An Artist’s Witness

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 14, 2015

“I want to live in the beauty of holiness. I want the sweet scent of Jesus Christ to be breathed into someone’s life…a beckoning brightness to shine from Your heart, through me, into someone’s darkness….as we pass by together today.” (David Hazard, Early Will I Seek You, 78)
I walked into a gift store recently owned by a well-known, internationally award winning artist. It was also his gallery that displayed his outstanding paintings, both originals and prints of many different subjects, especially wildlife. Hanging on the wall in the front room was a very large Biblical scene in oils. It captured my attention, and I stood gazing at it deeply aware of the glory of God. No other painting has affected me this way.
Later I met the artist named Tom, and we began to share together. Quickly it became more than usual light conversation, but instead we entered into a oneness of heart focused on the wonder of who God is. We both became aware that this was a Divine appointment.
Tom shared his testimony of a remarkable conversion to Christ as a grown man and successful artist. He also told how he came to paint the Biblical scene that captured my gaze. Then he showed me another painting of a Biblical scene he had done. As we looked at it, he told about a Sunday the painting was on display in the front window of his store. A biker, covered with tattoos, was walking by and saw it. Stopping to look at it the Spirit drew him to Christ at that moment. The next day he came back with his family to see Tom, and with tears told him, “That painting changed my life.” Three months later the biker came back again with a radiant countenance to ask Tom how he could tell his biker friends about Jesus.
As Tom and I continued sharing together during my several visits to his store, it became quite evident that his heart was focused on the wonder of who God is. Several times in his quiet humble manner he said, “It’s Him.” “We know it’s Him.” God’s Spirit was a river flowing from him. All his awards adorning the walls paled in comparison to his desire to glorify his Lord.
As we parted I knew I had been touched by a beckoning brightness shining from Tom’s heart into my own, both through his love for Jesus and through his paint brush painting for God’s glory.
Yes, I did purchase prints of the two Biblical scenes.

JRW
~~~
Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (I Corinthians 19:31).




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Receiving God’s Promises

Posted by Jerry White on May 25, 2014

God “has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4, ESV). Absolute assurance is given to us when God’s Word says, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him [Jesus Christ] (2 Corinthians 1:20, ESV).

What benefit are the promises of God if we only read them in the Bible but never deliberately trust Him for their fulfillment? He speaks clearly in Hebrews 11:6, “without faith it is impossible to please him.” Faith trusts the trustworthy character of God and therefore believes what He says by His commands, declarations, and promises. This intentional act of trust honors and pleases Him, and it is the way we continue to partake of His divine nature.

When there is a crisis or deep difficulty in someone’s life, selfish human nature can look through the Bible or glance through a book of Bible promises and arbitrarily find a promise to believe. The consequence of this fleshly approach is often disappointment with the accusation that God does not keep His Word. The Lord does not respond to our self-centered desires that attempt to use Him and His Word for our selfish benefit. He will not be manipulated.

Those who are wholly submitted to the Lord Jesus and want only what will glorify His Name are in the position to hear when the Holy Spirit quickens God’s Word to them. They are not searching for a promise to claim selfishly because of trouble, but rather they are seeking God for His glory. They want to become like Jesus Christ and God’s promises are the way to partake of His divine nature. While alone with the Heavenly Father—meditating in His Word, and communing with Him in prayer—the thirsty one is alert to His very great promises and confidently expresses his or her trust that God in His steadfast faithfulness will do exactly what He promises. He or she understands that without deliberately believing God’s promise and actively trusting His Spirit to make it real, transformation into Christ-likeness will not take place. “Lord, I receive this promise and trust You to keep Your Word so I can become more like the beautiful Lord Jesus.”

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “No item in the list of our divine promises is unfulfilled. God remembers every promise that He ever made, and He honors each in the experience of those who believe in Him….” (Beside Still Waters, 155) With steadfast trust receive God’s promises.
JRW




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The Fragrance Of Jesus

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 7, 2013

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

2 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)

~~~

“My Father,

I want to live in the beauty of holiness.

I want the sweet scent of Jesus Christ

to be breathed into someone’s life…

a beckoning brightness

to shine from Your heart, through me,

into someone’s darkness…

as we pass by together today.”

David Hazard

Early Will I Seek You, 78

~~~

As you walk through your days you encounter people who outwardly look quite OK because they have learned to smile and not let anyone know what they really feel deep inside. Some are lonely, some are hurting from a recent loss or deep wounds, some wonder if anyone really cares about them because no one seems to have time to listen, some carry a depressing load of guilt and don’t know what to do with it, some feel that if you really knew them you would not love them, so they are afraid to reveal who they truly are, and even some in church don’t know if God really loves them because they have never seen God’s love among those who are supposed to be His people. The fragrance of Jesus is the sweet smell of compassion, gentleness, humility, a listening, caring heart, and love far beyond any other love found in humans naturally. This fragrance cannot be imitated, rather it comes from an intimate loving fellowship with the Lord Jesus so that His Spirit saturates your soul and others can touch Him in you.




Living Calmly

Posted by Jerry White on May 6, 2013

“How much greater than any of ours was Jesus’ responsibility—the responsibility of saving the world! If there was ever on this earth a being who could be tempted to bustle about, to hurry everywhere, to want to see everyone in order to fulfill His task, it was Jesus Christ. But what do we see? That wondrous calm that shines forth in the Gospels. Jesus had time to speak tranquilly with a woman whom he met at the well….He had time for children. He had time for those who came to Him. And His great mission, His mission for all the entire world, was fulfilled in that total giving of Himself to each person, in that calm and completely personal dialogue with each one.”

Paul Tournier

~~~

“I’m just so busy!”, is a comment often made by believers, as if this is a badge of honor. What does such a statement communicate to others? Does it declare one’s lack of laziness, or a position of importance, or too much to do, or a lack of self-control over the affairs of one’s life? Those who are overwhelmingly busy and speak of it with a strain of weariness do not communicate the sufficiency and presence of the Lord Jesus. Could this be a strategy of the devil in our culture to keep God’s people looking like the frantic, overactive, and busy world we live in rather than demonstrating the serenity and calmness of the Lord Jesus? No greater burden has any man carried so graciously, gently, and unhurriedly as did this beautiful Man from Nazareth. And if He lives within us and truly orders our days then what does it say about our Master if we live rushed, overly busy lives just like lost people? When we live in His calmness then His calmness will be the atmosphere surrounding us in our full days, and our fragrance will be peace and joy—like Him.

~~~

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

John 11:5-6




Sent Like Him

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 16, 2012

As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.

John 20:21 (ESV)

~~~

“To be like Him [Jesus] is our best contribution to the extension of the Kingdom of God upon earth, and our highest service to humanity. For he most surely blesses and helps his fellows who translates the promises of God into actual holiness of life, and manifests His reality before them in such a way as to make Him desirable. As it is only by the use of a prism of glass that the primary colors which compose the sunlight can be seen, so it is only by means of the lives of His people that the world can ever discern His beauty and saving power….

And how quick are men to recognize this Christlikeness where it exists! I once passed a group of work-girls in a crowded London street and was surprised at the sweet perfumes which exhaled from them. On enquiry I found that they were employed in a perfume factory, and had just come from their work of bottling the sweet essences. The odors in which they had all day been laboring clung to their garments, and all unconsciously to themselves, they came out to shed abroad a sweet fragrance in the dusty highway and to remind at least one passer-by of far distant fields and gardens of beauty and delight and to make him desire them exceedingly. And it seemed to me that in that simple incident I found an interpretation of this His word. For as He came forth from the Father’s presence fragrant with His love, we too must go forth into the world characterized always by such a sweet savor of Christ as shall induce men to seek closer acquaintance with Him Who is its Divine Source.”

J. Stuart Holden

The Price of Power, 56-58 (1908, reprinted 2012)

~~~

When our daughter’s second son was dying of cancer at the age of five, she always wore the same perfume for his comfort and security. Her fragrance reminded him of her nearness. If we are like Christ then His fragrance saturating us will remind others of His nearness and love. Do you want others who pass by you to brush against Him?




God Uses Even Failure

Posted by Jerry White on Sep 13, 2012

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 (ESV)

~~~

“The open secret of healthy spiritual growth is to know and settle down upon this fact as set forth in Romans 8:28 and 29. When we see that all things are working together to make us more and more like the Lord Jesus we will not be frustrated and upset when some of these ‘things’ are hard, difficult to understand, and often contain an element of death. We will be able to rest in our Lord Jesus and say to our Father, ‘Thy will be done.’ And our constant attitude of faith will be, ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust him’ (Job 13:15). This is our matriculation to spiritual maturity!

‘But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord’ (II Cor. 3:18). It is one thing to know what God’s purpose is for our lives, and it is another to know something of the ‘how’ as to entering into it all right here and now. One of God’s most effective means in the process is failure. So many believers are simply frantic over the fact of failure in their lives, and they will go to all lengths in trying to hide it, ignore it, or rationalize about it. And all the time they are resisting the main instrument in the Father’s hand for conforming us to the image of His Son!

Failure where self is concerned in our Christian life and service, is allowed and often engineered by God in order to turn us completely from ourselves unto His Source for our life—Christ Jesus, who never fails. Rejoice, dear friend, in your need and hunger of heart, for God says, ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled’ (Matt. 5:6). As we, in our abject need, consistently and lovingly look upon our Lord Jesus revealed to us in the Word, the Holy Spirit will quietly and effortlessly change the center and source of our lives from self to Christ—hence for each of us it will be, ‘Not I, but Christ.’

Miles J. Stanford

Principles of Spiritual Growth, 25-26 (1968)




Like Him

Posted by Jerry White on Jul 1, 2012

“In the end, the Scriptures tell us, we who belong to Christ will be like him:

‘Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.’ (1 John 3:2)

We who have lived our lives here in frustration and weakness will one day become like the Lord Jesus himself. This is a miracle of God’s loving grace: He made us in his image in the beginning, and we through sin disfigured that image until it was all but unrecognizable. But God, who is rich in mercy, will through Christ undo our undoing and recreate us in the image of his Son.

Think about it. We’ll be with him. We’ll be like him. Is there anyone cooler to be with? Is there anyone you’d rather be like? Is there anything better you could dream of?

But did you notice how it is that we’ll become like Christ? Read the end of 1 John 3:2 again;

…we shall be like, for we shall see him as he is.

In that day God will remove the blinders of weakness and sin from our eyes so that we can see Christ in all his loveliness and majesty. Because we’ll see him clearly, we’ll love him completely, for there’s nothing unlovely in him. To the limit of our recreated capacity, we’ll see the fullness of his nobility, excellence, holiness, righteousness, kindness, mercy, goodness—every beauty that could make us cherish him. And that fundamental principle in us, that we imitate what we admire and become what we worship, will be fulfilled. Adoring him with all our hearts, with nothing to hinder us, we will be like him.”

Kris Lundgaard

Through the Looking Glass, 4-5

~~~

Our capacity grows on earth now as we gaze upon the Lord Jesus in private worship and communion day by day. Little gazing means small capacity. Much gazing means larger capacity. In that day we will realize how important it would have been not to neglect private communion with the Lord by being so distracted by temporary worldly matters.




The Gaze That Transforms

Posted by Jerry White on Feb 9, 2012

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV

~~~

How does the Holy Spirit effect such radical change in us? There is a parallel on the physical level in the ingestion and digestion of food. We eat our meal and forget all about it. Our bodily functions and gastric juices take over, and without any conscious volition or activity on our part, the food is gradually changed into another form and is incorporated into the texture of our physical bodies. It is changed into flesh, bone, blood, hair, and energy. And all without any conscious action on our part.

Similarly, as we spend time devoutly ‘beholding…the glory of the Lord’ in the face of Jesus Christ—His virtues, graces, achievements—the Holy Spirit not only reveals Him to us, but He reproduces Him in us. Without conscious volition on our part, He incorporates into the fabric of our spiritual lives the virtues and values we see in Christ, and transforms us increasingly into His likeness. ‘Beholding…the glory of the Lord [we] are being transformed into the same image’ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Our transformation is progressive, for it is ‘from glory to glory’….

The inward change is not the result merely of some moment of high and holy exaltation. It is as we continue gazing at Him that we are continually being transformed. There is no grace we see in glorious character of our Lord that may not be ours in increasing measure as we rely on the Holy Spirit to reproduce in us….

Our part is to behold. The Spirit’s prerogative is to transform.”

J. Oswald Sanders

Enjoying Intimacy With God, 117-118

~~~

Beloved child of God, the enemy will tempt you to think, “what a waste of time. I have so much to do.” The Lord revealed the way to transformation by His Spirit. The issue is, will you believe Him, do what He says by taking time to gaze on the Lord, and let Him transform you from one degree of likeness to Jesus to a greater degree of likeness?




Our Perfect Example

Posted by Jerry White on Jan 1, 2012

When the eternal Son of God left the infinite bliss of heaven, He made Himself nothing. One translation says He “emptied Himself” (Phil. 2:7, NASB). Even though He retained His divinity when He became a fetus in Mary’s womb, and later was born to be Jesus of Nazareth, He deliberately chose to live fully as a human being just like us. He would learn like us, grow up like us, work like us, and hurt like us. In every respect He was fully human, and therefore He would be able to understand all we go through in life.

For His first thirty years on earth no one knew His true identity except His earthly parents. Indications are that His earthly father, Joseph, died while Jesus was a boy. Therefore, Jesus, the eldest of at least seven children and perhaps more, would assume the role of caring for His widowed mother, and help her care for His younger siblings.

Following in His earthly father’s footsteps he became the carpenter of Nazareth in order to support His mother and siblings. Day after day He worked His carpenter trade, served His family, studied God’s Word and prayed. The human needs of the world were as great then as they were when He began His public ministry, but living an ordinary life in Nazareth for thirty years was His Heavenly Father’s will in spite of humanity’s lost condition and suffering. Somehow the residents of Nazareth who watched Jesus grow up did not suspect who He really was. His own siblings did not even believe in Him after His public ministry began (John 7:5).

When Jesus obeyed God’s call through John the Baptist to be baptized, He went to where John was preaching and baptizing. Even though He was without sin, He identified Himself with sinful humanity as a picture of what He would do on the cross. John resisted baptizing Jesus at first until Jesus said it was necessary to fulfill all righteousness (Matt. 3:15). As soon as John baptized Jesus, God spoke, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. His Father was pleased with Jesus’ quiet ordinary life of working a “blue collar” job, caring for His widowed mother and siblings, meditating on God’s Word, spending time alone with His Heavenly Father in prayer, and obeying His Father’s Word in simple duties of daily life. You also can delight your Heavenly Father in your ordinary life of every day duties. The same Holy Spirit who enabled Jesus will enable you. This is why the Spirit of Christ dwells in you. Simply trust Him, and obey!

JRW




Contemplating God’s Beauty

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 6, 2011

Communion with the Lord is best experienced when one stands on the solid foundation of accurate Biblical doctrine. However, neither correct theology nor great Bible knowledge is the end. The goal is intimate living fellowship with the Lord Himself. Good theology and accurate Bible knowledge assist with this.

Meditation on the Word of God for spiritual digestion and application is best enjoyed and becomes most beneficial when it leads to contemplation of God Himself. Gazing on the Holy One is what transforms us to become radiant with His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). Seeing the splendor of God’s character is what caused Moses to bow quickly and worship (Exodus 34:8). It is the same for us. We must gaze upon His incomparable beauty if we would go beyond thankfulness for what He has done into the realm of awe and adoration for who He is. Thankfulness must ever be in our hearts and expressed with our lips for the incomprehensible Love-Gift the Father so freely gave for our salvation. But exhilaration should fill our souls as we behold Him in His glorious beauty displayed in His character.

Understanding good theology and possessing thorough Bible knowledge is not equal to living in its reality. The former should lead to the latter but often it does not and the result is pride and deception. We are not what we know and understand. Rather we are what we know in our heart by the Spirit’s revelation and by what we experience of that revelation in the crucible of daily living.

Meditation on God’s Word is the foundation for contemplation on God’s glory, and contemplation is the means to transformation into His likeness. The more we meditate on God’s truth plus contemplate His beauty the more we shall become like Him.

JW

~~~

You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

(Psalm 27:8 (ESV)