Addicted To Noise

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 29, 2013

“It was a very normal day until I realized that I was actively destroying my own soul. The day began wit my alarm jolting me from a sleep that was far too brief. I turned on my Blackberry to hear it chime for each voice mail and e-mail that had been left while I slept. I stepped into the shower where I listened to my waterproof radio. I then turned on the television to catch some news while I dressed. Driving to work I tuned in to some talk-radio banter.

Throughout the day the chime on my laptop kept ringing as e-mail arrived, and my cellphone continued to vibrate and ring on my hip. Before long, I needed a break, and I put on my iPod to go for a walk.

On the drive home, I again listened to the radio, and after eating dinner and tucking my five children into bed, I turned on the television to watch shows I’d recorded on my TiVo.

As I drifted off to sleep, it dawned on me that I was addicted to the false trinity of our day, the gods known as Hurry, Worry and Noisy.

I began pondering what Jesus’ life might be like if he lived today. Would he be available to all of his followers 24 hours a day on his Blackberry? Would he have left his phone on at the Last Supper and been continually interrupted by calls? Would have failed to stop and speak to needy people because their weeping was not loud enough for him to hear over his iPod as he hurried past on his way to a meeting he was already late for?

In that moment I prayed, asking God for wisdom and help to save me from myself. God answered my prayer and reminded me that Jesus often took periods of prayerful silence to ensure not that he was doing everything he could, but that he was doing what was most important.

The Bible says in Luke 5:16 that ‘Jesus often withdrew to lonely places.’ Jesus spent considerable time alone in silence to pray, rest and focus….

Since realizing my addiction to noise, I have sought to model my life more on Jesus’ life, which has proved quite helpful. I try to spend at least five minutes an hour in silence, at least 30 minutes in uninterrupted silence each day and a full day in silence once a month.

During these times I find myself going for silent prayer walks to listen to God, sitting to write in my journal and sometimes doing nothing at all, which for me has become an act of faith that God is at work even when I am not.

My prayer is that those reading this, who like me are guilty of noise addiction, can also experience the regular gift of silence because that is often where God is waiting for us.”

Pastor Mark Driscoll

Seattle Times, July 2, 2006




A Praying Father

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 23, 2013

“John Gibson Paton was born in a Christian home near Dumfries, Scotland, in 1824. From an early age he had a special awareness of a closet in the three-room cottage, where he lived with his parents and ten brothers and sisters. He described it thus:

‘The closet was…the Sanctuary of that cottage home. Thither daily and oftentimes a day…we saw our Father retire, and ‘shut the door’; and we children got to understand by a sort of spiritual instinct that prayers were being poured out there for us…. We knew whence came that happy light as of a new-born smile that always was dawning on my father’s face: it was the reflection from the Divine Presence, in the consciousness of which he lived…. My soul would wander back to those early scenes, and, hearing still the echoes of those cries to God, would hurl back all doubt with the victorious appeal, ‘He walked with God, why may not I?’

Paton [having become a Christian at 12 years] applied for a position as a tract distributor, which included one year of training at the Free Church Normal Seminary in Glasgow. When it was time to leave for Glasgow, his father walked with him for the first six miles of his journey. Paton recalled:

His counsels and tears and heavenly conversation on that parting journey are in my heart as if it had been but yesterday…. For the last half-mile or so we walked on together in almost unbroken silence. His lips kept moving in silent prayers for me…on reaching the appointed parting-place, he grasped my hand firmly for a minute in silence, and then solemnly and affectionately, said: ‘God bless you, my son! Your father’s God prosper you, and keep you from all evil.’

Unable to say more, his lips kept moving in silent prayers, in tears we embraced, and parted…. I was soon out of sight. But my heart was too full, so I darted into the side of the road and wept for a time. Then, rising up cautiously, I climbed the dyke to see if he yet stood where I had left him, and just at that moment I caught a glimpse of him climbing the dyke and looking out for me! He did not see me, and after he had gazed eagerly in my direction, he got down [and] set his gaze toward home…. I watched through blinding tears, till his form faded from my gaze; and then hastening on my way, vowed deeply and oft, by the help of God, to live and act so as never to grieve or dishonour such a father and mother as he had given me.”

The One Year Christian History, 214-215

E. Michael and Sharon Ruston

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Children learn from seeing their parents love and be devoted to God through Jesus Christ.




Posted in Love for God, Prayer

When Darkness Comes

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 18, 2013

“God’s people have no assurance that the dark experiences of life will be held at bay, much less that God will provide some sort of running commentary on the meaning of each day’s allotment of confusion, boredom, pain, or achievement. It is no great matter where we are, provided we see that the Lord has placed us there, and that He is with us.”

John Newton

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“We are moved by the act of God. Omniscience holds no conference. Infinite authority leaves no room for compromise. Eternal love offers no explanations. The Lord expects to be trusted. He disturbs us at will. Human arrangements are disregarded, family ties ignored, business claims put aside. We are never asked if it is convenient.”

Samuel Chadwick, quoted by J. Oswald Sanders

Enjoying Intimacy With God, 97

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In your darkest night the Lord of love has not forgotten you. The hand that guides you is nail scared because He loves you. Your Father who directs your steps sacrificed His all for you in His Son. When you have unanswered questions and heaven seems silent you can know your Shepherd is tending you. Jesus said to a father in a dark time of receiving word of his daughter’s death, “Do not fear, only believe” (Luke 8:50, ESV).




The Lord Your Keeper

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 15, 2013

The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.

The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.

Psalm 121: 4, 7 (ESV)

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“There was once a woman who for many years and with much prayer had striven against her temper, but could no obtain the victory. On a certain day she resolved not to come out of her room until by earnest prayer she had the power to overcome. She came out in the opinion that she would succeed. Scarcely had she been in the household when something gave her offense and caused her to be angry. She was deeply ashamed, burst into tears, and hastened back to her room. A daughter, who understood the way of faith better than she, went to her and said, ‘Mother, I have observed your conflict; may I tell you what I think the hindrance is?’

‘Yes, my child.’

‘Mother, you struggle against temper and pray that the Lord will help you to overcome. This is wrong. The Lord must do it alone. You must give temper wholly into His hands; then He takes it wholly and He keeps you.’

The mother could not at first understand this, but later it was made plain to her. And she enjoyed the blessedness of the life in which Jesus keeps us and we by faith have the victory. Do you understand this?

‘The Lord must help to overcome sin’; this expression is altogether outside of the New Testament. The grace of God in the soul does not become the help to us. He will do everything: ‘The Spirit has made me free from the law of sin.’

When you surrender anything to the Lord for keeping, take heed to two things: that you give it wholly into His hands; and that you leave it there. Let Him have it wholly. He will carry out your case gloriously.”

Andrew Murray (1828-1917)

The New Life, 97-98




Posted in Faith

The Good Part

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 11, 2013

“If anyone thirsts…. “

John 7:37

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Your life is busy with daily responsibilities. Family needs, work schedule, church assignments, household chores, social interaction by internet, phone and texting and other attention grabbing encounters soak up your mind and time like a thirsty sponge. Too soon the day is gone and you are too weary to concentrate in order to pray or to be in God’s Word. You know you should because you need it, and you feel guilty because you let other things distract you. Resolutions haven’t helped except for a short time. What is the secret for those who have discovered joyous communion with the Lord in the midst of a demanding life? How can it be different for you?

The Lord Jesus called it thirst. It is a thirst of soul. It is a profound awareness of need coupled with a craving for what will satisfy. It comes from a sharp consciousness that I must have what will sustain a healthy life—drinking water for the body and spiritual water for the soul.

Distractions of daily life can so rule us that spiritual thirst is dulled and oppressed. However, there is hope. Spiritual thirst can dominate your life so that you are compelled to seek the Lord Jesus above all else, both in time alone with Him and in all your daily responsibilities. Jesus did not rebuke Martha for her serving but rather because her serving distracted her from the one important issue (Luke 10:38-42). Her serving responsibilities ruled her mind and therefore overruled her heart-need. This caused her display of irritation with her sister Mary who was sitting at her Master’s feet drinking in His words to satisfy her thirsty soul (Luke 10:39-40).

Your heart desire can reign regardless of how busy your days are. If it does, then your spiritual thirst will demand time alone with the Lord Jesus on a regular basis, and also you will inwardly commune with Him in the sanctuary of your soul throughout the busyness of your day.

Who has ever had more demanding circumstances than the Lord Jesus? And yet He often withdrew to lonely places to pray (Luke 5:16). In Luke 10:42 Jesus said to Martha,  “but one thing is necessary.” Interestingly, in the next verse (Luke 11:1) Jesus was doing the one thing necessary, “praying in a certain place.”

If you will ask the Lord to give you deeper thirst, He will surely answer because it is His will (1John 5:14-15). You CAN grow until your heart-thirst rules your life throughout the busyness of your days. This is the way your family, co-workers, fellow-believers and others may touch the Lord Jesus through your ordinary life. You will remain spiritually fresh like a tree planted by streams of water (Psalm 1:3).

Mary chose the good part, and you can also—if you thirst.

JRW




Posted in Thirst for God

Contemplation

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 8, 2013

“I am writing to show you the way to ignite the passion of your soul and to keep it alive, by drawing near to the ‘living fire,’ which is God himself. And the way I will show you is the upward path into the flaming heart of God (John 14:6) where our fire for life and goodness can never be put out.

You will remember that I spoke to you about putting to death the influences that call to your flesh, by the practice of contemplation…by focusing your mind and soul on the deep heart of God. This is a simple practice, very freeing to the soul, and I strongly recommend that you cultivate this as a spiritual discipline you practice every day.

The busy person, and even Christians who know little about the workings of the soul, may look at you and think you are accomplishing nothing. To these people, contemplation is the very beginning of all true works done by the Spirit in us…the first turn of the key that unlocks our imprisoned souls so we are free to serve God with vision and power.”

Thomas a`Kempis

Come Lord Jesus, 36-37

Edited by David Hazard

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I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

Psalm 119:15-16 (ESV)

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A chosen place—a set time—alone—with the Lord Jesus. His Word for meditation—your Father listening to your prayers—your soul in absolute submission. The Heavenly Father delighting in His child’s longing for Him and His child being satisfied with nothing less—this is the path to freedom and fulfillment. This is eternal purpose pursued in our tiny capsule of time. Indeed, in His presence is fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). Shall we let earthly busyness rob us of heavenly pleasure?




Dulling Your Appetite

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 4, 2013

“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable and almost incurable.”

John Piper

A Hunger For God, p. 14

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Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!

Psalm 34:8 (ESV)

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We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,

And long to feast upon Thee still;

We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead

And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

Bernard of Clairvauz (1091-1153)

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Often Alone With God

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 1, 2013

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

Luke 5:16 (NASB)

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“Dear reader, allow me to impress on you the daily and diligent cultivation of the kind of Christianity that derives its freshness, its vigor, and its warmth from much secret fellowship with Jesus. I do not encourage the religion of the recluse; a monk’s Christianity is not the Christianity of the Bible….

But I plead for more of the Christianity that is often alone with God. It periodically withdraws from the fatigue of labor and the din of strife, to renew its strength and replenish its resources in secret waiting on the Lord. Christians must be alone with Jesus more. So many live amid such a whirlpool of excitement and turmoil! How few withdraw from domestic and public enjoyments, the calls of business, and the duties of committees to hold communion alone with God! This must not be. The institutions they serve, the calling at which they toil, and the families for whom they work would gain more, rather than lose, from their occasional isolation from the world to be alone with God. Were our Lord still on the earth, contemplating their incessant activity, their short devotional time, and their consequent leanness of spirit, would He not be constrained to address them as He once tenderly did His jaded and exhausted disciples, ‘Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while’ (Mark 6:31)? He would allure them from others to Himself.”

Octavius Winslow (1808–1878)

Evening Thoughts, 160-161

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What would pastor Winslow say today with all of our electronic gadgets and busyness to distract us from solitude and quietness with the Lord? What would Jesus say to us today, if He spoke to Martha for being anxious and troubled about many things? His practice of drawing aside to be alone with His Father points the way for us even in this modern culture with so many distractions. It is our choice what we will do with our time.