GOD COMFORTS THE DISCONSOLATE

“God comforts the disconsolate—he has an infinite counterbalance of consolation, joy, and hope. Does He wound? It is to heal. Does He cause deep sorrow? It is to turn that sorrow into a deeper joy. Does He empty? It is to fill. Does He cast down? It is to lift up again. Such is the love that moves Him, such is the wisdom that guides him, and such too is the purpose secured in the Lord’s disciplinary conduct with His people” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 17th).

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. It is true that we often cannot see the connection between the adversity and God’s purpose. It should be enough for us however, to know that He sees the connection and the end result He intends” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p233).

“[T]he principle of true devotion is that God alone is the Guide and Ruler of all prosperity and adversity, and that he is never in undue haste, but that he distributes all good and evil with the most equal justice Ps 79:13” John Calvin (ref#313, p44).

“Jesus is the great physician. [A]ll his commands are meant to make us well and happy. If they have some painful side effects, that is not because the doctor is unkind or unwise. It is because the disease is so bad that severe medicines may be required. Every command from Jesus is meant for our good” John Piper (ref#220, p241).

“[S]aints thrive most internally, when they are most externally afflicted. Afflictions lift up the soul to more rich, clear, and full enjoyments of God. ‘Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her’ (Hos 2:14), or rather, as the Hebrew has it, ‘I will earnestly or vehemently speak to her heart.’ God makes afflictions to be but inlets to the soul’s more sweet and full enjoyment of His blessed self” Thomas Brooks (ref#225, Dec 17th).

“I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder” (2 Tim 4:1-2 MSG). “[A]ccept the hard times along with the good” (2 Tim 4:3-5 MSG). “[H]e’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming” (2 Tim 4:6-8 MSG).

“Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. [E]verything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die” (Phil 1:18-21 MSG).

LEAN UPON CHRIST

“If you would not be taken in any of Satan’s snares, then engage not against Satan in your own strength, but be every day drawing new virtue and strength from the Lord Jesus” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p36).

“[Y]our strength to stand and overcome must not be expected from graces received, but from the fresh and renewed influences of heaven. You must lean more upon Christ than upon your duties. You must lean more upon Christ than upon spiritual tastes and discoveries. You must lean more upon Christ than upon your graces, or else Satan will lead you into captivity” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p36).

“Believers are compared to earthen vessels, liable in themselves to be destroyed by a small blow; but they are so strengthened and tempered by the power and supply of divine grace that the fiercest efforts of their fiercest enemies against them may be compared to the dashing of waves against a rock. And that this may be known and noticed, they are exposed to many trials. But the united and repeated assaults of the men of the world and the powers of darkness afford but the more incontestable demonstration that the Lord is with them” John Newton (ref#376, p20).

“Christ will not fail you. He may permit, for wise and holy ends, the messenger of Satan to buffet you; but He will restrain the enemy, permitting him to go so far and no farther, and will make good His promise: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Co 12:9). This very temptation of your soul may make you better acquainted with Christ than ever. For this end, doubtless, He permits it” Octavius Winslow (ref#381, p45).

“God does deal with us as a loving but firm father deals with his children. He accepts us unconditionally because we are His sons and daughters in Christ, but He disciplines us for our good. And in the administering of His discipline He withholds the assurance of His forgiveness until we, through repentance, are ready to receive it” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p206).

“In a little while, He will come and complete the victory begun in Paradise, continued in the wilderness, renewed on the cross, carried on through the long history of His church, and consummated in the day of His personal, glorious, and triumphant appearing. Tempted child of God! Take heart! Look up” Octavius Winslow (ref#381, p46)!

OVERCOMING SIN BY PRAYER

“There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, I am utterly bowed down and prostrate” (Ps 38:3-6 ESV).

“If you would not be taken in any of Satan’s snares, then be much in prayer. Prayer is a shelter to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to the devil” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p36).

“Take your temptation, drag the tempter to the throne of grace, and you are safe! Communion with God will put to flight all the hosts of hell” Octavius Winslow (ref#381, p44).

“If you would not be taken with any of Satan’s snares and devices, then keep up your communion with God. A soul high in communion with God may be tempted but will not easily be conquered. Communion with God furnisheth the soul with the greatest and the choicest arguments to withstand Satan’s temptations. Communion is a reciprocal exchange between Christ and a gracious soul” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p35).

“[A] neglected prayer life is the beginning of all spiritual decline. [T]he affections have been set on the things of earth, instead of on the things of heaven” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Aug 11th AM).

“[I]f you fall from your communion with God, you will, as others do, fall before the face of every temptation” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p35).

SATAN’S HATRED

“Satan, is ever awake and walking his rounds, seeking whom he may surprise. And if Satan be always awake, it is dangerous for the Christina at any time to be spiritually asleep; that is, secure and careless. The saint’s sleeping time is Satan’s tempting time” William Gurnall (ref#378, p26).

“Satan is full of envy and enmity, and that makes him very studious to suit his snares and plots to the tempers, constitutions, fancies and callings of men, so that he may make them as miserable as himself”Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p31).

“He hates the Lord’s people, grudges them all their privileges and all their comforts, and will do what he can to disquiet them because he cannot prevail against them” John Newton (ref#376, p18).

“Satan and his horde of devils are highly skilled in the art of temptation, and they excel at persuading believers to sin, and then accusing the same believers before God, mercilessly tormenting their consciences. It is a hideous process with profound consequences” Jeff Pollard (ref#372).

“Though sin wars, it shall not reign; and though it breaks our peace, it cannot separate from his love” John Newton (ref#322, p132).

SCRIPTURE

“Let us learn from this single fact if we learn nothing else. [T]he high authority of the Bible and the immense value of a knowledge of its contents. Let us read it, search into it, pray over it, diligently, perseveringly, unweariedly. Let us strive to be so thoroughly acquainted with its pages that its text may abide in our memories and stand ready at our right hand in the day of need. The Bible is indeed a sword, but we must take heed that we know it well if we would use it with effect” J.C. Ryle (ref#374, p13).

“Learn to meet Satan’s suggestions, to answer his arguments, and to repel his temptations by the ‘sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God’ . . .He too can quote and apply Scripture, only to misquote and misapply it” Octavius Winslow (ref#381, p42).

“Our whole life is beset with temptations. Satan watches all opportunities to break our peace, to wound our consciences, to lessen our comforts, to impair our graces, to slur our evidences, and to damp our assurances, etc. Oh! What need, then, have we to be always upon our watchtower so that we keep close to God and His Word” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p35).

“Lend not your ear for a moment to a temptation that comes clad in Scripture authority. Suspect Satan. The Word of God is very pure. It is on the side of holiness, of uprightness, of goodness, of love. It teaches the protection, the sufficiency, and the sympathy of Jesus. It unfolds many exceeding great and precious promises; announces many gracious and free invitations; and it is designed to support the tempted, to comfort the mourner, to soothe the sorrowful, to hold out the promise of pardon to the guilty, salvation to the lost, and to reveal the hope of glory to all those who humbly and simply believe in Christ. The moment, then, beloved, that a text of God’s Word is suggested to your thoughts in favor of sin, of distrust of God, of disbelief of Christ, of self-injury, repel it” Octavius Winslow (ref#381, p42-43).

“If you would not be taken by any of Satan’s devices, then walk by rule [of the Word]. When men throw off the Word, then God throws them off; then, Satan takes them by the hand and leads them into snares at his pleasure. He that thinks himself too good to be ruled by the Word will be found too bad to be owned by God” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p32).

“Labor to remember what you read, Satan would steal the Word out of your mind. [R]eading brings a truth into our head, meditation brings it into our heart. The only cause why you forget so fast as you hear is because you went from sermon to dinner, and never thought any more of the matter” Henry Smith (ref#225, p246).

“He Who was ‘fully of the Holy Ghost’ was yet not ashamed to make the Holy Scripture His weapon of defense and His rule of action” J.C. Ryle (ref#374, p13).

OVERCOMING SIN WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

“The Holy Spirit strengthens us to holiness first by enabling us to see our need of holiness. He enlightens our understanding so that we begin to see God’s standard of holiness. Then he causes us to become aware of our specific areas of sin” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p72).

“Though you become greatly sanctified by the Holy Spirit, expect that the great dog of hell will still bark at you” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Feb 20th PM).

“As you would not be taken with any of Satan’s devices, take heed of vexing and grieving the Holy Spirit of God. It is the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ that is best able to discover Satan’s snares against us. Man is a weak creature and no way able to discover Satan’s snares nor to avoid them, unless the Spirit of the Lord gives skill and power” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p32).

“If you would not be taken with any of Satan’s devices, then labor to be filled with the Spirit. It is not enough that you have the Spirit, but you must be filled with the Spirit; or else Satan, that evil spirit, will be too hard for you, and his plots will prosper against you. [L]abor for abundance of the Spirit” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p33).

“The Spirit of the Lord is your counselor, your comforter, your upholder, your strengthener. It is only the Spirit that makes a man too great for Satan to conquer: ‘Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world’” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p33).

“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:13 ESV).

“We are controlled not by our sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in us. ‘Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature’ (Galatians 5:16)” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p71).

He has given us His Holy Spirit to live within us. [T]his is another way of looking at our union with Christ, for His Spirit is the agent of this union. It is He who gives spiritual life and the strength to live that life. It is the Spirit of God who works in us that we may decide and act according to God’s good purpose (Philippians 2:13)” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p71).

ASSURANCES

CHECK YOURSELF AGAIN

 “To have grace, and to be sure we have grace…is heaven on this side of heaven.” Thomas Brooks

“Is your belief genuine?…You may be self-proclaimed among His people here on the earth, but you may have to taste of death when the Lord comes.  You may deceive them, but you cannot deceive Him” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p34).

“Do not be too bold or too quick, you who say you are Christ’s.  Never be satisfied until you are absolutely sure.  The best way to be sure is to go again, just as you went at first, and seize eternal life through the power of the blessed Spirit and not by any strength of your own…Get alone with Jesus and…tell Him that at all costs you want to be identified with His death….” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p34-35).

“The divine order…is first pardon, then holiness; first peace with God, and then conformity to the image of …God….For…likeness to God is produced by beholding His glory (2 Cor 3:18), and as we cannot look upon Him till we know that He has ceased to condemn us, and as we cannot trust Him till we know that He is gracious; so we cannot be transformed into His image till we have received pardon at His hands.  Reconciliation is indispensable to resemblance; personal friendship must begin a holy life….first peace, then holiness—peace is the foundation of holiness…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p32).

“The evidence that believers are in Christ is that the power of sin has been broken in their lives by the work of the Holy Spirit” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2170, [Rom 8:2]).  “The proof that your old man is crucified with Christ is the amazing ease with which the life of God in you enables you to obey the voice of Jesus Christ” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 23rd).

“Commit yourself totally into His hands, so that you may be as sure of your salvation as of your existence” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p95).

 “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Rom 8:16 ESV).