Saturday, February 11, 2012

Limitless access to God...

William Hendriksen, Eph.3:12.
“In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.”  Eph.3:12
We can and should approach Him without restraint telling Him all our troubles, asking Him to help us in all our needs.  We know that He will welcome us most heartily.  Particularly, we should ask Him to enable us so to live that the fruits of His grace may be exhibited in us, and the wisdom of God reflected in us, so that the angels may see us as the mirror of God’s virtues (v.10).  Such courage of confident access is possible only ‘through faith in Him,’ namely, in ‘Christ Jesus our Lord,’ the very One ‘in whom’ we were chosen from eternity.  God’s eternal purpose which cannot fail and the redemption accomplished by Christ Jesus our Lord make such fearless access possible.

Do Not Be Surprised at Trials and Afflictions

If we know anything of growth in grace and desire to know more, let us not be surprised if we have to go through much trial and affliction in this world. I firmly believe it is the experience of nearly all the most eminent saints. Like their blessed Master, they have been men of sorrows, acquainted with grief, and perfected through sufferings (Isa. 53:3; Heb. 2:10). It is a striking saying of our Lord, "Every branch in Me that bears fruit [my Father] purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit" (John 15:2).

It is a melancholy fact, that constant temporal prosperity, as a general rule, is injurious to a believer’s soul. We cannot stand it. Sicknesses, losses, crosses, anxieties and disappointments seem absolutely needful to keep us humble, watchful and spiritual–minded. They are as needful as the pruning knife to the vine and the refiner’s furnace to the gold. They are not pleasant to flesh and blood. We do not like them and often do not see their meaning. "No chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness" (Heb. 12:11).

We shall find that all worked for our good when we reach heaven. Let these thoughts abide in our minds, if we love growth in grace. When days of darkness come upon us, let us not count it a strange thing. Rather let us remember that lessons are learned on such days, which would never have been learned in sunshine. Let us say to ourselves, "This also is for my profit, that I may be a partaker of God’s holiness. It is sent in love. I am in God’s best school. Correction is instruction. This is meant to make me grow."

~ J.C. Ryle

On Thee, when waves of trouble roll, My fainting hope relies.

The Believer's Daily Remembrancer by James Smith
Call upon me in the day of trouble. - Psalm 50:15

Keep the straight path of duty, and if troubles come, or difficulties arise, thy God invites thee to call upon Him. He will come to thy help and bring all His boundless resources with Him.

He is always within call. His ear is never heavy, that it cannot hear; His arm is not shortened, that it cannot reach or save. He can make thy greatest troubles prove thy choicest blessings; He can give thee cause to bless Him through eternity, for thy sorest trials.

Oh, trust Him, and fear not! Run not to creatures; but, "Arise and call upon thy God." Look not to others, until thou hast proved that He cannot, or will not help; and that will never be.
His heart is too kind, His word is too faithful.

Art thou in trouble this morning? If so, you have a special invitation from thy God to pay Him a visit, and lay thy whole case before Him; expecting His sympathy, interference, and blessing; He says, "Call upon me in the time of trouble. I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." He is faithful who hath promised.

Oh, trust Him, for so you honour Him; expect from Him, and you cannot be disappointed. Wait for Him, and you shall not be ashamed.

Dear refuge of my weary soul
On Thee, when sorrows rise,
On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies.

Beloved, let us then go forward into the future, leaning on our beloved; and let us rejoice in the fact that though we do not know what may befall us — yet he knows! And so deep is his interest in us, that he will not allow anything to harm us — but will cause all things to work together for our good.

Ignorance of the Future
James Smith, 1856
"Not knowing what will happen to me." Acts 20:22
"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth!" Proverbs 27:1
Though the apostle was inspired by the Holy Spirit, there were some things which he could not do, and some things which he did not know. He could not heal Trophimus, so he left him at Miletus, sick; and he was now going up to Jerusalem — but he did not know what would happen to him there. He knew in general, that in every city he would suffer persecution — but with the particular results of this journey he was not acquainted.
It is just so with us, for we do not know what a day may bring forth. We are ignorant of the future!
It may be prosperous — or it may be adverse.
We may suffer much from sickness — or we may enjoy sound health.
We may meet with accidents — or we may be graciously preserved from them.
We may be losers by calamity or wicked men — or God may set a hedge about us, as he did about Job.
We may be bereaved of our children, other near relatives or dear friends — or we may soon be summoned by death to appear before God ourselves!
What may be our lot in future — we do not know. We are profoundly ignorant of it. But all is arranged — and arranged by our good, gracious, and infinitely wise God. Nothing is left to 'chance'. Still, all is hidden from us, and this is in order to prevent carnal security on the one hand, and despair on the other. We should never feel secure, or say with Job, "I shall die in my nest!" Nor with David, "My mountain stands strong, I shall never be moved!" But rather attend to the admonition of Paul, "Let him who thinks he stands, take heed — lest he fall."
Neither should we despair, for the darkest night may usher in a bright and beautiful morning. The late and cold spring may introduce an abundant and glorious harvest. The sharp winter may end in a lovely summer. To despair is to sin; whether it be in reference to providence or grace. The God of providence is abundant in goodness; and the God of grace is rich in mercy unto all who call upon him.
To doubt the goodness of God is to question the excellency of his nature and the truth of his promises; to despair of the  mercy of God is to reflect upon the merit of Jesus, and the love, the infinite love, of the Father's heart.
All events are so ordered by our God as to encourage confidence, hope, and prayer. God alone, as revealed in Jesus, should be our confidence. We may trust in him. We ought to trust in him. We must trust in him — or be wretched. We should hope, for our God requires it, encourages it, and rewards it. We never can sink too low to hope. Our circumstances can never be such as to forbid hope. We should pray; pray for all that we need, and against all that we fear. Prayer will be found to be . . .
 a relief in trouble,
 a solace in sorrow, and
 a medium of blessing to our souls.
Whatever may happen in the future, into whatever circumstances we may be brought — we should exercise confidence in God, hope still in his mercy, and plead earnestly at his throne of grace, believing that he has ordered all things in love, arranged all in infinite wisdom, and will overrule all for our ultimate good. "My times are in your hands!" Psalm 31:15
What should our ignorance of the future produce? It very frequently produces what it ought not. As for instance, it produces  anxiety. Because we do not know exactly what is appointed for us, or for our families, we are full of anxiety respecting them. This is wrong, decidedly wrong!
If God was not infinitely good,
 or if he were not a father to us,
 or if he had not made so many great and precious promises,
 or if he had not bidden us cast all our cares upon him —
 then - we might have cause to be anxious. But to be anxious now, is sin. The holy apostle says, "I want you to be without concerns."
Because we are ignorant of the future, we sometimes become depressed, and give way to gloom or despondency. Nothing can be more dishonourable to God, or injurious to us! To despond, when perhaps the future may be bright and beautiful. To give way to gloom, when we are assured that the grace of Jesus is sufficient for us, and that his strength shall be made perfect in our weakness.
Our ignorance of the future should produce simple dependence upon God. Realizing the fact, that I do not know what is before me, or even what would be best for me — I shall . . .
 lean on the Lord's arm,
 trust in the Lord's Word,
 depend on the Lord's faithfulness,
 and leave all to the Lord's love.
I may well depend on him — after he has safely led so many through the roughest paths and greatest difficulties. I may well depend on him, when I know that he has never failed or forsaken those who trust in him, and has pledged his Word that he never will. Yes, I should exercise a simple, child-like dependence on God, in every step of my journey through this desert land.
Our ignorance of the future should check presumption. We are prone to speculate and presume. We are often misled by appearances. We sometimes lose sight of our own weakness. We forget that our adversary the devil goes about as a roaring lion, and that we are ignorant of his devices. Like Israel, we proceed in a certain course without a divine warrant, we go against the foe in our own strength, or we imagine that we can manage our concerns by our own wisdom. This is presumption, and such presumption as our ignorance of the future is calculated to check!
Our ignorance of the future should prevent foreboding. I do not know God's purposes — but I should judge of them from his perfections. I do not know his pre-appointments — but I do know his promises; and therefore I should never give way to foreboding. My Saviour forbids it, and the prohibition flows from the tender love of his heart. He says to all who believe on his name, "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the  pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them! But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own!" Matthew 6:31-34
Our ignorance of the future should fix our attention on present duties. Every day brings its own duties with it; and our concern should be to perform the duties of each day, in that day. Many people, while endeavouring to pry into the future — neglect the present. The happy man lives day by day. Whatever appears to be a present duty — should have present attention. Could you visit any sick person today? Do not put it off until tomorrow. Could you relieve any person today? Delay not to do it. Could you speak or write for Jesus today? Let it be done today. Beware of delay! Never postpone a duty — if you have an opportunity to perform it, for you do not know what things may befall you.
Our ignorance of the future should lead you to prepare for the worst. If you are prepared for the worst — you may calmly and quietly meet all the rest. See to it, that you are cleansed from all guilt, that you have your wedding garment on, that your lamp is bright and burning — and then let what will befall you along the way — all will be right at the end.
Now observe, first, though we do not know what may befall us — God does, and he is our Friend, our Father, and our God. As our Friend — he will watch over us; and as our God — he will supply our need. Whatever may happen to us — we shall never be friendless, fatherless, or Godless; and, therefore, we can have no reason to be dejected or cast down.
Secondly, though we do not know what may befall us — we do know that all shall be well with us. This should satisfy us. More, it should fill us with gratitude, and excite in us the strongest confidence.
Thirdly, if we do not know how it will be with us in time — we do know how it will be with us in eternity. All will be well, and well forever then. However rough the road, however trying the journey — the rest, the peace, the pleasures of our eternal home, will more than make up for all.
There are no long, dark nights, in that perfect land.
There are no sighs or sorrows in our Father's house.
There are no trials or troubles in our Saviour's glorious kingdom.
There are no wants or woes before the eternal throne.
"Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes!" Revelation 7:16-17. It is well with them now, and so it will be with us when we have done and suffered the will of God here below.
Fourthly, nothing shall happen but what God has appointed, and will overrule. He fulfills all that is appointed for us.
There may be 'accidents' with us — but there are none with God.
Our plans may be frustrated — his never can be.
Our purposes may be broken off — but his counsel stands for ever, and the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Everything happens under his eye, and is ruled and overruled by his wisdom and power!
Finally, let the worst happen to us — we are still in union with Christ, and beloved of our God. Suppose the worst, the very worst. Enemies, trials, troubles, crosses, sickness, death itself — we may yet ask with Paul, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!" Romans 8:35-39. Glorious persuasion this! Blessed, thrice blessed confidence, thus forcibly expressed!
Beloved, let us then go forward into the future, leaning on our beloved; and let us rejoice in the fact that though we do not know what may befall us — yet he knows! And so deep is his interest in us, that he will not allow anything to harm us — but will cause all things to work together for our good.
We should suffer as Paul did, supported by the assurance that "Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands!"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Be still, my soul:

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Trusting God in His providence through Suffering: (various quotes)

* " 'They do not push one another, everyone marches in his own column' Joel 2:8. The Events of history march as a victorious legion under a skillful leader. Do not think we can order our affairs in a better style. Our good, ill, joy and grief keep their place." Spurgeon

*2 Corinthians 4: 7But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

*Romans 5: Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

* 'My suffering not only leads to greater life in those around me but in me' Timothy Keller (Be still my Soul, ed Nancy Guthrie, p 18)

*"Paul says that if Jesus can uncomplainingly submits to his infinite suffering and thereby have God's life explode into our lives and into the world, then you and I can submit to our finite suffering uncomplainingly and know the same thing will happen. Death in us will work life in us and the others around us, that is our hope." Timothy Keller (Be still my Soul, ed Nancy Guthrie, p20)

*Romans 8: 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

* "The evil that hurts us now will be the eventual servant of our joy and glory eternally"  Timothy Keller (Be still my Soul, ed Nancy Guthrie, p22)

*It is God's law that he who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop on the heart, and in our own and against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful providence of God." Reynold Price, Letter to a Man in a Fire.

*Philip Yancy quotes Dr Paul Brand as saying, "If I had one gift I could give the people who have leprosy, it would be the gift of pain. Thank God for pain." Phillip Yancy goes on to say, "By definition pain is unpleasant, so unpleasant as to force us to withdraw our finger from boiling water, lightening fast. Yet, it is that very quality that saves us from destruction. Unless the warning signal demands response, we might not heed to it. Just as physical pain is a early warning system to the brain, it is a warning system to our Soul."  (Be still my Soul, ed Nancy Guthrie, p 25)

Monday, February 6, 2012

God's child

Grace Gems again: 
(James Smith, "Our Father and Comforter")

"I will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:18

Tried Christian, you are not an orphan! You have a Father! God, in all the glory of His nature and perfections, is your Father! He has adopted you for his own. He has regenerated you by his Spirit. He has called you out of the world, and has promised to do a father's part unto you. He says, "I will be a Father unto you!"

Do you need advice? Consult your Father.

Do you need supplies? Ask them of your Father.

Are you tormented with cares? Cast them on your Father.

Are you alarmed at foes? Cry unto your Father.

Do your difficulties appear insurmountable? Appeal to your Father.

We should . . .
  exercise confidence in His love;
  trust in His Word;
  appeal to His paternal heart;
  look for our supplies from His hand.

He loves to see His children . . .
  confide in His care,
  rely on His word,
  expect His communications,
  and acquiesce in His will.

whatever trials may befall you,
whatever troubles may come upon you,
whatever enemies may rise up against you,
whatever changes may take place in your circumstances,
one thing can never befall you--you can never be fatherless; therefore you can never be friendless. You are God's child, however poor your circumstances, or trying your path.

What an unspeakable mercy!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My joy should have no regard for my circumstances...

I bought into the lie, that circumstances defines happiness. In places where despair should thrive... relationships and faith provide joy

I need Africa more than Africa needs me for it teaches me -

My joy should have no regard for my circumstances...

God chose me.....the story of Gracia Burnham

If God is for us who can be against us. Don't wait trust .... in God now! You can't base life on how you are feeling you have got to base your life on God's word!

What if your blessings come through raindrops?

What if your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're are near? What if trials of this life are mercies in disguise?

What if the greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life, is a revealing of a greater thirst this world can't be satisfy? And what if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest night are your mercies in disguise?

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel you near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if each promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win, we know
That pain reminds this hearts,
That this is not, this is not our home.....
It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

What if my greatest disappointments,
Or the aching of this life,
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy.
What if trials of this life,
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?