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

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).

PRAYER

SHORT PRAYERS ARE LONG ENOUGH

“…God is in heaven and you are on earth.  Therefore let your words be few” (Eccl 5:2 ESV).

“When you pray, rather let your heart be without words, than your words be without heart.” John Bunyan

“…prayer is fundamentally counterintuitive, we need grace to rescue us from our self-oriented religious meanderings so that, with humble hearts we may acknowledge God as the Redeemer-King and cast ourselves on his gracious care” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Mar 3rd).

“Begin in silence.  Speak with simplicity.  Listen in meekness.  Never leave without a conscious season of real communion” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p74).  “…silence is the best speech and listening is the best part of praying” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p38).

“Short prayers are long enough….Not length but strength is desirable.  A sense of need is a mighty teacher of brevity.  If our prayers had less of the tail feathers of pride and more wing, they would be all the better.  Verbiage is to devotion as chaff is to wheat” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 14th PM).

“…the prayer of the upright that delights God comes from a heart that at first feels precarious in the presence of God.  It trembles at the hearing of God’s Word, because it feels so far from God’s ideal and so vulnerable to his judgment and so helpless and so sorry for its failings….The first thing that makes a prayer acceptable to God is the brokenness and humility of the one who prays…what makes prayers pleasing to God is a felt awareness of our tremendous need for mercy….The other thing that marks the upright heart is trust in the willingness and power of God to give the mercy we need” John Piper (ref#220, p214).