Posted by jerrywhite on May 30, 2011
“As a seminary professor, I am tempted to believe that I have (or should have) risen above the common temptations that others face. This makes the appearance of sin in my life all the more disappointing and difficult to confess. I was made more ready to deal with my weaknesses, however, through the observations of another seminary professor:
‘I write these words at the age of fifty-five. During the past ten or twelve years, I have often—and with greater seriousness than ever before—reflected upon the course of my life. Certain patterns of thought and attitude and conduct have come to light, some of them quite disturbing. I look back upon repeated failures in my efforts to subdue inner thoughts, conflicts and fears, to combat immaturity and self-centeredness, to build genuine and enriching relationships with other people, to conquer besetting sins, and to grow in holiness and communion with God. I now see that every period of my life has been marked by …struggle. But the persistence of the failures, together with a growing understanding of the past, has made the struggles of recent years exceptionally intense and painful.’ [As quoted by Jerry Bridges in The Discipline of Grace, 41]
The man who wrote these words is widely respected for his godliness, yet he dares to speak with extraordinary humility and candor for the benefit of others. His words help rescue me from the despair of thinking that I am extraordinarily strange because, despite my position and background, I am still tempted even by what I find detestable. In knowing that I am not alone, I find that I can be more honest about what is in my heart and more willing to identify the wrong of which I must repent. Paul intends for these freeing dynamics to work in all our hearts when he tells us that what tempts us is common in humanity and is, in fact, part of being human.”
Holiness By Grace, 94-95
A testing time or a temptation has not laid hold of you with the result that these have you in their grip, except those to which mankind is continually subject.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (Wuest Translation)
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Posted by jerrywhite on May 26, 2011
“Our Lord teaches that this is the secret of private prayer: ‘close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.’ The first objective is to see that you have the Father’s attention and presence. Know that He sees and hears you. Of more importance than all your effort to pray in the right way is this: that you have the childlike assurance that your Father sees you, and that as you look on Him, He looks on you, and you enjoy genuine communion with God.
But there is a real danger to which you are exposed in this quiet place. It is the danger of substituting prayer and Bible study for living fellowship with God. True fellowship is giving Him your love, your heart, and your life, and also receiving from Him His love, His life, and His Spirit. Your needs and your expression of them, your desire to pray in faith, humility, and sincerity may so distract you that the light of His countenance and the joy of His love cannot enfold you. Your Bible study may so pique your interest and so awaken pleasant feelings that the Word of God may become a substitute for God himself; this is the great hindrance to fellowship, because it keeps the soul occupied rather than leading it to God himself. If this happens, we will go out into the day’s work without the power of an abiding fellowship, because in our morning devotions the blessing was not secured.”
The Believer’s Daily Renewal, 17
…indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:3 (ESV)
Do you go through the habit of daily devotions or do you truly experience fellowship with your Heavenly Father? The difference between the two is vast. It is very easy to substitute going through the motions of a quiet time in place of experiencing His presence with heart to heart intimacy. The possibility of being in His presence for heart sharing is the richest of His earthly blessings for His children. He will gladly show you how. Ask Him. He wants it for you because He wants it with you.
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Posted by jerrywhite on May 23, 2011
And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 (ESV)
“Is Jesus man, or is he God? Is he our friend, made of the same stuff as we are, walking beside us, struggling under the weakness of humanity as we are, or is he enthroned above the heavens, all-powerful, awesome, terrible, sovereign?
The Bible’s answer is ‘Yes.’
In Christ, in one person, there are two distinct natures. One is eternal, infinite, immense, almighty—the form and essence of God; the other begins in time, and is finite, limited, and confined to a certain place. This second nature is ours, which he took on when he ‘became flesh and lived for a while among us’ (John 1:14). There’s no one else like Him—and in this mystery he is glorious. In fact, this glory of his blazes so brightly that the blind world can’t bear the light and beauty of it. Most people openly deny the incarnation of the Son of God.
This is the glory that the angels bend down to get a glimpse of (1 Peter 1:12). This glory is laid as the foundation of the church (Matthew 16:16-19). Yet we can’t explain this glory to our children. We run short of words and analogies. Here we have to fall down and worship the Author of this wonderful mystery and, submitting our understanding to the obedience of faith, humbly adore what we can’t comprehend.”
Through The Looking Glass, 34-35
“Is any other question so far-reaching and important as the question, Who was Jesus? Is He or is He not God?
If Jesus is not God, then there is no Christianity, and we who worship Him are nothing more than idolaters. Conversely, if He is God, those who say He was merely a good man, or even the best of men, are blasphemers.”
J. Oswald Sanders
The Incomparable Christ, 53
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Posted by jerrywhite on May 19, 2011
“Olomouc lies in the center of Moravia, three hours east of Prague by train, twenty-four hours by planes, trains, and automobiles from my bride in New Mexico. During my two-month sabbatical there one winter, my wife and I exchanged some love letters that nearly melted the snow around my flat. Her letters to me were my food and drink, the sunshine that broke through the frozen gray sky to light my day. Every day at noon I charged up the five flights of stairs to find the housekeeper to ask for my mail. When I saw my name formed in my wife’s hand on an envelope, I went straight to my apartment and devoured every word and line, feasting on our love.
As delicious as her letters were, they weren’t enough. Within the first week of my sabbatical, I began to punctuate my journal entries with groans and sighs of missing her. Those groans and sighs grew until the final days, when I wrote, ‘All I want is to grab her and never let her go.’ Love letters are no match for the real thing—face to face, staring into your lover’s eyes, her warm body against your own.
The ‘not enoughness’ of love-letters is like the way we see Christ by faith in this life. We can bask for hours in his glory as the God-man, or as the only face of God to us, or as the wisdom of God, or as the love of God—and that glory feeds, comforts, and delights our souls. But it isn’t enough. There’s something more that we can’t have in this life, and it makes us ache to be with him. Lovers of Christ like David and Paul knew the deepest of his glory and love that can be known by faith, yet they cried out for more.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 42:2)
I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far…. (Philippians 1:23)
What David and Paul felt was the frustration of living by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). We live before God in this life by faith alone. By faith we take part in God’s grace, holiness, and joy; but someday, by sight, we’ll take hold of eternal happiness and glory.”
Through the Looking Glass, 153-155
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Posted by jerrywhite on May 12, 2011
“We know what the heart is from Scripture, but what is a true heart? Unless we understand this condition and meet it, we cannot acceptably approach God; and we will not experience true worship. I am not saying that we cannot come into the presence of God. We can, but we cannot worship in the way God desires us to worship. We will go through the motions, but that is all. We have seen quite clearly from the Word of God that the first thing in worship is the prostration, the falling down, the submission. There must be a true heart when we come to God in worship; otherwise, our worship is unacceptable.
Bishop Westcott, who wrote a classic on the epistle to the Hebrews, has this to say about a true heart. It is ‘a heart which expresses completely the devotion of the whole person to God. There is no divided allegiance, no reserve of feeling.’ This is perfect self-surrender of the whole person; in other words, it is the intellect, the emotion, and the will.
Another great scholar who has given us a classic on Hebrews is Adolph Saphir. He has this to say, ‘What is meant by a true heart?…Only a whole heart is true.…A true heart is never pleased with itself; but it is at peace, content that Jesus shall be all.’
Andrew Murray, who has given us possibly the best devotional classic on the epistle to the Hebrews, has this to say about a true heart:
In man’s nature the heart is the central power. As the heart is so is the man….our inmost being must in truth be yielded to Him…It is only as the desire of the heart is fixed upon God, the whole heart seeking for God, giving its love and finding its joy in God, that a man can draw nigh to God.
This may possible cause you to think, ‘What hope do I have for a true heart? Can I fix the desire of my heart upon God? Can my whole heart seek for God, giving its love to and finding its joy in God? Can I do that?
If you seek for a true heart with all your heart, you will receive it. It is entirely your decision, for God’s callings are His enablings. He lives in you by His Sprit to meet His own demands. Most certainly, without the enabling Spirit, such a heart is impossible; but with the Spirit controlling, it is the very life into which He will lead you.”
Joseph S. Carroll
How To Worship Jesus Christ, 42-43
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