I am being disciplined because I am yours.
No pain, no gain
Many times, failure can be a gateway to freedom.
Pray like Moses. Fight like Joshua.
Do not be arrogant.
For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.
Repent. Return to God.
Give to him what is rightfully his.
– Corrie ten Boom
He’s challenging me using temporary/present circumstances to mature me, so that I may have the characteristics of christ for the coming ages. I can’t disregard and compartmentalize these learning opportunities (hardships/struggles) and say that they’re just “temporary”. This mindset causes me to minimize the weight of the situation that God desires to use for His glory.
This will require of me to shift perspectives, change my attitude, learn new tools, and treasure Jesus all the more.
Pray for me. I need courage.
When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength[b] of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
If we have not caught the meaning of the tremendous moral aspect of the Atonement it is because we have never prayed this prayer, “Search me, O God.” Are we sincere enough to ask God to search us, and sincere enough to abide by what His searching reveals?
SOURCE: The Servant as His Lord
Reflections: Which of my convictions have more to do with my own personal preferences than with God’s revelation?
My utmost for his highest
How frequently am I uncomfortable for Christ’s sake?
There’s no doubt, the Why questions of suffering are utterly perplexing. And as we search the Scriptures and consider stories such as Job’s, we are tempted to see those as worst-case scenarios designed to help us get our heads straight in relation to our comparatively small “first world” problems. We look for ways to manage pain. We medicate; we minimize; we moralize. We rage, and we run. We develop theories to explain what is happening to us. While they may temporarily help us categorize and compartmentalize our thoughts and feelings, when true suffering comes, all our speculations fall flat. The Why’s of suffering keep us shrouded in a seemingly bottomless void of abstraction where God is reduced to a finite ethical agent, a limited psychological personality, whose purposes measure on the same scale as ours.
But since no one alive can see the beginning from the end, from the divine vantage point, we’re left stranded in a prison of inscrutability. And sadly, we often prefer our confinement to the disorienting possibility that our suffering is actually ordained, that God is involved in it. Ray Ortlund said:
When the righteous cannot connect the realities of their experience with the truths of God, then God is calling them to trust him that there is more to it than they can see. As with Job, there is a battle being fought in the heavenlies. Trust in God, not explanations from God, is the pathway through suffering.
Fortunately, we worship a God who is in the business of freeing captives and creating trust where there was none before. In fact, the cross tells us that He does so (and has done so) through suffering, not despite it.
Grace is available because Jesus went through the valley of the shadow of death and rose from death. The gospel engages our life with all its pain, shame, rejection, lostness, sin, and death. So now, to your pain, the gospel says, “You will be healed.” To your shame, the gospel says, “You can now come to God in confidence.” To your rejection, the gospel says, “You are accepted!” To your lostness, the gospel says, “You are found and I won’t ever let you go.” To your sin, the gospel says, “You are forgiven and God declares you pure and righteous.” To your death, the gospel says, “You once were dead, but now you are alive. (Justin Holcomb)
And let us not forget our friend Job, who was refused his Why so that he might recognize the Who. Oddly enough, even Job’s story testifies to the truth of that blessed little formula: Jesus plus nothing equals everything. Our hope is not Jesus plus an explanation as to why suffering happens or Jesus plus an explanation as to why your child or spouse is so difficult, why the cancer hasn’t gone into remission, why finances continue to be so tight. Thomas Merton once said, “The truth that many people don’t understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.”
Think about it for a moment: What is that thing in your life that if God were to take it away, you’d feel like life was not worth living? When we’re able to answer that question, we will figure out what we are really worshipping, and what, by definition, might lie at the root of our suffering. It could be our children, our spouse, an ambition, or a dream of financial success. Those good gifts God gave us for our enjoyment that we have turned into idols. Suffering is often the process of these things being stripped away. Indeed, there is nothing like suffering to remind us how much we need God. What good news that His purpose and plan for our lives moves in a different direction from ours!
The good news of suffering is that it brings us to the end of ourselves—a purpose it has certainly served in my life. It brings us to the place of honesty, which is the place of desperation, which is the place of faith, which is the place of freedom. Suffering leaves our idols in pieces on the ground. It puts us in a position to see that God sent His Son not only to suffer in our place but also to suffer with us. Our merciful friend has been through it all. He is with us right now! And while He may not deliver us from pain and loss, He’ll walk with us through it. That is simply Who He is.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb. 4:15-16)
“The truth that many people don’t understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.”
“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.”
Who Wants to See God?
Todd Dugard - Senior Pastor - Harvest Barrie, Ontario
Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
-Hebrew 12:21, 25-29
C. S. Lewis said in reference to Matthew 5:8, “It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.”
Inside the heart of all those who know Christ—the pure in heart—is this longing to see the Lord. We want our faith to become sight. We want to have what we were created for; intimate and immediate fellowship with our Creator God.
Inside the heart of all those who do not know Jesus Christ is just the opposite. The conscience of one who has rejected the message of Christ does not want to see God. There is an inherent understanding that meeting God will bring judgment and they are not ready for that. It is the feeling many of us had as children who were carrying home a note from the teacher or principal knowing that when our parents read it, we were done. Only many understand now that this meeting with our Heavenly Father will be far more epic than the one with mom or dad. The consequences will be eternal and devastating.
Who wants to see God? Those who love Him and serve Him. And no one else.
And the reason is clear from the passage above. In the last verse the author says simply and powerfully, “Our God is a consuming fire.” You can’t read that and not be stopped in your tracks. Earlier in the passage he spoke of “a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them” (Hebrews 12:19). The whole thing is based on the account from Exodus 19 of the people of Israel at Mount Sinai just prior to the giving of the Law. In the presence of God even Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”
Who wants to see God now? Even for believers it will be something that cannot be taken lightly or casually.
by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]
Why did God look so favorably upon Jacob, a deceiver? We read in Isaiah: “I
dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and
humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of
the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15).
This passage describes a man who, like Jacob, is dejected, on the run, and God
is reviving him, blessing him, honoring him. Isaiah adds: “But to this man will
I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my
word” (Isaiah 66:2).
We know that humans consider the outward appearance, but God always looks at
the heart. We can see only Jacob’s covetousness, greed and manipulation. But
God saw beyond his flesh and into something within his heart — a contrite,
broken spirit. God knew that something in Jacob’s heart was willing to be
That is exactly what God is looking for in us. He looks for a broken, repentant
heart He can work on. He cannot do anything with an Esau type, who takes the
things of God for granted and weeps phony tears of repentance. Esau was sensual
and his heart was hard. He was like many Christians today, floating through life
with no purpose, wanting only to enjoy sensual pleasures along the way.
Jacob revered God’s Word. How do I know this? Think about it: Jacob must have
heard his father, Isaac, repeatedly tell the story of how God had made a
covenant with Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham. He heard of the time Isaac was laid
upon the altar to be slain, but when Abraham lifted the knife, God stopped him
and showed him a lamb to be used for the sacrifice. Finally, Jacob also heard
of the holy seed that was to come from the patriarchal lineage.
In addition to all this, Jacob’s mother probably reminded him of the dream God
had given her — that Jacob would be the holy seed. Jacob must have thrilled
at the thought that one day he would be the head of the clan, carrying the
torch of the lineage through which the Messiah would come!