The Garden’s Owner

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 29, 2015

Peace in trials, tribulations, tragedies and grief is only found by kneeling in complete submission, trust and worship at the feet of the Lord Jesus who rules all things with unlimited love, authority and power.
Charles Spurgeon wrote comforting words about the loss of a loved one:
“Suppose that you are a professional gardener, responsible for a garden that is not yours. You take great care of several prize rose bushes. You fertilize, water, prune, and train them. Now that they are blooming in great beauty, you take considerable pride in them.
One morning you come into the garden and find that the best rose has been taken. You are angry and accuse your fellow workers of taking it. They declare their innocence, saying that they had nothing to do with it. But one says, ‘I saw the master walking here this morning. I think he took it.’
Is the gardener still angry? No, he immediately says, ‘I am pleased that my rose’s beauty attracted the master’s attention. That rose was his, and he has taken it. Let him do what seems good.’
It is the same with your loved ones. They did not die by chance. The grave is not filled by accident. People die according to God ’s will. Your child is gone, but the Master took her. Your husband is gone, but the Master took him. Your wife is buried, but the Master took her. Thank God that He let you have the pleasure of caring and tending for them while they were here. Thank Him that He gave, He Himself has taken.
If you believe in providence, you may grieve, ‘but I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus’ (1 Thess. 4:13-14).”
Beside Still Waters, 285 (Roy H. Clarke, Editor)
~~~
And he [Job] said, “ Naked I came from my mother ‘s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job 1:21 (ESV)




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Enforcing Christ’s Victory

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 23, 2015

“God could put Satan completely away, but He has chosen to use him to give the Church ‘on-the-job’ training in overcoming.
Prayer is not begging God to do something which He is loath to do. It is not overcoming reluctance in God. It is enforcing Christ’s victory over Satan. It is implementing upon earth Heaven’s decisions concerning the affairs of men. Calvary legally destroyed Satan, and cancelled all of his claims. God placed the enforcement of Calvary’s victory in the hands of the Church (Matt. 18:18 and Luke 10:17-19). He has given to her ‘power of attorney.’ She is His ‘deputy.’ But this delegated authority is wholly inoperative apart from the prayers of a believing church. Therefore, prayer is where the action is. Any church without a well-organized and systematic prayer program is simply operating a religious treadmill.
A program of prayer without faith is powerless. The missing element that is necessary to energize prevailing prayer that binds and casts out Satan is triumphant faith. And the missing element that is necessary to energize triumphant faith is praise—perpetual, purposeful, aggressive praise. Praise is the highest form of prayer because it combines petition with faith. Praise is the spark plug of faith. It is the one thing needed to get faith airborne, enabling it to soar above the deadly miasma of doubt. Praise is the detergent which purifies faith and purges doubt from the heart. The secret of answered prayer is faith without doubt (Mark 11:23). And the secret of faith without doubt is praise, triumphant praise, continuous praise, praise that is a way of life. This is the solution to the problem of a living faith and successful prayer.
The secret of success in overcoming Satan and qualifying for the throne is a massive program of effective prayer. The secret of effective prayer is a massive program of praise.”
Paul E. Billheimer
Destined for the Throne, 17-18
~~~

No unbelief made him [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
Romans 4:20-21 (ESV)




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All You Need

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 15, 2015

“Lift up your heads, ye poor, ye needy, ye disconsolate! Lift up your heads and rejoice that Christ is all to you, all you need in this vale of tears, all you need in the deepest sorrow, all you need under the heaviest affliction, all you need in sickness, all you will need in the hour of death and in the day of judgment. Yea, and Christ is in all, too. He is in all your salvation; He is in all your mercies; He is in all your trials; He is in all your consolations and in all your afflictions. What more can you want? What more do you desire?”

Octavius Winslow

Morning Thoughts, 341

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The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

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Psalm 23 is David’s testimony about his relationship with the Lord, which he wrote in his personal devotions. These were not merely nice words, or a bit of poetry, or a doctrinal statement, or wishful thinking. He wrote what He had experienced through difficult circumstances and deeply knew to be true. For us these can be just familiar words of comfort, or a teaching we listen to in a message, but only as we learn how to turn to the Lord Jesus in every circumstance and experience does it become our own personal and real testimony. Peace and security that passes all understanding then becomes ours.




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The Idol of Self

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 9, 2015

“Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it”.
Luke 9:24 (ESV)
~~~

“Oh, what pains, and what a death it is to nature, to turn me, myself, my lust, my ease, my credit, over into ‘my Lord, my Savior, my King, and my God, my Lord’s will, my Lord’s grace!’ But alas! that idol, that whorish creature myself is the master-idol we all bow to. What hurried Eve headlong upon the forbidden fruit, but that wretched thing herself? What drew that brother-murderer to kill Abel? That untamed himself. What drove the old world on to corrupt their ways? Who, but themselves, and their own pleasure? What was the cause of Solomon’s falling into idolatry and multiplying of strange wives? What but himself, whom he would rather please than God? What was the hook that took David and snared him first in adultery, but his self-lust? and then in murder, but his self-credit and self-honor? What led Peter on to deny his Lord? Was it not a piece of himself, and self-love to a whole skin? What made Judas sell his master for thirty pieces of silver, but the idolizing of avaricious self? What made Demas to go off the way of the Gospel to embrace the present world? Even self-love and a love of gain for himself.
Every man blameth the devil for his sins; but the great devil, the house-devil of every man, the house-devil that eateth and lieth in every man’s bosom, is that idol that killeth all, himself. Oh! blessed are they who can deny themselves, and put Christ in the room of themselves! O sweet word: ‘I live no more, but Christ liveth in me!’”
Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661)
~~~

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
John 12:24-25 (ESV)




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Kiss the Wave

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 2, 2015

This is from our first born grandchild. It is his honest confession while facing a difficult challenge. It is God fashioning one of His servants to understand what is truly important. Each of us must learn these core truths through our own struggles. Even the Lord Jesus had to learn obedience through what He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).

~~~

In my church’s denomination, there is an examination process for being allowed to preach regularly (licensing), and there is a more extensive process for getting ordained as a pastor.

Licensure is three written and oral exams covering English Bible, Church government, and theology, as well as a written and preached sermon. Ordination is the same trials plus exams in Sacraments and Church History, in addition to Theology, Greek, and Hebrew papers.

Before graduating from seminary, I thought either of those processes would be simple and straight forward: “Give me material to study. I’ll regurgitate it back to you. Hand me a certificate of ordination and presto chango–I’ll be all grown up and ready to be a pastor.”

Not so fast, Ben.

After graduating from seminary it took me twenty months to get licensed. I have friends that were a year behind me in seminary, had graduated, and were ordained sooner than that.

Those twenty months were rough on my family and me. I was watching other men finish their exams and have joy-filled ordination services while I couldn’t seem to pass an oral exam in basic Bible content.

I tossed out every excuse imaginable: “The committee is too demanding.” “I’m not smart enough.” “They just can’t seem to understand me and how I communicate.” Every pitiful little excuse you can imagine I claimed.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11

It took twenty months for me to realize that the Lord doesn’t want me to be licensed–He wants me to grow in holiness. The Lord doesn’t want me to be good at Bible outlines–He wants me to love His Word. The Lord doesn’t want me to beat all my peers to ordination–He wants me to love His Church.

Tonight I have my first oral exams for ordination. If I pass all five exams, I will be examined by the entire Presbytery in a couple of weeks. If I pass there, I will be ordained before the end of this year.

If I don’t pass, the Lord will be continuing his process of teaching me to “kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” (Charles H. Spurgeon)

Benjamin Ratliff  (first posted on morningjoy.com)




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