FEAR

“[D]on’t take the pressure of forethought upon yourself. It is not only wrong to worry, it is infidelity, because worrying means that we do not think that God can look after the practical details of our lives, and it is never anything else that worries us” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 23rd).

“Let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread, for the LORD your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory” (Deut 20:3-4 ESV).

“God tries our faith by adversity, it follows that no one truly confides in God but he who is armed with invincible constancy for resisting the fears with which he may be assailed” John Calvin (ref#164, Feb 11th).

“Sometimes fear does not subside and one must choose to do it afraid” Elizabeth Elliot.

“If we give way to foolish fear, we will dishonor our profession of faith and lead others to doubt the reality of godliness. We ought to be afraid of being afraid, lest we vex the Holy Spirit by foolish distrust” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 22nd PM).

“All the poverty and pain in the world would be powerless if the evil of it did not enter into the soul and distress it.” Charles Spurgeon (ref#310, p163).

There are two kinds of fear: paralyzing fear and energizing fear. Paralyzing fear comes to people who have no relationship with GOD when they recognize His authority over them.

Without some comprehension of GOD everything we do is a self-help project. When we are not close to GOD we become comfortable with ourselves and go about our daily business of setting goals and evaluating ourselves. But energizing fear makes us cast aside our predetermined plans and make an all-out effort to stay close to GOD. Eugene Peterson (ref#58, p30).

No wonder CHRIST’s delight was the ‘fear of the LORD’ (Isa 11:3). As Son of Man, He needed His FATHER, minute by minute; His energized fear kept Him receiving miracle after miracle that filled Him with joy as well as moved Him through His earthly life accomplishing His FATHER’s will. Energizing fear, obedience, and joy come bundled together.

“[L]et us lift up our banner in his name, and press on through every discouragement” John Newton (ref#322, p182).

THE THREE IN THE FURNACE

“’O LORD, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. [W]e will stand and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save’” (2 Chron 20:6,9 ESV).

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up’” (Dan 3:16-18 ESV).

“There was no doubt as to God’s power to save [the three]. Yet the way in which God would work out his plan was less clear. God’s power is sometimes extended in dramatic ways to deliver his people, as when he parted the Red Sea. [A]t other times, that same power is withheld, and his people are allowed to suffer” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1592).

“The Lord’s power as readily controls the rage of the wicked as the rage of the sea” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Aug 12th AM).

Prayer Meeting

Behold, dear Lord, we come again,

To supplicate thy grace;

We feel our leanness and our wants;

We want to see thy face.

Thou know’st, dear Lord, for what we’re come;

Each heart is known to thee.

Lord, give our burdened spirits rest,

And bid us all go free.

We’ve nothing of our own to plead,

We come just as we are;

And who can tell but God may bless,

And drive away our fear?

While one is pleading with our God,

May each one wrestle too;

And may we feel the blessing come,

And cheer us ere we go.

Then shall we sing of sovereign grace

And feel its power within;

And glory in our Surety, Christ,

Who bore our curse and sin.

For this we come, for this we plead,

In spite of every foe;

Until thou give this blessing, Lord,

We would not let thee go

D. Herbert (ref#224, song #677).

TRIALS CANNOT INJURE THE SOUL

“Love is when God gets you to God” John Piper. And most often He does that through tribulation.

“The normal person simply doesn’t esteem the spiritual value of hardship. They say they believe in the truths of Scripture, but they live in an unspoken state of disappointment, irritation, impatience, or frustration with God. The trials in our lives exist not because he has forgotten us but because he remembers us and is changing us by his grace” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, June 17th).

“He who reads the hearts of men knows their weaknesses better than they themselves can know them. He sees that some have qualifications which, if rightly directed, could be used in the advancement of His work. In His providence He brings these souls into different positions and varied circumstances, that they may discover the defects that are concealed from their own knowledge. He gives them opportunity to overcome these defects and to fit themselves for service. Often He permits the fires of affliction to burn, that they may be purified” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p524).

“Let us remember that these outward trials cannot injure the soul, that they last only for a time, and that they are working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Cor 4:17)” Charles Ross (ref#241, p154).

“We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything” (2 Cor 6:8-10 ESV).

“The truth is, persecution of the godly [is] of God, and never intended for [men’s] destruction, but for their glory; to make them shine the more when they are beyond [the] valley of the shadow of death. God will have the spirit of His servants kept sound. [T]he ground that the enemy has to play upon [is] the body and outward substance of the people of God. The spirit is reserved that it might be capable of maintaining communion with God” John Bunyan (ref#225, Jan 10th).

“How God loves: by doing everything He has to do, like remove every obstacle, to bring me to the place where I make much of Him” John Piper

MY REFUGE FROM AFFLICTION

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be” C.S. Lewis

“Even though you’re a person of faith who has acquired some degree of biblical literacy and theological knowledge, there’s one thing you can be sure of—God will confuse you. Your theology will give you only a limited ability to exegete your experiences. The commands, principles, and case studies of Scripture will take you only so far in our quest to figure out your life. There will be moments when you simply don’t understand what is going on. In fact, you will face moments when what the God who has declared himself to be good brings into your life won’t seem good. You need to remind yourself again and again of his wise and loving control, not because that will immediately make your life make sense, but because it will give you rest and peace when life doesn’t seem to make any sense” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Jan 14th).

“[W]hatever befalls us is according to his purpose, and therefore must be right and seasonable in itself, and shall in the issue be productive of good” John Newton (ref#322, p137).

“[God] will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD” (Mal 3:3 ESV).

“[H]e disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” (Heb 12:10 ESV).

“Nothing teaches us the preciousness of the Creator as much as when we discover the emptiness of everything else” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 19th PM).

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever” (Phil 4:19-20 ESV).

“[I]n all circumstances meditate on the mercy and fatherly goodness of God” John Calvin (ref#313, p43).

GOD’S CONTROL IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES

“[C]onsider those who patiently remain under their trials spiritually prosperous and fortunate. You heard of the patience of Job, how he patiently remained under the trials to which he was subjected, and you saw the consummation [of those trials] brought about by the Lord, that the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11 Wuest).

[M]y salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed. Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their reviling” (Isa 51:6-7 ESV).

“O let my trembling soul be still,

And wait Thy wise, Thy holy will!

I cannot, Lord, Thy purpose see,

Yet all is well since ruled by Thee” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, May 22nd AM).

“[A]lways pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1 ESV). “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night” (Luke 18:7 ESV).

“[W]hatever God does endures forever, nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts” (Ecc 3:14,18 ESV).

“He gave us friends; in love He has removed them. In goodness He blessed us with health; in goodness He has taken it away. Yet this is the way along which He is conducting us to glory” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Jan 31st).

HOW GOD BRINGS ABOUT HIS PURPOSE IN AFFLICTION

[T]he whole soul, ensnared by the allurements of the flesh, seeks its happiness on the earth. To meet this disease, the Lord makes his people sensible of the vanity of the present life, by a constant proof of its miseries” John Calvin (ref#113, p465)

“He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity” (Job 36:15 ESV).

“[O]ur suffering is never purposeless, blind, unfair, or random. [I]n the midst of adversity he is working out his gracious plans for us (2 Cor 4:17-18). [T]he Savior is the only innocent one to ever suffer” Bob Kauflin (ref#199, p132).

“When difficulty exposes the weakness of your resolve and the limits of your strength, you do not have to panic, because he will endure even in those moments when you don’t feel able to do so yourself” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Jan 12th).

“[God’s children] were kept walking humbly with [Him], and this was the secret of their safety. God can bring His servant from the loftiest height to the lowest depth of adversity, yet love him still with an unchanged and deathless affection” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 14th).

“In your distress you called and [God] rescued you, [He] answered you” (Ps 81:7 NIV).

If I don’t buffet my body GOD will do it for me through His discipline.

“Bright is the oasis that blooms in the wilderness of sand. When the Israelites provoked the Most High by their continued idolatry, He punished them by withholding both dew and rain, so that their land was visited by a sore famine. But while He did this, He took care that His own chosen ones would be secure. If all other brooks are dry, yet will there be one reserved for Elijah; and when that fails, God will still preserve for him a place of sustenance; No, not only for one, because the Lord did not have simply one ‘Elijah,’ but He had a remnant according to the election of grace, who were hidden by fifties in a cave; and though the whole land was subject to famine, yet these fifties in the cave were fed, and fed from Ahab’s table, too, by His faithful, God-fearing steward, Obadiah. Let us from this draw the inference: come what may, God’s people are safe” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, July 6th AM).

“Great tempest, great calm; God proportions the comfort to the affliction” Pasquier Quesnel (ref#333, p225).

SUFFERING – WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE

“The heavenly Physician takes care of the well-being of all his patients; he gives some a milder medicine and purifies others by more shocking treatments, but he omits no one; for the whole world without exception, is ill” John Calvin (ref#313, p53-54).

“[Let] no one be moved by afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this” (1 Thes 3:3 ESV).

“God has appointed who shall suffer. Suffering comes not by chance but by the will and appointment of God. We are apt to forget God when affliction comes, and to think it strange that those that fear God should suffer (1 Pet 4:12). God has appointed when they shall suffer. The people of God, are not in the hands of their enemies, but in the hand of God. God has appointed where this, that, or the other good man shall suffer. Moses and Elias, when they appeared on the holy mount, told Jesus of the suffering which He should accomplish at Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the place assigned for Christ to suffer. God has appointed what kind of sufferings this or that saint shall undergo at this place, and at such a time. God said He would show Paul beforehand how great things he should suffer for His sake (Acts 9:16)” John Bunyan (ref#225, Oct 17th).

[God’s] eye is upon you; he has appointed bounds both to the degree and the duration of the trial; and he does and will afford you such supports, that you shall not be tried beyond what you are enabled to bear. I doubt not but your conflicts and sorrows will in due time terminate in praise and victory, and be sanctified to your fuller establishment in the truth” John Newton (ref#322, p167).

“Our sufferings as to the nature of them, are all written down in God’s book; and though the writing seems as unknown characters to us, yet God understands them very well” John Bunyan (ref#225, Oct 17th).

GOD’S PURPOSE IN AFFLICTION

“God loves to show off his greatness by being an inexhaustible source of strength to build weak people up. His exuberance in delighting in the welfare of his servant is the measure of the immensity of his resources” John Piper (ref#220, p186).

“[A]ll afflictions are God’s rod, and therefore there is no remedy for them other than God’s grace” John Calvin (ref#164, March 17th).

“If God intended for all the days of your life to be easy, they would be. No, in grace, he intends for your days to be his tools of refinement” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, April 22nd).

“Our sins have been forgiven. We’ve been bought by the blood of the Savior. We’ve become part of God’s family, destined to become like Christ. God is now using our trials to accomplish his good and redemptive purposes in us (Romans 8:28-29)” Bob Kauflin (ref#199, p131).

“In the upbuilding of His work the Lord does not always make everything plain before His servants. He sometimes tries the confidence of His people by bringing about circumstances which compel them to move forward in faith. Often He brings them into strait and trying places, and bids them advance. It is at such times, when the prayers of His servants ascend to Him in earnest faith, that God opens the way before them and brings them out into a large place” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p357).

“Behold, I will refine them and test them, for what else can I do” (Jer 9:7 ESV).

“[H]e will purge them of their sin” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1391).

“He that suffers for righteousness’ sake suffers by the order and design of God. It is not what enemies will, but what God wills, and what God appoints, that shall be done” John Bunyan (ref#225, Oct 17th).

CONDITIONS THAT CREATE TRIBULATION

“If everything proceeded according to [our] wishes, [we] would not understand what it means to follow God” John Calvin (ref#313, p52).

“[I]f a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many” (Ecc 11:8 ESV).

“The trial exposed their true colors” (2 Cor 8:1-4 MSG).

“[H]ard suffering goes with this job” (Acts 9:15-16 MSG).

“[Y]our life is hard right now. You are being called to do difficult things. You are called to say no to feelings of discouragement and the desire to quit. You are called to persevere, doing the same good things over and over again until they become second nature to you. You are called to work with others who are going through the same hardship and you are called to submit to the wise commands of your Savior King. You will face hardship tomorrow and the day to follow, but your hardship will not last forever. Yes, there will be moments of comfort along the way—times of rest, healing, and retreat—but they will be followed by more hardship. You must face these repeated hardships because the place where you are is not your destination. No, it is a place of preparation for the final destination that is to come. Preparation is hard, but you and I aren’t ready, so we need to be made ready for the final place that will be our home” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Dec 19th).

“A Christian never falls asleep in the fire or in the water, but grows drowsy in the sunshine” John Berridge (ref#333, p281).

JESUS’ SUFFERING

“He was both the Lord’s anointed and the Lord’s afflicted” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, May 31st AM).

“It is the cross that gives God his credibility. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it” John Stott (ref#258, p63)?

“What is your sorrow, compared with Christ’s? What is your grief, gauged by your Lord’s? Your Master has passed before you, flinging the curse and the sin from your path, paving it with promises, carpeting it with love, and fencing it around with the hedge of His divine perfections. Press onward, then, resisting your foe resolutely, bearing your cross patiently, drinking your cup submissively, and learning, while sitting at the Saviour’s feet, or leaning upon His bosom, to be like Him, ‘meek and lowly in heart’” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Jan 3rd).

“[A]ll who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12 ESV).

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor 4:16-17 ESV).

“Why should our exalted Lord appear in His wounds in glory? The wounds of Jesus are His glories, His jewels, His sacred ornaments, the cross! There we behold all His beauties in perfection, all His attributes developed, all His love drawn out, all His character expressed” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 23rd PM).

“Behold how every wound of His

A precious balm distills,

Which heals the scars that sin had made,

And cures all mortal ills” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 23rd PM).

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Cor 4:8-10 ESV).