Posted by Jerry White on Jun 27, 2016
My people are bent on turning away from me. Hosea 11:7 (ESV)
“The divine life has its dwelling-place in a fallen fleshly nature. It is encompassed by all the corruptions, weaknesses, infirmities, and assaults of the flesh. There is not a moment that it is not exposed to assaults from within. There is not a natural faculty of the mind or throb of the heart that is favorable to its prosperity, but all are contrary to its nature, and hostile to its advance. As there is nothing internal that is favorable to a state of grace, so there is nothing external that encourages it forward. It has many and violent enemies. Satan is ever on the watch to assault it. The world is ever presenting itself in some new form of fascination and power to weaken it. A thousand temptations are perpetually striving to ensnare it. Thus its internal and external enemies are leagued against it. Is it then any wonder that faith should sometimes tremble, that grace should sometimes decline, and that the pulse of the divine life should often beat faintly and feebly? The saints in every age have felt and lamented this.”
Morning Thoughts, 251-252
“If we hope to overcome them [the spiritual forces of evil], we shall need to bear in mind that they have no moral principles, no code of honour, no higher feelings. They recognize no Geneva Convention to restrict or partially civilize the weapons of their warfare. They are utterly unscrupulous, and ruthless in the pursuit of their malicious designs.”
John R. W. Stott
The Message of Ephesians, 264
Posted by Jerry White on Jun 20, 2016
Grief. Loneliness. Suffering. Rejection. Betrayal. Disability. False accusation. Pain comes to us through many avenues, but for God’s children it only comes with the Father’s permission. Whatever comes has God’s fingerprints on it because He is molding His chosen vessel for His eternal glory. The clay on the potter’s wheel must be kneaded, pressed, shaped and refined for His use. It is painful—sometimes deeply painful—but the sufferings now are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed to us in the final day (Romans 8:18). Self wants to focus on the pain. One’s heart must focus on the Potter who is molding the clay with tenderest love. In the midst of pain God’s promises are our anchor, His love our comfort, and His faithfulness our hope. These are steadfast, true, and sure.
B. J. Hoff wrote:
Pain, you are a terrible deceiver…
parading yourself as an angry foe,
pretending to be unyielding.
You shadow me, hound me, taunt me,
as if by your mere presence
you could conquer my spirit.
But I have learned to measure
your ultimate strength,
not by how much hurt you can inflict,
but by how much of God’s grace
you call forth.
not by how deeply you can wound,
but by how frail you really are
when put in perspective by His power…
And I have learned at last,
to believe that, even at your worst,
you can never outlast a promise of God…
you can never outlive his love.
Posted by Jerry White on Jun 13, 2016
“God is perfectly capable of taking care of His own affairs, and the reason so little is being accomplished by the Church of Jesus Christ today is that we have all too often organized God out of business. Millions of man hours and countless millions of dollars are being misspent on man’s promotional activity, unasked, on God’s behalf. This is not to challenge the sincerity of those who are thus employed, but we so often confuse bustle for business, and plant for power, and perspiration for inspiration. What an embarrassment it would be to you if you had a pair of hands that always tried to demonstrate how busy they were! Do you expect your fingers to tell you each morning what their program is for the day, and then demonstrate their enthusiasm by a vigorous show of uncontrolled activity? Do you think you would be successful in playing the piano on that basis? I would not like to ask a barber who had hands like that to shave me! Surely, what the head demands of every member of the body is restful availability, and prompt response to every impulse of the head in instant obedience, producing the co-ordinated activity of the whole, and the orderly fulfillment of that purpose to which each, as a member of the team, has been committed in particular. The challenge we hear so often today in the name of consecration is ‘Do more! Give more! Be more!’ Go! Go! Go! But God says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’! In other words, quit the panic! Just let God be God!”
Major W. Ian Thomas
The Saving Life of Christ, 64, (1962 edition)
When the Lord Jesus prepared His disciples for His departure from earth, He gave them simple instructions. Among several key commands He left was this one, “Abide in me, and I in you (John 15:4). In simple words, “Obey My Word; follow My Spirit.” Acts recounts how the Holy Spirit empowered the early believers and faithfully led them to fulfill God’s Word. Kingdom growth did not happen because of their astute planning and promotional skills. God’s agenda was accomplished because they learned how to abide in Christ and obey His Spirit’s guidance. Total availability to obey His Word and His Spirit’s promptings is still His way.
Posted by Jerry White on Jun 6, 2016
It is far better to know God’s presence by faith than to know it by feelings.
This generation wants to feel something, whether it is the loud music from huge speakers at a concert, or the thunderous sound of explosions in a movie theatre, or stirring praise music in church. Political correctness has become an issue because of various sensitivities. We are instructed that we must not hurt anyone’s feelings so everyone feels included and their feelings are protected.
In recent years among Christians an increasing emphasis on sensing or feeling God’s presence has occurred. I have been a part of this, but I have had a growing discomfort about it. Has this become a badge of God’s blessing upon one’s ministry? Does it represent God’s approval? Is it a sign of success? Oh, there are times when our Lord graciously draws near and His presence deeply affects us. We bow and humbly worship. But just because our feelings are stirred up does not mean the presence of God has been revealed among us. Beautiful praise music with stirring words can move our souls to tears but it is not necessarily because of God’s presence.
Faith pleases God; good feelings please me. This raises a question. Do I want to please and honor Him or do I want Him to bless and please me? I cannot think of a Scripture where the early believers emphasized feeling God’s presence. There were times of dramatic encounters with the living God, but they were the exception, not the rule.
Through faith on the basis of God’s sure Word I can always know God’s presence, and this honors Him. Feelings, or sensing, has nothing to do with it. Believing God’s promises has everything to do with it. He promised His invisible presence repeatedly. The issue is, will I believe it, receive it and enjoy it with a glad, rejoicing and thankful heart? Knowing God’s presence by faith delivers me from needing anything other than God’s promise. I do not need special music, or a worship gathering, or a worship leader. Alone in a quiet place one can profoundly know the Lord’s presence again and again without any outside stimulus. An open believing heart receives, and this faith pleases and honors God. When He is pleased there will be moments when He gives Himself so there is a deep sensing of His nearness.