Posted by Jerry White on Jul 29, 2013
It is for discipline that you have to endure.
“The ‘harvest’ analogy of the writer of Hebrews should help us remember that God’s husbandry will not destroy us (v.11). To make the plants that he cherishes produce as they should, God will sometimes prune. But he knows the effects of pruning and never loses sight of his purposes. For this reason he does not always prune. Rather, he also abundantly waters and nourishes our growth. God’s corrective discipline mercifully stops when he knows it has accomplished the growth and training he desires.
The fact that God’s discipline will stop—despite the punishment our sins deserve—evidences his mercy and our status as his children. Neither the discipline nor our acceptance of it makes us God’s children. Still, faith in the good purpose of whatever God’s hand brings allows us to experience the benefits of his fatherly love even when we face this world’s harshest realities. Such realities include the discipline that ends only when we enter Christ’s heavenly presence.
During China’s Boxer Rebellion at the beginning of the last century, a young American woman named Lizzie Atwater demonstrated the power of such faith to sustain us in life’s harshest trials. She wrote with childlike confidence in her heavenly Father’s love while awaiting her own execution:
‘Dear Ones, I long for the sight of your dear faces, but I fear we shall not meet on earth….I am preparing for the end very quietly and calmly. The Lord is wonderfully near, he will not fail me. I was very restless and excited while there seemed to be a chance of life, but God has taken away that feeling, and now I just pray for grace to meet the terrible end bravely. The pain will soon be over, and oh the sweetness of the welcome above….
I cannot imagine the Savior’s welcome. Oh, that will compensate for all these days of suspense. Dear ones, live near to God and cling less closely to earth. There is no other way by which we can receive the peace that passeth understanding.’
In the expanse of eternity, those who have suffered long on this earth will still rejoice that their discipline was so brief relative to their embrace by the Savior. Knowledge of his timeless affection enables us to experience temporal discipline with peace.”
Holiness By Grace, 176-177
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 25, 2013
Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD.
“In our quest for greater knowledge and spiritual growth, we sometimes overlook or forget the foundational truths of the faith. Unless we remember to return and build upon the basic biblical doctrines, our spiritual progress will be stifled. The most basic of all these truths is the character of God, and in this holy ground the Christian life is rooted.
God’s character is fundamental to everything else. In Scripture he has revealed his person, powers, and perfections. In his person, he is the self-existent, infinite, eternal, and unchanging Creator of all things. In his powers, he alone is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. In his perfections, his attributes include holiness, justice, truthfulness, love, and goodness. We cannot hope to understand the spiritual life unless we lay hold of and cling to the truth of God’s character, especially his love and goodness.
God’s love is manifested in the fact that he is a giver. From the beginning, he has given in spite of the fat that people have rejected his gifts more than received them. The essence of love is to give and to seek the highest good of the recipient.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (emphasis added)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25 (emphasis added)
If we want to understand what God has done for us, we must believe that all his actions are born out of love. When God loves, he is simply being himself (1 John 4:8).”
Conformed to His Image, 104-105
The first question when reading and meditating on God’s Word is: What does this reveal to me about God as a person? He wants us to know Him, truly know Him and love Him.
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 22, 2013
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Psalm 51:9 (ESV)
“We are quite assured of the truth that when we are brought into the condition of godly sorrow for sin and deep shame for out backslidings from God, our relapses, and declensions in grace, there is no portion of the sacred Word that can express the deep emotions of our hearts—no language so fitted to clothe the feelings of our souls—as well as this psalm of the royal penitent: ‘Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest’ (Ps. 51:1-4). He lays the sacrifice of a broken heart on the altar of God, and seems to exclaim, ‘I am wretched, to have forsaken such a God, to have left such a Father, Savior, and Friend! Has He ever been a wilderness or barren land to me? Never! Has He ever proved unkind, unfaithful, or untrue? Never! Did God not satisfy me, did Jesus not have enough for me, did a throne of grace not make me happy, that I should have turned my back on such a God, should have forsaken such a friend as Christ, and should have slighted the spot where my heavenly Father so often met and communed with me? Lord, great has been my departure, grievous my sin, and now most bitter is my sorrow; here at Thy feet, upon Thine altar, red with the blood of Thine own sin-atoning sacrifice, I lay my poor broken, contrite heart, and beg Thee to accept and heal it.’
Behold, I fall before Thy face;
My only refuge is Thy grace.
No outward forms can make me clean;
The leprosy lies deep within.
This is the holy contrition that the Spirit of God works in the heart of the restored believer. Brought beneath the cross, in sight of the crucified Savior, the heart is broken, the spirit is melted, the eye weeps, the tongue confesses, the bones that were broken rejoice, and the contrite child is clasped in his Father’s forgiving, reconciled embrace once more. ‘He restoreth my soul’ (Ps. 23:3) is his grateful and adoring exclamation. Oh, what a glorious God is ours, and what wretches we are!”
Octavious Winslow (1808-1878)
Evening Thoughts, 372-373
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 18, 2013
Submit yourselves therefore to God.
James 4:7 (ESV)
“A throne, whenever it is approached, should be so with complete submission. We do not pray to God to instruct Him as to what He ought to do, neither for a moment must we presume to dictate the line of the divine procedure. We are permitted to say to God, ‘Thus and thus would we have it,’ but we must furthermore add, ‘But seeing that we are ignorant and may be mistaken—seeing that we are still in the flesh, and therefore, may be actuated by carnal motives, we must say, not as we will, but as You will.
Who shall dictate to the throne? No loyal child of God will for a moment imagine that he is to occupy the place of the King, but he bows before Him who has the right to be Lord of all. And though he utters his desire earnestly, vehemently, importantly, and pleads again, yet it is evermore with this needful reservation: ‘Your will be done, my Lord. And if I ask anything that is not in accordance with it, my inmost will is that You would be good enough to deny Your servant. I will take it as a true answer if You refuse me, if I ask that which seems not good in Your sight.’
If we constantly remember this, we should be less inclined to push certain issues before His throne. We should feel, ‘I am here in seeking my own case, my own comfort, my own advantage, and perhaps, I may be asking for that which would dishonor God; therefore will I speak with the deepest submission to the divine decrees.’”
Fill Me With Hope, May 21
Compiled by Paul M. Miller
When the wedding host ran out of wine, all Mary said to her son was, “They have no wine” (John 2:3). She knew who He was, but she did not presume to tell Him what He must do and how to do it. She left that with Him. She merely took the need of the host to Him and left it with Him to do the right and best thing. Don’t you think as His mother it would have been easy to tell Him what to do and how to do it? But she didn’t. She simply presented the need to Him with submission.
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 15, 2013
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.
Mark 4:37-38 (ESV)
“Within the Lord there was a great calm, and that is why there was soon a great calm around Him. What is in God comes out of God. Since there was a calm in Christ for Himself, there was afterward a calm outside for others. What a wonderful inner calm it was! ….
He had perfect confidence in God that all was well. The waves might roar, the winds might rage, but He was not at all disquieted by their fury. He knew that the waters were in the hollow of His Father’s hand, and that every wind was but the breath of His Father’s mouth. Therefore, He was not troubled; indeed, He did not have even a thought of concern, for He was as much at ease as He would have been on a sunny day.
His mind and heart were free from every kind of care, for amid the gathering tempest He deliberately lay down and slept like a weary child. He went to the back of the ship, farthest from the spray. He took a pillow and put it under His head, and with definite purpose He fell asleep.
It was His own decision to go to sleep in the storm; He had no reason to stay awake, so pure and perfect was His confidence in the great Father. What an example this is to us! We do not have half the confidence in God that we ought to have—not even the best of us. The Lord deserves our limitless belief, our unquestioning confidence, our undisturbed reliance. Oh, if only we gave these to Him as the Savior did.”
Joy In Christ’s Presence, 138-139
Are you anxious about something? Is there a matter worrying you? Are you afraid of what seems quite threatening in your circumstances? The real question is this: Do you truly believe your Heavenly Father loves you and is in charge of all that surrounds you? You are loved as much as Jesus is loved, and He found rest in knowing His Father’s love.
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 11, 2013
“What do ‘thirsty believers’ look like? How do we know they are thirsting for God and His satisfying waters? Two signs immediately become clear: They thirst after God’s Word and they thirst after communion with God through prayer.
When two travelers are going through the wilderness, you may know which of them is thirsty the way he is always looking for wells. How gladly Israel came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees! So it is with thirsty believers. They love the Word, read and preached. They thirst for it more and more.
And so it is with prayer also. When a little child is thirsty for its mother’s breast, it will not keep silent, nor will a child of God who is thirsty. Thirst will lead you to the secret well where you may draw unseen the living water. It will lead you to united prayer. If the town were in want of water, and thirst staring every man in the face, would you not meet one with another, consult, and help to dig new wells? Now the town is in need of grace, souls are perishing for lack of it, and you are languishing. Oh. meet to pray. ‘If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven’ (Matt. 18:19).”
The Best of Robert Murray McCheyne, 170-171
Edited and Compiled by Stephen W. Sorenson
Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters.
Isaiah 55:1 (ESV)
Some believers speak of not taking time to meet with the Lord regularly in a meaningful way because of busyness, or distractions, or lack of discipline, or a myriad of other reasons. The truth is that if their body craved water they would find a way to satisfy their thirst. It is the same with spiritual thirst. Jesus said, If any man thirst. Thirst is the compelling factor. If we thirst, we find a way to satisfy it. We need to ask our gracious Lord to cause us to thirst for Him more than anything else. Driven by this craving we would do what we must to seek Him with all of our heart. Lord, cause me to thirst.
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 7, 2013
They marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”
Luke 8:25 (ESV)
Is there something you are facing—whether in your outer circumstances or in your inner character—that seems impossible to command? Something that has baffled you and outwitted you a thousand times, and appears that it will win over you in the end? Something as deaf to your command as the wind, or wild waters?
Don’t despair. Don’t shrug and give up.
Our Lord—your Lord and mine—can command even the most difficult, unruly thing that seems as if it will never be commanded.
Let His word ‘even’ be a comfort to you. He who commands even the winds and water (and they must obey Him)—He can say to that ‘even’ of yours, ‘Peace, be still….’
And there will come for you ‘a great calm’ (Mark 4:39).
…Remember that there is nothing you are asked to do in your own strength. Not the least thing, nor the greatest:
God, who is all the while supplying the impulse [to obey and to overcome], giving you the power of inner resolve [to see it through to victory], is also giving you the strength to perform [under pressure] and to carry out His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13, Way’s translation)
All the tremendous forces of nature—weather and politics and human nature too—are at the beck and call of God. Each has only a faint shadow of the spiritual power that is His, and that He is ready to send forth for us.
Isn’t that amazing?”
You Are My Hiding Place, 69-70 (from Thou Givest—They Gather, 19-20)
Devotional Readings Arranged by David Hazard
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 4, 2013
“I must speak candidly to you, brothers and sisters in Christ, about the perverse behavior of the pagans. For though we live right among them in this world, we must resist all the pull to imitate them.
Earlier, I cautioned you not to imitate the pagan men, who make themselves smooth and who paint themselves in order to attract other men. Nor to imitate their women, who lust for other women….
Now I offer another serious warning: They have so perverted and degraded sexuality that it is no longer the sacred intercourse between man and woman which God intended.
Sexuality is treated like a common act—no different than buying fruit in the street. Lewdness fills their plays and entertainment. Men and women brag about their sexual conquests, as if each encounter is a trophy to be exhibited. Lechery has become like a public institution—for though the society is founded on so-called ‘right philosophical principles,’ yet everyone knows where to find a prostitute. And the authorities look the other way.
Here is the sorriest part of this wickedness: These people so eager to enjoy their sexual ‘freedom,’ create children from their many encounters. And when an infant is not wanted, it is abandoned, according to the pagan customs, in the street outside the home of the mother. The pagan priests, who move like carrion up and down the city, accept the child as a ‘servant to the gods.’ And the child is raised in debauched fashion.
So it comes about that the men of our day wind up lying with their own sons and daughters—unaware that they have even brought a child into the world….
These things the pagan lawmakers of our day allow. People sin legally, though of course the authorities will not call it sin. ‘People have the right to indulge in pleasures. Who are we to prohibit them?’”
Clement of Alexandria, (155-220 A. D.), THE INSTRUCTIONS
You Give Me New Life
Devotional Readings Arranged and Paraphrased by David Hazard
Therefore go out from their midst and be separate from them, says the Lord.
2 Corinthians 6:17 (ESV)