COMING TO GOD AS BEGGARS

“[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)

KILLING PRIDE

“[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).

REASONS FOR CONFLICT

“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).

SUFFERING THAT GLORIFIES GOD

“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).

UNDERSTANDING DISCIPLINE

“[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).

SECURITY

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.