Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spurgeon Series Part 6

The Holy Spirit continues to resounded in my heart, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thes 5:18). From an earthly view it is impossible to rejoice in a God that allows pain and suffering. But through the lens of the Holy Spirit, one may see that they are given a gift to walk as Christ himself walked.
Beloved friend, i have been to the places where every inch of the body is searing with pain.
I have been brought to my knees pleading for my death. Yes, distress and physical suffering have brought me up to the cusp of all that God made me able to endure - yet i am young and there is room for that threshold to grow. Dear beloved, i can tell you that God is faithful. Christ has carried me through and be sure He will carry you through as well. These are precious moments beyond compare. Just as James and John did not understand for what they asked (Mk 10:35-40), we do not understand the sorrow we must drink to understand and rejoice more fully in the Love of the Father.

Again, Spurgeon says it better:

From This Time Forth
Psalm 115:18

We will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore" (Psalm 115:18). Our praise will never end. "From this time forth and forevermore" includes eternity. We praise Him not in our strength but in the strength of grace. That strength will never be exhausted; it will be renewed day by day.
If God takes you to the sick bed, if every limb becomes a mass of pain, if every nerve is a highway for crowds of pain to travel, keep on praising Him. Continue to bless, praise and magnify His name.
Even death cannot stop us from blessing God; it will only increase the heavenly choir and sweeten the harmony. We shall love the Lord more and praise Him better when our souls can speak without being hindered by our lips. Then we shall speak in a nobler and sweeter language before the throne of God:

My God, I'll praise Thee while I live,
And praise Thee when I die,
And praise Thee when I rise again,
And to eternity.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I'll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue,
Lies silent in the grave.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spurgeon Series Part fünf (5)

Not Yet Revealed
1 John 3:2

God has motive! His thoughts are working to give you a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11). All things work for the good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). We see only the beginning; God sees the end from the beginning. We spell the alphabet - alpha, beta, gamma. . . But from alpha to omega, God reads all at once. He knows every letter in the Book of Providence. He sees not only what He is doing, but also the final results.

God sees your present pain and grief. He also sees the future joy and the usefulness that will come from this affliction. He observes not only the plow tearing the soil, but also a golden harvest clothing that soil. He sees the consequences of affliction and knows that it will lead to much blessed happiness.

"Beloved, now are we the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be" (1 John 3:2). You never see the Great Artist's masterpiece. You only see the rough marble and mark the chips that fall to the ground. You have felt the edge of His chisel; you know the weight of His hammer. If you could see the glorious image as it will be when He has put the finishing blow to it, you would better understand the chisel, the hammer and the Artist.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tears from the Saints

I've been here most of the morning of another "bad" day crying, lamenting and rejoicing with Asaph in Psalm 77. I turned on Pandora to help calm my spastic nerves for a moment, and this song came on that guided my attention. This seems to be a pattern - God using Pandora (and music in general) to comfort or show me when my mourning in enough or misguided.

Tears from the Saints
by Leeland is one that i know and enjoy. Today this song reminded me of the blessing that has been bestowed upon me. Suffering without Christ is hopeless, yet suffering with Him is a glorious honor. I might have been given a thorn in my flesh but i am blessed by it because i am hedged in and guarded with salvation that is kept by the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. So many others are not (yet, for some) so blessed.

Tears from the Saints by Leeland

There are many prodigal sons
On our city streets they run
Searching for shelter
There are homes broken down
People’s hopes have fallen to the ground
From failures

This is an emergency!

There are tears from the saints
For the lost and unsaved
We’re crying for them come back home
We’re crying for them come back home
And all your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man
Father, we will lead them home
Father, we will lead them home

There are schools full of hatred
Even churches have forsaken
Love and mercy
May we see this generation
In its state of desperation
For Your glory

This is an emergency!

There are tears from the saints
For the lost and unsaved
We’re crying for them come back home
We’re crying for them come back home
And all your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man
Father, we will lead them home
Father, we will lead them home

Sinner, reach out your hands!
Children, in Christ you stand!
Sinner, reach out your hands!
Children, in Christ you stand!

There are tears from the saints
For the lost and unsaved
We’re crying for them come back home
We’re crying for them come back home
And all Your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man
Father, we will lead them home
Father, we will lead them home

Monday, February 15, 2010

Spurgeon Series Part Ceathair (4)

Last night as a grueling headache took me away from my plans, i lay there calmly remembering from where God has brought me. Two years ago when a headache like this one would come on, panic was sure to follow. But now i know, it is just a headache, God has allowed this kind of pain in my life before and my brains did not implode or explode.
Two years ago i would have hopelessly cried out, "How long, O Lord?!" (Ps. 13:1) and even as i do now, i know that it is for my good and God's Glory. I may think on Joseph - who waited 13 years from being sold into slavery by his brothers until being elevated second only to Pharaoh - and be comforted. I may rejoice in God's power and Salvation, "though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1Peter:1:6-7).

In Six Troubles.
Job 5:19

Remember what God has done for you and then say, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Heb. 13:8). When you are praying, if you cannot see that He is comfortable towards you today, recall what He was yesterday. If there is no present manifestations of divine favor, remember the past. He has been gracious. Can you tell how gracious? He has abounded towards you in loving kindness, tenderness, and faithfulness. He has never been a wilderness or a land of drought for you. Well then, in six troubles He has delivered you, will you not trust Him for seven? (Job 5:19). If you get to sixty troubles, will you not trust Him for sixty-one?

We say we ought always to trust someone until they deceive us. We recon someone honest until we find otherwise. Let it be so with God. Since we have found Him good, faithful, true, kind and tender, let us not think badly of Him now that we have come to difficult straits. Come to Him and say, "Are You our God? Did You not bring us 'up out of the horrible pit, out of the mire clay' (Ps. 40:2)? Surely, then, You will not leave us now."

The wonders God can do! He loves us to state our difficulty, that when He gets us out we will well remember the condition we were in.

After pleading the promise and confessing our condition, we may say, "Lord, if help does come, it must come from You. It cannot come from anywhere else, so we look to You. We believe help will come. Though we do not know how it will come, we are looking to You. Though we do not know when, we are looking to You. Though we do not know what You would have us do, still we are looking to You. Our eyes may be full of tears, but they are on You."
-Charles H. Spurgeon

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Just for Fun

Stupid Cupid you're a real mean guy,
I'd like to clip your wings so you can't fly,
I'm in love and it's a crying shame,
and I know that you're the one to blame.
Hey, hey, set me free,
stupid Cupid, stop pickin' on me!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Spurgeon Series Part Tres (3)

My community group has been studying the book of Matthew and a while ago we arrived at Matthew 16:24, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me". After looking at the passage in context, it was revealed that "taking up your cross" is voluntary. It is not something that is thrust upon you. You, by choice, pick it up and carry it with the free will to put it down at any time. That is the beauty in it! Great saints who have encountered much trial followed their Master enduring much pain because they loved Him and knew His worth, wisdom, mercy and grace. They loved greatly because He loves infinitely first.

Here is a beautiful picture from Spurgeon of holding to the cross that you may be led by Christ:

Take Up His Cross
Matt 16:24

Is the cross that you are carrying pressing heavy? You will be like your Master; someone will be found to help you. They found Simon to carry Jesus' cross (Matt. 27:32), and God has a Simon somewhere for you. Just cry to the Lord and He will find you a friend.

I believe that Simon found that carrying the cross was a blessed occupation. When the soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross, Simon might have gone his own way or been lost in the crowd. But now he is near Jesus.

As they lifted the cross on Simon's shoulders, he looked at Jesus and saw the crown of thorns, the bloody sweat, the lacerations, the bruises. That face, that matchless face, was majesty blended with misery, innocence with agony, love with sorrow. Simon would never have seen that countenance or marked the form of the Son of man so clearly if he has not been called to take up that cross. It is amazing how much we see Jesus when we suffer or work for Him.

The cross held Simon in Christ's steps. Do you get it? If Jesus carried the front part of the cross and Simon followed, then his feet has to follow the Master's. Dear friend, the cross is a wonderful implement for keeping us in the way of our Lord.

Believing child of God, I pray that today you will be compelled to carry the cross, that you will have closer and more precious fellowship with Him. "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me".

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Spurgeon Series Part Deux (2)

I really adore when people use the same sweet one liner repeatedly. Like Paul throughout his letters saying, "Grace, peace and mercy from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ!" And my favorite, "Rejoice, rejoice! I say again rejoice. It is no trouble for me to repeat myself, rejoice!"
Last night dear Spurgeon brought a new delightful encouragement to me from Isaiah... from God. ;-) Hope you enjoy it as well!

The Furnace of Affliction.
Isaiah 48:10

God's people are opposed by the current of the times, just as their Master was. It will cost sorrow and tears if you fully follow your Master. Do you want to be heavenly? I know some that, in measure, already are. Their speech betrays that they have been with Jesus. Mark well this fact: they are a tested people and many of them are sick. We are little of what we should be until the Lord puts us on the anvil and uses the hammer. He is doing that now with some of you. Do not complain. Let the soft whisper of this promise sustain you, "I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."

You have struggled hard, my brother, to rise out of your situation, but as often as you have striven you have fallen back to your hard lot. Do not be depressed. Live in your calling with contentment, because the Lord has said, "I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."
Young person, you have been to college, and you were completing your degree. You hoped to become a well known scholar, but your health failed. Do not be depressed, for the Lord says, "I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."

Merchant, your firm is going to pieces, and you will be poor. But you have faith in God. It is the Lord's will that you should struggle. He says, "I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."

Mother, you have lost a little one, and another is sick, so you say, "I cannot bear it." But you will bear it, for the Lord says, "I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."

Are you alone? Weep no more. The Lord loves you when no one else does. He says, "I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spurgeon Series Part 1

I came from the doctor today with bitter sweetness settling in my heart. After a brief easing of symptoms, neuropathy and fatigue have yet again begun to plague me. "This was expected," she said to me. I was aware there is no clear cure for my illness with a possibility of it being a permanent part of my life; however, for a couple months there seemed to be hope. Yet very soon after introducing myself back into being a "working" member of society, i am once again surrendering my dreams and desires to God. Without Him it would be hopeless. Because of Him i can look on my 4 years, 6 1/2 months with Him and 4 years, 6 months with pain, in awe at the sanctification and relationship He has fostered. I praise God for Paul's writing in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, that i may read for myself i am given a similar honor as Paul. Our God does not show favoritism, but gives to each as He deems necessary. Yet in times of trial it is easy to become discouraged. If we do not rejoice in times of trial we may very well die by the hand of idols. We must protect our hearts with the Word of God and fellowship of other Christians.
After turning to the Word, i also really enjoy reading from Charles Haddon Spurgeon. His sermons are littered with depth and get me every time. Here is one of my new faves.

Nothing Impossible

Your faith prospers when everything is against you. Your faith increases with every trial. No flowers were so lovely a blue as those that grow at the edge of a glacier. No stars shine so bright as those that glisten in the polar sky. No water is sweeter than that which springs in a desert oasis. No faith is so precious as that lives and triumphs in adversity.

Tested faith brings experience, and experience makes religion real. You will never know the bitterness of sin or the sweetness of pardon until you have felt both. You will never know your own weakness until you have been compelled to go through the rivers. You will never know God's strength until He has supported you in deep waters.

All the talk about religion that has not been personally experienced is just talk. If we have little experience, we cannot speak so positively as those whose experience has been deep and profound. Once in the early days of my ministry, I was preaching on God's faithfulness in trials, and my venerable grandfather was sitting in the pulpit behind me. He suddenly stood up, came to the pulpit, and said, "My grandson can preach this as a matter of theory. But I can tell it to you from experience because i have done business on great waters. I have seen the works of the Lord and His wonders of the deep" (Ps. 107:23-24). There is an accumulation of force in the testimony of one who has passed through great trials.

Faith increases in firmness, assurance and intensity when it is exercised with trials. Praise Him for your trials, and you will have more and more of God's blessings until your faith will move mountains and nothing will be impossible (Matt. 17:20).

It is this kind of faith that can be difficult to talk about but such a blessing to hear. So i thank God for my dear Christian brothers who provide guidance with vulnerability, my BFF and mi Chula who empathize and exhort. I have also been blessed by Wolf, my brother who has won our race to heaven - meet you there! Yet above all, praise and glory to our Abba Father who can redeem any trial by allowing us to comfort others with the comfort we have received!