Christ, Our Refuge

Posted by Jerry White on Jun 29, 2015

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5:11-12

Is there ever a time and place when Christ’s presence is not enough? Did He not say, I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) Doubting Him offends Him. Any worry, anxiety or fear reveals our doubt and unbelief about His comforting love, presence and promises.

Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843) wrote:

“Christ is like our own chamber with the door shut, in many respects.

There is safety in Him. There is no place in all the world to which we look more often in an hour of danger, as a refuge and place of safety, than our own home—-the inner chamber with the door locked. Likewise, brethren, there is safety in Christ….

There is quietness and rest in Him. In the world, we look for the bustle and harassment of business. But when we enter our chamber and shut the door behind us, we shut out the bustling, noisy world; all is tranquility and peace. Brethren, such is Christ….

Our home is a ready made retreat, near and easy of access. When we seek our home, we don’t have to soar with the eagle to the top of the rugged rocks or be like the dove that nests in the hole’s mouth. Neither must we dig into the earth so that we may hide our head there. Our home is near us. Just such is Christ. He is a ready-made Savior, at hand and not far off. This is the all-sufficient refuge that God bids His people to flee into during every storm.”

Nearer, still nearer, close to Thy heart,
Draw me, my Savior—-so precious Thou art!
Fold me, oh, fold me close to Thy breast.
Shelter me safe in that haven of rest.
Shelter me safe in that haven of rest.

Mrs. C. H. Morris (1898)


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Fearful or Trusting

Posted by Jerry White on Jun 22, 2015

He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Mark 4:40

“When preparing for a series of messages, I began to read book after book in search of a definition of faith. I didn’t find one. Each author talked about faith, but didn’t define it. Handley Moule, after studying in Sanskrit, Latin, Hebrew, Greek, German, and English, finally prepared a simple and complete definition: ‘Faith is personal trust in a Person.’ Biblical faith is personal trust in Jesus Christ.

Faith is never faith in your faith. You do not summon up enough faith so that God will act. That’s misplaced faith. The object of faith must be God Himself. This means to have faith in God’s faithfulness. When you express faith, you are trusting God’s faithfulness.

When Wesley was crossing the Atlantic on his way to the United States, his vessel encountered a terrible storm. Many feared the ship would sink. People were screaming and Wesley was terrified. There was a small group of Moravian missionaries aboard who were perfectly calm. Even the children were quiet. The difference between his reaction to possible death and the reaction of the Moravians spoke to Wesley.

Faith anchors you in life’s storms; it enables you to stand, to remain immovable.”

Joseph S. Carroll
Reflections on Faith & Prayer, 60

God says of Himself that He abounds in steadfast love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6, ESV). Believing this is the key to trusting God. When you decide to believe in His steadfast love and faithfulness for you, then you will trust Him in the midst of the storm. He alone is our rock, fortress, and refuge (Psalm 31:3-4). He is our safe place—-so safe, and worthy to be trusted.

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When Truth Kills

Posted by Jerry White on Jun 14, 2015

For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:6 (ESV)

“The preaching that kills is nonspiritual preaching….This letter-preaching has the truth. But even divine truth has no life-giving energy alone; it must be energized by the Spirit, with all God’s forces at its back. Truth unquickened by God’s Spirit deadens as much as, or more than, error….Life-giving preaching costs the preacher much—-death to self, crucifixion to the world, the travail of his own soul. Crucified preaching can come only from a crucified man.

The preaching that kills may be, and often is, orthodox—-dogmatically, inviolably orthodox.We love orthodoxy. It is good. It is the best. It is the clean, clear-cut teaching of God’s Word, the trophies won by truth in its conflict with error,…

Preaching which kills is prayerless preaching. Without prayer the preacher creates death, and not life. The preacher who is feeble in prayer is feeble in life-giving forces.The preacher who has retired prayer as a conspicuous and largely prevailing element in his own character has shorn his preaching of its distinctive life-giving power. Professional praying there is and will be, but professional praying helps the preaching to its deadly work. Professional praying chills and kills both preaching and praying . Much of the lax devotion and lazy, irreverent attitudes in congregational praying are attributable to professional praying in the pulpit.

Stop! Pause! Consider! Where are we? What are we doing? Preaching to kill? Praying to kill? Praying to God! the great God, the Maker of all worlds, the Judge of all men! What reverence! what simplicity! what sincerity! what truth in the inward parts is demanded! How real we must be! How hearty! Prayer to God the noblest exercise, the loftiest effort of man, the most real thing! Shall we not discard forever accursed preaching that kills and prayer that kills, and do the real thing, the mightiest thing—-prayerful praying, life-creating preaching, bring the mightiest force to bear on heaven and earth and draw on God’s exhaustless and open treasure for the need and beggary of man?”

E.M. Bounds (1835-1913)
Preacher and Prayer, 14-21 (Zondervan, 1950’s edition)

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Maturity Takes Time

Posted by Jerry White on Jun 7, 2015

“Let’s settle it once and for all—-there are no shortcuts to reality! A meteor is on a shortcut as it proceeds to burn out, but not a star with it’s steady light so often depended upon by navigators. Unless the time factor is acknowledged from the heart, there is always danger of turning to the false enticement of a shortcut via the means of ‘experiences,’ and ‘blessings,’ where one becomes pathetically enmeshed in the vortex of ever-changing ‘feelings,’ adrift from the moorings of scriptural facts.

In regard to this subject George Goodman writes: ‘Some have been betrayed into professing perfection or full deliverance, because at the time they speak they are happy and confident in the Lord. They forget that it is not a present experience that ensures fruit unto maturity, but a patient continuance in well doing. To taste of grace of God is one thing; to be established in it and manifest it in character, habit, and regular life, is another. Experiences and blessings, though real gracious visitations from the Lord, are not sufficient to rest upon, nor should they lead us to glory in ourselves, as if we had a store of grace for time to come, or were yet at the end of the conflict. No. Fruit ripens slowly; days of sunshine and days of storm each add their share. Blessing will succeed blessing, and storm follow storm before the fruit is full grown or comes to maturity.’”

Miles J. Stanford
Principles of Spiritual Growth, 12-13 (1968 edition)

“Growth, therefore, is never the result of effort. I remember ten years ago, when I first set my face to the other side of the sea, my boy, six years of age, said to me as he bade me good-bye, ‘How long shall you be away?’ I told him two months. He said, ‘I am going to try hard to grow as big as you are before you come back.’ I am not sure that he tried. I suspect he forgot, as children do so blessedly forget their follies. But if he did try, he did not succeed. No child grows by effort….It is not by your own effort that you grow. Granted life and holiness, then there will be growth and development.”

G. Campbell Morgan, D.D.
Simple Things of the Christian Life, 44-45 (1963 edition)

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Simplicity and Silence

Posted by Jerry White on Jun 1, 2015

“Intimacy with the Almighty calls for disciplines that are no longer valued or emulated by the majority today. To begin with, there must be simplicity, which allows us the room to reorder our private world. Then, there must be silence, a rarity in our times. Silence…makes our moments of stillness meaningful.

Several months ago as my wife, Cynthia, and I were searching to know more of the Father’s will for our future, I became nervous. In that unsettled state of mind, I entertained fearful, anxious thoughts. My imagination ran wild, causing a rush of panic to occupy my mind. It wasn’t long before I felt exhausted and confused, virtually immobilized.

She and I were committed to travel abroad and to be involved in a week of meetings. I was tempted to cancel, due to the harassed condition of my soul. Thankfully, I didn’t…for it was during a meal before one of those meetings that someone unexpectedly handed me a profound paragraph that brought quietness to my heart and settled my spirit….

‘Harassed by life, exhausted, we look about us for somewhere to be quiet, to be genuine, a place of refreshment. We yearn to restore our spirits in God, to simply let go in him and gain new strength to go on living. But we fail to look for him where he is waiting for us, where he is to be found: in his Son, who is his Word. Or else we seek for God because there are a thousand things we want to ask him, and imagine that we cannot go on living unless they are answered. We inundate him with problems, with demands for information, for clues, for an easier path, forgetting that in his Word he has given us the solution to every problem and all the details we are capable of grasping in this life. We fail to listen where God speaks: God’s Word rang out in the world once for all, sufficient for all ages, inexhaustible. Or else we think that God’s Word has been heard on earth for so long that by now it is almost used up, that it is about time for some new word, as if we had the right to demand one. We fail to see that it is we ourselves who are used up and alienated whereas the Word resounds with the same vitality and freshness as ever; it is just as near to us as it always was.’

As all of us can testify, God does not speak to the hurried, worried mind.”

Charles R. Swindoll
Intimacy with the Almighty, 50-53

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