Beyond the Threshold

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 27, 2014

Admonishing people to read their Bible and to pray rarely accomplishes the desired result. It sounds like a duty one should perform. “Should” does not cause “want to.” Something else is needed.

Motivation in both Testaments of the Bible is called thirst. “Come everyone who thirsts….” (Isaiah 55:1) “If anyone thirsts….” (John 7:37) Thirst in God’s Word speaks of need, longing, provision, and satisfaction.

Need—-knowing that without the Lord’s enabling I can do nothing of eternal value and that my self-life is no more than a clanging cymbal. Something is lacking that only God can provide. If Jesus came so I can have an overflowing life of love, peace, and joy, and that is not my experience, then I become aware of my need. If my time in the Word is dull and dry, and praying is a chore, then I become aware of my need.

Longing—-wanting to experience God in a way that I do not. If God intends that I know Him intimately and enjoy Him as a real, living Person, then that stirs me to seek Him. Instead of a ho-hum spiritual existence, I will long for what others have known and testified about—-a dynamic relationship with a living God who delights in me and in whom I delight more than anything else on earth.

Provision—-God’s profuse, more than abundant supply promised to thirsty souls. The Lord Jesus promised a well of water within springing up (John 4:14). He promised rivers of living water flowing out from one’s inner being (John 7:38). He promised His abiding presence every moment in all circumstances (Matthew 28:20). He promised His provision for all spiritual needs. (Philippians 4:19).

Satisfaction—-enjoyment and fulfillment like nothing this world can give. Worldly pleasure, entertainment, recreation, possessions, or any earthly relationship can never satisfy one’s deep inner being like moments in the Lord’s presence spent in face to face communion with Him.

When one moves beyond the threshold of merely doing Bible reading and prayer into the realm of actually experiencing a living, breathing fellowship with the Lord Himself as a present and responsive Person, then they discover the real purpose of meditation on God’s Word and praying. So far above perfunctory devotions is this spiritual intimacy with the Lord Himself that it is not even worthy of comparison.

When God said, “Seek my face” (Psalm 27:8), He meant, “Seek my presence.” Wanting to see the face of one you love is longing to be in their presence, to be near them, to commune with them, to enjoy them. And so it is with the Lord. Even though He is invisible, His real and near presence can be known and experienced. The Lord intends for you to have an indisputable sense of His nearness.
JRW




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I Must Have Christ

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 19, 2014

“When Jesus is absent from a true heir of heaven, sorrow will ensue. The healthier a person’s condition the sooner that absence will be perceived and the more deeply it will be mourned. This sorrow is described in the text as darkness [Song of Solomon 2:16-17, KJV), which is implied in the expression, ‘Until the day break.’ Until Christ appears, no day has dawned for us. We dwell in midnight darkness, the stars of the promises and the moon of experience yield no light of comfort until our Lord, like the sun, arises and ends the night. We must have Christ with us, we are left to grope for the wall like blind men, and we wander in dismay….”

“When communion with Christ is broken, there is a strong desire in all true hearts to win it back again. If a person loses the joy of communion with Christ, he will never be content until it is restored. Have you ever entertained Prince Immanuel? Has He gone elsewhere? Your heart will be a dreary place until He comes back again.

‘Give me Christ, or else I will die,’ is the cry of every soul who has lost the dear companionship of Jesus. We do not part easily with such heavenly delights. With us it is not a matter of, ‘Maybe He will return, and we hope He will.’ Instead, ‘He must return, or we will become weak and die.’ We cannot live without Him, and this is a comforting sign, for the soul who cannot live without Him will not live without Him. He comes quickly when life and death depend on His coming. If you must have Christ, you will have Him. This is just how the matter stands: we must drink of this well or we will die of thirst; we must feed upon Jesus or our spirits will starve.”
Charles Spurgeon
Joy in Christ’s Presence, 49, 51
~~~

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.”
The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

Lamentations 3:24-26 (ESV)




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Established Beforehand

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 13, 2014

Uncertainty shrouds our future. An afternoon can bring what morning never expected. Our tomorrow can introduce us to news that shocks our soul. Our next year can be the most difficult and trying we have ever experienced. When this happens doubt bombards us with questions, and our mind swirls with fears. We are shaken to the core and lose our footing that had seemed so peaceful and sure. How can this be happening to me? Why?

The Lord Jesus spoke that our house should be built upon the rock before the floods come (Matthew 7:24-27). When rains pour forth, it is not the time to try to find a rock foundation on which to build. It is too late. In Noah’s day, once the heavens opened and the fountains of the deep were unleashed, the monumental task of preparation could never happen. Severe consequences were already on the way.

Sometimes when one enters a serious crisis, the immediate response is to request prayer from those he or she knows that pray. A sense of spiritual inadequacy in self wants others to help in their deficiency. It is vital we pray for one another, but intercession by others cannot be a substitute for one’s own faith. If such a one has neglected personal time with the Lord in His Word, when the storm threatens, anxiety rules their soul and worry crowds their mind. Five virgins waiting for the bridegroom were not prepared with enough oil and wanted to borrow oil from the other five who came prepared (Matthew 25:1-13). Casual and careless believers want to live off another’s faith, and this cannot happen. Each must trust for himself. Waiting until the unexpected crisis occurs, and then hoping to suddenly have faith, or use another’s faith, is futile.

Today is the time to learn God’s Word so you trust Him, whom you cannot see, to keep His promises. By daily experience of trust you become fully assured that this invisible God is real, a loving Father who can be fully trusted in the darkest of nights and the stormiest of days. This is why the Bible speaks often about meditating on God’s Word day and night (regularly). Your sinful flesh will give you a hundred reasons not to spend time in God’s Word, and the devil knows exactly which excuses to plant in your thinking to keep you from it. The ones who neglect this Jesus calls foolish. A million people praying for you will not give you faith to live by or to die by. Faith comes from believing God’s Word and trusting Him as your loving Father—-daily.
JRW




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A Bitter Aftertaste

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 5, 2014

“Do not think your soul is secure and immovable—-not as long as you are in this life. Haven’t you ever known a man or woman who seems good and spiritual—-and then see them fall away from God?

The person who thinks they will never fall suffers even greater damage when they slip. You remain humble, and depend on God for every moment of your soul’s safety and strength. Only in this humble spirit do you stand a chance of avoiding the snares of the Evil One.

And here is a hidden snare you must avoid:

Many Christians allow themselves to daydream about pleasures they know are forbidden. They think, I’m not acting on these thoughts. So what does it hurt? They are already many steps down the road, deep in enemy territory.

Before you know it, Satan has mesmerized you, using your own appetites. He has led you out of your fantasies into real indulgence. He has stirred your flesh, and your senses have moved you out of the realm of the spirit and into the world where you are left to grub out a few moments of pleasure. But what you desire is a shiny illusion, dangled before your eyes. In the end, you do not experience the inner delight you thought sin would give you. In fact, you are empty and cold within, slinking back home with guilt and remorse. You have burned your conscience and shattered the peace of your soul.

As is often said: ‘A few moments of happiness tonight—-a heartful of ache and sorrow in the morning.’

So it is—-with empty illusions that promise satisfaction—-Satan hypnotizes and leads astray. So it is he leads us out from the presence, safety, and fulfillment that is in God—-out to where his dark forces can gnaw on our soul with the teeth of regret, bitterness, and sorrow.”

Thomas `a Kempis (c. 1380-1471)
Come, Lord Jesus, 63-65
Edited by David Hazard
~~~

Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
James 1:14 (ESV)




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