Today for Eternity

Posted by Jerry White on Aug 1, 2016

“We live but once. The years of childhood, when once they pass, are gone forever. It matters not how ardently we may wish to live them over; it avails us nothing. What is gone is gone.
So it is with other stages of life. The past is no longer ours. It has gone beyond our reach. Regardless of our social standing, bank accounts and investments, education, or anything else—we cannot reach back. What we have made of our past days shall remain. There is no power in heaven or on earth that can change our yesterdays. The record of our past stands forth in bold and ineffaceable characters, open to the all-seeing eyes of God. There it stands, and one day we shall give an account of it.
The present moment alone is ours. Today is a day that we never had before, which we shall never have again. It rose from the great ocean of eternity and again sinks into its unfathomable depths.”
Thomas DeWitt Talmage
Fill Me With Hope, April 11
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Someone has said that the apostle Paul had two dates on his calendar, today and that day. He lived today for that coming day before the Lord. It will be our eternal loss if we do not live today for that day in our Lord’s presence. The Lord Jesus lived each of His days for the eternal day. Our motivating motto can be: DOING EVERYTHING WITH ETERNITY IN VIEW.
~~~

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV)




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When Darkness Comes

Posted by Jerry White on Jul 18, 2016

“God’s people have no assurance that the dark experiences of life will be held at bay, much less that God will provide some sort of running commentary on the meaning of each day’s allotment of confusion, boredom, pain, or achievement. It is no great matter where we are, provided we see that the Lord has placed us there, and that He is with us.”

John Newton

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“We are moved by the act of God. Omniscience holds no conference. Infinite authority leaves no room for compromise. Eternal love offers no explanations. The Lord expects to be trusted. He disturbs us at will. Human arrangements are disregarded, family ties ignored, business claims put aside. We are never asked if it is convenient.”

Samuel Chadwick, quoted by J. Oswald Sanders Enjoying Intimacy With God, 97

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In your darkest night the Lord of love has not forgotten you. The hand that guides you is nail scared because He loves you. Your Father who directs your steps sacrificed His all for you in His Son. When you have unanswered questions and heaven seems silent you can know your Shepherd is tending you. Jesus said to a father in a dark time of receiving word of his daughter’s death, “Do not fear, only believe” (Luke 8:50, ESV).




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Assaults of the Flesh

Posted by Jerry White on Jun 27, 2016

My people are bent on turning away from me. Hosea 11:7 (ESV)

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“The divine life has its dwelling-place in a fallen fleshly nature. It is encompassed by all the corruptions, weaknesses, infirmities, and assaults of the flesh. There is not a moment that it is not exposed to assaults from within. There is not a natural faculty of the mind or throb of the heart that is favorable to its prosperity, but all are contrary to its nature, and hostile to its advance. As there is nothing internal that is favorable to a state of grace, so there is nothing external that encourages it forward. It has many and violent enemies. Satan is ever on the watch to assault it. The world is ever presenting itself in some new form of fascination and power to weaken it. A thousand temptations are perpetually striving to ensnare it. Thus its internal and external enemies are leagued against it. Is it then any wonder that faith should sometimes tremble, that grace should sometimes decline, and that the pulse of the divine life should often beat faintly and feebly? The saints in every age have felt and lamented this.”

Octavius Winslow

Morning Thoughts, 251-252

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“If we hope to overcome them [the spiritual forces of evil], we shall need to bear in mind that they have no moral principles, no code of honour, no higher feelings. They recognize no Geneva Convention to restrict or partially civilize the weapons of their warfare. They are utterly unscrupulous, and ruthless in the pursuit of their malicious designs.”

John R. W. Stott

The Message of Ephesians, 264




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Let God Be God

Posted by Jerry White on Jun 13, 2016

“God is perfectly capable of taking care of His own affairs, and the reason so little is being accomplished by the Church of Jesus Christ today is that we have all too often organized God out of business. Millions of man hours and countless millions of dollars are being misspent on man’s promotional activity, unasked, on God’s behalf. This is not to challenge the sincerity of those who are thus employed, but we so often confuse bustle for business, and plant for power, and perspiration for inspiration. What an embarrassment it would be to you if you had a pair of hands that always tried to demonstrate how busy they were! Do you expect your fingers to tell you each morning what their program is for the day, and then demonstrate their enthusiasm by a vigorous show of uncontrolled activity? Do you think you would be successful in playing the piano on that basis? I would not like to ask a barber who had hands like that to shave me! Surely, what the head demands of every member of the body is restful availability, and prompt response to every impulse of the head in instant obedience, producing the co-ordinated activity of the whole, and the orderly fulfillment of that purpose to which each, as a member of the team, has been committed in particular. The challenge we hear so often today in the name of consecration is ‘Do more! Give more! Be more!’ Go! Go! Go! But God says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’! In other words, quit the panic! Just let God be God!”

Major W. Ian Thomas

The Saving Life of Christ, 64, (1962 edition)

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When the Lord Jesus prepared His disciples for His departure from earth, He gave them simple instructions. Among several key commands He left was this one, “Abide in me, and I in you (John 15:4). In simple words, “Obey My Word; follow My Spirit.” Acts recounts how the Holy Spirit empowered the early believers and faithfully led them to fulfill God’s Word. Kingdom growth did not happen because of their astute planning and promotional skills. God’s agenda was accomplished because they learned how to abide in Christ and obey His Spirit’s guidance. Total availability to obey His Word and His Spirit’s promptings is still His way.




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God Knows Me

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)

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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)




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Losing First Love for Christ

Posted by Jerry White on May 15, 2016

“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, 43

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

Revelation 2:4 (ESV)

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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.




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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

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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)

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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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All You Need

Posted by Jerry White on Apr 4, 2016

“Lift up your heads, ye poor, ye needy, ye disconsolate!

Lift up your heads and rejoice that Christ is all to you,

all you need in this vale of tears,

all you need in the deepest sorrow,

all you need under the heaviest affliction,

all you need in sickness,

all you will need in the hour of death

and in the day of judgment.

Yea, and Christ is in all, too.

He is in all your salvation;

He is in all your mercies;

He is in all your trials;

He is in all your consolations

and in all your afflictions.

What more can you want?

What more do you desire?”

Octavius Winslow

Morning Thoughts, July 10

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The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Psalm 23:1

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Psalm 23 is David’s testimony about his relationship with the Lord, which he wrote in his personal devotions. These were not merely nice words, or a bit of poetry, or a doctrinal statement, or wishful thinking. He wrote what He had experienced through difficult circumstances and deeply knew to be true. For us these can be just familiar words of comfort, or a teaching we listen to in a message, but only as we learn how to turn to the Lord Jesus in every circumstance and experience does it become our own personal and real testimony. Peace and security that passes all understanding then becomes ours.




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Flee Temptation

Posted by Jerry White on Jan 11, 2016

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.      James 1:14-15 (ESV)

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“In our members there is a slumbering inclination toward desire, which is both sudden and fierce. With irresistible power, desire seizes mastery of the flesh. All at once a secret, smoldering fire is kindled. The flesh burns and is in flames. It makes no difference whether it is a sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, or love of fame and power, or greed for money….

At this moment God is quite unreal to us. [Remember those words.] He loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real. The only reality is the devil. Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God…. The lust thus aroused envelopes the mind and will of man in deepest darkness. The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us. The questions present themselves as, ‘Is what the flesh desires really sin in this case?’ And, ‘Is it really not permitted to me, yes, expected of me now, here in my particular situation to appease desire?’…

It is here that everything within me rises up against the Word of God…. Therefore the Bible teaches us in times of temptation in the flesh, there is one command: Flee! Flee fornication. Flee idolatry. Flee youthful lusts. Flee the lusts of the world. There is no resistance to Satan in lust other than flight. Every struggle against lust in one’s own strength is doomed to failure.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Quoted by Charles R. Swindoll, David, 185-186

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Sin in your bodily members continues while you live on earth. Although the Lord Jesus broke its enslaving power over you at the cross, sin’s presence has not been eradicated from your flesh. It just waits for opportunity. Therefore it is a constant threat that must be overcome by your vigilance and dependent cooperation with the Lord.




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Sovereign With Love

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 27, 2015

“Not a drop of rain can fall outside the orb of Jesus’ sovereignty. All our days—our health, our illnesses, our joys, our victories, our tears, our prayers, and the answers to our prayers—fall within the sweep of the sovereignty of one who wears a human face, a thorn-shadowed face. All of God’s sovereignty is mediated through one who was crucified on my behalf. For Christians, that means God’s sovereignty can no longer be viewed as a merely creedal point, still less as the source of endless mystery. There is more than enough material for creedal confession here, and not a little mystery; but these mysteries revolve around one who died in my place. The mysteries of prayer remain, but they dissolve in worship and gratitude. It is far easier to accept the mysteries of divine sovereignty when the divine love is as great as the divine sovereignty.”

D. A. Carson

A Call To Spiritual Reformation, 179-180

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As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.

John 15:9 (ESV)

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Would the Heavenly Father love His only Son and not watch over every detail of His life? Possessing all authority, power, and wisdom would the Father allow His Son to go through any unnecessary trial or difficulty? Could Jesus of Nazareth live with even the slightest uncertainty about whether His Heavenly Father was in sovereign control of all His circumstances and relationships and was carefully guiding His steps? Could the Lord Jesus doubt for a second that His Father was hearing His prayers any time and especially in dark and turbulent times? When our Savior says that He loves us just like His Father has loved Him will I doubt Him? Will you? This love can never be measured or plumbed to its depth. It is pure, infinite, eternal and unchangeable. Do I believe that He watches over every detail of my life? Can I live with the certainty that He is in sovereign control of all my circumstances and relationships and is indeed guiding my steps, even when I don’t understand? Do I doubt for a moment that He hears my prayers when I am in a dark and troubling place? His divine sovereignty blends perfectly with His infinite love, and with His Father’s tender heart He shepherds you and listens to you when you pray. You can trust Him!

JRW

A Disciple’s Notebook, 38-39




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