20). In this glorious fact lay, in large measure, the explanation of his flaming ministry.
There is always a moral basis for such a revelation.
‘It is the man who loves Him that Jesus reveals Himself even more fully. Obedient, trusting love leads to a fuller and a fuller revelation…. No evil man can receive the revelation of God. He can be used by God, but he can have no fellowship with God. It is only to the man who is looking for Him that God reveals Himself…. Fellowship with God, the revelation of God, are dependent on love; and love is dependent on obedience.’ (William Barclay, The Gospel of John, Edinburgh: St. Andrew, 1955), 197
But the Holy Spirit does not rest content with a mere revelation of Christ. His objective is a reproduction of Christ in the life of the believer. With this in view, He patiently works until Christ is formed in each (Gal. 4:19).
When an egg is laid, amid the fluid there floats a tiny speck of life. As the egg is incubated, the embryo gradually develops, while the fluid diminishes. At the end of three weeks, no trace of fluid is left. The fully-formed chick pecks its way out of the confining shell and embarks on life in a new world.
When the new life enters the believing heart, it is an embryo life that must be nurtured on the ‘pure milk of the word’ (1 Peter 2:2). Through devout meditation on Scripture and seasons of waiting on God, the Holy spirit fosters and develops that life from within, until the likeness of Christ is more and more apparent without.”
J. Oswald Sanders
Enjoying Intimacy with God, 75-76