God’s patience with me not only causes me to want to imitate Him, but it also creates in me a desire to express my gratitude to Him by obediently being patient with others. This is the second point made by Jonathan Edwards in his sermon on how to meekly bear with others with a loving and forgiving heart.Read More »
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
There was a day recently when I was feeling inclined toward bitterness regarding a particular doctor’s ill-treatment of two of our children. My babies have suffered greatly for a long time while seeking help for a medical issue, help that hasn’t been helpful after all. Despite objective evidence to the contrary, this doctor insisted that the prescriptions he ordered were doing what he said they do. Even the ineffectiveness of doses beyond the standards would not sway his steadfast opinion that his methods were correct.
As He prepared to tell a series of parables, Jesus said to His listeners, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Luke 14:35). When I reflect on this, I think of the love He was showing. He wanted people to draw near, because He wanted to teach them something. God cares that we understand what He has to say to us.
In an excellent message on “Christ and No More,” Pastor Bryce Beale discusses the hope believers should have in Christ. Beale explains that a trial essentially is the “death of a dream” designed to test how much hope I have in Christ. My dreams are not necessarily sinful, but they can become sinful if I want what I want so much that my joy comes from my dreams rather than from Christ. God is “too kind to let any of his people continue on in a delusional joy, one rooted not in Christ but in something else” (Beale). My joy (or lack of it) upon the removal of these temporal dreams shows me where I am turning for my hope. After studying Beale’s message this morning, I found myself reflecting on the following words of Habakkuk:Read More »
Following my study of Hebrews 12:1-2 this morning, I prayed this and wanted to share it here with the hope that someone else will benefit:
Dear Father… Please help me to be able to endure today’s portion of the race that You have set before me; I know that I need Your help in order to do so. Looking at my race causes my knees to tremble, because it looks very difficult to me. I’m not strong enough to continue to bear these physical infirmities myself. Therefore, I am setting my eyes on You, the author and finisher of my faith. Please keep me steadfast on the straight course, preserving me from wandering onto paths that would make my race even more difficult. I have joy when I look to You even though this cross that I am called to bear would compel me to faint in my own strength. Thank You for setting the perfect example of how to bear a cross patiently and joyfully without fainting. I pray that You would help me to persevere until my course is finished, and I thank You for the love that promises to do so. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
It has been during some of my times of greatest struggle that I have had the sweetest communion with God. Here is a quote from my book:
From “More Precious Than Gold”
I adjusted the ice pack on my head gently as it started to conform to my head. The gentle coolness was a mild relief after two days of unrelenting pain. I was spent, barely able to move my arms, lips, or eyelids. Unable to produce many words aloud, I silently imagined what heaven would be like. I pictured my glorified body, pain-free and easy-moving. My body relaxed as I thought of God’s presence. On this third day, unable to talk fluently with people carrying on with their earthly lives, I experienced sweet communion with God in a way that I never had before: peace.
A few days after my recent complicated migraine, I continued to reflect on what I had learned. I accepted that God had put me in a position that seemed limiting to me, but I also recognized He was working good in it, whether I could see the good or not. The Holy Spirit brought truth to my mind, encouraging me to endure. However, even though my mind was focused on what I knew to be true, my heart broke one evening.
I had collapsed on the couch very early one morning after a night of writhing in bed with the pain and nausea of a migraine. My left arm was strapped to my body due to a broken shoulder that would take many weeks to heal. This confinement increased the difficulty of trying to nurse my throbbing head with minimally effective comforts.
All block quotes are from “Prayer, the Cure for Care” by Charles Spurgeon
Turn everything that is a care into a prayer. Let your cares be the raw material of your prayers, and as the alchemists hoped to turn dross into gold, so do you, by a holy alchemy, actually turn what naturally would have been a care into spiritual treasure in the form of prayer. Baptize every anxiety into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and so make it into a blessing.
From “Our Lord’s Question to the Blind Men” by Charles Spurgeon
Sinners are not half as sensible as sparrows. David said in one of the psalms, “I watch and am as a sparrow alone upon the housetop.” Well, have you noticed the sparrow? He keeps his eyes open and the moment he sees a grain of wheat or anything to eat down in the road, he flies to get it. I never knew him wait for someone to invite him, much less to beg and beseech him to come and feed. He sees the food and he says to himself, “Here is a hungry sparrow and there is a piece of bread. Those two things go well together—they shall not be long apart.” Down he flies and eats up all he can find as fast as he finds it. Oh, if you had half the sense of the sparrow, you would say, “Here is a guilty sinner and there is a precious Savior. These two things go well together—they shall not be long apart. I believe in Jesus and Jesus is mine.”