Deepening Intimacy

Posted by Jerry White on Jul 25, 2016

“It would seem that admission to the inner circle of deepening intimacy with God is the outcome of deep desire. Only those who count such intimacy a prize worth sacrificing anything else for are likely to attain it. If other intimacies are more desirable to us, we will not gain entry to that circle.
The place on Jesus’ breast is still vacant, and open to any who are willing to pay the price of deepening intimacy. We are now, and we will be to the future, only as intimate with God as we really choose to be.”
J. Oswald Sanders
Enjoying Intimacy With God, 17
~~~
You will seek and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.
Jeremiah 29:13-14 (ESV)
~~~
Saints in the Bible speak of gazing on the Lord, thirsting for God, wanting to know Him, desiring to see His glory, meditating on Him, asking for His presence, waiting for Him in silence, and other terms that express this longing. Saints through the ages have testified through their writings of having this same desire. Augustine wrote, “God thirsts to be thirsted after.” Jonathan Edwards spoke often of what he called “vehement longings of soul.” It is easy for us to agree that desiring God’s presence is good. It is simple for us to agree on the importance of seeking Him diligently. More is needed, however. Ruthless honesty with ourselves is required if we are going to make any progress in our pursuit of God. Am I really like the deer panting for water (Psalm 42:1)? Do I truly anticipate the hour when I can draw aside to be alone with the Lord Jesus (Psalm 42:2)? Am I really content with my present level of intimacy with Him? Or am I willing to make disciplined choices necessary in my daily schedule so that my spiritual thirst can be generously quenched by heaven’s pure water? The Lord alone can work in one’s heart so it is stirred with fresh thirst for Him. He will compassionately answer His child who humbly asks with a believing heart.

Lord, as I diligently seek You, please give me a growing thirst for You.
JRW




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Beginning Your Day

Posted by Jerry White on May 23, 2016

Many men of God I have known, and others of previous generations who wrote about living in God’s fullness, speak with one voice about the importance of beginning one’s day with the Lord. This was the practice of men and women who impacted my life by their daily walk in the fullness of God’s Spirit. Early on in my search I concluded that this was the secret of staying fresh and growing in the Lord. Therefore I set out to make this my priority and practice. Looking back over fifty years I see that the Spirit using God’s Word, plus the testimonies of what older and wise pilgrims had discovered and practiced, was truly guiding me.
G. H. Morling in his classic book, The Quest for Serenity wrote:
“I suggest that there be a morning act of faith. The will is central in the life of the spirit. To secure a healthy activity of the will in the first hour is to be well on the way to the sort of day one hopes to enjoy. Get the will functioning early. I suggest a morning act of faith such as this:
I believe that with Christ living within me through the Holy Spirit, recognized, trusted and obeyed, my life today can be happy, restful and strong. Deliberately I surrender my life to Him to do the mighty work within of cleansing and empowering.
I believe also that God will manage my affairs today if I hand over the control to Him. I do that now and refuse to take anything back into my own care.
In this faith I go out into the day with quietness and confidence as my strength.
You may prefer a shorter statement which could be committed easily to memory and repeated throughout the day. I am concerned to make clear that the Christian life is a matter of multiplied new beginnings. Every morning may be and should be, the occasion of a new departure.”
(84, 1964 edition)
JRW
~~~

O GOD, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is faint for You, in a dry and weary land where no water is.
Psalm 63:1 (Amplified Bible)




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Living Fellowship with God

Posted by Jerry White on Mar 21, 2016

…indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:3 (ESV)
~~~
“Christian! there is a terrible danger to which you stand exposed in your inner chamber. You are in danger of substituting Prayer and Bible Study for living fellowship with God, the living interchange of giving Him your love, your heart, and your life, and receiving from him His love, His life and His spirit. Your needs and their expression, your desire to pray humbly and earnestly and believingly, may so occupy you that the light of His countenance and the joy of His love cannot enter you. Your Bible Study may so interest you and so waken pleasing religious sentiment that—yes—the very Word of God may become a substitute for God Himself, THE GREATEST HINDRANCE TO FELLOWSHIP BECAUSE IT KEEPS THE SOUL OCCUPIED INSTEAD OF LEADING IT TO GOD HIMSELF. And we go out into the day’s work without the power of an abiding fellowship because in our morning devotions the blessing was not secured.
What a difference it would make in the life of many if everything in the closet were subordinate to this one thing: I want through the day to walk with God; my morning hour is the time when my Father enters into a definite engagement with me and I with Him that it shall be so.”
Andrew Murray
Triumph in the Inner Life, 6-7 (1959)
~~~
Some professing Christians day after day do not enter their room to meet alone with their Heavenly Father (Matthew 6:6). They are busy, distracted and do not thirst for Him. Others read their Bibles and pray regularly, but they do not get beyond this spiritual exercise to enjoy true fellowship with the Lord. They do what they think they should but actually miss the real reason for having a quiet time (devotions). Then there are some who thirst for living communion with God and cannot be satisfied without it. These meditate on His Word, pray and worship as a means for pressing through until they experience face to face intimacy with God Himself (Psalm 27:6, 8). These have learned that in his presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).




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Notes for Remembrance

Posted by Jerry White on Jan 31, 2016

When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 2 Timothy 4:11 (ESV)
~~~
Among my many devotional books one of my most treasured, besides my Bible, is my devotional journal. My journal is a collection of my written prayers, quotes, old hymns, special Scripture verses, special words from the Lord and God exalting poems. These are specially chosen from many notes I made through the years—the richest cream that rose to the top. This is not a daily journal..These are my notes for remembrance. From the above Scripture the Apostle Paul must have had something similar with his books and parchments. When I pick up my journal of remembrance to read a few notes it stirs my soul in a fresh and renewing way. The following entry is from this journal examining my devotion to the Lord Jesus.
“Is every part of my being a suitable habitation for my holy Lord?
Can He dwell in my thought life?
Can He dwell in my imaginations?
Can He dwell in my emotions?
Can He dwell in my desires?
Is He able to fill every part of my inner being because He finds nothing there that offends Him—nothing that displeases Him?
Am I able to ascend to His holy place with clean hands and a pure heart? (Psalms 24:3-5)
If not, then how can I offer Him acceptable worship?

Tozer wrote,’No worship is wholly pleasing to God until there is nothing in me displeasing to Him.'”
JRW




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Richest Fellowship

Posted by Jerry White on Jul 27, 2015

“The children of God, favored by divine grace, are permitted interviews with Jesus Christ. Like Enoch, we walk with God (Gen. 5:22), we walk as children, and we put our hand into our Father’s hand. We look up with loving eyes and walk in love, confidence, and familiarity. We talk to Him. We tell Him our anguish, and we hear His gracious words of love.

We are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones (Eph. 5:30). We shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch us from His hand (John 10:28). Fellowship with Jesus is richer than any gem that ever glittered in an imperial crown.

In addition to receiving complete justification, full assurance, and fellowship with Christ, God’s elect are favored with the Holy Spirit’s sanctification. No matter how humble our situation, God the Holy Spirit dwells in us and we in Him. The Spirit sanctifies the believer’s daily actions, so that everything we do is for God. If we live it is to Christ, if we die it is gain (Phil. 1:21). Beloved, when you feel the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, it is to sit with princes.

My God, if I could always feel Your Spirit overcoming my corruption and constraining my soul to holiness, I would not even think of being a prince in comparison with my joy.

My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, I am sure you can testify that when you fall in sin it brings you low and that you again smell the vile ash heap and are ready to die in its dust. But when the Holy Spirit enables you to overcome sin and to live as Christ lived, you feel that you have a royal standing (Ps. 113:7-8), and you feel more than an imperial privilege in being sanctified in Christ Jesus.”

C. H. Spurgeon
Beside Still Waters, 276
~~~

“It is an incontrovertible fact that some Christians seem to experience a much closer intimacy with God than others. they appear to enjoy a reverent familiarity with Him that is foreign to us.”
J. Oswald Sanders
~~~

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. Psalm 73:28 (ESV)




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Simplicity and Silence

Posted by Jerry White on Jun 1, 2015

“Intimacy with the Almighty calls for disciplines that are no longer valued or emulated by the majority today. To begin with, there must be simplicity, which allows us the room to reorder our private world. Then, there must be silence, a rarity in our times. Silence…makes our moments of stillness meaningful.

Several months ago as my wife, Cynthia, and I were searching to know more of the Father’s will for our future, I became nervous. In that unsettled state of mind, I entertained fearful, anxious thoughts. My imagination ran wild, causing a rush of panic to occupy my mind. It wasn’t long before I felt exhausted and confused, virtually immobilized.

She and I were committed to travel abroad and to be involved in a week of meetings. I was tempted to cancel, due to the harassed condition of my soul. Thankfully, I didn’t…for it was during a meal before one of those meetings that someone unexpectedly handed me a profound paragraph that brought quietness to my heart and settled my spirit….

‘Harassed by life, exhausted, we look about us for somewhere to be quiet, to be genuine, a place of refreshment. We yearn to restore our spirits in God, to simply let go in him and gain new strength to go on living. But we fail to look for him where he is waiting for us, where he is to be found: in his Son, who is his Word. Or else we seek for God because there are a thousand things we want to ask him, and imagine that we cannot go on living unless they are answered. We inundate him with problems, with demands for information, for clues, for an easier path, forgetting that in his Word he has given us the solution to every problem and all the details we are capable of grasping in this life. We fail to listen where God speaks: God’s Word rang out in the world once for all, sufficient for all ages, inexhaustible. Or else we think that God’s Word has been heard on earth for so long that by now it is almost used up, that it is about time for some new word, as if we had the right to demand one. We fail to see that it is we ourselves who are used up and alienated whereas the Word resounds with the same vitality and freshness as ever; it is just as near to us as it always was.’

As all of us can testify, God does not speak to the hurried, worried mind.”

Charles R. Swindoll
Intimacy with the Almighty, 50-53




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Questions for Quiet Time

Posted by Jerry White on Jan 18, 2015

Meeting with God alone is the single most important priority for continuing a rich, loving relationship with Jesus Christ. If quiet times slip into the realm of mere duty and discipline then it becomes no more than religious fleshly effort. The soul is not satisfied and becomes weary. Rest, restoration, and revival of heart blossoms from living fellowship with the glorious person of Jesus Christ who is made real to us by the Holy Spirit. Loving Him, seeking Him, worshiping Him, and enjoying Him is the secret of a steadfast walk of intimacy with Him. This is His purpose for creating us. We live in the midst of a vile and ugly world system, and to be in His presence is a respite of beauty, peace, love, and joy.

Some questions follow to encourage you in the “how” of meeting with God so that your quiet times are personal enjoyment of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who loves you with His whole heart and soul.

Do I believe I am in God’s invisible presence?

Do I recognize that in this moment my Father awaits my fellowship with Him?

Do I know that my loving, compassionate Father sees me and hears me?

Is my conscience clear before Him, and with others, of any and all offenses?

Do I truly believe His Word and trust His heart to do what He promises?

Is my mind and heart still and quiet from distractions?

Am I seeking to experience God intimately so I can enjoy and glorify Him more?

Am I prepared to take enough time to meditate slowly in God’s Word until it digests in my soul?

Do I want to know my Father’s heart so I can pray His will?

Does my time alone with my Father stir and deepen my loving desire for Him?

JRW




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Your Richest Blessing

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 28, 2014

The Son of God came to be with us. Immanuel! He wants to be with us. He came knowing the cost. He must empty Himself, become a finite human being to live among sinful human creatures, many of whom would reject Him, fulfill the Law of God perfectly, and bear His Father’s all powerful wrath for our sins on a Roman cross. He endured, despising the shame of the cross, just because of His love that so moves Him to want to be with us. A survey of the Bible reveals that Almighty God is always the Shepherd seeking His lost sheep, the longing Father looking down the road eagerly awaiting His estranged son to come home. It does not matter what pig pen the son has been in or how dirty he looks and smells. He just wants him home with Him. Oh, how Yahweh pleaded with His chosen people through the voices of multiple prophets to return from their cesspool of idolatry to their covenant God. They would not.

The Father’s desire for us to be close to Him raises a question to which we must respond. Do you and I want to be close to Him? His desire for us cost Him more than we can ever imagine. If we desire to be close to Him it will cost us as well. Repeatedly throughout His Word He urges and invites us to come near Him. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). Will we make the choices necessary in order to turn from our busyness, our electronic gadgetry, our social networks, our worldly allurements and entertainments, to seek Him and His kingdom first? Do we truly want Him first like a hunted deer panting for the water brook to satisfy his demanding thirst? Will we be satisfied with sermons, Bible lessons, praise songs, religious notes and quotes on social networks, or do we want Him—-just Him in the overwhelming blessing of His nearness? Am I content with tiny misty droplets of truth, or do I want to plunge into the river that flows from the throne of God, which is none other than His presence that ushers in His love, joy, and peace? His nearness is our richest blessing.

Blessed Lord, You have demonstrated Your desire for me to be near You, even to dwell under the shadow of Your wing. Please work in me that my first and all consuming desire will be to pursue You before all else in my life, and to find my richest satisfaction in fellowship with You. In this New Year I want to thirst for You like one who must have water lest he perish. Please enable this to be so in me. Amen!
JRW




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Beyond the Threshold

Posted by Jerry White on Oct 27, 2014

Admonishing people to read their Bible and to pray rarely accomplishes the desired result. It sounds like a duty one should perform. “Should” does not cause “want to.” Something else is needed.

Motivation in both Testaments of the Bible is called thirst. “Come everyone who thirsts….” (Isaiah 55:1) “If anyone thirsts….” (John 7:37) Thirst in God’s Word speaks of need, longing, provision, and satisfaction.

Need—-knowing that without the Lord’s enabling I can do nothing of eternal value and that my self-life is no more than a clanging cymbal. Something is lacking that only God can provide. If Jesus came so I can have an overflowing life of love, peace, and joy, and that is not my experience, then I become aware of my need. If my time in the Word is dull and dry, and praying is a chore, then I become aware of my need.

Longing—-wanting to experience God in a way that I do not. If God intends that I know Him intimately and enjoy Him as a real, living Person, then that stirs me to seek Him. Instead of a ho-hum spiritual existence, I will long for what others have known and testified about—-a dynamic relationship with a living God who delights in me and in whom I delight more than anything else on earth.

Provision—-God’s profuse, more than abundant supply promised to thirsty souls. The Lord Jesus promised a well of water within springing up (John 4:14). He promised rivers of living water flowing out from one’s inner being (John 7:38). He promised His abiding presence every moment in all circumstances (Matthew 28:20). He promised His provision for all spiritual needs. (Philippians 4:19).

Satisfaction—-enjoyment and fulfillment like nothing this world can give. Worldly pleasure, entertainment, recreation, possessions, or any earthly relationship can never satisfy one’s deep inner being like moments in the Lord’s presence spent in face to face communion with Him.

When one moves beyond the threshold of merely doing Bible reading and prayer into the realm of actually experiencing a living, breathing fellowship with the Lord Himself as a present and responsive Person, then they discover the real purpose of meditation on God’s Word and praying. So far above perfunctory devotions is this spiritual intimacy with the Lord Himself that it is not even worthy of comparison.

When God said, “Seek my face” (Psalm 27:8), He meant, “Seek my presence.” Wanting to see the face of one you love is longing to be in their presence, to be near them, to commune with them, to enjoy them. And so it is with the Lord. Even though He is invisible, His real and near presence can be known and experienced. The Lord intends for you to have an indisputable sense of His nearness.
JRW




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Honesty

Posted by Jerry White on Aug 3, 2014

Dear God,
I know You created me for Your pleasure, but I’m so busy I really don’t have time to be alone with You. I know You love me, and I love You, but the truth is, I’d rather do other things I enjoy because spending time with someone I cannot see is not easy. It’s easier for me to read the newspaper or Facebook than to meditate in Your Word. And talking with someone I cannot see feels strange. It’s like I’m talking out loud to myself. Besides that, I’m not sure I’m even heard.

I know You gave Your only Son to die that horrible, excruciating death for me, but for me to get up early enough to be with You is so hard. I really need my rest; I’m sure You understand. I read where Jesus spent a lot of time with You, and prayed a lot, but He was a perfect man who doesn’t understand my struggles in this modern day. There’s alway so much to do that the day just gets away from me, and I’m always too tired in the evening to concentrate. You understand, don’t You?

Of course, if something bad happens, you know I will call on You, because You are always there for me, and I’m grateful. I don’t know what I’d do without You. How does anyone make it without God?

I’m glad I know that when I die I’m going to heaven. Heaven must be a beautiful place, but right now I must live my life. Maybe when I get older I’ll have more time to be alone with You for Bible reading and prayer. I hope so.

Please forgive me my sins and help me with my problems.
Amen.
~~~
To treat the Heavenly Father as displayed in the pretend prayer above is inexcusable. God is a Person who delights in us. He is worthy of our first and best devotion, not leftovers of our time and resources. He can be the supreme desire and pleasure of your soul so that with child-like anticipation, like seeing daddy come home from a war, you can meet with Him in a quiet place. Trying to use God is ungodly; Enjoying, adoring, and worshiping Him daily is true love for Him.
JRW




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