Thanksgiving Always

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 27, 2013

It was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD , and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD, “for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud.

2 Chronicles 5:13

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High.

Psalm 50:14

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me.

Psalm 50:23a

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 69:30

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 95:2

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus  Christ.

Ephesians 5:20

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

All references from English Standard Version





Posted in Thankfulness

Pray Out Loud

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 25, 2013

Man’s fallen nature complicates simple things and forgets basics.

God told Adam not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden  (Genesis  2:16-17). When the evil one tempted Eve she added to God’s words when she said they could not touch the fruit or eat it lest they die. God only said don’t eat it.  God had said they could freely eat of any other fruit.  Simple and clear instructions.

The Pharisees added many rules to God’s Law that complicated it. Heresies came to the first churches attempting to add new requirements to the simple gospel. Paul spoke in 2 Corinthians 11:3,  But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. The NASB translates it, be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. Paul was actually fearful about them being deceived from simplicity and purity in their relationship with Christ.

When the Lord Jesus gave us the model prayer, which we know as the Lord’s Prayer, it is simple. In so few words, about fifty-six or fifty-seven in the original language, He covers the necessities of life. He spoke about our withdrawing alone to a private place and praying to the Father in secret (Matthew 6:6). Silent prayer was not in His thinking. How could we know what Jesus prayed if He prayed silently so the disciples could not hear Him. We have the record of His prayers because He prayed out loud.

Prayer can be with whisper, or loudly because of deep pain or great need, but it needs to be verbalized with voice, not just with the mind silently. Why, you may ask.

God is a person. True, He is invisible and not perceived by our five physical senses, but He is no less real. He is a spirit being and we are spiritual creatures. With our inner being we can know Him and commune with Him. He can be as real to our inner being as our five senses make the world around us real to our outer being. There is a true invisible spirit world.

Praying out loud enables us to realize we are speaking to a real person, although we cannot see Him with our eyes. Praying out loud assists us in staying focused instead of our mind wandering. Praying out loud allows us to hear what we are praying, and this makes a difference.

If you are not accustomed to hearing yourself pray aloud it may seem strange at first. However, if you think about the fact that you are sharing your heart with your Heavenly Father like Jesus did then you will discover the blessing it is to talk with this sovereign God who loves you tenderly.

JRW




Posted in Prayer

Believe And Find Rest

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 21, 2013

While the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

Hebrews 4:1 (ESV)

~~~

“I have read somewhere of a little street boy who was taken up out of a cellar by [a social worker] and sent to a farmer’s house in Westchester. He had a great big room all to himself, and when he was shown into it at night and a little candle placed on the table, it was a perfect world of bewilderment to him and he thought he was in heaven.

Finally, he got tired and sleepy and looked at the snowy-white bed. Why, he had never been in a bed in his life! So he slowly crept up to it, and after a while he just laid his little cheek against the soft pillow. He could not believe it was for him, there was some mistake. He began to feel guilty after a while. The idea that he should lie down on a white, snowy bed like that—it was presumption or intrusion. But he just went far enough to let his head poke into heaven for a moment, and then he got down on the floor under the bed and said: ‘This is the place for me,’ and curled himself up and was soon fast asleep.

Early in the morning the landlady came in and saw him, and she cried, ‘Oh, dear me, what does the boy mean?’ And she picked him up and put him in the bed and tried to explain that the bed was for him, but she had the hardest time to make him understand and to induce him to get under the nice clean sheets.

How many of God’s dear children are there who are sleeping under the bed instead of resting in the bosom of His love?

We are so slow to believe all that He has for us and to take what we are entitled to. Oh, some day when whiter than the snow and higher than the angels, and when all the magnificence of the ages is at our feet, how ashamed we will be to think how hard it was for us to take a little crumb from our Father’s table. God is looking for princely hearts, who, like Abraham, are willing to believe that He is the God that He says He is. We cannot quite understand it, but it is so. Get it into your heart if you do not quite get it into your intellect and be strong in faith, giving glory to God. He has let that trouble come to you, beloved, just for an opportunity to get you out of it, that it may be a stepping stone to Himself.”

A.B. Simpson

His Victorious Indwelling, 353-354

Nick Harrison, Editor




Posted in God's Love

Biblical Meditation

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 17, 2013

With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.

Psalm 119:13, 15 (ESV)

~~~

The word for meditation in Old Testament Hebrew means to mummer or to mutter. It is also used of the growl of a lion over his prey, or the cooing of doves, or low rumbling of thunder, or the groaning and sighing of men. Summarized, it refers  to a low sound.

The picture from the Hebrew word for meditate is someone reading God’s Word in a low voice (Psalm 1:2). This helps one to stay focused, think about what God is saying while hearing it read, even though it is from one’s own lips. Repeatedly throughout the Scriptures it speaks of meditating on the Word of God as the way of blessing. Meditation helps to fix God’s Word in the mind and plant it in the heart. Mind and heart must work together. We live out of our heart.

I have a dear friend who is a surveyor. He came into my life as a young man forty years ago. When I first met Billy, and all these years since, I see him like Jesus said of Nathanael, “[a man] in whom there is no deceit!” (John 1:47, ESV). The last forty years have been very difficult years for him. He lost his first born son to a brain tumor.  The bride of his youth and mother of their several children left him. Financial trials in his business due to a fallen economy have tested him, and he has lived alone for many years while desiring, praying, and waiting for God to give him a godly wife. In spite of anything he faced, he has pursued the Lord diligently through worship with songs of praise, prayer and meditation in God’s Word.

This morning I sent Billy a text with Psalm 119:13. He responded with the following text:

“In the Jewish culture there was no such thing as reading silently…..If you saw someone in the corner of room with a scroll their lips would be moving…..Hence to meditate or murmur God’s word…..This was reading to them. I have been doing this for a few years now….sometimes a murmuring whisper….Sometimes with all the expression I can muster as if reading to a crowd  or like I am trying to impress God himself…..or with compassion and hope like trying to lift the spirits of a group of downcast nobodies…..And sometimes with great joy and gladness because I am tasting the power of the world to come! But as I stated many times the hot tears start to flow or there starts a spontaneous praising…..Did not Jesus say Abide in my love and LET my words abide in you?” (All the above is with Billy’s permission).

May you be encouraged, dear child of God, to meditate on God’s Word like He instructs us to do. It is one of the blessed ways He prescribes for vibrant spiritual health.

JRW




Posted in Meditation

God’s Embrace

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 14, 2013

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

James 4:9

~~~

How does one draw near to God so this stunning promise will be fulfilled? Is it possible for us to really know the nearness of God? Can He really be incredibly real to me in this world of a million distractions that flood my soul with images through my senses? God says, if we will, He will, and He cannot lie.

What is required for drawing near the Lord Jesus? Humility — because He gives grace to the humble  (James 4:6). Submission—because He is worthy of supremacy in your life (James 4:7). Repentance—because He is holy and must be approached with clean hands and a pure heart (James 4:8-10; Psalm 24:3-5).

His presence near you brings comfort and peace and renewal and refreshing and increased desire to stay close to Him always, although full satisfaction for your longing soul He reserves for heaven. Nothing else does what His nearness does.

~~~

“Yes, it is true our Lord dwells with us now. He is in us, here present, embracing us and enclosing us in Himself, never to leave us, nearer than we can say in failing human words. Yet our soul will never cease from mourning, from this journey of seeking and longing, until that day when we emerge fully into Light and behold Him fully…and feel His embrace, with our face pressed against the face of our Lord.

In that moment, even the tiniest wisp of sadness will vanish in His risen light…”

Julian of Norwich (1342-1413)

I Promise You A Crown, 149

Edited by David Hazard




Unbroken Contact

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 11, 2013

When the Lord Jesus Christ was about to leave His disciples through His cross, burial, resurrection, and ascension, He promised the Holy Spirit to be their constant companion in place of His bodily presence with them (John 14:16-17). Having Him with them for three years was a security for them — this man of joy, peace and love. Everything He encountered He met triumphantly, and He shepherded them tenderly and lovingly. Never had they been loved the way He loved them. Now He was about to leave them. What would His absence be like? What were these men to do without HIm? How would they continue without Him? How should we who never saw Him live without seeing Him?

The Lord Jesus gave His final instructions so simply and clearly. Even though they probably could not fully understand what He was saying, His words were unforgettable. He spoke of the coming Holy Spirit. He spoke about the importance of prayer, while giving them assurance their Father would hear and answer them. He instructed them about loving one another like He loved them, and this would be their testimony to the lost world that they were His.

One of His simple last instructions was for them to abide in Him (John 15:1-11). He said it  in simplest terms, Abide in me, and I in you (John 15:4). What could this mean? How does one abide in Him?

J.Oswald Sanders wrote that “abiding in Christ means keeping unbroken contact with Christ in a union of intimate love” (Enjoying Intimacy With God, 63). A better explanation of what abiding in Christ means I have never read. This is the heart of the matter.

This raises a question. What breaks this contact?

Sin without repentance. Each of us fail and sin. Keep short accounts with God about sin.

Allowing flesh to reign. Sin always fights to reign in your life. Walking by the Spirit is a must.

Neglecting intimate communion with your Father. Busyness can be a thief.

Distractions of the world. Jesus warned about cares, possessions, money, and pleasures.

Failure to trust. Repeatedly Jesus warned about doubting instead of trusting. Trusting is to the spiritual life what breathing is to the body.

Passivity in life prevents fruitful living. Proverbs 4:23 gives us heaven’s wisdom, Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life (ESV). Watch diligently; walk carefully (2 John 1:8; Ephesians 5:15-17).

JRW





Humble Boldness

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 6, 2013

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.

Matthew 21:22 (ESV)

~~~

“Draw near, then, seeking soul, with boldness: not the boldness of a presumptuous, self-righteous  man, but that of one chosen, called, pardoned, and justified. Draw near with the lowly boldness of a child and the humble confidence of a son. You are dear to your Father. Your voice is sweet to Him; you are precious, accepted in His Beloved. You cannot come too boldly, you cannot come too frequently, you cannot come with too difficult a request. You are coming to a King, that King is your Father, and that Father views you in His beloved Son. Oh, do not hang back. Do not stand far off. He holds out the golden scepter now and says, ‘Come near; what is your request? Come with your temporal desire. Come with your spiritual need. Ask what you will, it shall be granted you. I have an open hand and a large heart.’ Is it your desire, ‘Lord, I want more grace to glorify Thee. I want a more holy, upright, honest walk. I want more meekness, patience, lowliness, and submission. I want to know more of Jesus, to see more of His glory, to feel more of His preciousness, and to live more simply on His fullness. I want more of the sanctifying, sealing, witnessing, and anointing influences of the Spirit’? Blessed, holy desires! It is the Spirit making intercession in you according to the will of God; and entering into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, the Lord will fulfill the desires of your heart, even to half of the kingdom.”

Octavius Winslow

Evening Thoughts, 604-605

~~~

Jesus taught that Almighty God is the disciple’s Father. This means that He is not merely like a father, but He is, in fact, the believer’s real and true and perfect Father.  The Holy Spirit living in a believer causes the cry of the believer’s heart to be Father (Romans 8:15). It comes from deep within as a spontaneous response to God who gave His only Son as a sacrifice. For you to call Him Father is a delight to His heart, and for you to come boldly to Him with any and all your needs honors and pleases Him. If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:11). Be not timid. Trust your Father and ask Him for what you need.




Posted in Prayer