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)
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)
Posted by Jerry White on May 23, 2016
Many men of God I have known, and others of previous generations who wrote about living in God’s fullness, speak with one voice about the importance of beginning one’s day with the Lord. This was the practice of men and women who impacted my life by their daily walk in the fullness of God’s Spirit. Early on in my search I concluded that this was the secret of staying fresh and growing in the Lord. Therefore I set out to make this my priority and practice. Looking back over fifty years I see that the Spirit using God’s Word, plus the testimonies of what older and wise pilgrims had discovered and practiced, was truly guiding me.
G. H. Morling in his classic book, The Quest for Serenity wrote:
“I suggest that there be a morning act of faith. The will is central in the life of the spirit. To secure a healthy activity of the will in the first hour is to be well on the way to the sort of day one hopes to enjoy. Get the will functioning early. I suggest a morning act of faith such as this:
I believe that with Christ living within me through the Holy Spirit, recognized, trusted and obeyed, my life today can be happy, restful and strong. Deliberately I surrender my life to Him to do the mighty work within of cleansing and empowering.
I believe also that God will manage my affairs today if I hand over the control to Him. I do that now and refuse to take anything back into my own care.
In this faith I go out into the day with quietness and confidence as my strength.
You may prefer a shorter statement which could be committed easily to memory and repeated throughout the day. I am concerned to make clear that the Christian life is a matter of multiplied new beginnings. Every morning may be and should be, the occasion of a new departure.”
(84, 1964 edition)
O GOD, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is faint for You, in a dry and weary land where no water is.
Psalm 63:1 (Amplified Bible)
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
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 by Jerry White on May 9, 2016
With what attitude should God’s redeemed children approach Him, either in private or in corporate worship? Does it change how we should approach Him because we are in God’s grace and can approach His throne boldly? (Hebrews 10:19-20) Does our knowledge of His mercy, grace and love give us permission to treat Him casually, carelessly and flippantly? Has loss of respect for authority in our society affected our attitude toward this all majestic, holy God of the universe?
I have visited churches where people enter the worship service with food and drink like they are attending a sporting event. I have heard professing Christians speak of Almighty God with unworthy and disrespectful terms. Why is this so? Only one answer is possible. We live in a time when church attendees do not know in their heart who God truly is. They do not take seriously who God is according to His Word, nor have they ever encountered His presence revealed by the Holy Spirit so they know by experience that they are before the face of this pure, sovereign, invisible One.
Webster’s Dictionary defines reverence as, “profound awed adoring respect.” In your church do the people gather for worship with a profound awed adoring respect? When you meet with the Lord in private is your soul humbled with a profound awed adoring respect for the One who authored and purchased your salvation?
The Bible gives us illustrations of this attitude. Moses went to meet with God and heard Him speak, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” …And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (Exodus 3:5) Isaiah had a vision of the throne of God with the seraphim nearby. These angelic beings were pure—never sinned— and yet their response in God’s presence is described: Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. (Isaiah 1:2) When the beloved apostle John saw His enthroned Lord in the Revelation he fell at His feet as one dead. (Revelation 1:17) I have seen God’s Spirit reveal the Lord’s pure presence so that those present were silenced and motionless before Him.
Deep heart awareness of who God is in His overwhelming beautiful majesty causes one’s heart to bow in profound awed adoring respect and worship, both privately and corporately.
Posted by Jerry White on May 2, 2016
“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isaiah 1:19-20 (ESV)
“Sometimes a person comes to a spiritual advisor and says, ‘I have no joy, and I’ve experienced very little for years.” The older, wiser Christian asks, ‘Did you once have joy?’ ‘Yes, for some time after my conversion to God.’ Again the adviser asks a question: ‘Are you aware of a time when you refused to obey some distinct command, a directive from God that you ignored?’
Then the face is cast down, the eyes fill with tears, and the answer comes with difficulty. ‘Yes, years ago I used to think that God required a certain thing of me. I felt sure God was calling me to do something . But I did not heed the call. I did not do what He wished and was uneasy for sometime about it. After a while, though, it seemed to fade from my mind, and now it does not often trouble me.’
The mature Christian responds, ‘My friend, that is where you have gone wrong, and you will never regain your joy until you go back through the weary years to the point where you dropped the thread of obedience. Retrace your steps and complete that one thing God requested of you so long ago. Then watch and see how the burden is lifted.’
Is this the cause of depression for thousands of Christian people? They are God’s children, but they are disobedient to their Father. The Bible rings with one long demand for obedience. The key phrase of the book of Deuteronomy is this: ‘Observe and do.’ The cornerstone of Christ’s farewell discourse is, ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments.'”
The Best of F. B. Meyer, 24-25
Edited and Compiled by Stephen W. Soreson
Posted by Jerry White on Apr 25, 2016
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
Luke 11:1 (ESV)
Discipleship occurs as much by observation as it does by instruction, perhaps more. The Apostle Paul wrote, Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). The Lord’s disciples had watched Him slip aside often to pray, and they recognized that His prayer life was different from the stale, rote prayers of the Pharisees. They understood that the secret of His overflowing life was directly tied to His private communion with His Heavenly Father. They wanted Jesus to teach them how to pray like He prayed. A person’s prayer life is probably the best indicator that he or she knows how to commune with and walk with God. This is the only thing the disciples asked Jesus to teach them.
I, along with faculty members of a Bible school, spoke recently in a spring prayer conference. The attendees were students and adults of all ages, ethnicities and native languages. I was aware from the very first session of the Spirit’s quickening during a time of worship. This fresh heavenly wind blew ever so gently on the whole conference. It was like I was on a different planet from the usual church services I have attended in various places. Why? What made the difference? I realized that the prayer chapel on campus that was dedicated last year at the prayer conference had been faithfully used by faculty, staff and students. Throughout this past year they were seeking the face of God and calling on Him to accomplish His will.The prayer conference had been immersed in prayer at the throne of God, and God was answering just as He had promised. When and where God’s people diligently seek Him with their whole heart He answers with refreshing times from His presence. There is no secret about it. He plainly instructs us. It is just as He promised—if we will only believe Him through His Word—and pray.
Lord, teach us to pray.
Posted by Jerry White on Apr 17, 2016
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalms 100:4 (ESV)
“A poverty stricken black pastor stood at desperation corner. Charles A. Tindley was serving a tiny, struggling church in Cape May, New Jersey. A blinding blizzard paralyzed the town. His baby had died in the cold, dark night. Dawn brought no sign of relief. All Mrs. Tindley could serve for breakfast was stale bread.
In his book entitled Their Finest Hour, author Charles Ludwig explains how Pastor Tindley met the crisis. ‘ Set the table like we always do,’ he urged his wife. Courageously, he thanked God for his salvation, his health, and his children. The family listened and wondered. All of a sudden, someone knocked on the door. A brother in the Lord entered with his arms loaded with groceries . The storm had delayed his coming. Meanwhile, Charles Tindley had passed a severe test of faith with flying colors. Pastor Tindley, an ex-slave, went on to build a church in Philadelphia that ministered to thousands. Remarkably, a grandson of his former master was converted under his ministry.
This pastor’s spirit of gratitude and praise thoroughly equipped him and served as the foundation for a life that God mightily used. Tindley learned the secret of releasing his faith through thankful praise. His faith soared into the highest heaven on the wings of humble gratitude. There he enjoyed the heights of intimate fellowship with God.
This same reality can transform our inner lives today, especially as we enter into the simple truth that thanksgiving turns trials into blessings. It can turn sour personalities into sweetness of spirit and frustration into gratitude. Most importantly, thankful praise brings all honor and glory to God the Father.”
Oliver W. Price
The Power of Praying Together, 157-158
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.”
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.
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?”
Morning Thoughts, July 10
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
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.
Posted by Jerry White on Mar 25, 2016
“Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down by an enemy
that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell’s worst
that I might attain heaven’s best,
stripped that I might be clothed,
wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inherit glory,
entered darkness that I might have eternal light.
My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped
from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song,
endured all pain that I might have unfailing health,
bore a thorny crown that I might have
bowed his head that I might uplift mine,
experienced reproach that I might receive
closed his eyes in death that I might gaze
on unclouded brightness,
expired that I might for ever live.”
The Valley of Vision, 76-77
Edited by Arthur Bennett
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24 (ESV)
Were the whole realm of nature ours,
That were an offering far too small;
Love that transcends our highest pow’rs,
Demands our heart, our life, our all.