Because of Love

Posted by Jerry White on Jul 4, 2016

God’s kind of love is the strongest and most compelling motivation of all motivations. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son (John 3:16). Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends(John 15:13). If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15). The Greek word agape is used in all three references. This indicates it is the powerful motivator for sacrificial actions—to give all one can give, to lay down one’s life for another, to obey at all cost. An excellent definition for agape is “the sustained direction of one’s will toward the highest good of another regardless of the cost.”
The greatest commandment according to Jesus is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27).This is a commandment to be obeyed. Obedience is a choice of the will, not first and foremost a matter of feelings. One chooses to obey a command, with or without affectionate feelings. Anyone can choose with their will. Aligning one’s will to obey God’s command allows the Holy Spirit to unleash His power to make the choice real in one’s heart and soul. Without a deliberate choice, nothing will change. When the choice is made to love God with all of one’s being, the Holy Spirit is free to bear His fruit, and the fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22). Being motivated by God’s love filling the soul is why His yoke is easy, His burden is light and His commands are not burdensome. God’s kind of love is a delightful, satisfying and fulfilling motivation.
To regard lightly the Lord’s commands is because of not loving Jesus. To tolerate known sin in one’s life is because of not loving Jesus. Not to spend enjoyable time alone with the Lord is because of not loving Jesus. Not to pursue worshiping the Lord as first priority is because of not loving Jesus. To neglect giving of one’s money freely and joyfully is because of not loving Jesus.
The critical question is, do you love the Lord Jesus with all of your being? Have you made a deliberate and sustained choice with your will to seek the Lord’s highest good no matter what it may cost you? If Jesus asked you, as He did Simon Peter, Do you love (agape) Me? What would your answer be? Do you want the Lord Jesus to be blessed by your love for Him?

JRW




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For His Sake

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 23, 2013

Not one of us perceives the depth of sin that perverted the human race through Adam. Sin’s entrance converted Adam from God-centeredness to self-centeredness and from that moment every descendent born looks at every relationship, circumstance, and situation from a selfish point of view. Sin controls people’s thought processes so that unconsciously each one thinks about how every happening, whether good or bad, affects him or her. God speaks in Genesis 6:5-6, The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually [emphasis mine]. And The Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. Man’s heart had become only evil continually with sinful selfishness and self-centeredness ruling him in all things. We will not make much progress with the Lord until we realize this is actually true of us —you and me— and personally accept it as God’s assessment of our condition. David said, in sin my mother conceived me.  He was saying, “from birth I have a sinful nature that rules me.”

Because of this selfish and self-centered perspective we think that forgiveness of sin is for us, and His leadership in our lives is for us, and the church is for us. The core of our heart must be changed to realize that the church is His body, and His bride, and His temple, and His family. Our forgiveness is for His sake (1 John 2:12), and He leads us in paths of righteousness is for His Name’s sake (Psalm 23:3). Does He not say, For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36 ESV)?

Do you see? The incarnation, perfect life, crucifixion, resurrection and enthronement of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is for His sake that He might find eternal enjoyment. The Father will behold His glorified Son along with myriads upon myriads of His redeemed and perfected children gathered around Him. That will delight His father-heart because He gave all that He could give in order for us to be with Him, completely healed and holy.

We who are His by faith, expressed through repentance from sin and total surrender to His rule, are the beneficiaries of His unfathomable Gift of love. If we love our Heavenly Father, then we rejoice that although He was grieved to His heart because of our sin, He will be glad when He sees us glorified because of Jesus, the Son He sent to earth.

JRW




Posted in Love for God

Losing First Love For Christ

Posted by Jerry White on May 20, 2013

“The danger of falling out of love with Christ is no less present in our times, and it occasions our Lord as much grief now as then. Intimacy with God is a fragile thing that must be carefully guarded.

M. Basilea Schlink tells of her own experience of waning love.

‘I came to see that my relationship to my Lord Jesus Christ, with the passing years had eroded away, something like a marriage gone humdrum. What did I do when I found a little pocket of spare time, on a Sunday or a holiday? I couldn’t wait to get together with other people—people I liked, people with whom I had something in common—so that we could share ideas and experiences. Or I read a stimulating book. Or I went out to enjoy nature. I even plunged further into my work, doing things that I normally didn’t have time for. But to go to Jesus—to give Him first claim on my spare time, that I did not do.’”

J. Oswald Sanders

Enjoying Intimacy With God, p.43

~~~

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

Revelation 2:4 (ESV)

~~~

Supreme love for the Lord Jesus can be lost. And sadly so! The Lord Jesus takes it personally when this happens, and His Spirit grieves. This is not because He needs your love. Rather it is because He loves you with all of His infinite and eternal being, and He does not want to see you lose the fullness you have when you love Him supremely and passionately. When our first love wanes, the Lord Jesus waits, like the Father for his prodigal son, longing for our return. His love never ever wanes. We must carefully guard our hearts so that our love for Him does not wane—and quickly repent if it does. Like the Father of the prodigal, He lovingly embraces us when we return, and is glad.




Posted in Love for God

A Praying Father

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 23, 2013

“John Gibson Paton was born in a Christian home near Dumfries, Scotland, in 1824. From an early age he had a special awareness of a closet in the three-room cottage, where he lived with his parents and ten brothers and sisters. He described it thus:

‘The closet was…the Sanctuary of that cottage home. Thither daily and oftentimes a day…we saw our Father retire, and ‘shut the door’; and we children got to understand by a sort of spiritual instinct that prayers were being poured out there for us…. We knew whence came that happy light as of a new-born smile that always was dawning on my father’s face: it was the reflection from the Divine Presence, in the consciousness of which he lived…. My soul would wander back to those early scenes, and, hearing still the echoes of those cries to God, would hurl back all doubt with the victorious appeal, ‘He walked with God, why may not I?’

Paton [having become a Christian at 12 years] applied for a position as a tract distributor, which included one year of training at the Free Church Normal Seminary in Glasgow. When it was time to leave for Glasgow, his father walked with him for the first six miles of his journey. Paton recalled:

His counsels and tears and heavenly conversation on that parting journey are in my heart as if it had been but yesterday…. For the last half-mile or so we walked on together in almost unbroken silence. His lips kept moving in silent prayers for me…on reaching the appointed parting-place, he grasped my hand firmly for a minute in silence, and then solemnly and affectionately, said: ‘God bless you, my son! Your father’s God prosper you, and keep you from all evil.’

Unable to say more, his lips kept moving in silent prayers, in tears we embraced, and parted…. I was soon out of sight. But my heart was too full, so I darted into the side of the road and wept for a time. Then, rising up cautiously, I climbed the dyke to see if he yet stood where I had left him, and just at that moment I caught a glimpse of him climbing the dyke and looking out for me! He did not see me, and after he had gazed eagerly in my direction, he got down [and] set his gaze toward home…. I watched through blinding tears, till his form faded from my gaze; and then hastening on my way, vowed deeply and oft, by the help of God, to live and act so as never to grieve or dishonour such a father and mother as he had given me.”

The One Year Christian History, 214-215

E. Michael and Sharon Ruston

~~~

Children learn from seeing their parents love and be devoted to God through Jesus Christ.




Posted in Love for God, Prayer

A Relationship Of Love

Posted by Jerry White on Jan 17, 2013

“The heart and soul of a relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ the Lord is love. This is not ordinary human love; rather it is a love beyond human emotion and affection. It is a quality of love that is self-sacrificing for the highest good of another without any expectations of a return benefit. It is love where God alone is its source. John 13:1 contains a tender reference to this kind of love Jesus had for His disciples. ‘Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end’ (margin, ‘to the uttermost; or eternally’). He then commanded them to love each other with the same kind of love with which He loved them (John 13:34). Then He said, ‘If you love Me, you will keep My commandments’ (John 14:15).

The obvious inference is that this quality of love Jesus has for His followers is the kind of love that will motivate them to obey Him. He further expounds this essential truth when He says, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him’ (John 14:23). He adds to this paramount theme in John 15:9, ‘Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” The next verse explains that the way to abide in His love is by obedience to His commandments. He continues to emphasize this same indispensable truth of a love relationship with Him in later verses (John 15:12-14, 17; 16:27).

From this brief overview of Jesus’ last instructions to His disciples, it is plain to see that God’s marvelous plan for His children is that they enjoy a wonderful, loving relationship with Him as their heavenly Father. Nowhere is it in the heart of God that the Christian life should be a burden to bear or a drudgery to endure or mere duties to be done. He purposes that we live a life saturated with His love (Ephesians 3:18-19, 5:1-2). He wants and has made every provision for you and me to enjoy our Christian life with Him with joy and peace (John 14:27, 15:11).”

JRW

The Spirit and Presence of Christ, 49-50




Christ’s Claim

Posted by Jerry White on Sep 20, 2012

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:26, (ESV)

~~~

“What is Christ’s claim upon us if we want to be His disciples? First of all, a supreme love. We cannot follow Christ unless we love Him better than anyone else. He puts Himself alongside the dearest relationships of earth, and says in unforgettable words, ‘You must hate all these, or you cannot be my disciple.’ …The word ‘hate’ is a relative word, it is not absolute….

He demands from you and me a love greater than the earliest love—the love to father and mother, greater than the dearest love—the love to wife and child, greater than the nearest love—the love of our own life.”

W. Y Fullerton (1915)

Quoted by J. Oswald Sanders

Enjoying Intimacy with God, 120

~~~

An authentic disciple of Jesus Christ is one who is captured by Christ’s love and responds with whole-hearted love for Him. One can mentally say that he or she loves the Lord Jesus because it is the right thing for a professing Christian to say, but true love for Christ is a matter of the heart. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27, ESV, emphasis mine). One who loves this way pursues Him diligently, trusts Him implicitly, obeys Him explicitly, and follows Him faithfully. True discipleship requires this measure of love.

O Jesus, Jesus, dearest Lord,

Forgive me if I say,

For very love Thy sacred name

A thousand times a day.

Burn, burn O love within my heart

Burn fiercely night and day

Till all the dross of earthly love

Is burned and burned away.

F. W. Faber




Posted in Love for God

If Love Be Wanting

Posted by Jerry White on Jul 26, 2012

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

Luke 24:32 (ESV)

~~~

“Of what value to Christ is outward service, if love be wanting? Of what value to the Bridegroom would the rigid observance of her duties be, if the bride were cold in her heart toward him? A church without heart, is a church without Christ.

Beloved, let us see well to this. Let nothing satisfy us short of the living realized presence of Christ within us. No ministry, however excellent, can supply the lack of this; neither will truth itself nourish the soul, unless the power of Him who is the Truth be present to minister it.

We need to exhort one another respecting this, for these are days when the itching ear is more common than the glowing heart, and the teacher is often more sought than the Lord. Thus Christ is, as it were, often supplanted in His own house.

It is not difficult to discern the power of the Lord’s presence in our meetings; the unlettered believer is as competent to ascertain this as the most instructed.

The two disciples on their way to Emmaus were very ignorant, but their hearts were occupied with the right object. Christ was the subject of their mutual intercourse as they journeyed on together. They loved Him, they had lost Him, and were sad. Soon He joined Himself to their company, because He knew that they were occupied with Him. His presence was felt, though they knew but little; and their hearts burned within them by the way. So shall we also find it to be the case, if our hearts are occupied with Christ and Him crucified; the presence of the Lord with us will be realized, and our souls will be filled rather with the blessedness of having been with Him, than with questions as to the ministry we may have heard.”

“Crumbs For The Lord’s Little Ones”

His Victorious Indwelling, 273-274

Nick Harrison, Editor

~~~

The Lord’s presence becomes graciously real when we desire Him with our whole heart.




Posted in Love for God

For His Sake

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 22, 2011

Not one of us perceives the depth of sin that perverted the human race through Adam. Sin’s entrance converted Adam from God-centeredness to self-centeredness and from that moment every descendent born looks at every relationship, circumstance, and situation from a selfish point of view. Sin controls people’s thought processes so that unconsciously each one thinks about how every happening, whether good or bad, affects him or her. God speaks in Genesis 6:5-6, The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually [emphasis mine]. And The Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. Man’s heart had become only evil continually with sinful selfishness and self-centeredness ruling him in all things. We will not make much progress with the Lord until we realize this is actually true of us —you and me— and personally accept it as God’s assessment of our condition. David said, in sin my mother conceived me. He was saying, “from birth I have a sinful nature that rules me.”

Because of this selfish and self-centered perspective we think that forgiveness of sin is for us, and His leadership in our lives is for us, and the church is for us. The core of our heart must be changed to realize that the church is His body, and His bride, and His temple, and His family. Our forgiveness is for His sake (1 John 2:12), and He leads us in paths of righteousness is for His Name’s sake (Psalm 23:3). Does He not say, For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36 ESV)?

Do you see? The incarnation, perfect life, crucifixion, resurrection and enthronement of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is for His sake that He might find eternal enjoyment. The Father will behold His glorified Son along with myriads upon myriads of His redeemed and perfected children gathered around Him. That will delight His father-heart because He gave all that He could give in order for us to be with Him, completely healed and holy.

We who are His by faith, expressed through repentance from sin and total surrender to His rule, are the beneficiaries of His unfathomable Gift of love. If we love our Heavenly Father, then we rejoice that although He was grieved to His heart because of our sin, He will be glad when He sees us glorified because of Jesus, the Son He sent to earth.

JRW




Posted in Love for God

A Jealous God

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 1, 2011

For I the LORD your God am a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 5:9 (ESV)

~~~

“Believer, your Lord is jealous of your love. Did He choose you? Then He cannot bear that you would choose another. Did He buy you with His own blood? Then He cannot endure that you would think you are your own or that you belong to this world. He loved you with such a love that He would sooner die than you should perish. He cannot endure anything standing between Him and your heart’s love.

He is jealous of your trust. He will not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh. He cannot bear that you should hew cisterns that can hold no water (Jer. 2:13).

When we lean on Him, He is glad. But when we transfer our dependence to another, when we rely on our own wisdom or that of a friend, or worst of all, when we trust in any works of our own, then He is displeased , and He will chasten us to bring us back to Him.

He is also jealous of our company. There should be no one with whom we converse so much as with Jesus. To abide in Him alone is true love. To fellowship with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, is grievous to our jealous Lord. He wants us to abide in Him and enjoy His constant fellowship. Many of the trials He sends are to wean our hearts from the creature and fix them more closely on Him.

Let this jealousy, which should keep us near Christ, also comfort us. If He loves so much as to care about our love, we may be sure that nothing will harm us, for He will protect us from all enemies.”

C. H. Spurgeon

Beside Still Waters, 177

Roy H. Clarke, Editor

~~~

Do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

James 4:5 (ESV)




God Is A Person

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 28, 2011

Do you see God as a person or do you think of Him as an impersonal force?

Do you deeply know that God is a person whom you can either delight or grieve?

Do you think of God as somewhere up there, out there, far away, or are you aware of His stunning nearness that is closer and more intimate with you than the breath in your lungs?

Do you enjoy His nearness because you love Him and passionately desire Him more than anything else on earth?

Such relationship with God sounds strange to our ears in the midst of this twenty-first century lukewarm church culture. When one reads the Bible passage about longing for God more than a thirsty hunted deer pants for the water brooks (Psalm 42), the words sound nice, but for many who sing the words of a lovely chorus, and agree with the beautiful imagery of those words, it is just not true. We so quickly agree with meaningful words of Scripture while the reality of those words is a stranger to our souls. We play the game of agreeing without experiencing, and sadly, we often do not even make the choices necessary so we can enter into the experience others have known and have testified about. God is no respecter of persons. Our lack is because of our own choices. As much as anyone else, you can enjoy the Lord’s indescribable nearness and wonderful realized presence—if you will draw near! (James 4:8) Someone has said that we are as close to God as we want to be, and he is right.

The Bible clearly reveals that our relationship with God is meant to be one of love— sacrificial love. Where this kind of love rules there is a compelling desire to want what is best for the beloved. The Lord wants what is best for you no matter what it costs Him. And this is how your love should be for Him, if He is your beloved Father.

If you truly love God with your whole heart then you want to know what is in His heart. Do you want to know God’s heart? Do you think primarily about what God can do for you, or do you want to know His heart and seek to bless Him according to His desire? Dear child of God, seek to know the heart of God. It is more blessed to give than to receive, even in your relationship with your Heavenly Father. Satisfy His heart!

JRW




Posted in Love for God