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Posts Tagged ‘trials’

My brother-in-law wrote a song a few years ago based on Psalm 131.  The words of that Psalm have often been a source of strength and encouragement to me in the last few months. I want to pass on Steve’s song with the prayer that it may encourage you also and strengthen you to hope in God, wait for God  and cling to God always.

“Lord, I’m far too Small”
Lord, I’m far too small to reach beyond today.
Fears rise oh so tall that I can’t find my way.
So to You who stand with waiting arms above
Let me come, let me cling let cling; Let me trust your love.

Lord, these humble eyes can’t see what lies ahead.
‘Round me terror flies and haunts my heart instead.
Whisper then your peace my tangled soul to ease.
Rescue me, comfort me; lead me as you please.

Let God’s children all come hear this simple song.
Though your strength be small, your Father’s arms are strong.
In those arms then rest as He makes plain your way.
Hope in Him, Wait for Him, ever and today.

—Steve Kaminski based on Psalm 131

“A SONG OF ASCENTS. OF DAVID. O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalm 131, ESV)

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“On My arm, they shall trust.” Isaiah 51:5

In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust to, and is therefore compelled to cast himself on his God alone. When his vessel is quickly sinking, and no human deliverance can avail—he must simply and entirely trust himself to the providence and care of God.

Happy storm—that wrecks a man on such a rock as this!

O blessed hurricane—that drives the soul to God and God alone!

When a man is so burdened with troubles, so poor, so friendless, so helpless that he has nowhere else to turn—he flies into his Father’s arms, and is blessedly clasped therein! Oh, tempest-tossed believer—it is a happy trouble which drives you to your Father!

~ Charles Spurgeon

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Last Sunday evening I preached on the book of Habakkuk which lets us see into the heart of a prophet who was struggling with God’s plans for his beloved nation of Israel.  Habakkuk cries out to the Lord asking why He doesn’t seem to be actively working in the nation. God answers Habakkuk and reveals to him some stunning news which sets back Habakkuk! But Habakkuk waits in silence to hear God’s explanation.  After this, Habakkuk prays to God with a single petition, rich praise and an incredible peace.  He writes,

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.” (Habakkuk 3:17–19, ESV)

Richard Sibbes, a readable Puritan pastor who wrote such books as The Bruised Reed and the Smoking Flax as well as The Soul’s Conflict With Itself.  Pastor Mark Dever has studied Sibbes extensively and gathered the following quotes in a message he once preached on Habakkuk.  I ran out of time on Sunday evening to share these with my congregation, so I share them in this way to you.  I pray they may be of benefit to you or to someone you know:

“Oh, the sweet life of a Christian that hath made his peace with God! He is fit for all conditions: for life, for death, for everything.”

Therefore, Sibbes said, “what is the reason that there is not anything in the world but it is comfortable to a Christian?” Sibbes answered that because “We are not hurt till our souls be hurt”…”Nothing can be very ill with us, when all is well within.”

Continuing from Sibbes: “God will have it so, for the comfort of Christians that every day they live they may think…my best is to come, that every day they rise, they may think, I am nearer heaven one day that I was before, I am nearer death, and therefore nearer to Christ. What a solace is this to a gracious heart! A Christian is a happy man in his life, but happier in his death, because then he goes to Christ; but happiest of all in heaven, for then he is with Christ. How contrary to a carnal man, that lives according to the sway of his own base lusts! He is miserable in his life, more miserable in his death, but most miserable of all after death.”

“What is the reason that there is not anything in the world but it is comfortable to a Christians? When he thinks of God, he thinks of him as a Father of comfort; when he thinks of the Holy Ghost, he thinks of him as a Spirit of comfort; when he thinks of angels, he thinks of them as his attendants; when he thinks of Heaven , he thinks of his inheritance; he thinks of saints a s a communion whereof he is partaker. Whence is all this? By Christ, who hath made God our Gather, the Holy Ghost our comforter, who hath made angels ours, saints ours, heaven ours, earth ours, devils ours, death ours, all ours, in issue…What can terrify a soul? not death itself, when it sees itself in Christ triumphing…A Christian that sees himself sitting at the right hand of God with Christ, triumphing with him, he is discourages at nothing; for faith makes things to come present, it sees him conquering already. Let us be exhorted to joy. ‘Rejoice, and again I say rejoice'”

“Comfort is nothing else but reasons stronger than the evil which doth afflict us; when the reasons are more forcible to ease the mind than the grievance is to trouble it.”

“What can be grievous in this world to him that hath heaven in his eye?”

–Mark Dever, The Message of the Old Testament, pp. 850-851

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“Either the resurrection happened or it did not happen. If it did happen, then it demonstrated once and for all that the power of God is greater than any other power. If ever you begin to doubt God’s ability to sort out any and every problem, look again at the resurrection.” (Peter Hicks, The Message of Evil and Suffering, p. 91)

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Iain Duguid draws his commentary on Esther 6 to a close with these appropriate words:

Indeed, if we are exalting Christ as Lord in our hearts, and are trusting firmly in God’s providence to do what is good for our souls and to bring glory to himself, why are we so troubled? Why are we so filled with doubts and fears about our own futures, or the future of our children, or the future of our churches? God will accomplish his purposes, often slowly and imperceptibly, but nonetheless certainly. Sometimes he will do it through human agents who willingly submit to him. Sometime he will will do it by directing those whose hearts are at enmity to him, so that their sinful motives accomplish his perfect purposes. Sometimes he will do it through the collaboration of a whole series of seemingly trivial circumstances. But in the light of the great and precious promises of God, this we know for sure: our God will save his people. In the light of the cross, we know that his salvation cannot be thwarted. In the light of these heavenly realities, what is left for us to do but to bow our hearts and kneees before him and sin his praises! –Iain Duguid, Esther and Ruth  in the Reformed Expository Commentary, p. 84

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This week, Shepherd Press released another 4 LifeLine mini-books, bringing the total to 21 eBooks in the series. Here are the new additions as Paul Tautages announces:

 

Can't Handle All these Trials - small emailHELP! I Can’t Handle All These Trials: Who is in control? Why did this happen? What is God doing? Everyone asks questions like that when they face intense or prolonged trials. The place to find answers is the Bible. In this booklet, you’ll find the answers God gave Job in the book of Job. They will be just what you need to handle your trials with faith, peace, and hope, rather than doubt, confusion, and despair.

Ashamed - small email

 

 

 

 

 

HELP! I Feel Ashamed: Do feelings of shame baffle you or hold you hostage? Shame can overwhelm us, leading to confusion, fear, and desperate behavior. This booklet uses case studies and practical examples to examine the true causes of shame and present hope through Jesus Christ, the Savior who loves you and can restore you, regardless of your past. Learn to answer shame his way and find victory.

 

Anger Out of Control - small email

 

 

HELP! My Anger Is Out of Control: Anger is widespread; it is even a major problem among professing Christians. While people express anger in different ways, controlling it is a challenge for each of us. Some feel powerless as anger rises. Others try to justify themselves. The question that must be addressed is how a sinfully angry person can become a person of grace. This mini-book provides the answer and gives us hope by directing our attention to the power of Christ to transform angry people into gracious people.

 

 

Terminal Illness - small email

HELP! I’m Living with Terminal Illness: We don’t find it easy to face death, and the diagnosis of a terminal illness can be devastating. Yet every life has an expiration date. Written with a pastor’s heart for those suffering with a terminal diagnosis and for their family and friends, this booklet conveys practical advice, spiritual consolation, and, most importantly, an eternal hope which the dying process cannot diminish and death cannot extinguish.

In addition to the release of these eBooks, the first 8 in-print books arrived from the printer this week. Check out the entire series at www.lifelineminibooks.com.

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“Isn’t it astonishing that God would create a world in which no one would suffer more than He? That God did this willingly, with ancient premeditation, is even more remarkable. Whenever you feel tempted to ask God, “Why did you do this to me?” look at the cross and ask, “Why did you do that for me?”–Alcorn, Randy

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