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 May 30, 2016
“What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it — the fact that He knows me. I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters. This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort — the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates —in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love, and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about my self, and quench His determination to bless me. There is, certainly, great cause for humility in the thought that He sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow-men do not see (and am I glad!), and that He sees more corruption in me than that which I see in myself (which, in all conscience, is enough). There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, He wants me as His friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given His Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose.”
J. I. Packer Knowing God, 37 (1973 edition)
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
Psalm 139:1 (ESV)
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Jeremiah 31:3 (ESV)
Posted by Jerry White on Feb 15, 2016
But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.
Matthew 10:30 (ESV)
“The Lord’s love to His people is not a love of disembodied spirits, but of men and women dressed in flesh and blood. The love of Jesus Christ toward his chosen is not an affection for just their souls. He keeps all our parts. He guards all our bones (Ps. 34:20). The very hairs of our head are all numbered (Matt. 10:30). He took into union with His deity not only a human soul, but also a human body. Moreover, our Redeemer has perfectly ransomed both soul and body. It was not a partial redemption that our Kinsman effected for us. “I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth, and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27).
C. H. Spurgeon
Beside Still Waters, 286 (Roy H. Clarke, Editor)
Song of Solomon has been understood (literal interpretation) as a collection of love poems celebrating the intimate love of a married couple. A second interpretation (allegorical) is that it describes the love relationship between Christ and His church. Perhaps it is both. Whichever interpretation one accepts, it should be noted that the body is loved and enjoyed by the bridegroom. God loves all of you with all that He is. Your body is precious to Him, as is your soul, so much so that Jesus suffered horribly in soul and body to redeem your soul and body for eternal life in heaven. Comforting it is to know that God does not love my soul but merely endures my body. My whole being, spirit, soul and body, He tenderly loves and treasures.
Posted by Jerry White on Aug 25, 2014
“Seek to grasp the glorious fact that you may have Christ as Divine love filling your soul. Just as the alabaster box was in the house, and its presence may not have been known, so Christ has been a long time with many of His disciples, and they have not known Him; that is, they have been comparatively ignorant of His glorious fulness. But no sooner was the box broken, and the ointment shed abroad, than the odor filled the house. So when the love of God is poured forth by the Holy Ghost—-when the infinite treasures of Divine love stored up in Christ are disclosed, revealed in us, shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost—-their subduing, liberating, and transforming influences begin at once to be seen and felt. Their cleaning and purifying effect on our thoughts and desires are realized. We begin to learn then what our blessed Lord meant when He said, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’ (Matt. 5:8).
But do you ask, How am I to get this love? ‘Love,’ one has said, ‘cannot be produced by a direct action of the soul upon itself. A man in a boat cannot move it by pressing it from within.’ It is not by straining and struggling that this blessed condition is brought about: it comes by a very real dedication of ourselves to God for this very purpose, and with this as the special end and aim in view. Just lie quietly before Him. Open all the avenues of your being, and let Him come in and take possession of every chamber. Especially give Him your heart—-the very seat of your desires, the throne of your affections. Yield all up to Him, and the Lord will enter, bringing with Him all the riches of His grace and glory, turning your life of duty into a life of liberty and love.”
Evan H. Hopkins (1837-1918)
The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life, 60-61
Motivation for the Christian life must be the love of God saturating one’s heart. Paul wrote, “the love of Christ controls us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). Jesus prayed in the priestly prayer of John 17 that the love the Father has for the Son might be in us (v. 26). What would your life look like if this was real to your heart—-the very love of God for the Son overflowing your soul in devotion to Him and others? Opening one’s heart completely to Him, and trusting Him for the Father’s answer to His Son’s request, will bring you true liberty in your daily walk in Christ.
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 14, 2014
I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.
John 17:26 (ESV)
“This they obtained at Pentecost, and this we must have if we would know perfect love. And the question comes to us, What does it mean to have the love of the Father in us; the love wherewith the Father loved His Son? What does God aim to accomplish in us? ‘That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them’! First of all I must understand that the love of God is going to be within me. How is the love of God, possessing and ruling and filling my inmost being, to be in me? Just as thinking and feeling and willing is in me, and it is most easy and natural for me to think and feel and will; even so, when the love of God really fills my heart, love will flow out spontaneously and continuously. Instead of it being a duty, as it is in the earlier disciple stage, with its effort and failure, it becomes a delight, and there is a love that cannot help loving, because God’s love has been shed abroad and has taken complete possession. Up to this time there has been an inward life of self continually getting the mastery. The love of self and of sin has been very deep in me. What Christ’s prayer asks and promises is, that we are now to have an inward life of love; in the place of sin and self the love of God to Christ is now to fill the heart. Instead of having to try to love always, and so often failing, love comes in as an indwelling Divine power, constituting the very life of the soul, and loves spontaneously, continuously, and most joyfully. Love has filled the heart. Think of this. My heart, MY heart, MY heart becomes the habitation of the holy love of God to Jesus in its Divine joy and blessedness, it’s infinite power, it’s everlasting glory! ‘That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them’! That love is to be in us, our second nature, our new self, our very selves.
And then, note further, this love is to come through the Holy Spirit.”
Love Made Perfect, 59-61 (1894)
Posted by Jerry White on May 18, 2014
It is valuable to read and pray over hymns and poems written by fellow Christian pilgrims through previous generations. Their human experiences and needs were the same as ours. They left a rich legacy to encourage us. Frederick William Faber (1814-1863) wrote the following:
Jesus! why dost Thou love me so?
What hast Thou seen in me
To make my happiness so great,
So dear a joy to Thee?
Wert Thou not God, I then might think
Thou hadst no eye to read
The badness of that selfish heart,
For which Thine own did bleed.
But Thou art God, and knowest all;
Dear Lord! Thou knowest me;
And yet Thy knowledge hinders not
Thy love’s sweet liberty.
Ah, how Thy grace hath wooed my soul
With persevering wiles!
Now give me tears to weep; for tears
Are deeper joy than smiles.
Each proof renewed of Thy great love
Humbles me more and more,
And brings to light forgotten sins,
And lays them at my door.
The more I love Thee, Lord! the more
I hate my own cold heart;
The more Thou woundest me with love,
The more I feel the smart.
What shall I do, then, dearest Lord!
Say, shall I fly from Thee,
And hide my poor unloving self
Where Thou canst never see?
Or shall I pray that Thy dear love
To me might not be given?
Ah, no! love must be pain on earth,
If it be bliss in heaven.
Posted by Jerry White on Nov 21, 2013
While the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.
Hebrews 4:1 (ESV)
“I have read somewhere of a little street boy who was taken up out of a cellar by [a social worker] and sent to a farmer’s house in Westchester. He had a great big room all to himself, and when he was shown into it at night and a little candle placed on the table, it was a perfect world of bewilderment to him and he thought he was in heaven.
Finally, he got tired and sleepy and looked at the snowy-white bed. Why, he had never been in a bed in his life! So he slowly crept up to it, and after a while he just laid his little cheek against the soft pillow. He could not believe it was for him, there was some mistake. He began to feel guilty after a while. The idea that he should lie down on a white, snowy bed like that—it was presumption or intrusion. But he just went far enough to let his head poke into heaven for a moment, and then he got down on the floor under the bed and said: ‘This is the place for me,’ and curled himself up and was soon fast asleep.
Early in the morning the landlady came in and saw him, and she cried, ‘Oh, dear me, what does the boy mean?’ And she picked him up and put him in the bed and tried to explain that the bed was for him, but she had the hardest time to make him understand and to induce him to get under the nice clean sheets.
How many of God’s dear children are there who are sleeping under the bed instead of resting in the bosom of His love?
We are so slow to believe all that He has for us and to take what we are entitled to. Oh, some day when whiter than the snow and higher than the angels, and when all the magnificence of the ages is at our feet, how ashamed we will be to think how hard it was for us to take a little crumb from our Father’s table. God is looking for princely hearts, who, like Abraham, are willing to believe that He is the God that He says He is. We cannot quite understand it, but it is so. Get it into your heart if you do not quite get it into your intellect and be strong in faith, giving glory to God. He has let that trouble come to you, beloved, just for an opportunity to get you out of it, that it may be a stepping stone to Himself.”
His Victorious Indwelling, 353-354
Nick Harrison, Editor
Posted by Jerry White on Sep 15, 2013
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
John 15:9 (ESV)
Oh, surpassing love of Jesus! With the burden of sin, the fire of justice, the wrath of God, the hate of man, the torture of devils in the sorrows of Gethsemane, the pains of Calvary, and the sea of His own blood all in vivid prospect before Him, He yet went forward, loving not His own life unto the death because He loved ours more.
Oh, let your heart bend low before this amazing love. Yield to its sweet and striking influence; let it draw you from your self, from other people, from all to Him. Are you wounded? Does your heart bleed? Is your soul cast down within you? Is your spirit desolate within you? Still Jesus is love, and He loves you. He has suffered and died for you; if it were necessary, He would suffer and die for you again. Whatever blessing He sees good to take from you, He will never take Himself away. Whatever stream of creature love He sees fit to dry, His own love will never fail. Oh, can the love that brought Jesus from heaven to earth to endure and suffer all this for us fail, or cease to yearn, sympathize, soothe, and support? Be still, then; lie still and low; drink the cup and let the surrender of your sin, your obedience and yourself to Him be as willing and as entire as His surrender of Himself was for you. Then you will, in a blessed degree, be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God’ (Eph. 3:18-19).”
Octavius Winslow (1808-1878)
Evening Thoughts, 490-491
Posted by Jerry White on Aug 8, 2013
“The whole spirit of Old Testament religion was determined by the thought of God’s holiness. The constant emphasis was that man, because of his weakness as a creature and His defilement as a sinful creature, must learn to humble himself and be reverent before God. Religion was ‘the fear of the Lord’ —a matter of knowing your own littleness, of confessing your faults and abasing yourself in God’s presence, of sheltering thankfully under His promises of mercy, and of taking care above all things to avoid presumptuous sins. Again and again it was stressed that man must keep his place, and his distance, in the presence of a holy God. This emphasis overshadowed everything else.
But in the New Testament we find that things have changed. God and religion are not less than they were; the Old Testament revelation of the holiness of God, and its demand for humility in man, is presupposed throughout. But something has been added. A new factor has come in. New Testament believers deal with God as their Father. ‘Father’ is the name by which they call Him. ‘Father’ has now become His covenant name — for the covenant which binds Him to His people now stands revealed as a family covenant. Christians are His children, His own sons and heirs. And the stress of the New Testament is not on the difficulty and danger of drawing near to the holy God, but on the boldness and confidence with which believers may approach Him: a boldness that springs directly from faith in Christ, and from the knowledge of His saving work. ‘We have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him’ (Ephesians 3:12). ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…’ (Hebrews 10:19ff.). To those who are Christ’s, the holy God is a loving Father; they belong to His family; they may approach Him without fear, and always be sure of His fatherly concern and care. This is the heart of the New Testament message.”
J. I. Packer
Knowing God, 183-184 (1973 edition)
“I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:18 (ESV)
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 15, 2013
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.
Mark 4:37-38 (ESV)
“Within the Lord there was a great calm, and that is why there was soon a great calm around Him. What is in God comes out of God. Since there was a calm in Christ for Himself, there was afterward a calm outside for others. What a wonderful inner calm it was! ….
He had perfect confidence in God that all was well. The waves might roar, the winds might rage, but He was not at all disquieted by their fury. He knew that the waters were in the hollow of His Father’s hand, and that every wind was but the breath of His Father’s mouth. Therefore, He was not troubled; indeed, He did not have even a thought of concern, for He was as much at ease as He would have been on a sunny day.
His mind and heart were free from every kind of care, for amid the gathering tempest He deliberately lay down and slept like a weary child. He went to the back of the ship, farthest from the spray. He took a pillow and put it under His head, and with definite purpose He fell asleep.
It was His own decision to go to sleep in the storm; He had no reason to stay awake, so pure and perfect was His confidence in the great Father. What an example this is to us! We do not have half the confidence in God that we ought to have—not even the best of us. The Lord deserves our limitless belief, our unquestioning confidence, our undisturbed reliance. Oh, if only we gave these to Him as the Savior did.”
Joy In Christ’s Presence, 138-139
Are you anxious about something? Is there a matter worrying you? Are you afraid of what seems quite threatening in your circumstances? The real question is this: Do you truly believe your Heavenly Father loves you and is in charge of all that surrounds you? You are loved as much as Jesus is loved, and He found rest in knowing His Father’s love.