Heart Vision

Posted by Jerry White on Mar 17, 2013

“All our reasoning abilities amount to nothing, even if we search out theological complexities. Why? Because reason does not create in you a heart that perceives God, so that you are caught up in His holiness and beauty. Only then do you forsake all other pursuits, so your heart is ‘separated’ from the world, and you live a simple, clean, and holy life.”

Thomas a` Kempis

Come Lord Jesus

Devotional Readings from The Imitation of Christ, 24-25

Edited for Today’s Reader by David Hazard

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That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—

1 John 1:1 (ESV)

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The disciples did not have formal training in theology and were considered by the rulers and elders and scribes to be “uneducated and common men”. But those leaders “recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13, ESV). Intimate heart knowledge of the Lord Jesus is far more than becoming conversant in systematic theology or possessing massive amounts of Bible knowledge. True knowledge that affects the atmosphere of your life and the way you live comes from spending time alone with the Lord Jesus so that He becomes intimately real to you. Your knowledge then is not hearsay, or something you have been taught, or something you have read about, but rather it comes from having been in His very presence. It comes from having heard Him for yourself and seeing Him with your eyes of heart and touching Him in His nearness. You have been with Him, and His wonderful sweet fragrance has permeated your soul.




Experiential Knowledge

Posted by Jerry White on Jan 15, 2012

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see you.

Job 42:5 (ESV)

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“Do let us realize, dear friends, that there is a great difference between knowing God by hearing and knowing Him by seeing. Job confessed that his knowledge of God in the past had come by hearing; which is to say, that it had been indirect and informational in character and had therefore not been intimate, personal, and experiential enough. It had been more a mental than a spiritual knowledge. Such knowledge is entirely inadequate, since it puffs up a person instead of bringing him low. Knowing God only by hearing makes one into a somebody, but knowing Him by seeing reduces one to a nobody; to dust and ashes. And this was truly Job’s experience. Through the Lord’s painful dealing, he has at last seen God. Through the Lord’s affliction he has come into a very close and personal encounter with Him.

It is good that in afflictions we meet God. It is He who solves our problems, yet not by explanation but by appearance. Our problems are solved when we see Him. For when we see God, we are not so much concerned with our problems as we are concerned with ourselves being the problem; so that we abhor our very selves and repent in dust and ashes. In giving up ourselves we receive more of God, just as John the Baptist expressed it when he confided, I must decrease but He must increase. As we become nothing, God becomes everything.”

Stephen Kaung

His Victorious Indwelling, 19

Nick Harrison, Editor

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Every circumstance of life is an opportunity to grow experientially in the knowledge of God. Mental knowledge alone does not make mature children of God. It can in reality lead to frustration, disappointment, and disillusionment. Life’s journey through thorny paths, treacherous steeps, days of ordinary existence and moments of bright sunshine has one purpose: to discover more of the wondrous experiential knowledge of God. Herein one discovers contentment, joy and peace no matter what circumstances may come.




Satisfying God’s Heart

Posted by Jerry White on Sep 29, 2011

“It is easy to become more concerned with good causes than with knowing Christ. As Oswald Chambers notes in My Utmost for His Highest, ‘Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ…. The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him…. We count as service what we do in the way of Christian work; Jesus Christ calls service what we are to Him, not what we do for Him…. The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him.’ Our primary purpose is not to do something for Christ but to know him; our activities and abilities are useless for the kingdom unless he energizes them, and this will not happen if they take precedence over intimacy with him. We become weary when we attempt more public ministry than we can cover in private growth.

Even worthy causes—rearing godly children, building a company for Christ, knowing the Scriptures, leading people to the Lord, discipleship ministry—will not sustain us if we are not cultivating a personal relationship with Jesus. Many believers fall into the trap of striving for goals that are inferior to their purpose of knowing and enjoying God. When this happens, we attempt to do God’s work in our own power and get on the treadmill of outward activities without an interior life.

It is crucial for us to form the habit of holy leisure, of quiet places and times alone with the Lord, so that we will restore our passion and intimacy with Christ.”

Kenneth Boa

Conformed to His Image, 273-274

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“Beloved, while we do not neglect external things [service] which are good enough in themselves, we ought also to see to it that we enjoy living, personal fellowship with Jesus. See to it that sitting at the Saviour’s feet is not neglected, even though it be under the specious pretext of doing Him service. The first thing for our soul’s health, the first thing for His glory, and the first thing for our own usefulness, is to keep ourselves in perpetual communion with the Lord Jesus, and to see that the vital spirituality of our religion is maintained over and above everything else in the world.

Charles Spurgeon

Morning and Evening, January 24 P.M.




Our Privilege On Earth

Posted by Jerry White on Sep 5, 2011

“In answer to your question, ‘Why didn’t God take me to heaven the moment I trusted Jesus? Does He have a special work for me to accomplish for Him?’—I would turn your heart to a more foundational truth. God in His mercy does not keep us alive because of some mission we have to perform, but rather because He desires to reveal Himself to us on earth in ways impossible in heaven.

The benefits earth yields outstrip heaven in many ways. Take, for example, knowing God as our Sustainer through trouble. This is our privileged experience now rather than later, after all tears have been dried by His own hand. It’s here on earth that God unveils to us His priesthood and enters into our sufferings, rather than in Glory where no one suffers. Only on earth does God show Himself to us as our Fortress and Defender, for who opposes us in heaven? On earth He shows Himself as our Rock and the One who lifts up our heads.

Here, when we faint, His everlasting arms catch and support us. Here He is our Savior and Advocate and gentle Shepherd. Through the changing experiences of this life we are introduced to His hands, His eyes, His feet, His wings, and His heart.

We are not left here on earth because we have a job to do, but because we have a God to know. And because knowing Him is the purpose of our existence here, we need not frustrate ourselves trying to identify our slot of service or qualifying gifts.

Oh, dear friend, follow hard after Him! Sanctify Christ as Lord and thankfully receive everything that enters your life as preparation for beholding Him in fresh ways.

You remain on earth to know God. If your heart is set on knowing Him, all else will fall into place. As He has promised, all things are working together for the good of conforming us to Jesus. Every experience in our lives is necessary preparation for the revelation of the Lord. God will reveal Himself when we are ready. He waits only for our ability to receive the truth. That is why you are not in heaven this very moment.”

Edward Miller

Letters to the Thirsty, 8-9

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And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have you sent. John 17:3 (ESV)




Longing For Christ

Posted by Jerry White 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.”

Kris Lundgaard

Through the Looking Glass, 153-155




The Best Knowledge

Posted by Jerry White on May 30, 2010

Knowledge about the contents of the Bible is not the same as knowing the Lord Jesus intimately. Knowledge about theology (doctrine) is not the same as close personal fellowship with the Lord Jesus. Knowledge about all the Biblical principles for Christian living is not the same as knowing the Lord Jesus with the fullness of one’s soul. Knowledge of how to serve in ministry is not the same as privately gazing with wonder and awe on the Lord in His beauty. Knowledge about the Lord’s supernatural working through the gifts of the Spirit is not the same as knowing in one’s inner being the reality of the Lord’s presence through faith.

To know Jesus Christ—to know Him ever more intimately—to see Him with eyes of heart ever more clearly—to enjoy His near presence with ever increasing spiritual reality—this is the goal, and all knowledge should point to this ultimate goal for life and eternity. Deep personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus brings heart satisfaction like nothing else, and this is what our Heavenly Father longs to give us. This kind of knowledge is what we must set our heart upon to seek. Here is where our soul finds rest. Then we are prepared to tell others with experiential authority, both lost and saved, the wonders of Jesus Christ.

~~~

And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

John 17:3 (ESV)

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:18 (ESV)

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“That nearness is what we are to make daily efforts after, and that nearness is one capable of indefinite increase. We know not how close to His heart we can lay our aching heads. We know not how near to His fullness we can bring our emptiness. We have never yet reached the point beyond which no closer union is possible.”

Alexander MacLaren




Only Christ Satisfies

Posted by Jerry White on May 3, 2010

“Spiritual progress, therefore, is tied up in knowing Christ as our All. It takes place when we take Christ as our portion to be all things for us. Greater Bible knowledge will not do this for you. Increased religious activity or spiritual service will not do this for you. Neither will spending more time praying. Only a revelation of the vastness of Christ can meet the bill.
As I survey the landscape of modern Christianity, it seems to me that spiritual things and objects have replaced the person of Christ. The doctrines, gifts, graces, virtues, and duties that we so earnestly seek have substituted for Jesus Himself. We look to this gift and that gift, we study this truth and that truth, we seek to appropriate this virtue, we try to fulfill this duty, but all along we fail to find Him.
When the Father gives us something, it’s always His Son. When the Son gives us something, it’s always Himself. This insight greatly simplifies the Christian life. Instead of seeking many spiritual things, we seek only Him. Our single occupation is the Lord Jesus Christ. He becomes our only pursuit. We do not seek divine things; we seek a divine person. We do not seek gifts; we seek the giver who embodies all the gifts. We do not seek truth; we see the incarnation of all truth.
God has given us all spiritual things in His Son.”
Frank Viola
From Eternity To Here, 302-303
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He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:30-31 (ESV)
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The enemy violently opposes your finding complete satisfaction in Christ alone. He cares not what he uses, whether the world’s pleasures, or the Lord’s blessings, or even ministry. He wants desperately to keep you occupied with anything but the Lord Jesus.




Jesus’ Perfect Character

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 7, 2009

“In speech as in silence His perfect balance of character was displayed. He never spoke when it would have been wiser to remain silent, never kept silence when He should have spoken. Mercy and judgment blended in all His actions and judgments, yet neither prevailed at the expense of the other. Exact truth and infinite love adorned each other in His winsome personality, for He always spoke the truth in love. His severe denunciations of apostate Jerusalem were tremulous with His sobs (Matthew 23:27). True to His own counsel, He manifested the prudence of the serpent and the simplicity of the dove. His tremendous inner strength never degenerated into mere obstinacy. He mastered the difficult art of displaying sympathy without surrendering principle.
The excellencies of both sexes coalesced in Him. But while possessing all the gentler graces of womanhood He could never be regarded as effeminate. Indeed, He was linked in popular thought with the rugged Elijah, and the austere John the Baptist (Matthew 16:14). There is contrast yet not contradiction in His delicacy and gentleness in handling people who merited such treatment, and the blistering denunciations He poured on the hypocrites and parasites.”
J. Oswald Sanders
The Incomparable Christ, 2
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Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly delightful.
Song of Solomon 1:16
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“Most recently you have arrogantly challenged me saying, ‘Show me your God.’ I say, ‘Consider your soul –-your inner man—which cannot be seen and yet is real.’ Show me your soul, I say, and I will show you God. Though you may not yet be aware of it, the eyes of your soul have the ability to see—that is, to perceive the qualities of Him who is invisible. And the ears of your soul have the ability to perceive His voice as He calls in your heart. By these—the eyes and ears within, which are opened by faith—we behold God.”
Theophilus of Antioch (115-181 A. D.)
Reply to Autolychus
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The eyes of our heart can behold the Lord Jesus and our souls can know the reality of His nearness through meditation on His Word and the ministry of His Spirit.




Created To Know God

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 26, 2009

“What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God. What is the ‘eternal life’ that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God. ‘This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent’ (John 17:3). What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else? Knowledge of God. “
J. I. Packer
Knowing God, 29
~~~
Dear Friend in Christ,
In answer to your question, ‘Why didn’t God take me to heaven the moment I trusted Jesus? Does He have a special work for me to accomplish for Him?’—I would turn your heart to a more foundational truth. God in His mercy does not keep us alive because of some mission we have to perform, but rather because He desires to reveal Himself to us on earth in ways impossible in heaven.
The benefits earth yields outstrip heaven in many ways. Take, for example, knowing God as our Sustainer through trouble. This is our privileged experience now rather than later, after all tears have been dried by His own hand. It’s here on earth that God unveils to us His priesthood and enters into our sufferings, rather than in Glory where no one suffers. Only on earth does God show Himself to us as our Fortress and Defender, for who opposes us in heaven? On earth He shows Himself as our Rock and the One who lifts up our heads.
Here, when we faint, His everlasting arms catch and support us. Here He is our Savior and Advocate and gentle Shepherd. Through the changing experiences of this life we are introduced to His hands, His eyes, His feet, His wings, and His heart.
We are not left here on earth because we have a job to do, but because we have a God to know. And because knowing Him is the purpose of our existence here, we need not frustrate ourselves trying to identify our slot of service or qualifying gifts.
O, dear friend, follow hard after Him! Sanctify Christ as Lord and thankfully receive everything that enters your life as preparation for beholding Him in fresh ways.”
Edward Miller, Letters to the Thirsty, 8-9




Jesus As A Man

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 19, 2009

How do you view Jesus? Do you see Him as completely human? Oh, yes, He was fully divine, but He was fully human and He lived as any human must live. If we see Him as only Divine and lose sight of His genuine humanity then we lose sight of the significance of what He did for us. He became a human, suffered as a human, was tempted as a human, defeated the devil as a human, and died as a human. He was as human as you and I are, yet without a sin nature. Severest temptation does not require a sin nature. Before his transgression Adam did not have a sin nature.
As a human, Jesus had meaningful relationships. He loved His mother and she loved him. He had close friends like Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and the disciples. He experienced the full range of human emotions like sorrow and grief, anger and joy, disappointment and distress. This is why He can sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).
When you see Him for who He really is as a human as well as the Lord, you will love Him more than you ever knew was possible.
~~~

“’There stood by the cross of Jesus his mother’ (John 19:25).
Where else would one expect to find such a mother? It was her very own Son who was suffering. The outstretched arms and nail-torn hands once had clung around her neck. The head now tortured with a crown of thorns was once pillowed on her breast. The mouth on which she had once lavished her kisses of love was now parched and swollen. Though powerless to help, she could at least be beside Him in loyalty and love.
Sympathetically she entered into all His sufferings. The spear pierced her heart as it rent His flesh. With joy she had followed His career, had feared and preyed for Him, had rejoiced in His successes and wept over His disappointments. But now He was dying as a criminal, not as a hero! What an end to the life of such a Son! Lest she add to His sufferings, she did not give way to uncontrolled weeping, but repressed her grief as the sword pierced her soul. She did not faint or swoon, she ‘stood.’ He had enough suffering of His own without her adding to his overflowing cup of sorrow.
J. Oswald Sanders
The Incomparable Christ, 172-173