Posted by Jerry White on Oct 31, 2013
Abide in me, and I in you.
John 15:5 (ESV)
“If a piece of iron could speak, what could it say of itself? ‘I am black; I am cold; I am hard.’ But put it in the furnace, and what a change takes place! It has not ceased to be iron; but the blackness is gone, and the coldness is gone, and the hardness is gone! It has entered into a new experience. The fire and the iron are still distinct and yet how complete is the union—they are one. If the iron could speak, it could not glory in itself, but in the fire that makes and keeps it a bright and glowing mass. So must it be with the believer. Do you ask him what he is in himself? He answers, ‘I am carnal, sold under sin.’ For, left to himself, this inevitably follows; he is brought into captivity to the law of sin which is in his members. But it is his privilege to enter into fellowship with Christ, and in Him to abide. And there, in Him, who is our life, our purity, and our power—in HIm, whose Spirit can penetrate into every part of our being, the believer is no longer carnal, but spiritual; no longer overcome by sin and brought into captivity, but set free from the law of sin and death, and preserved in a condition of deliverance. This blessed experience of emancipation from sin’s service and the power implies a momentary and continuous act of abiding.
The believer cannot glory in himself. He cannot glory in a state of purity attained, and having an existence apart from Christ HImself. He is like the piece of iron. The moment it is withdrawn from the furnace, the coldness and hardness and blackness begin to return. It is not by a work wrought in the iron once for all, but by the momentary and continual influence of the fire on the iron that its tendency to return to its natural condition is counteracted.
Such is the law of liberty in the spiritual life.”
Evan H. Hopkins,
The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life, 38 (1952 edition)
The enemy, the devil, wants desperately to distract you from close, regular fellowship and intimacy with the Lord Jesus because he knows that without it your heart (soul) will become cold, hard and black like the iron removed from the fire. Certain disciplines are necessary if you will retain the glow of His presence. How very important it is for you to keep the iron of your soul in the fire of His presence. It is His pleasure and glory in your life that are at stake.
Posted by Jerry White on Oct 28, 2013
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 (ESV)
“‘There’s a God-shaped vacuum in all of our hearts.’ So said Blaise Pascal 300 years ago when he realized only God could meet his longing. No more mirage-chasing for the perceptive French philosopher. He thirsted, drank and thirsted for more!
As David, king of Israel, writes Psalm 63, it has been many years since he took his first drink from the Fount of Living Water as a boy. He has had a lifelong relationship with God. Yet his ongoing thirst can hardly be contained. He keeps on pursuing God. He longs to know him better. He never seems to get enough of Him. His vacuum too was God-shaped!
You also may already have come to faith in God, yet, despite the transaction, your thirst persists. In fact, the more you drink from the Fountain the more thirsty you become. Don’t worry! The enigma of your ongoing thirst is a sign of life, not death.
Your initial thirst was a thirsting for God; but your present, constant, still-not-satisfied longing is best described as ‘thirsting after God.’ It is thirst by a finite being for the infinite God. The healthier you are spiritually, the more thirsty you will become. Abraham Heschel was surely right when he said, ‘He who is satisfied has never truly craved.’”
Thirsting After God, 36-37
“Today, however, we do not hear much about the need to see God. It is only as we turn the pages of the past that we become aware of our lack of this emphasis, both in preaching and in living the Gospel. In former days, we find, even in times of spiritual darkness, that there were always some who were gripped by a consuming passion—the longing to see God. For them there was only one goal, to know their God. They were heart-thirsty, and they knew that God alone could satisfy their thirst.
Roy and Revel Hession
We Would See Jesus, 10 (1958)
Posted by Jerry White on Oct 25, 2013
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
James 4:3 (ESV)
“If you want the fullness of the Holy Spirit so you may realize a certain experience, attract people to yourself, or transform some difficulty into a stepping-stone, you are likely to miss it. You must be set on the one purpose of magnifying the Lord Jesus in your body, whether by life or death. Ask that all inferior motives may be destroyed and that this may burn strong and clear within you.
God will not find water for us to use for turning our own waterwheels. He will do nothing to minister to our pride. He will not give us the Holy Spirit so we might gain celebrity, procure a name, or live an easy, self-contented life. If we seek the Spirit merely for our happiness, comfort, or liberty of soul, it will be exceedingly unlikely that He will be given. His one passion is the glory of the Lord Jesus, and He can only make His abode with those who are willing to be at one with Him in this.
But if you are motivated simply by the desire that the Lord Jesus may be magnified in you, whether by life or death, then rejoice, because you are near blessing beyond words to describe. If your motives fall below this standard, trust in Him to enlighten and purify them, and offer Him a free entrance within. It will not then be long before there will be a gracious response.”
The Best of F. B. Meyer, 79
Edited and Compiled by Stephen W. Sorenson
The main question for any request of the Lord is this: Do I want this for me or for His glory?
Our selfishness and self-centeredness is deeply rooted in our sin nature. Only by deliberate choices with reliance on the Holy Spirit can we go against this inbred perversity. The Lord Jesus indicated quite graphically that we must take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23). If we do not follow His clear instruction then indwelling selfishness rises up, and even in spiritual matters we revert to self-centered desires and perspectives. We must make it our goal that His honor and pleasure be first in all things.
Posted by Jerry White on Oct 20, 2013
“The Holy Spirit has adjusted His mode of living to actually inhabit, indwell our lives. We must, in turn, adjust our living, in its every thought, aspiration and action, to the fact that He is there, in us, a part of us.
Since our physical senses cannot apprehend Him, we must exercise our spiritual faculties in the art of knowing Him. We must practice His presence. We must make it the business of our lives to live in the momentary consciousness of His abiding presence.
How shall we practice His presence? The means of grace are really His appointed provision to the end. As we turn to His Word, we must trust the Spirit in us to answer to the Spirit in the Word. Thus, as we read, our spirits are quickened into conscious realization of His Spirit indwelling us. As the love letter serves to satisfy the heart by enabling us to feed upon the object of our love, so is His Word to the heart that hungers after Him.
Prayer is essentially the practice of His presence. True prayer is talking to God. It is claiming audience with God. Resolute in the purpose not to neglect prayer, nor yet to use it merely to get something from God, we need to seize upon it with renewed avidity, as the opportunity to commune with Him, to school our spirits in responding to His Spirit, to practice His presence.
Particularly we must practice His presence un our daily round. Life must become the outliving off His inliving. Many are familiar with the story of Brother Lawrence, a monk of the seventeenth century. His life was characterized by the perpetual sense of God’s presence. All his thoughts and aspirations were tempered by the fact of God in his life. Assigned to menial kitchen duties, he found Him as consciously real and near as when engaged in his daily devotions.
It is from such daily practice of His presence that the radiant life is realized. In the diary of Henry Martyn, the sainted missionary of India, is found this entry: ‘My principal enjoyment is the enjoyment of God’s presence.’ Did the fact disclose itself in any way to others? The natives of Cawnpore used to say of him: ‘God is shining in that man’s face.’”
Norman B. Harrison
His Victorious Indwelling, 177-178
Nick Harrison, Editor
Posted by Jerry White on Oct 17, 2013
On my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not. I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him, but found him not.
Song Of Solomon 4:1-2 (ESV)
“Our glorious husband, the Lord Jesus, sometimes withdraws himself from our spiritual experience, so that we have no refreshing sense of his love, no fresh communications of his consoling grace. Those who never feel his absence likely have never enjoyed his presence. But those whom he has visited with his love, whom he has refreshed, relieved, and comforted—they know what it is to be left by him even for a moment. They are distressed when they look for him but can’t find him.
If you find yourself in this lonesome spiritual state, turn back to the Song of Songs and learn from the beloved. Don’t give up your hunt for Christ in prayer, meditation, and mourning; in reading and hearing the Word; in public and private worship; in diligent obedience—until you find him or he returns to you. And when you find him, never let him go.”
Through The Looking Glass, 41
Thirsty souls yearn for His nearness. Nothing else satisfies. All else seems meaningless without the Lord’s presence with them. This is not a “let’s pretend” presence. It is real and living and comforting and invigorating. Lord, please give us foretastes of heaven now — on earth — and by this cause us to thirst more for You.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13 (NASB)
Posted by Jerry White on Oct 14, 2013
“I ask myself, I ask you: where is the ‘Oh’ in our response to God? Where is the intensity of awe and amazement that a true knowledge of the Holy One of Israel ought to evoke? Much of the church has lost the ‘Oh’ in her relationship with and response to God. Do you want to know why so many believers are muddling through the Christian life, just trying to stay out of hell and to get by with as little discomfort and risk as possible? It is because when they think of God, instead of ‘Oh’ their response is a ‘Who?’ of ignorance, or a ‘Huh?’ of disinterest, or a ‘So what?’ of indifference. It isn’t exclamatory excitement but a religious snore that emanates from the soul of so many in the church today when the character of God is at issue.
It grieves me to say this, but the primary reason people are in bondage to sin is because people are bored with God. One of Satan’s most effective tactics is to convince us that God is a drag. And the church has contributed in its own way to this dismal image that God has among His people.”
Pleasures Evermore, 108-109
“If we belong to a reigning, ever-present, all-powerful Lord, who possesses all authority in heaven and on earth, then should we not expect to see Him do what would cause us to have, in the words of A. W. Tozer, ‘astonished reverence’? Should we not experience, again in Tozer’s words, ‘admiration to the point of wonder and delight’? Should we not be renewed again and again by glimpses of His glory with us?”
The Spirit and Presence of Christ, 159
Posted by Jerry White on Oct 10, 2013
Because sin perverted our nature into a self-centered one, we see everything from our selfish, self-serving point of view. This even carries over into our new life in Christ when we are converted. We see our salvation being for our sake, and we do not even realize how self-centered our thinking is.
Liberty with fullness of joy, love, and peace becomes ours when our thinking and attitude is converted to see clearly that we are not the center of everything. It is not primarily for our sake that we have received so great a salvation, but rather it is for God’s glory. We were created by Him and for Him. All things were made for His pleasure. We were rescued from the kingdom of darkness by Him and for Him. God does not exist for me but I exist for Him. He is not my servant to do my bidding, but as His redeemed child, I am His bondservant to do His bidding.
It makes a magnificent difference when one decides and determines that he or she will adopt the attitude that God, and only God, is the center of everything, and all things are for His honor and pleasure. Then one will rejoice that any blessing received, or answer to prayer given glorifies God and brings pleasure to His heart. Becoming concerned about God’s pleasure and honor more than your own selfish desire is key to entering into abundant life. Did not Jesus say that the greater blessing is to give rather than to receive (Acts 20:35)? What blessing it is that we can give our gracious Lord Jesus honor and pleasure because we want all things in our lives to be for His sake more than for our own selfishness and satisfaction.
“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).
“For your name’s sake you lead me and guide me (Psalm 31:3).
“Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long” (Psalm 44:22).
“Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power” (Psalm 106:8).
“For your name’s sake, O L0RD, preserve my life!” (Psalm 143:11).
“I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake” (1 John 2:12).
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36). (All references from ESV with emphasis mine.)
All blessing from God comes to us from our Father’s heart of limitless love and is for His glory, yea, for His name’s sake.
Posted by Jerry White on Oct 7, 2013
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.
2 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)
I want to live in the beauty of holiness.
I want the sweet scent of Jesus Christ
to be breathed into someone’s life…
a beckoning brightness
to shine from Your heart, through me,
into someone’s darkness…
as we pass by together today.”
Early Will I Seek You, 78
As you walk through your days you encounter people who outwardly look quite OK because they have learned to smile and not let anyone know what they really feel deep inside. Some are lonely, some are hurting from a recent loss or deep wounds, some wonder if anyone really cares about them because no one seems to have time to listen, some carry a depressing load of guilt and don’t know what to do with it, some feel that if you really knew them you would not love them, so they are afraid to reveal who they truly are, and even some in church don’t know if God really loves them because they have never seen God’s love among those who are supposed to be His people. The fragrance of Jesus is the sweet smell of compassion, gentleness, humility, a listening, caring heart, and love far beyond any other love found in humans naturally. This fragrance cannot be imitated, rather it comes from an intimate loving fellowship with the Lord Jesus so that His Spirit saturates your soul and others can touch Him in you.
Posted by Jerry White on Oct 2, 2013
“The believer is said to be in Christ, as the element or atmosphere which surrounds him with its perpetual presence and which constitutes his vital breath.
Christ and the believer have the same life. They are not separate persons linked together by some temporary bond of friendship, — they are united by a tie as close and indissoluble as if the same blood ran in their veins.”
A. H. Strong
Systematic Theology, pp. 797, 802
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 (ESV)
But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
1 Corinthians 6:17 (ESV)
Our Lord Jesus, by His life’s blood poured out, purchased for us complete cleansing from all of sin’s defilement before Holy God. Not even one faint stain remains. His atoning sacrifice cleanses completely. This perfect cleansing by His perfect sacrifice prepares believers to become the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit , their bodies becoming the very temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19-20). The Holy Spirit, who is the living third person of the Trinity, and One who is exactly like the Lord Jesus, invades the believer’s inner being at conversion and joins Himself to the spirit of that person (1 Cor. 6:17). This incomprehensible result is the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of the believer actually become one so that Christ is in the believer and the believer is in Christ, like the Son is in His Father and the Father is in His Son. This means that wherever you go today, and whatever you do, Christ with all of His beauty and power is in you wanting to express His life through you for the Father’s glory. What difference would it make if you and I lived with this powerful awareness, “I and the Lord Jesus Christ are one in this frail human body?”