The Secret of Spiritual Freshness

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 12, 2016

“In my teens I knew a man, a miner by trade, whose spiritual freshness and radiance was responsible for turning many people to Jesus Christ. Just before he died, and in the company of several other Christians, I asked him: ‘What is the secret of your spiritual freshness? You always seem to be on top of things, always radiant…tell me how you maintain this inner poise and power.’ He replied in one word—meditation. I pressed him for some further thoughts on the subject. This is not a verbatim quotation, but as far as I can remember, this is what he said: ‘Meditation is letting your heart become the workshop of the unseen Sculptor who chisels in its secret chambers the living forms that contribute to character development and an increasing likeness to Jesus Christ.’ That old man, now in heaven, was one of the greatest illustrations I have ever known of the spiritual freshness and fruitfulness that comes from meditating on God’s Word. This experience can be ours—if we meditate.”

Selwyn Hughes

Every Day Light: Water for the Soul

~~~

He [the one who delights and meditates day and night in the law of the Lord, v. 2] is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. Psalm 1:3 (ESV)

~~~

There is no sweeter sound than to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus through His written Word when His Spirit speaks it to your heart and applies it to your life. Is meditation on God’s Word a priority in your daily schedule? Does Psalm 1 describe the kind of person you are—one who is planted by streams of water (plural for abundance) in a dry, arid desert, one who is always spiritually fresh and fruitful? Oh, how the enemy likes to attack the weakness of our flesh through busyness in our lives and thereby distract us from meditating on God’s Word day by day. The enemy hates for us to become the blessed, happy person who is radiant to those around us.




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Distracted

Posted by Jerry White on Sep 7, 2015

“Many of us have moved from quiet country lanes to busy city streets. Concrete jungles and crowded subways are a far cry from rolling meadows and roaming herds. Distractions have increased a hundredfold. Everyone wants to get his message across, bombarding us with information we never wanted. They keep on coming from all directions—-by telephone, by radio, by computer, by billboard. Words! Words! Words! At night they’re in lights—-moving, blinking! It all leaves us little opportunity to think about God.
Toffler’s Future Shock vividly portrayed our insatiable appetite for time-saving devices. With disposable dishes, instant cameras, microwave ovens and ATMs, we have succeeded in producing a computerized generation that wants everything without waiting. And even when the Internet provides it, we don’t even like having to wait to boot up the computer.
This malaise has infected the Church. Instant holiness is now part of the expectation of Sunday ‘worshipers’ who roll out of bed at 10:40 and slide into the pew at one minute past 11. Conditioned by TV, we expect we can ‘change channels’ and instantly be in tune with our Maker. But it takes time to be holy!…
We used to go to church to see God. But activity has largely replaced meditation; noise has supplanted quietness; entertainment has superseded ministry; and programs have almost taken over from the preaching of the Bible.
Seldom do we encourage quietness to think at the start or the close of a service. We rush into public prayer with pocketed hands, little reverence and no time for examination. The invocation, which used to lift the worshiper into the presence of God, is now rarely more than a quick sentence….
Our lives are likely to become increasingly rushed and crowded. As we speed up our frantic search for shortcuts, filling gaps with action-packed projects, we shall be less and less able to discover the majesty of God.”
Keith Price
Thirsting after God, 166-168




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Using Hymns and Poems

Posted by Jerry White on Feb 15, 2015

Reflecting upon and praying over God’s truth is most beneficial. Quickly reading a Bible passage with only a mental understanding does not allow the truth to soak deep into your soul. The Holy Spirit needs time while you meditate to inscribe it in your heart. Why would the Scriptures speak repeatedly about meditation? God’s Word emphasizes meditating day and night (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; 63:6). Jesus spoke about His Word abiding in you (John 15:7). James spoke about receiving the Word implanted in you (James 1:21). Implanting takes time.

Biblically based hymns and poems are useful means to help us think about what is true and to pray for it to become real in one’s life experientially. I often use hymns and poems to quietly reflect on truth.
Samuel Medley (1739-1799) wrote the following:

O, could I speak the matchless worth,
O, could I sound the glories forth
Which in my Savior shine,
I ‘d soar and touch the heavenly strings
And vie with Gabriel while he sings
In notes almost divine.

I’d sing the precious blood he spilt,
My ransom from the dreadful guilt
of sin and wrath divine!
I’d sing his glorious righteousness,
In which all perfect heavenly dress
My soul shall ever shine.

Soon the delightful day will come
When my dear Lord will bring me home,
And I shall see his face;
Then with my Saviour, Brother, Friend,
A blest eternity I’ll spend,
Triumphant in his grace.

JRW




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Spiritual Fruitfulness

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 2, 2014

“A successful outcome of sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His Word depends on the amount of time we are ready to spend in Bible-meditation.
The Scriptures deliver a clear message that only those who wait on the Lord will be able to claim the blessings of entering the presence of the Lord.

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he mediates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper
.’ (Psalm 1:1-3, NKJV)

Here we find the great blessings of practicing Bible-meditation. Notice though that the condition is to meditate day and night in God’s Word. A superficial or casual reading of the Word of God cannot produce the spiritual fruitfulness it seeks about in the psalm. The one who meditates this way will grow his roots deep down into the plenteous supply of the river, and he will be able to produce fruit in the season and his leaf will never wither, and most of all: he will prosper in whatever he does.”
Johannes Facius
Sitting at the feet of JESUS, 51-52
~~~

Jesus said, If you abide in me, and my words abide in you,… (John 15:7) Paul wrote, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,…(Colossians 3:16). Peter wrote, “Like new born infants, long for the pure spiritual milk… (1 Peter 2:2). James wrote, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls (James 1:21). So clear, so simple, and so life-giving.





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The Pain of Love

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.




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Remembering God’s Word

Posted by Jerry White on May 11, 2014

“Have you ever read a few chapters in your Bible, closed it, and then realized, ‘I don’t remember a thing I’ve read’? When this happens, don’t blame your age, IQ, or education, for they’re not the cause. Nearly all Bible readers frequently experience this forgetfulness. In most cases, however, the problem has more to do with this method of engaging God’s Word than anything else. For if you merely read the Bible, don’t be surprised if you forget most—-if not all—-of what you’ve read.

What’s the simple solution? (And I do believe that benefiting from the intake of God’s Word must be fundamentally simple because the Lord expects it of all His people, regardless of age, IQ, or education.) The solution is not only to read the Scriptures, but to meditate on them. Reading, of course, is the starting placed. Reading is, the exposure to Scripture, but meditation is the absorption of Scripture. And it’s the absorption of Scripture that leads to the transformation of our lives.

The Bible itself explicitly warns that if we do not look intently at (that is, meditate on) God’s perfect Word, we’ll forget it: ‘But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does’ (James 1:25, NASB). Just as hearing the Word of God without meditation on it causes a person to be a ‘forgetful hearer,’ so anyone who reads the Bible without meditation on it becomes a forgetful reader. And if you can’t remember what you read, you probably won’t experience or be changed by what you read.”
Donald S. Whitney
Simply Your Spiritual Life, 62
~~~
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
James 1:21 (ESV)




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Biblical Meditation

Posted by Jerry White on Nov 17, 2013

With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.

Psalm 119:13, 15 (ESV)

~~~

The word for meditation in Old Testament Hebrew means to mummer or to mutter. It is also used of the growl of a lion over his prey, or the cooing of doves, or low rumbling of thunder, or the groaning and sighing of men. Summarized, it refers  to a low sound.

The picture from the Hebrew word for meditate is someone reading God’s Word in a low voice (Psalm 1:2). This helps one to stay focused, think about what God is saying while hearing it read, even though it is from one’s own lips. Repeatedly throughout the Scriptures it speaks of meditating on the Word of God as the way of blessing. Meditation helps to fix God’s Word in the mind and plant it in the heart. Mind and heart must work together. We live out of our heart.

I have a dear friend who is a surveyor. He came into my life as a young man forty years ago. When I first met Billy, and all these years since, I see him like Jesus said of Nathanael, “[a man] in whom there is no deceit!” (John 1:47, ESV). The last forty years have been very difficult years for him. He lost his first born son to a brain tumor.  The bride of his youth and mother of their several children left him. Financial trials in his business due to a fallen economy have tested him, and he has lived alone for many years while desiring, praying, and waiting for God to give him a godly wife. In spite of anything he faced, he has pursued the Lord diligently through worship with songs of praise, prayer and meditation in God’s Word.

This morning I sent Billy a text with Psalm 119:13. He responded with the following text:

“In the Jewish culture there was no such thing as reading silently…..If you saw someone in the corner of room with a scroll their lips would be moving…..Hence to meditate or murmur God’s word…..This was reading to them. I have been doing this for a few years now….sometimes a murmuring whisper….Sometimes with all the expression I can muster as if reading to a crowd  or like I am trying to impress God himself…..or with compassion and hope like trying to lift the spirits of a group of downcast nobodies…..And sometimes with great joy and gladness because I am tasting the power of the world to come! But as I stated many times the hot tears start to flow or there starts a spontaneous praising…..Did not Jesus say Abide in my love and LET my words abide in you?” (All the above is with Billy’s permission).

May you be encouraged, dear child of God, to meditate on God’s Word like He instructs us to do. It is one of the blessed ways He prescribes for vibrant spiritual health.

JRW




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The Secret of Spiritual Freshness

Posted by Jerry White on May 27, 2013

“In my teens I knew a man, a miner by trade, whose spiritual freshness and radiance was responsible for turning many people to Jesus Christ. Just before he died, and in the company of several other Christians, I asked him: ‘What is the secret of your spiritual freshness? You always seem to be on top of things, always radiant…tell me how you maintain this inner poise and power.’ He replied in one word—meditation.

I pressed him for some further thoughts on the subject. This is not a verbatim quotation, but as far as I can remember, this is what he said: ‘Meditation is letting your heart become the workshop of the unseen Sculptor who chisels in its secret chambers the living forms that contribute to character development and an increasing likeness to Jesus Christ.’ That old man, now in heaven, was one of the greatest illustrations I have ever known of the spiritual freshness and fruitfulness that comes from meditating on God’s Word. This experience can be ours—if we meditate.”

Selwyn Hughes

Every Day Light: Water for the Soul

~~~

He [the one who delights and meditates day and night in the law of the Lord, v. 2]

is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.

Psalm 1:3 (ESV)

~~~

There is no sweeter sound than to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus through His written Word when His Spirit speaks it to your heart and applies it to your life.

Is meditation on God’s Word a priority in your daily schedule? Does Psalm 1 describe the kind of person you are—one who is planted by streams of water (plural for abundance) in a dry, arid desert, one who is always spiritually fresh and fruitful? Oh, how the enemy likes to attack the weakness of our flesh through busyness in our lives and thereby distract us from meditating on God’s Word day by day. The enemy hates for us to become the blessed, happy person who is radiant to those around us.




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Meditating Before God

Posted by Jerry White on Mar 11, 2012

“How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is demanding, but simple. It is that we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.

We have some idea, perhaps, what prayer is, but what is meditation? Well may we ask; for meditation is a lost art today, and Christian people suffer grievously from their ignorance of the practice. Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God. Its purpose is to clear one’s mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let His truth make its full and proper impact on one’s mind and heart. It is a matter of talking to oneself about God and oneself, reasoning oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God’s power and grace. Its effect is ever to humble us, as we contemplate God’s greatness and glory, and our own littleness and sinfulness, and to encourage and reassure us—‘comfort’ us, in the old, strong, Bible sense of the word—as we contemplate the unsearchable riches of divine mercy displayed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

J. I. Packer

Knowing God, 18-19 [1973 edition]

~~~

The spiritual disciplines necessary for spiritual vitality and growth are often crowded out by the rush, noise and distractions of modern society. Our attention becomes occupied with this present world that is at best temporary while robbing us of investing necessary time in those matters that will count for eternity. The Lord Jesus warned us about “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things” (Mark 4:19). The Lord Jesus as an adult worked as a carpenter and cared for His widowed mother and His brothers and sisters until he was thirty. Then by His Father’s direction He entered into a very demanding ministry for three years. He well understands the demands you face, but He also knows about maintaining what is essential for spiritual health. Gladly He will strengthen and guide you to do as He did by the Holy Spirit. Trust Him.




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Confessions To Ponder

Posted by Jerry White on Jan 23, 2012

The eternal Son of God left the infinite bliss of heaven to fulfill God’s perfect will on earth. His finished work was for our full salvation so that the Father in Heaven would be satisfied and glorified. Anyone born by His Spirit can confidently and gladly confess:

I am God’s child through new birth and faith in Jesus Christ.

I am redeemed from sin and death through Christ’s shed blood, death and resurrection.

I am forgiven for all my sin and declared righteous before God by God Himself.

I am set apart by God to be a holy child who lives righteously before Him.

I am to be pure as He is pure and therefore will pursue purity in thought, word and deed.

I am sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption.

I am in Christ and therefore have all His fullness available to me every moment.

I am the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives within me.

I am created, redeemed and called for a unique purpose in God’s plan.

I am loved and treasured by my Father far beyond my comprehension.

I am one with Jesus Christ and thus possess all the benefits of His life and death for me.

I am a bondservant of the Lord Jesus with no rights of my own.

I am wholly the Lord’s to do with me whatever He wills.

I am purposed to know Jesus Christ, love Him, please Him, and to make Him known.

I am set on the wondrous path to become like Jesus Christ so that I reflect His beauty.

I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.

I am a vital part of His Body on earth that functions with Him as Head.

I am a member of His redeemed family that spans the centuries and the globe.

I am a living stone fit together with others to be His temple.

I am a part of the Lord’s bride being prepared for His wedding day in heaven.

I am an eternal worshiper of Jesus Christ, my sovereign Lord.

I am an unworthy servant even if I do all I am supposed to do.

JRW

~~~

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23 (ESV)




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