All posts by Mitch White

Mitch White is a retired ordained minister of 38 years, having served churches in Texas, Oklahoma and Florida and now residing in North Carolina. Areas of ministry oversight included worship, teaching, Christian education and administration. He's a graduate of the University of Central Florida in Orlando and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, a father of two adult married children, an avid amateur photographer and lover of the outdoors and nature. He currently offers support to his octogenarian Mom as caretaker / caregiver which he considers his greatest ministry to date.

Guard Your Heart!

“In the best utopia, I must be prepared for the moral fall of any man in any position at any moment; especially for my fall from my position at this moment.”   Chesterton on Orthodoxy

Be careful when you stand, lest you fall.  (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Guard your heart for from it flow the issues of life.  (Proverbs 4:22)

“Hold me back from presumptuous sins…” (Psalm 19:12)

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness….

2 Peter 3:17 (NASB)

“Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is…. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse in us until we try to fight it; and Christ, because He was the only one who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means.

No one knows how bad they are until they have tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people don’t know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie….

One who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. This is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness…they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.

You know the strength of an opposing army by fighting it, not surrender…the strength of wind by walking in it, not lying down.”

C. S. Lewis

May these profound tidbits cause us to run to Jesus Christ and the all-sufficiency (El Shaddai, God Almighty, the All Sufficient One) of His saving Life, finding in Him ALONE the Sovereign saving and keeping power to stay in His life giving path, finishing well and fulfilling His purposes in, through and around us.

Faithful is He who calls us, Who will also bring it to pass.

(I Thessalonians 5:24)

Determined,

Mitch

Gratitude

Living thankful lives doesn’t come natural. Gratuitous living and giving is not easily found or attained. There’s very little “thank you” in the world. As a matter of fact it seems that a spirit of entitlement is increasingly more prevalent.

Raising children, we find that gratitude must be taught. All Moms and Dads know this. How many times did you say to your children after some kind thing was done for them, “Now what do you say?” The answer was to be “Thank you”. In time, my children got it and are “thank you” people today…for which I am indebted to God, who made it so.

The scriptures are clear that being thankful is a virtue.  Our fallen nature makes it reflexive to be otherwise.  But scripture goes on to tell us that those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, having His overcoming Life within, can, and should be characterized by thankfulness and gratitude…at all times, and remarkably so, when things are not going very well, from our view. Thankfulness seems to be one of the convincing proofs, irrefutable evidences that He, God, is in us…proof that a genuine Dynamic is active, producing observable results not commonly observed elsewhere.

If my facts are right, the Apostle Paul  mentions thanksgiving 26 times. He indicates it is to be present in every redeemed life.  If not, it is a diagnostic that tells us His Saving Life is being hindered.

In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul tells us we are to “…Always give thanks….”  I’ve struggled with this personally.  But as time progresses and He becomes freer to be Himself in me, gratitude is increasingly on my lips, and most importantly, when I am facing difficulties.  What a demonstration of trust in HIM  who has promised to be “the stability of our times”, always.

I enjoy photography.  Recently, in spite of being very careful, I dropped my best camera and favorite lens on the asphalt…yes, there was a crowd around to see me in that humiliating moment.  What seemed to naturally and immediately come from my lips was “…Well thank you Lord…this will not ruin my day….”  Did I really say that?  Yes, and no one was more surprised than I.  Instantly, I felt HIS pleasure because He was able to express Himself in me in a supernatural way.  Sometime, I’ll tell “the rest of the story”, the outcome of this seemingly catastrophic event, which very soon, was revealed to be a path to  a supernatural event for me and others.

Believe me, I’ve not arrived at all, but I’m so humbled to see that God is able to achieve the impossible and in increasingly so, even in one like me.

If you are not a believer / follower of Jesus Christ, I highly commend Him to you. (The Four Spiritual Laws) He is able…to do all He’s promised to rehabilitate our fallen, corrupted souls (our minds, wills and emotions), restore us to His God-designed and intended function and purposes.  And, as that begins to emerge from us, we will be amazed to find and know we are fulfilling the reason we live, move and have our existence…and regardless of our profession or place in life, we will have found “the vestibule of Heaven” our greatest fulfillment, satisfaction and empowerment to be Light in our sphere of influence.

Finally, becoming more like Him, I am,

Mitch

 

 

Import Before Export

I love taking pictures.  It’s fun sharing them via a couple of applications. But before I can share them (export) I must first import something worthy of showing.  This is true for life. Before I have anything to say, or anything to “display” there must first be something of significance and truth in me.  Before I can help someone, somehow, I must first have resources at my disposal that enables and qualifies me to do so.

There are other illustrations that drive home my point. How can I teach unless I have become a teacher…how can I plumb unless I have become a plumber… how can I build unless I have become a builder? But most importantly, how can I do the work and ministry of Jesus Christ until I become a spiritually equipped and empowered follower? How can I export spiritual life and works unless He has first imported His Life, abilities and resources? The answer is, obvious, I can’t. Oh, I might be busy doing religious things, working in a number of ways for a “good” cause.  But honestly evaluating over time, showing little to no true success, meaningful lasting results as measured by God’s criteria.

We don’t have to be perfect to partner in God’s work.  If that were required, none of us would be qualified to join Him.  But, flawed as we may be, if we are Godward people, intent on being His servants in everything, He is pleased to give us “eternal stuff” to Do and the ability to Be, facilitating it.  Nothing could be more humbling nor exhilarating.

The Christian denomination I belong to prides itself to some degree on how much they are doing. They are a very busy group.  But, as the stats are browsed, little of lasting value is being accomplished. It seems that we may actually be losing the “war”.   We only have to compare divorce stats in our culture vs those in the church…sadly, not much difference.  We’re languishing…busy doing, I think we have forgotten how to BE, first, before we DO.   Attempting to export before we import.  God didn’t make us human DOings, but rather human BEings. We must “be” before we can “do”. We must become the genuine article; undeniably,  the authentic, real people we claim to be, first…then the irrefutable proofs and evidences characteristic and normal for Jesus followers will be easily seen.  What we are will ring “true”, even without words.

In spite of all our preaching, productions, programs, buildings, marketing and prowess, ad nauseam, we are failing. What’s really needed is a transforming spiritual revival that only God Himself can bring, and with it, the – validating virtues and power the indwelling God-Life manifests.  That should be the norm, in us and through us, not the exception.

Somehow, if Our God would “rend the heavens and come down“, bring us back to God-Life again, we’d find we don’t need the many things we’ve borrowed from the world system and its “tools” (Isaiah, the prophet, refers to these things as “strong horses”   Isaiah 31:1, 3).  He would be our strong horse, busy doing the work through those who have finally BECOME, suitable vessels, conduits for His Life flow.  Psalm 127:1

I think the words of St. Francis of Assisi say it well:  “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel…and if necessary, use words.”  Exemplary lives lived are the most powerful evangelistic tool…God-life on display.   When, via our lives, “HE is lifted up, HE will draw mankind to Himself.”

Please forgive if  sound like I’m “preaching to the choir”.   I guess I am.  But first, this preaching is at me, for I’ve been a director of that “choir” for some time.  The scriptures tell us that “…It is time for judgement to begin at the House of God….”  1 Peter 4:17  What better place for it to start and especially with the leaders in that house.  I am the chief sinner in all of this.  I have served churches for nearly 40 years.  As I look back, I’m ashamed.  It may sound like I’m pointing a finger out there.  If that is the case, then know there are three pointing back at me, and justly so.

But, I am alive today, as you are, if you are reading this.  I, you, have this opportunity to BE, so that we can DO as HE intends, giving Him the honor HE deserves, fulfilling His purposes in our sphere of influence, our destiny in this dark world, drawing humanity to HIM.  Psalm 67:1-2

Psalm 139:23-24 (NASB)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

May HE increase in all of us,

Mitch

Choose You, This Day

Psalm 119:147-149 (NASB)

147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I wait for Your words.
148 My eyes anticipate the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word.
149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your ordinances.

There is a God-prescribed path to Life (living as He, Our Creator, has intended) and a sustaining of that Life-force in us.

Jesus Christ, the God-Man is God’s fulfillment of His Word in the flesh. He said of Himself: “I AM the Way, the Truth, the Life.  No one comes to the Life-giving Father but through Me.”

There are many paths but only One Way. There are many places offered as sources of truth, but only One that is trustworthy.

Psalm 119:160 (NASB)

160 The sum of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

Every cultural shift or “progressive” mentality away from HIS Word is a variance from His True North and Life. His prescription for humankind is forever. Any alteration based on “another” syllogistic logic, in order to be more stylish or in vogue…”in step with the times”, is dangerous; a move toward that which is false and death.

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 (NASB)
26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse:
27 the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today;
28 and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known.

He has presented us with a choice, every moment of every day. Who…what will we follow? The choice comes with a promise of blessing or curse, Life, or death;  certainty of physical AND most importantly spiritual death.

In 2018, I commend to you the Life Giver and His forever True Way. Go North, True North…

And be blessed,

Mitch

My Reminder…

Richard C. Halverson, though I never knew him, is a hero of mine. His work and words have impacted my life. As I remember him in this month of Thanksgiving, I thank God for him. I recently posted one of his devotionals from his bi-weekly devotional letter “Perspective”. I’d like to post another today. I only wish I could find the proper entity to get permission for using his work. My efforts at this have rendered nothing so far. Should you be aware of who I might contact, please inform me. I’d be indebted.

So good to remember that…

Jesus Christ transcends all religions! Judaism, Islam, Buddhism Hinduism…

He is greater than all these – including Christianity.

Religions are inventions of men. They may begin with a great leader in mind – Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha…

But human tradition soon reduces the original to a mere set of ethical standards and a dead letter of the law which no one can follow.

The original sin was not murder, adultery or any other action we call sin. The original sin was, and still is, the human choice to be one’s own god – to control one’s own life – to be in charge – to be religious!

Rising out of this choice evolves religion: man’s attempt to please god.

Jesus transcends religion because He is the incarnation of all that is true, good, loving, gentle, tender, thoughtful, caring, courteous and selfless.

Jesus does not want you to become a Christian. He wants you to become a new creation! There is a great difference between the two.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, He is a new creation: Old things are passed away; behold, all things are new.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

From “Perspective” by Richard C. Halverson – August 12, 1996

 

The Way

Psalm 84:5-12 New American Standard Bible

5 How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion! …They go from strength to strength,
Every one of them appears before God in Zion.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
…The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

So…
Psalm 86:11
11 Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.

My GPS has changed my life! I’ve put all my maps aside for the most part. “She” always knows where I am and how to get me where I want to go…most of the time. I call her Jennifer.

It has taken much of the stress of travelling away. Having my own personal navigator aboard, assuring me of my next turn and happily re-calculating when I get off course, is a lifesaver.  It has removed the concern of ever being lost. Amazing…how does she do that?  My techie friends tell me it’s not that complicated.  Though I don’t get it, I do trust my way to her.  Though I don’t understand, I believe her commands and go where she directs, confident I’ll ultimately get home.

The application to these verses is obvious. The psalmist tells us that having God’s Way in our heart will always get us “Home”, to HIM and Zion, His dwelling place. It is there that every “good thing” we need for life is found. Everything required for my sufficiency, adequacy and security is there in great supply. He is very happy to deluge us there with His best.

No wonder, the psalmist would ask he Lord to teach him the way to walk and to revere HIM enough to stay on that road to His presence…the ultimate Destination.

Actually, there are only two ways in Life, God’s way or another one. There are many voices calling to divert us from His prescribed path. His word, The Bible, has been God’s GPS for me in this life for some time and is always spot on. My problem is, I too often take “side trips” and get lost in the complexities and troubles waywardness brings.

Psalm 139:23
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Knowing his vulnerability and predisposition to waywardness, the psalmist asks his Heavenly Father to search his heart for the entrenched habits and thinking that would upstage God’s way, and requests personal guidance in His eternal, life-giving, sustaining path.  Just think, having your own personal, resident Spiritual navigator with you, always directing and ultimately, to Himself.  It’s true! He wants to plug into your life and take you where you should go.  It brings the confidence He intends us to have in the difficult days we live.

The psalmist’s prayer has become mine every new day.  Wayward as I have been and still can be, I’ve put aside all other “maps” and trust His unfailing direction for everything. For me, that is making all the difference.

My prayer for you is to find His way and stay there. You will never regret it. Make your way “Home” to Him and know the best and most He’s gives.  For me, I’ve made up my mind.  I’m

Heading Home,

Mitch

He Must Increase…

John 3:30 (NASB) He must increase, but I must decrease.

Reading this verse in its context, John the Baptist, nearing the end of his ministry, tells his disciples that Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom, but he, John, is just His friend. He is one who partnered with God in “preparing the way” for the Coming One, Jesus. Then he says, “He must increase, but I must decrease”.  John 3:25-30 

Great as John was in the Kingdom of God, he understood that Jesus was and always would be first.   His work was to join God in preparing the way for Him.  As Jesus’ ministry emerged, John’s “joy was made full”.  His work had been accomplished.  Joy always comes to those of us who not only know our God-given purpose, but see it being achieved.

If this was true for John, how much more for me. I am the friend of Jesus, though flawed and insignificant, yet redeemed.  I’m privileged to partner with Him in His forever endeavors.  His purposes and way should be made clearer over time through me and in my small sphere of influence.

Much more, He must increase and I decrease…Every moment, more of Him and less of me…Him always greater than (>), and me less than (<).  For me, it is best said, ALL of Him and NONE of me.  I’m simply a modest container through which He is free to pour His Saving Life…the container ultimately disregarded due to the far greater significance …value of Who / What is pouring from it.

Rightly related to God and functioning in His Life via the Holy Spirit, I become increasingly invisible and He ever more radiant. As I cooperate and let Him do His all-encompassing work, He is Glorified. I will know the fullness of joy that comes as He does His work and gets His Glory in me.  This is His intended purpose / destiny for all humanity.  As this spiritual crescendo is seen, our Heavenly Father is pleased; He takes great pleasure in us.

The Westminster Catechism states, “The chief end and duty of mankind, is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

Is there anything else to strive for? Is there any greater endeavor? Can there be a more significant achievement and work as we live or die? All of scripture speaks a resounding “No”.  And if He is pleased in my every moment, then that is true success indeed…the Godward life.

How I need more of Him and less of me. How I need Him to get at the things inside that I cannot get to…to remove the distractions, infatuations and hindrances to which I am predisposed…all that compromises His Life and Light.  This is living as He intended, Life indeed, pure and simple…the ultimate fulfillment and satisfaction.  May it be true today and increasingly so in me.  And, this is my prayer for you.

Aspiring,

Mitch

He Is Near

“We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks,
For Your name is near….” Psalm 75:1

Such great encouragement and hope to know this!

The psalmist, speaking to God, says:

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works. Psalm 73:28

How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple. Psalm 65:4

He is as “near as the mention of His name”.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. Psalm 119:18

Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Isaiah 55:6

He invites us to call on the only Name that can truly save, satisfy, help, deliver, provide, give wisdom and comfort.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

…He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him (Jesus Christ), since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

Don’t miss this kind, Sovereign invitation. Again, seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. He is near, NOW, for you, in every concern, fear, disappointment or loss. He is true and will not disappoint.

Be blessed!

Mitch

First Things First

Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The scriptures tell us to seek His Kingdom first. So, what is this “kingdom” we should seek? I believe kingdoms are about kings and their domain. That being so, seeking His Kingdom is seeking Him as King and we being His domain…giving Him His rightful place of rule and reign in us, over us and around us. And, the word “seek” is most accurately rendered “seek and keep on seeking continuously”.

Verse 33 is in the “imperative mood”, meaning it is a command, an imperative…not an elective or just an option.

The word “first” necessarily implies several things about seeking His Kingdom:

Priority – It is first in importance
Purpose – Implies the first and most important reason why we exist
Profession – Implies my first and primary task, work, objective
Passion – Implies my first and primary motive in all we do

So what is the outcome of this endeavor?

Matthew 6:25-32
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The outcome is amazing! If we make HIM our greatest priority, purpose, passion, possession and profession, THEN HE will make us His priority and add everything else we need to be sustained and flourish.

Jesus was once asked what the foremost commandment was.  His reply, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart soul, mind and strength”.  I feel this is a great complimentary  verse to the focal passage of this brief note.  I think this says it all very simply.  What we love and cherish the most in this life will always determine our priorities, guide us in our purpose, work, choices and be the  foundation for our value systems.

May it be that we seek Him and His rule and reign over us…seek to love Him with everything in us, and out of that, every other concern, need and desire will be abundantly met out of His unlimited, loving supply.

Give Him Praise!

Mitch

 

The Bible!

Through the years, there are those who have impacted my life greatly. One of those is Richard C. Halverson, former Chaplain of the United States Senate. His writings speak powerfully to many issues. I share today this devotional taken from his bi-weekly devotional letters, May 20, 1996, published by Concern Ministries, Inc.  I might add, I have attempted to get permission to use this devotional and have been unable to find a contact to do so.  If you can help, please let me know.

“Through the centuries, the Bible has meant more to humanity than any other book.

On his deathbed, Sir Walter Scott, the great English Author, requested that his son bring him ‘the book’. ‘Which book?’ asked his son. “There is only one book” Scott replied, “The Bible”.

The late Yale professor, William Lyon Phelps, said if he had to choose between the Bible and a university education, he would choose a knowledge of the Bible.

Concerning the Bible, Patrick Henry said, ‘There is a book worth all other books.’

     Horace Greely commented, ‘The principles of the bible are the groundwork of human freedom.’ And Rufus Choat said, ‘No lawyer can afford to be ignorant of the Bible.’

‘Hold fast to the Bible,’ urged Ulysses S. Grant, ‘for it is the anchor of our liberties.’ Then he added, ‘To the influence of this book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization – and to this we must look as our guide in the future.’

In the words of Woodrow Wilson, ‘When you have read the Bible, you will know it is the Word of God because you will have found it to be the key to your own heart, your own happiness, and your duty.’

What an amazing phenomenon – the Bible!

It is virtually a library in itself – written by over forty different writers, from different cultures, over thousands of years, in various languages, addressing many subjects, and yet a unified whole.

To contemplate the Bible’s influence in exalting people and nations to consider its supernatural composition – not to mention the fulfillment of its numerous prophesies – is only to arrive at the conclusion which the Bible claims for itself, that:

    ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for…instruction in righteousness: That the man or woman of God may be perfect…unto all good works.’ (2 Timothy 3:16)”

May this great book become endeared to you, and increasingly so, as it has these.

Be Blessed,

Mitch