Posted by Jerry White on Oct 26, 2015
“I said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Tribulation in the world is guaranteed by the Lord, but peace, Christ’s own peace (John 14:27), is also promised. Testings, trials, disappointments, heartaches, griefs, pain, troubles, bewildering circumstances, enemies, sicknesses, devil’s attacks, and a host of other storms that come against us are common to living in this world. The Lord Jesus who overcame the world assures us that in Him peace is found. With the peace of Christ comes rest—even in the midst of this stormy, turbulent world. How can we find rest?
J. Gregory Mantle (1853-1925) helps us to understand the way.
“Rest! Thousands of hearts are longing for it! And it cannot be found, as some vainly dream, by flying away on the wings of a dove from their surroundings. Rest comes through a true confession and determined forsaking of sin, and through the cleansing of the nature from its stains, for sin in every form is dis-ease, the opposite of rest. Material things are in a state of rest while fulfilling the laws and purposes for which they exist. The least variation of adjustment results in disquietude instead of repose. So rest comes to man through an adjustment of his will to the will of God. ‘Take my yoke (i.e., My will) upon you…and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’ The Romans forced their enemies to put their neck under a yoke as a sign of defeat. Hence we get the word subjugate—sub, under; jugum, a yoke. Rest comes through the subjugation of the whole being to Jesus. The perfect emblem of rest is God, and in proportion as man has his center in God he becomes a partaker of His rest (Heb. 4:3).” (The Way of the Cross, 12)
When pressures and distresses come upon us, our self-life (flesh) wants to rise up to handle it. This only adds to the burden. The right response is one of faith (trust). Our place of repose is Christ Himself who alone can be our peace. The world, nor our flesh, nor anyone else, can give us peace in a dark storm, only Jesus. He promises,
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John14:27)
Posted by Jerry White on Oct 19, 2015
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1 (ESV)
Someone wrote that “fear not” is the command given most often in the Bible. Fear was the first emotion registered after Adam’s disobedience to God (Genesis 3:10). One of the first negative emotions a child experiences is fear. There are fears of many different sorts with each one being very real, and some even to the degree that they are crippling in their effect. Some believers must perpetually deal with fear and feel quite deficient because of it.
A little child usually feels safe in mother or daddy’s arms if there is a threat to their perceived safety. A serious threat causes them to run to mommy or daddy calling out to the parent, sometimes with tears. These fears can follow us into adulthood and can continue to harass in spite of our reasoning that it shouldn’t.
God is our Father, and His presence is our place of safety and peace. Our experience of this is dependent upon our believing this to be true. Jesus slept in the back of the boat in the middle of the storm because He believed His Father was in charge of all things. He trusted His Father.
Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Because we have experienced His presence, ‘we will not fear even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Ps. 46:2). Having been tried and tested for so long and for so often, we are not going to doubt God now. ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.’ Why should we? How dare we? If you can truly sing, ‘God is my refuge and strength,’ then it will be impossible to be afraid. A sense of God’s nearness and graciousness will be an antidote for fear.” (C. H. Spurgeon, Beside Still Waters, 281, Roy H. Clarke, Editor)
Posted by Jerry White on Oct 12, 2015
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)
David confesses in this written prayer the deep desire of his soul.
He had no idea this would eventually become part of God’s holy Scripture. He was merely making notes from his time alone with his Shepherd. We benefit centuries later.
We read words like this in our Bibles and find them beautiful and comforting. Our hearts readily agree with the sentiment expressed, but often believers pass over statements like this without asking obvious probing questions of themselves. David’s confession raises questions like:
Is this the honest confession of my soul? Do theses words express what I truly feel, think and want to say? Do I earnestly seek the Lord because I thirst for Him like I would for water in a waterless desert? Is my longing for Him so strong that it is almost physical in nature? My flesh faints for you.
How can this be my true confession instead of just David’s beautiful words?
After these many years of pursuing the Lord, I understand the critical challenge is to maintain persistent longing for Him. Perpetual spiritual thirst is the preeminent issue for abiding in Christ. This is precisely where our weak flesh, the devil’s attacks, and the world’s distractions storm against us to prevent us from close fellowship with our Savior. Jesus warned about this.
Need, asking, and trust are key directives for us. People came to Jesus because they had a need, they came asking because only He could help them, and they approached Him because they trusted Him. So we can do the same. We can come to Him in prayer humbly admitting the coldness (or lukewarmness) of our heart; we can ask Him to stir us up and refresh us with new desire for Him; and we can confidently expect Him to do it. Often I ask our faithful Lord to stir, refresh, and deepen my desire for Him. And He does as I give myself to seek Him.
Desiring Him most above all else is absolutely essential to living in His overflowing fullness.
Posted by Jerry White on Oct 5, 2015
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.
Revelation 2:4 (ESV)
“The danger of falling out of love with Christ is no less present in our times, and it occasions our Lord as much grief now as then. Intimacy with God is a fragile thing that must be carefully guarded.
M. Basilea Schlink tells of her own experience of waning love.
‘I came to see that my relationship to my Lord Jesus Christ, with the passing years had eroded away, something like a marriage gone humdrum. What did I do when I found a little pocket of spare time, on a Sunday or a holiday? I couldn’t wait to get together with other people—people I liked, people with whom I had something in common—so that we could share ideas and experiences. Or I read a stimulating book. Or I went out to enjoy nature. I even plunged further into my work, doing things that I normally didn’t have time for. But to go to Jesus—to give Him first claim on my spare time, that I did not do.’”
J. Oswald Sanders
Enjoying Intimacy With God, 43
Supreme love for the Lord Jesus can be lost. And sadly so! The Lord Jesus takes it personally when this happens, and His Spirit grieves. This is not because He needs your love. Rather it is because He loves you with all of His infinite and eternal being, and He does not want to see you lose the fullness you have when you love Him supremely and passionately. When our first love wanes, the Lord Jesus waits, like the Father for his prodigal son, longing for our return. His love never wanes. We must carefully guard our hearts so that our love for Him does not wane—and quickly repent if it does. Like the Father of the prodigal, He lovingly embraces us when we return and rejoices.