“God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart” (2 Chron 32:31 ESV).

“[T]he fruitful branch ‘he purgeth,’ or pruneth—stripping it of what is rank and luxuriant, freeing it from those barren shoots that absorb the sap, and hinder real fruitfulness. [T]he ways in which he does it [is] by afflictions and chastisements and above all, by the effectual operation of his Spirit” Charles Ross (ref#241, p121).

“It is for discipline that you have to endure” (Heb 12:7 ESV).

“The LORD is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him” (Deut 13:3 ESV).

“[G]reat fruitfulness sprang from [the believers] great afflictions. In the very act of going to Christ, just as he is, the believer brings forth fruit. For what marks the frame of the soul traveling to the cross, but self-distrust, self-abasement, deep conceptions of its own nothingness, and high views of Christ’s sufficiency? Is this not precious and costly fruit? I know of none more so” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 21st).

“To prepare us for Glory, God first of all fills in the valleys of our lives. This refers to the low places in our hearts that need to be filled with confidence in God” Bob Sorge (ref#197, p16).

“You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me” (Ps 17:3 ESV).


“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Prov 12:1 ESV).

“Out of heaven [God] let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you” (Deut 4:36 ESV).

“If God has brought you into the desert, His heart intention for your desert is that a highway of holiness might be built in your heart upon which He can ride as He comes to you with deliverance power” Bob Sorge (ref#197, p16).

“God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? [God] disciplines us for our own good, that we may share his holiness” (Heb 12:7,10 ESV).

“[B]ecoming more deeply schooled in the lesson of God’s holiness is worth all the discipline you have ever passed through. One very common cause of all our declensions from the Lord will be found wrapped up in the crude and superficial views that we entertain of the character of God as a God of infinite purity. He wants His people to study and to learn this truth, not by sermons, books, hearsay nor theory but in the school of loving chastisement—personally and experimentally. Thus, seeing this divine perfection more closely and through a clearer medium, the believer is changed more perfectly into the same moral image. ‘He for our profit that we might be partakers of his holiness’ (Heb 12:10)” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 1st).


“If we are truly [God’s] in this world, we are ready to come down and humble ourselves, to be misunderstood, to be laughed at and treated with scorn and derision, in a sense to be crucified—certainly in spirit, perhaps even in body” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p523).

“[E]ven the greatest saints, though realizing that they can only be strong in the grace of God, and not in themselves, are nevertheless more sure than they ought to be of their own bravery and persistence, unless [God] leads them by the trails of life into a deeper knowledge of themselves. This proud idea induced even David to say: “As for me, I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.’ By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed” (Ps 30:6-7 ESV). Though in prosperity many saints have flattered themselves with perseverance and patience, yet they learned that they had deceived themselves when adversity broke down their resistance” John Calvin (ref#313, p48).

“God chooses to exercise his children with continual conflict, so that they may flee with alarm to hide themselves under his wings, where they may abide in peace” John Calvin (ref#164, March 30th).

“It is by feeling our utter insufficiency, either to perform duty or to withstand our enemies, that the Lord takes occasion to show us the suitableness, the sufficiency, the freeness, the unchangeableness of his power and grace” John Newton (ref#322, p182).

God’s Presence Makes Glad

When I can sit at Jesus’ feet,

And he anoints my head,

Such peace ensues, so calm and sweet,

I think my foes all dead.

My simple heart then fondly dreams,

It will see war no more;

Too firm to shrink my mountain seems,

And every storm blows o’er.

Then Jesus sends a trying hour,

This lurking pride to quell;

My dead foes rise with dreadful power,

And drag me down to hell.

Now faints my heart within me quite,

My mountain disappears;

All grace is vanished from my sight,

And faith seems lost in fears.

At length my Lord, with sweet surprise,

Returns to loose my bands,

Brings kind compassion in his eyes,

And pardon in his hands.

I drop my vile head in the dust,

And at my Lord’s feet fall;

His grace is now my song and boast,

And Christ my All in All.

     John Berridge (ref#224, Song #336)


“[L]et me know how fleeting I am” (Ps 39:4 ESV)!

“To suppose mercy without supposing misery, or pity without calamity, is a contradiction. Men must be sensible that the law is against them and that the wrath of God abides. They must be sensible that they are not worthy that God should have mercy on them. They come to God as beggars” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p56).

“It becomes us to be humbled into the dust; yet our grief, though it cannot be too great, may be under a wrong direction; and if it leads us to impatience or distrust, it certainly is so” John Newton (ref#322, p180).

“[Oh, T]hat I may know and love thee above all things; and above all things loathe and abhor myself. Grant that I may be so ravished in the wonder and love of thee, that I may forget myself and all things, feel neither prosperity nor adversity, may not fear to suffer all the pains of this world. Oh! Let me find thee more inwardly and verily present with me than I am with myself” Herny Scougal (ref#321, p144).

“[W]e are naturally prone to attribute everything to our human flesh, unless we have, as it were, object lessons of our stupidity, we easily form an exaggerated notion of our strength, and we take for granted that, whatever hardships may happen, we will remain invincible” John Calvin (ref#313, p47).

God Our Refuge

Dear Refuge of my weary soul,

On thee, when sorrows rise,

On thee, when waves of trouble roll,

My fainting hope relies.

[To thee I tell each rising grief,

For thou alone canst heal’

Thy word can bring a sweet relief

For every pain I feel.]

But O! when gloomy doubts prevail,

I fear to call thee mine;

The springs of comfort seem to fail,

And all my hopes decline.

Yet, gracious God, where shall I flee?

Thou art my only trust;

And still my soul would cleave to thee,

Though prostrate in the dust.

[Hast thou not bid me seek thy face,

And shall I seek in vain?

And can the ear of sovereign grace

Be deaf when I complain?

No; still the ear of sovereign grace

Attends the mourner’s prayer;

O may I ever find access

To breathe my sorrows there!]

Thy mercy-seat is open still;

Here let my soul retreat;

With humble hope attend thy will,

And wait beneath thy feet.

A. Steele (ref#224, Song #136)


“[T]he most heavily laden branches bow the lowest down” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p132).

GOD has to continue afflicting us because every minute we are un-afflicted we head toward pride, forgetting who rules the world. When un-afflicted we revel in our accomplishments.

“When you discipline us for our sins, you consume like a moth what is precious to us” (Ps 39:11 NLT)!

“This vanity [God] cannot better repress than by proving to us from experience not only our folly, but also our extreme frailty. Therefore he afflicts us with humiliation, or poverty, or loss of relatives, or disease, or other calamities” John Calvin (ref#313, p47).

 “[T]he Lord himself, as he deems fit, uses the cross to oppose, restrain, and subdue the arrogance of our flesh” John Calvin (ref#313, p53).

“[T]he Lord, by pain, sickness, and disappointments weakens our attachment to this world, and makes the thought of quitting it more familiar and more desirable” John Newton (ref#322, p173).

“Take up your own daily cross. It is the burden best suited for your shoulder, and will prove most effective in making you perfect. Down meddlesome self and proud impatience! It is not for you, but only for the Lord of Love, to choose!

Trials must and will befall—

But with humble faith to see

Love inscribed upon them all;

This is happiness to me” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 11th PM).


“In every age and in every land, God’s messengers have been called upon to meet bitter opposition from those who deliberately chose to reject the light of heaven” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p179).

“So great is the insensibility of men that they cannot be aroused unless they are chastised and made to feel the blows” John Calvin (ref#164, April 9th).

“The furnace is a necessary process of sanctification. If not, why has God ordered it? It is necessary to purify the heart, to refine the affections, to chasten the soul, to wean it from an empty world, to draw it from the creature, and to center it in God. Blessed indeed is anything that makes sin more exceedingly sinful; that weans and draws away from earth; that endears Jesus and that makes the soul a partaker of His holiness” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 7th).

“You are not sick, lonely, or sorrowing because there is wrath in God, for all that wrath was borne by your redeeming Savior. You are in your situation because God is love. Jesus bore away the curse and the sin so that God now brims the cup He emptied with a love that passes knowledge” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 3rd).

“He has appointed that sanctification should be effected, and sin mortified, not at once completely, but by little and little; and doubtless he has wise reasons for it. Therefore, though we are to desire a growth in grace, we should, at the same time not be discouraged or despond, because we feel that conflict” John Newton (ref#322, p181).

“[T]he Lord tries us by adversities so that our salvation may thereby gradually advance. Those evils that do in a manner promote our happiness then cannot render us miserable. [W]e are pressed and seem to be nearly consumed, we do not yet cease to feel God’s favor toward us. Grace that can teach us patience in tribulation is certainly amazing” John Calvin (ref#164, July 30th).


“We need to learn that chastisement is a part of His great plan and that under the rod of affliction the Christian may sometimes do more for the Master than when engaged in active service” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p481).

[A] person who suffers but remains unswervingly true to God brings glory to God in such a grand way that the suffering is not only permissible but also justifiable” Doug Newton (ref#166, p79).

“’My grace is sufficient for thee’ (2 Cor 12:9). The tried believer must always remember that supporting grace, during trial, is a greater mercy that the removal of the trial itself. The Lord Jesus did seem to say to His servant Paul, ‘I do not see that it would be for your good to grant your prayer, but I will enable you to bear the infirmity without complaining: I will so support you and so manifest my strength in your weakness and my all-sufficiency in your nothingness, that you will not desire its removal’” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 24th).

“God’s love is more seen in comforting and strengthening under trouble, than in delivering from it” James Fraser of Brea (ref#333, p236).

“It is God’s recognition of the saint’s inner conflict as an indispensable process of discipline, as a development of the contrast between light and darkness, as an exhibition of the way in which God is glorified in the infirmities of His saints, and in their contests with the powers of evil” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p69).

“[I]t is in their tribulations that the saints give forth their excellencies” Gregory the Great (ref#333, p37).

“Jesus did not pray that you would be taken out of the world. It is far better to meet the difficulty in the Lord’s strength and to glorify Him in it. The enemy is always on watch to detect inconsistency in your conduct; therefore, be very holy. Remember that the eyes of all are on you, and that more is expected from you than from other men” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Sept 5th AM).


“[Y]ou have been fully forgiven, but you have not yet been completely rebuilt into all that grace will make you. The cross of Jesus guarantees that all broken things will be fixed, but they are not fixed yet. So as I bask in the complete forgiveness that I have been given and enjoy freedom from the anxiety that I will not measure up, I cannot live unwisely. One danger (sin) still lives inside me and another (temptation) still lurks outside me, so I am still a person in daily and desperate need of grace. Forgiveness is complete. Final restoration is yet to come. Knowing you live in between the two is the key to a restful and wise Christian life” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, May 21st).

“[God’s] discipline is never the result of his rejection, but the fruit of his acceptance” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Nov 1st).

“His discipline is not teaching you what to do to earn your place as one of his children; his careful, loving discipline actually proves that you are one of his children” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, March 20th).

“[Our fathers] disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but [God] disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb 12:10-11 ESV).

“The Spirit does not remove our ‘infirmities,’ any more than the Lord took away Paul’s thorn in the flesh; but He enables us to bear them” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p145).

“[T]hrough many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22 ESV).

“It was never designed by God, when He chose His people, that they should be an untried people. They were never chosen for worldly peace and earthly joy” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, March 8th AM).

“If we forget to live at the foot of the cross in deepest lowliness of spirit, God will not forget to make us suffer under His rod” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, March 6th, PM).


A universal desire of GOD’s depraved creation is to be settled—to find a place we deem safe and secure and make every attempt to remain there. The draw for finding such a place is that there is no need for GOD. We are able to command ourselves and reject our Creator, GOD. This tendency is natural in us all.

“The [tower of] Babel enterprise is all about human independence and self-sufficiency apart from God, The builders believe that they have no need of God” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p69).

And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower. And the LORD said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them” (Gen 11:5-6 ESV).

Ever since GOD kicked Adam out of the Garden of Eden, so that he would not eat from the tree of life and live forever in his sinful state, GOD has had to direct man away from his destructive ways.

Since the beginning GOD has had to intervene into our lives to cause us to change course. GOD—the GOD of love—must move us away from pursuing our comfort. His thoughts are far better for us than our thoughts for ourselves. So thus, we come to the topic of “affliction.”

Oswald Chambers touched on this subject: “We command what we are able to explain, consequently it is natural to seek to explain” (ref#7, July 18th).

This concept shows itself in a frightening way in our churches. Too many pew sitters are quick to study the Bible and learn church protocols—even immerse themselves in Christian service but are not inclined to pursue a relationship with JESUS, the Church’s Head.

The very base answer for GOD allowing affliction is to destroy our self-confidence while He works out a change in our nature. He continually moves us toward a new creature—one that we will eventually put our entire trust in living under His rule.

“Moab, you are like wine left to settle undisturbed, never poured from jar to jar. But now, I will send enemies to pour out the wine and smash the jars. I know about your pride, and how you strut and boast. But I also know bragging will never save you. So I will cry and mourn for Moab” (Jer 48:11-12; 29-31 CEV).

The following posts explain and encourage us as we face affliction. They will continue until November, LORD willing.


“[J]ust as [I have] done nothing for [my] justification, so [I] need do nothing for [my] sanctification.” Watchman Nee (ref#387, p58). I need to do nothing but to live life ‘in CHRIST’—to work out what CHRIST has put in.

All my problems stem from unbelief. I choose to trust myself instead of GOD. As soon as I begin to work things out myself satan comes to help me. I get overwhelmed, discouraged, anxious, miserable, etc., because my inadequate flesh and my archenemy hands me failure. My unbelief, causing me to trust myself, brings me to a fruitless exercise of control.

In trusting myself as I walk toward complete sanctification I am preoccupied with gaining victory over my sin. But GOD’s way is to remove me, the sinner that is dealing with sin.

“God sets [me] free from the dominion of sin, not by strengthening [my] old man but by crucifying him. Such a discovery brings human striving and self-effort to an end” Watchman Nee (ref#387, p54)—if…if I believe by giving myself completely and constantly over to GOD’s rule satan will have no grounds to accuse.  

Belief in JESUS means I am ‘in CHRIST.’

“Some of us have tried very hard to get rid of [the]sinful life, but we have found it most tenacious; What is the way out? It is not by trying to kill ourselves, but by recognizing that God has dealt with us in Christ” Watchman Nee (ref#387, p43).

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”(Gal 2:20 ESV).

“A Christian is one who has been ‘crucified with Christ,’ who has died with Him, been buried with Him, risen with Him, ascended with Him, and is seated ‘in heavenly places’ with Him” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p10).

“Christians [are] kept by being ‘in Christ,’ [by being] totally identified with him, [by] being actually his ‘spiritual body’ James Burton Coffman (ref#388).

“Chosen, called, quickened, washed, sanctified, and justified by God Himself, we are in no sense our own deliverers. The quarry out of which the marble comes is His; the marble itself is His, the digging and hewing and polishing are His; He is the sculptor and we the statue” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p11).  My sanctification is all GOD’s work; I am just the marble He digs, hews, and polishes. This represents me working out my salvation.