The Exchanged Life

Posted by Jerry White on Sep 28, 2014

“Do you know, I now think that this striving, longing, hoping for better days to come is not the true way to holiness, happiness or usefulness. It is better, no doubt, far better than being satisfied with poor attainments, but not the best way after all. I have been struck with a passage from a book… entitled Christ Is All. It says,

‘The Lord Jesus received is holiness begun; the Lord Jesus cherished is holiness advancing; the Lord Jesus counted upon as never absent would be holiness complete….
‘He is most holy who has most of Christ within, and joys most fully in the finished work. It is defective faith which clogs the feet and causes many a fall.’

This last sentence, I think I now fully endorse. To let my loving Saviour work in me His will, my sanctification, is what I would live for by His grace. Abiding, not striving nor struggling; looking off unto Him; trusting Him for present power;…. resting in the love of an almighty Saviour, in the joy of a complete salvation, ‘from all sin’—this is not new, and yet ’tis new to me. I feel as though the dawning of a glorious day had risen upon me. I hail it with trembling, yet with trust. I seem to have got to the edge only, but of a boundless sea; to have sipped only, but of that which fully satisfies. Christ literally all seems to me, now, the power, the only power for service, the only ground for unchanging joy….

How then to have our faith increased? Only by thinking of all that Jesus is and all He is for us: His life, His death, His work, He Himself as revealed to us in the Word, to be the subject of our constant thoughts. Not a striving to have faith… but a looking off to the Faithful One seems all we need; a resting in the Loved One entirely, for time and for eternity.”

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret (1932)
~~~

Yes, in me, in me He dwelleth—-
I in Him and He in me!
And my empty soul He filleth
Now and through eternity.

Horatius Bonar




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Distracted or Choosing Correctly

Posted by Jerry White on Jul 6, 2014

Martha was distracted with much serving…. Mary has chosen the good portion.
Luke 10:40, 42 (ESV)
~~~
Distractions draw us away from a right focus. It is not necessarily bad things that distract us. Martha was preparing a meal for her Savior, but her ministry for Him drew her from “the good portion” which Jesus valued and commended. This caused her to have anxiety, a troubled soul, and a critical attitude towards her sister. Furthermore, she even questioned the Master’s care for her and told Him what to do about Mary. Martha was obviously a take charge woman absorbed in her work, and I’m sure she did not anticipate a gentle rebuke from the Lord Jesus at this moment. Jesus contrasted her soul’s condition with Mary’s correct choice. Mary was peacefully attentive to the Lord; Martha was not. Please note: Jesus was not rebuking Martha for preparing dinner. It needed to be done, and someone had to do it. Jesus was not suggesting Martha should quit preparing the meal and come sit at His feet like Mary. He was addressing the focus of her heart. She could have prepared dinner without being distracted from the Lord, or else Jesus would not have corrected her. The issue was not her activity but what occupied her heart.

Myriads of distractions confront us daily in this modern culture with an intensity not known in previous generations. With all the media and electronic gadgetry for communication in our day, it is easier than ever to be occupied with external matters so that we live distracted and drawn away from a heart focus on the Lord Jesus. Many find themselves whisked along by busyness, engulfed with overloaded schedules, and constantly bombarded by relentless communications. How different this present day is compared to just fifty years ago when an average family had one land line house phone, one television with only three or four channels, and hand written letters sent by regular mail.

Is it possible to live in this generation of excessive communications and demanding schedules but still maintain a heart focus on the Lord Jesus so that one is not distracted and drawn away by so much external stimuli? Of course it is. What Jesus said to Martha still applies today. It is a matter of the heart and a choice of the will. We can control where the focus of our heart will be. We can be busy about our tasks and still commune with the Lord in the quiet sanctuary of our soul. It is possible to live on the external level and also on the inner heart level at the same time. Brother Lawrence did so by practicing the presence of God. Others have learned how to do this. If the Lord Jesus lived a human life among us today, He would live out of the depths of His being just like He did then. He would say the same to us as He did to Martha. Circumstances with all the modern distractions make no difference if our heart really wants what Mary enjoyed. It is a matter of the heart. It is learning to commune with Jesus Christ who has taken up residence inside us by means of the Holy Spirit. He is not a guest in our house, but rather He is now the owner who purchased our body to be His temple by His bloody death (1 Corinthians 6:19). It is possible to be busy with external affairs and still enjoy His presence within like Mary at His feet.
JRW




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Always Draw Upon Christ

Posted by Jerry White on Jun 29, 2014

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
John 15:4 (ESV)
~~~

“Never let an hour pass without drawing upon the bank of heaven. If all your needs seem satisfied, look steadfastly until the next moment brings another need; and then do not delay, but with this proof of necessity, hurry again to your treasury. Your needs are so numerous that you will never lack a reason for petitioning the fullness of Jesus. However, if such an occasion should ever arise, enlarge your heart, and then love will fill the void.

Do not allow any supposed riches of your own to suspend your daily blessings from the Lord Jesus. You have constant need of Him. You need His intercession, His upholding, His sanctification; you need Him to carry out all your works in you and to preserve you until the Day when He appears again. There is not one moment of your life in which you can do without Christ. Therefore, be always at His door, and the needs that you complain of will be reminders to turn your heart toward your Savior.

Thirst makes a person pant for water, and pain reminds man of the physician. Let your needs likewise lead you to Jesus, and may the blessed Spirit reveal Him to you while He lovingly gives you the rich supplies of His love! Go, poor Christian, let your poverty be the rope that pulls you to your rich Brother. Rejoice that your weaknesses make room for grace to rest upon you, and be glad that you have constant needs that perpetually compel you to have fellowship with your Redeemer—-who is worthy to be adored.”
Charles Spurgeon
Joy in Christ’s Presence, 90-91
~~~

The branch must draw its life from the vine or it cannot bear fruit. Conscious dependence on the Spirit of Christ within you is the way for His life to be revealed through you. This deliberate inner trusting in any situation or relationship you encounter is abiding in Christ. Quietly relying on His indwelling life in the quietness of your heart allows His Spirit to be in charge so that rivers of living water flow from you, and often this happens without you being conscious of it.




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Come, Follow Me

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 9, 2013

The Son of God lived in the eternal bliss of heaven. He enjoyed pure, uninterrupted, loving fellowship with His Father and the Holy Spirit. He knew no cloudy days, nor was it ever dark. Unlimited love, joy, and peace was His constant experience. He was equal to God the Father and God the Spirit. What a profound mystery but nevertheless eternally true. Would He cling to this blissful existence or would he give it up for the sake of human beings who through Adam had become enslaved to sin and death and were destined for God’s eternal wrath? Love compels. Perfect, infinite love must express its pity, mercy, and compassion beyond the comprehension of finite human beings.

God’s righteous demands and justice must be satisfied as much as his heart of love must be expressed. How could this be? There was only one way. There were not multiple choice ways from which He could choose one. Only one way would satisfy the heart of God. He must give all that He could give in a perfect and total sacrifice to fulfill His own righteous and just demands. Moved by His tender compassionate love he would give His only beloved Son and make Him His necessary sacrificial Lamb upon whom He would pour out His infinite wrath to satisfy His Law’s just demands for our sin. With perfect harmony in the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Son of God was most willing, because of love, to give up His perfect bliss of heaven, become fully human, and live in our world of suffering, pain, rejection, loss, trials, temptations, and sorrow. He knew He was the Lamb of God who would be eventually slaughtered under His Father’s wrath because of our sin so we could have Holy God’s forgiveness and His very own righteousness as gifts of undeserved favor. We cannot fathom the depth of His humiliation nor can we grasp in heart the magnitude of this love that would want us to be His forever.

Having given His all He says, Come, follow Me. He did not invite us to follow rules and regulations but rather to follow him with simple devotion (2 Corinthians 11:3). He, who gave His all, said, follow me, learn from me, abide in me (Matthew 10:38; 11:29; John 15:4).

In order to follow Him one gives up his or her rights to self rule (Luke 14:33).

In order to learn from Him one spends time with Him through His Word, prayer, and worship.

In order to abide in Him one maintains a repentant heart for sinful failures, a trusting heart for every need, and an obedient heart for His commands.

Could He have made it any simpler for us to understand what it means to be His disciple?

JRW





Unbroken Contact

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 11, 2013

When the Lord Jesus Christ was about to leave His disciples through His cross, burial, resurrection, and ascension, He promised the Holy Spirit to be their constant companion in place of His bodily presence with them (John 14:16-17). Having Him with them for three years was a security for them — this man of joy, peace and love. Everything He encountered He met triumphantly, and He shepherded them tenderly and lovingly. Never had they been loved the way He loved them. Now He was about to leave them. What would His absence be like? What were these men to do without HIm? How would they continue without Him? How should we who never saw Him live without seeing Him?

The Lord Jesus gave His final instructions so simply and clearly. Even though they probably could not fully understand what He was saying, His words were unforgettable. He spoke of the coming Holy Spirit. He spoke about the importance of prayer, while giving them assurance their Father would hear and answer them. He instructed them about loving one another like He loved them, and this would be their testimony to the lost world that they were His.

One of His simple last instructions was for them to abide in Him (John 15:1-11). He said it  in simplest terms, Abide in me, and I in you (John 15:4). What could this mean? How does one abide in Him?

J.Oswald Sanders wrote that “abiding in Christ means keeping unbroken contact with Christ in a union of intimate love” (Enjoying Intimacy With God, 63). A better explanation of what abiding in Christ means I have never read. This is the heart of the matter.

This raises a question. What breaks this contact?

Sin without repentance. Each of us fail and sin. Keep short accounts with God about sin.

Allowing flesh to reign. Sin always fights to reign in your life. Walking by the Spirit is a must.

Neglecting intimate communion with your Father. Busyness can be a thief.

Distractions of the world. Jesus warned about cares, possessions, money, and pleasures.

Failure to trust. Repeatedly Jesus warned about doubting instead of trusting. Trusting is to the spiritual life what breathing is to the body.

Passivity in life prevents fruitful living. Proverbs 4:23 gives us heaven’s wisdom, Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life (ESV). Watch diligently; walk carefully (2 John 1:8; Ephesians 5:15-17).

JRW





The Law Of Liberty

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 31, 2013

Abide in me, and I in you.

John 15:5 (ESV)

~~~

“If a piece of iron could speak, what could it say of itself? ‘I am black; I am cold; I am hard.’ But put it in the furnace, and what a change takes place! It has not ceased to be iron; but the blackness is gone, and the coldness is gone, and the hardness is gone! It has entered into a new experience. The fire and the iron are still distinct and yet how complete is the union—they are one. If the iron could speak, it could not glory in itself, but in the fire that makes and keeps it a bright and glowing mass. So must it be with the believer. Do you ask him what he is in himself? He answers, ‘I am carnal, sold under sin.’ For, left to himself, this inevitably follows; he is brought into captivity to the law of sin which is in his members. But it is his privilege to enter into fellowship with Christ, and in Him to abide. And there, in Him, who is our life, our purity, and our power—in HIm, whose Spirit can penetrate into every part of our being, the believer is no longer carnal, but spiritual; no longer overcome by sin and brought into captivity, but set free from the law of sin and death, and preserved in a condition of deliverance. This blessed experience of emancipation from sin’s service and the power implies a momentary and continuous act of abiding.

The believer cannot glory in himself. He cannot glory in a state of purity attained, and having an existence apart from Christ HImself. He is like the piece of iron. The moment it is withdrawn from the furnace, the coldness and hardness and blackness begin to return. It is not by a work wrought in the iron once for all, but by the momentary and continual influence of the fire on the iron that its tendency to return to its natural condition is counteracted.

Such is the law of liberty in the spiritual life.”

Evan H. Hopkins,

The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life, 38 (1952 edition)

~~~

The enemy, the devil, wants desperately to distract you from close, regular fellowship and intimacy with the Lord Jesus because he knows that without it your heart (soul) will become cold, hard and black like the iron removed from the fire. Certain disciplines are necessary if you will retain the glow of His presence. How very important it is for you to keep the iron of your soul in the fire of His presence. It is His pleasure and glory in your life that are at stake.




Simple Relationship

Posted by Jerry White on Sep 26, 2013


“We have over-complicated our God and His ways of coming to us. We have organized Him, strategized Him and compartmentalized Him. We have reduced His ways of working with us to cute little formulas, and we have stood off in our corners critical of others who seek His face in ways that differ from our own temperaments or styles of perception. But it is clear that God longs to restore a spiritual passion within us.”

Gordon MacDonald

Restoring Your Spiritual Passion, pp.217-218

~~~

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

1 John 5:2-3 (ESV)

~~~

When the Lord Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure for heaven He told them how to continue without His physical presence with them. He simply said, “Abide in me”. Abiding in Him would happen as they trusted, obeyed, and loved Him. So uncomplicated and peaceful is this way because it is His ordained way. His commands are not a heavy burden. There is no formula by which we can live the Christian life or else He would have given it. No list of principles exists to which we must adhere for godly living or else the Lord Jesus would have listed them for us. Living the Christian life is the overflow and outflow of a simple loving relationship with the Lord Jesus, one of quiet trust in Him and loving obedience to Him. Seeing Him—knowing Him—adoring Him—loving Him—and enjoying Him is the way to keep our passion burning for Him. Each must find his or her way in this. Finding it is life abundant.




Divine Possibilities

Posted by Jerry White on Aug 15, 2013

“I dare say that—

It is possible, for those who reckon on the power of the Lord for keeping and victory, to lead a life in which His promises are taken as they stand and found to be true.

It is possible to cast all our care upon Him and to enjoy deep peace in doing so.

It is possible to have the thoughts and imaginations of our hearts purified, in the deepest meaning of the word, through faith.

It is possible to see the will of God in everything, and to receive it, not with sighing, but with singing.

It is possible, by taking complete refuge in divine power, to become strong through and through; and where previously our great weakness lay, to find that the things which formerly upset all our resolves to be patient or pure or humble, furnish today an opportunity—through Him that loved us, and works in us an agreement with His will and a blessed sense of His presence and His power—to make sin powerless.

These things are divine Possibilities, and because they are His work, the true experience of them will always cause us to bow lower at His feet and to learn to thirst and long for more. We cannot possibly be satisfied with anything less than—each day, each hour, each moment, in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit—TO WALK WITH GOD.”

H. C. G. Moule (1841-1920)

~~~

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 (ESV)




Flowing Rivers From Within

Posted by Jerry White on May 9, 2013

He who believes in Me…out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (John 7:38).

~~~

“A river reaches places which its source never knows. And Jesus said that, if we have received His fullness, ‘rivers of living water’ will flow out of us, reaching in blessing even ‘to the end of the earth’ (Acts 1:8) regardless of how small the visible effects of our lives may appear to be. We have nothing to do with the outflow—‘This is the work of God, that you believe…’(John 6:29). God rarely allows a person to see how great a blessing he is to others.

A river is victoriously persistent, overcoming all barriers. For a while it goes steadily on its course, but then comes to an obstacle. And for a while it is blocked, yet it soon makes a pathway around the obstacle. Or a river will drop out of sight for miles, only later to emerge again even broader and greater than ever. Do you see God using the lives of others, but an obstacle has come into your life and you do not seem to be of any use to God? Then keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you around the obstacle or remove it. The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never focus your eyes on the obstacle or the difficulty. The obstacle will be a matter of total indifference to the river that will flow steadily through you if you will simply remember to stay focused on the Source. Never allow anything to come between you and Jesus Christ—not emotion nor experience—nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.”

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)

My Utmost For His Highest, September 6

~~~

Oswald Chambers was converted on hearing Charles H. Spurgeon. He studied art and then entered college in 1897 to train for the Baptist ministry. He became a Bible teacher. He died at age 43 never knowing the impact his life would make through his teachings that were compiled by his wife after his death in the classic devotional book known throughout the world, My Utmost For His Highest. The rivers from Chambers still flow.




Waiting In Stillness

Posted by Jerry White on Jan 21, 2013

“Blessed the man who learns the lesson of stillness and fully accepts God’s Word, ‘In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.’ Each time he listens to the word of the Father, or asks the Father to listen to his words, he dares not begin his Bible reading or prayer without first pausing and waiting, until the soul be hushed in the presence of the Eternal Majesty. Under a sense of the Divine nearness, the soul, feeling how self is always ready to assert itself, and intrude even into the holiest of all with its thoughts and efforts, yields itself in a quiet act of self-surrender to the teaching and working of the Divine Spirit. It is still and waits in holy silence, until all is calm and ready to receive the revelation of the Diving will and presence. Its reading and prayer then indeed become a waiting on God with ear and heart opened and purged to receive fully only what He says.

‘Abide in Christ!’ Let no one think that he can do this if he has not daily his quiet time, his seasons of meditation and waiting on God.”

Andrew Murray

Abide In Christ

~~~

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.

Psalm 37:7a (ESV)

~~~

With sound readily available to us through electronics, solitude and silence in our day are neglected disciplines. Those accustomed to sound may even find stillness and aloneness a bit frightening. Aloneness with His Father in a quiet place was a regular practice of the Lord Jesus. He found it absolutely essential for His daily life and ministry. If it was true for Him, is it not true for us also? If I were to entertain a very godly person for meaningful fellowship and conversation would I be so rude as to do so while listening to something else? Those who want to grow in conformity to Christ cultivate the blessed habit of being alone with the Lord Jesus in silence with single-eye focus and reverence so they can wait upon Him to hear His heart, and sometimes just enjoy the safe stillness of His presence