Posted by Jerry White on Oct 13, 2014
Uncertainty shrouds our future. An afternoon can bring what morning never expected. Our tomorrow can introduce us to news that shocks our soul. Our next year can be the most difficult and trying we have ever experienced. When this happens doubt bombards us with questions, and our mind swirls with fears. We are shaken to the core and lose our footing that had seemed so peaceful and sure. How can this be happening to me? Why?
The Lord Jesus spoke that our house should be built upon the rock before the floods come (Matthew 7:24-27). When rains pour forth, it is not the time to try to find a rock foundation on which to build. It is too late. In Noah’s day, once the heavens opened and the fountains of the deep were unleashed, the monumental task of preparation could never happen. Severe consequences were already on the way.
Sometimes when one enters a serious crisis, the immediate response is to request prayer from those he or she knows that pray. A sense of spiritual inadequacy in self wants others to help in their deficiency. It is vital we pray for one another, but intercession by others cannot be a substitute for one’s own faith. If such a one has neglected personal time with the Lord in His Word, when the storm threatens, anxiety rules their soul and worry crowds their mind. Five virgins waiting for the bridegroom were not prepared with enough oil and wanted to borrow oil from the other five who came prepared (Matthew 25:1-13). Casual and careless believers want to live off another’s faith, and this cannot happen. Each must trust for himself. Waiting until the unexpected crisis occurs, and then hoping to suddenly have faith, or use another’s faith, is futile.
Today is the time to learn God’s Word so you trust Him, whom you cannot see, to keep His promises. By daily experience of trust you become fully assured that this invisible God is real, a loving Father who can be fully trusted in the darkest of nights and the stormiest of days. This is why the Bible speaks often about meditating on God’s Word day and night (regularly). Your sinful flesh will give you a hundred reasons not to spend time in God’s Word, and the devil knows exactly which excuses to plant in your thinking to keep you from it. The ones who neglect this Jesus calls foolish. A million people praying for you will not give you faith to live by or to die by. Faith comes from believing God’s Word and trusting Him as your loving Father—-daily.
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 21, 2014
A small rudder directs a large ship. With this picture James vividly illustrates the power of the tongue (James 3:4). What one says affects the direction of one’s life. James then adds that a small fire can set a whole forest ablaze (James 3:5). The tongue has the power to set on fire the entire course of one’s life (James 3:6). This small organ of speech destroys or blesses, and this depends on what controls it, sinful flesh or God’s Spirit. We normally think of this effect on others and do not realize that our words also affect us.
Confession means, “to say the same thing.” We usually think of confession as confessing sin. Indeed, confessing sin is vital for spiritual health and should be a regular practice for God’s children. This means that we say to God out loud what God says about our sin. We call specific sin what God calls it—-in all its ugliness—-and repent with godly sorrow (sorrow towards God). However, the Bible also speaks forcefully about the need for Christians to confess God’s truth (Hebrews 10:23). Just as important as confessing our sin to God is the practice of confessing out loud, with thankfulness, God’s Word which tells us that we are forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). This is freeing and allows the Holy Spirit to make it real in our heart.
Note: Confessing God’s truth means speaking it, not merely reading it or thinking it. Romans 10:9-10 speaks of believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth that Jesus is Lord. Abraham believed God that he would become the father of many nations, even though in his old age he did not yet have a son, and he grew strong in faith as he gave glory to God (Romans 4:18-20). Surely this indicates that he believed in his heart and spoke it in praise to God all those years as he waited for Sarah in her old age to become miraculously pregnant with a son.
Speaking God’s truth so you hear it is strong spiritual nourishment and healing. For example:
Because of God’s grace I am in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:30).
In Christ I am forgiven by God for all my sin (Colossians 2:13-14).
In Christ I possess God’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In Christ I am loved as much as the Father loves His Son (John 15:9; 16:27).
In Christ I will be presented before God as holy, blameless, and above reproach (Colossians 1:21-22).
Speak what God says to cleanse, renew, and nourish your soul, and to stir your heart to worship.
Posted by Jerry White on Jun 8, 2014
The whole world system, skillfully controlled by the prince of this world, is designed to obliterate from your mind the truths necessary for you to remember in order to live a Christ-honoring life. Please read this first statement again and think about it.
God’s Word urges us by command to set our minds on things above rather than things on the earth (Colossians 3:2). He also instructs and commands, Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8, ESV). Romans 8:5 reminds us, For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit (Romans 5:8, ESV). [all emphases mine]
With all the electronic communications, entertainment, and media surrounding us all the time, how easy it is to live occupied with the stimuli outside of ourselves. We are forcefully and relentlessly bombarded from without, unless we take definite measures to counteract it with moments of reminding ourselves of what is truly real and really true. As long as the enemy can distract us by worldly means and worldly messages, he knows he cripples our walk in the Spirit and dulls our spiritual sensitivity to the Spirit of Christ within us. This delights the devil.
Even in Biblical times there were visual reminders of God’s truth, and those days were not so complicated and intense with external stimuli as our generation. A pure gold plate hung from Aaron’s turban on his forehead, Holy to the LORD (Exodus 28:36-37). Early church symbols were used to remind believers of Biblical truth. Truth in our heart is stirred up like embers in a simmering fire when we read, ponder, reflect, and pray over it. This can happen on a coffee break, a brief walk, at lunch, or a drive home, but it should never take the place of our regular times alone with the Lord. This would be like letting vitamins replace your regular meals.
Each must find his or her own way to keep setting one’s mind on God’s honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent truth of Jesus Christ. If you will stay spiritually sensitive, you must counteract the world’s flood against you by deciding the best means to keep setting your mind on things above during your busy days. It is essential if you will live from within.
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)
Posted by Jerry White on Apr 28, 2014
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)
“The Word, then, brings us into the most intimate fellowship with God—-unity of will and life. In the Word, God has revealed His whole heart and all His will. In His law and precepts He reveals what He wills us to do; in His redemption and His promises He reveals what He desires to do for us. As we accept that will in the Word as from God himself and yield ourselves to its effect, we learn to know God in His will. We learn to know Him in the power with which He works in us, the power in which His condescending love is known. And the word fulfills His richest purpose when it fills us with the reverence and dependence that come from the divine presence. We must aim for and experience nothing less in all our Bible study….
1 In the Holy Scripture we have the very words God has spoken and by which He speaks to us.
2. These words are full of the life of God. God is in them and makes His presence and power known to those who seek Him in the Word.
3. To those who ask and wait for the teaching of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, the Spirit will reveal the spiritual meaning and power of the Word.
4. The Word is meant to be the daily means of God’s revelation of himself and of fellowship with Him.
Have we learned to apply these truths? Do we understand that the Word tells us to seek God, to wait for Him, and to listen to His voice? We must be people who never separate the Word from the living God himself and who will teach others this truth.”
The Believer’s Daily Renewal, 82-83
The enemy—-the devil—- is resolved to do all he can in his schemes and power to distract you from meditating on God’s Word regularly. God’s Word received is necessary for robust spiritual health.
Posted by Jerry White on Feb 4, 2013
Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
Deuteronomy 8:3 (ESV)
“God’s Word is received through meditation that opens us to the Lord and translates what he is saying to us. He speaks by the Holy Spirit, applying the truths of the Bible to our own lives.
The best definition of meditation I have read is in Dr. J. I. Packer’s book, Knowing God. ‘Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to one’s self, 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.’
As you read the Bible, listen attentively to what the Lord may say. He, the indwelling Spirit, is your resident counselor. He knows exactly where you are on your Christian pilgrimage. He knows to the nth degree what has been accomplished in your spiritual growth and what still needs doing. He knows what you must hear next, the correction you need, truth to enlighten, and command to obey. He is your personal tutor.
Not every passage will speak to you. That doesn’t mean your reading is without effect. The Holy Spirit is still quietly active in the unseen and unfelt realms of your inner being using God’s Word. It’s like sowing seed. For awhile nothing appears to be happening; but soil and seed are interacting, and growth will come. So it is with the Word and the Spirit in your heart.
Go slowly and do your utmost to understand what you read. At times a passage, a verse, a phrase, or even just a word will come alive to you. It will grab your attention and strike a responsive chord. With quiet power and light it will shine upon your soul. You’ll know that the Holy Spirit is bringing the Word home to you. Pause right there. Listen. The Lord is speaking to you. You don’t want to miss anything. Think on it; ponder and pray over it. Don’t leave it until it has the full effect the Spirit intends, at which time he will release you to move on. It may take hours or days. You may often find yourself drawn to that same passage. That is up to the Spirit.”
Fellowship With God, 40-42 (1995 edition)
Posted by Jerry White on May 17, 2012
“We have seen that bringing ourselves under the transforming influence of the Word of God means much more than just acquiring knowledge about the contents of Scripture. In fact, the mere acquisition of Bible facts or doctrinal truth without application to one’s life can lead to spiritual pride. As Paul said, ‘Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up’ (1 Corinthians 8:1). By contrast Paul also spoke of ‘the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness’ (Titus 1:1).
What is the difference between these two concepts of Bible knowledge? In the first instance the Corinthians were using their knowledge in a selfish and prideful way. They were ‘looking down their noses’ at people with different convictions from theirs. On the other hand, the knowledge that leads to godliness is knowledge of the Scriptures that is being applied to one’s life and results in godly behavior.
One of the banes of present-day evangelical Christianity is the way we sit every week under the teaching of God’s Word, or even have private devotions and perhaps participate in a Bible study group, without a serious intent to obey the truth we learn. The indictment of the Jewish people God made to Ezekiel could well be said of us today:
‘My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice….Indeed to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.’ (Ezekiel 33:31-32)
Our tendency seems to be to equate knowledge of the truth, even agreement with it, with obedience to it. James said when we do this we deceive ourselves (James 1:22). This is especially true when we focus on the more scandalous sins ‘out there’ in society to the neglect of the more ‘refined’ sins we commit.
We can not develop Bible-based convictions merely by storing up Bible knowledge in our heads. We do not even develop them by personal Bible study and Scripture memorization, though those practices certainly help us get started. As we begin to meditate on Scripture consistently we come closer. But convictions are really developed when we begin to apply the teachings of Scripture to real-life situations.”
The Discipline of Grace, 181-182
Posted by Jerry White on May 13, 2012
“Many of Christ’s followers who personally heard the words recorded in John 8 believed Jesus taught truth. At the risk of offending them (which He did), the Master called them to commit to His teaching. If you continue in My word indicates a lifestyle firmly based on following the message they had mentally accepted. Only when truth became the foundation of living could the promised results be expected.
Even for the disciples who followed all the way to that fateful betrayal, actions based on truth were required. When they argued about who was greatest among them, Jesus assumed the role of a servant to wash their feet. He pressed home the truth: service is greatness. Christ’s actions and words must transform the disciple’s actions, not merely inform his mind. If you know these things, He says, you are blessed if you do them.
Although knowing is never enough, too often, we stop with gaining knowledge. We live in an information age which equates knowing with being. People hear; they understand, yet they do not act in life’s critical moments. To understand why, we must go back to the nature of truth. You have heard it said of old comes before the truth. No person hears with an empty slate….
I fear that very few meditate on truth long enough to be transformed by the work of God’s Spirit. Our crowded, noisy lives make little allowance for meditation. No matter how powerfully and clearly a passage is expounded on a Sunday morning, it is all too often lost in a flood of entertainment, family interactions, business matters, or a hundred other daily pressures. For many Christians, just getting into the Word is enough of a challenge.”
EI School of Biblical Training, CORE VALUES, 8-10
Posted by Jerry White on Sep 1, 2011
“Here is one of the deepest secrets of receiving the blessing of God’s Word: faith in its creative and quickening energy—faith that the Word will work in me the very thing it commands or promises, It effectually works in those who believe. Nothing can resist its power when received into the heart through the Holy Spirit. The voice of the Lord is powerful. Everything depends upon learning the art of receiving this Word into the heart. First, we must exercise faith in its living, omnipotent, creative power.
By His Word God ‘calls things that are not as though they were’ (Romans 4:17). As this is true of all God’s mighty deeds, from creation to the resurrection of the dead, it is true also of every word in His holy book. Two things keep us from believing this as we should. The first is the experience in the world around us, and perhaps in ourselves, of the Word being made ineffectual by human wisdom, unbelief, or worldliness. The other is neglect of the teaching of Scripture that the Word is a seed. Seeds are small; they may long be dormant; they have to be hidden; and once they sprout, they grow slowly. Because the effect of God’s Word is also hidden and unobserved, slow and weak by all appearances, we do not believe in its omnipotence. Let this be one of your first lessons: The Word I study is the power of God unto salvation; it will work in me all that I need and all that the Father requires.
What a prospect such faith opens up for our spiritual life. We would find all the treasures and blessings of God’s grace within our reach. The Word has power to enlighten our darkness, to bring the light of God, a sense of His love, and knowledge of His will. The Word can fill us with strength and courage to conquer every enemy and to do whatever God asks us to do. The Word can cleanse, sanctify, develop faith and obedience, and become in us the seed of every character trait of our Lord. Through the Word, the Spirit can lead us into all truth—make all that is in the Word true in us—and thus prepare our hearts to be the habitation of the Father and the Son.”
The Believers Daily Renewal, 34-35
Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21