Archive for April, 2012


Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 15)

The Whittling Work of Waiting (Chapters 8,9,10)

The enemy is working feverishly to wear down Job, to get him to forsake God and His will. He is busy whittling Job down to nothing, till there is no hope left. Little does he know that he is accomplishing God’s work in the life of Job.

As long as we see how it will work out or could work out, we have hope. It is when we cannot see a way out that we must kick into faith gear. We are forced to come to grips with Who God has revealed Himself to be to us. This comes when we have exhausted our ideas and strategies and bag full of human tricks.

These chapters of the meaningless battering of Job’s friends and their religious perspective on life has a way of wearing on Job. Notice that they keep on trying to make meaning out of something that defies sense and the common experience of men, out of something that is foolishness to the natural man. Notice they keep taking pot shots at Job and he is becoming more and more annoyed at their platitudes and nonsensical illustrations.

Listen to Bildad who asks questions but gives no answers. How does that help Job in time of need? What ministry is that? the ministry of frustrating annoyance?

“Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,  How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?  Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?” Job 8:1-3 Inquisitive yes, helpful, encouraging, supportive, no. It sounds like Bildad is getting impatient with all Job’s suffering, like he is put out by the whole ordeal.

Then there is his string of “if” remarks which is nothing more than hypothetical escape from what actually is. “If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;  If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;  If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.” vv. 4-6.

This is Satan’s handiwork. He is whittling Job down, he is diminishing him piece by piece and using Job’s very friends (among other things) as the knives to do it. This is nothing less than death in stages. Job is being chipped away at. But that is how God works, like a sculptor, removing the me to reveal the Him that is in me. There is a son of God that needs to be released and exposed. There is a son that when his good works are shown, will give glory to God. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10.

Did Jesus do good works when He was here? Did He glorify His Father? You can bet your salvation on it. But what exactly were those good works? It was to reveal His Father in Him. Jesus said, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” John 14:9. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” John 6:38. Jesus goes on and says the things I do, the places I go, the things I say these are not mine but the Father’s.

Where is the fun in that? How can you live your whole life and not do what you want? not say what you want? not go where you want? Ask Jesus, that is what He did. You can do it when you understand that you have not come to do your own will but the will of Him who sent you. “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8.

Doing His Father’s will was the very joy of Jesus’ life. It was the thing that kept Him going through His trials, afflictions, sufferings. I mean think about it, Jesus said, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:8-11.

Do you see the progression to Joy?

1.) Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

God the Father and God the Son is glorified when we bear much fruit, when there are things showing in our life that exhibit to others our good works, i.e. His work showing through us.

2.) As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

This abiding is dependent on our knowing God’s love and remaining in that knowledge.

3.) If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

It is this love that motivates us to obey Him and do His will. We love Him because He first loved us. The love of God constrains us. Jesus asks, “How is it that you say you love me and keep not my commandments?” Obedience without love, obedience out of fear is bondage and slavery.

4.) These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

When we keep his commandments out of love for Him we experience Joy.

This is how Jesus experienced Joy among a life full of hardship, heartache, betrayal, vindictiveness, pain, suffering and death, even death on a cross. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:2.

He was not in the thing for Himself, He was in it for His Father’s will. Once we learn to live for His will and not our own, once we eliminate expectations for what others should do for us and to us, once we submit to the sovereignty of a loving and all-powerful, all-knowing God, then we can learn to rest in Him, trusting that everything that comes to us comes from Him according to His will, for our good.

This is precisely what is being revealed in Job as he is learning to trust God and depend on His wisdom and love. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” Job 13:15.

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality (e.g. Him!).

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Quote Title Quotation Source
Getting the Inside Scoop on Man There is one thing, and only one, in the whole universe which we know more about than we could learn from external observation. That one thing is Man. We do not merely observe men, we are men. In this case we have, so to speak, inside information; we are in the know. And because of that, we know that men find themselves under a moral law, which they did not make, and cannot quite forget even when they try, and which they know they ought to obey. Notice the following point. Anyone studying Man from the outside as we study electricity or cabbages, not knowing our language and consequently not able to get any inside knowledge from us, but merely observing what we did, would never get the slightest evidence that we had this moral law. How could he? For his observations would only show what we did, and the moral law is about what we ought to do. C. S. Lewis – Mere Christianity, copyright 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd.
Credit Where Credit is Due This is a typical instance of the fact that God gives us credit, not for our impulses, but for the designs of our hearts. God may never allow the design to be carried out, but He credits us with it. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Revealing the Stuff You are Made Of And God formed man from the dust of the earth… Each of us is made of earth stuff — rocks. It is amazing what can come from rocks given enough heat, pressure, and time. Yet nothing comes forth which was not inherently there at the first. With heat and time some reveal precious stones, able to capture and hold light within itself or to dazzle with amazing color and luster given from the light without. Others have a strength or a usefulness that is meted out as metal. This too is revealed by heat and more heat. Metal also reflects some light when shone upon. But the true darling of the earth is the diamond, formed from external pressures, and extreme heat applied over a long time. When cut and polished properly all light that comes to it is reflected in a multiplied manner. Then there are always just rocks. He made some for noble purposes and some for ignoble purposes. Tom Van Hoogen
All of Creation Testifies of Him, All All I had hitherto heard of Christian theology had alienated me from it. I was a pagan at the age of twelve, and a complete agnostic by the age of sixteen; and I cannot understand anyone passing the age of seventeen without having asked himself so simple a question. I did, indeed, retain cloudy reverence for a cosmic deity and a great historical interest in the Founder of Christianity. But I certainly regarded Him as a man; though perhaps I thought that, even in that point, He had an advantage over some of His modern critics. I read the scientific and skeptical literature of my time — all of it, at least that I could find written in English and lying about; and I read nothing else; I mean I read nothing else on any other note of philosophy…. I never read a line of Christian apologetics. I read as little as I can of them now. It was Huxley and Herbert Spencer and Bradlaugh who brought me back to orthodox theology. They sowed in my mind my first wild doubts of doubt. G. K. Chesterton – Orthodoxy, copyright 1908 by Dodd, Mead and Company
Dangerous, Very Dangerous Grace Judged by the standard of Luther s doctrine, that of his followers was unassailable, and yet their orthodoxy spelt the end and destruction of the Reformation as the revelation on earth of the costly grace of God. The justification of the sinner in the world degenerated into the justification of sin and the world. Costly grace was turned into cheap grace without discipleship. Dietrich Bonhoeffer – The Cost of Discipleship, circa 1945, copyright 1959 by SCM Press Ltd.
Wisdom Speaks to Those Who Call Out to Her Of all visible things, the universe is the greatest; of all invisible realities, the greatest is God. That the world exists we can see; we believe in the existence of God. But there is no one we can more safely trust than God Himself in regard to the fact that it was He who made the world. Where has He told us so? Nowhere more distinctly in the Holy Scriptures where His Prophet said: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Well, but was the Prophet present when God made heaven and earth? No; but the Wisdom of God by whom all things were made was there. And this Wisdom, entering into holy souls, makes of them the friends and prophets of God and reveals to them, silently and interiorly, what God has done. St. Augustine – The City of God, circa 400, copyright 1950 by Fathers of the Church
Sacrifice Beyond All that I Can Think or Imagine He wills that we see that His pains and His being made nothing so far surpass all that we can suffer that it can’t really be imagined. Dame Julian of Norwich – The Revelation of Divine Love circa 1343; © 1994 by M. L. del Mastro
On Being the Bride of Christ The Church must examine herself constantly to see if she be in the faith; she must engage in severe self-criticism with a cheerful readiness to make amends; she must live in a state of perpetual penitence, seeking God with her whole heart; she must constantly check her life and conduct against the Holy Scriptures and bring her life into line with the will of God. — Of God and Men A. W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God
Where Can I Run But to Thee, O Lord? The psalmist says, “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” And again he says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe.” “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee.” They cannot do anything else, because in knowing His name they know His character and His nature, that He is a God whom it is safe to trust to the uttermost. And there can be no doubt that a large part of the unrest and discomfort in so many Christian hearts comes simply from the fact that they do not yet know His name. Hannah Whitall Smith – The God of All Comfort, circa 1890 – 1956 Edition Moody Publishers
The Desire, Ability and Power to Pray Prayer is the work of the triune God: the Father, who wakens the desire and will give all we need; the Son, who through His intercession teaches us to pray in His name; and the Holy Spirit, who in secret will strengthen our feeble desires. Andrew Murray – Andrew Murray 365 Day Devotional, © 2006 Whitaker House.

Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 14)

Whose Life is on Display Anyway? (Job 6, 7)

As Eliphaz has just finished his railing at Job with strong words that reveal that his perspective and understanding do not reach to the place that Job is at, it becomes more and more difficult for Job to compose himself and remain quiet.

Sometimes it is those who are nearest us, who we have allowed to enter a sacred place in our hearts, who end up wounding us the deepest. Unfortunately each of us can only relate to events that we are brought into as spectators, from the arsenal of our own limited understanding and experience. In our pride and/or desire to be helpful and consoling to another we begin speaking out of turn about things that we know nothing about. We want to have the right words, we want to solve the problem, we want to be the hero. Job’s friends passed from wisdom and encouragement on to error and frustrating confusion when they begin to speak into Job about something that God had not spoken to them about.

How often, too often, we speak from our human reasoning and scientific analysis giving our prescription and unsought opinion into matters best left to God and the work of His Spirit.

When a person is within the depths of sorrow and pain, when a person is holding on to the fringes of the meaning of life with nothing but the tips of their fingers, don’t you dare place another burden in their hands. These places of agony and bewilderment are sacred ground, hallowed by the Presence that enters with you to give you His strength and His hope. There is fellowship in this place when it is a place that you have been led into by the loving hand of your Father.

There are these types of situations – the untimely death of a child; the senseless murder of a loved one; the destruction of a home by a family member; those sick and twisted things that people do to one another that leave us numb and at a loss for sense and meaning. They shatter our world and the security we once had in understanding (or so we thought) how it worked. Such is Job’s predicament. He has found futility in navigating in uncharted waters. He is in a place that he has neither heard of nor fathomed.

Just listen to the expressiveness of inexpressible things through the words of Job: “Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!  For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.  For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me… Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!  Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!” Job 6:2-4; 8,9.

You just can’t touch this. This is sacred ground. This is not God making a son, this is God displaying a son, showing forth his quality.

Recall that God has already declared Job perfect, mature, ready for every trial. Remember also the challenge of Satan, “Doth Job serve God for nothing?” Satan is challenging God’s assessment of Job, a son in whom He is well pleased. He is asking God to prove it. And the fire is the place for proving just what a thing is made of. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” 1 Cor. 3:12-13. And then, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13.

Here is the test question: “Doth Job serve God for nothing?” That is a good question. The way Satan sees it, nobody would serve another unless there was a profit and personal benefit. He can see it no other way. The concept of love is foreign to him. This is a trademark of his and his followers – that everything and everyone can be had for a price. It is the economy of self-service. In this economy there is no such thing as trust, loyalty, generosity or love, all is dependent on wiles, power, strategy and taking. The thinking (satanic thinking) is that if you just find out what Job is getting in the deal and cut it off, then he will surely curse you to your face.

This is a sad statement and even more sad are those who have bought into it and have had their minds corrupted and made cynical regarding others.

What God is getting at, what Satan cannot even begin to imagine, is that Job loves God irrespective and independent of what God does for Job. Job loves God for God. Job has already met God’s love. It is not what God does but who He is that draws us. God is Love. And not just any kind of Love but unconditional love, a love that loved us when we were not lovable, when we were not doing anything commendable or loving. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. It is by this love that we are changed and made like Him. It is this very quality that He is making in us – the ability to love Him and even others independent of the way they treat us and what they do to us or for us.

“We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:9 His love enters our hearts as a seed, a son-seed and transforms us. And when we have cooperated with the watering and nurturing of that seed we grow up to be like Him! Not only can we love those who love us, but those who hate us and persecute us and spitefully use us. Like we did to God. Now by His grace through faith we are becoming like Him. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35.

This is what the world and all of creation is waiting to see – the sons of God manifested in the earth. Christ in us, the hope of glory. A love that surpasses human understanding. A love that sacrifices and gives for the sake of another. That is what God was bragging about regarding Job. He does love Him for no reason, just the same way God loves.

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality.

Listen v5.10 – Quotes

Quote Title Quotation Source
If You Fake It, You Won’t Make It A certain type of religious hypocrisy makes men hide what they feel, but Job has come to the place where he cannot hide it. “I cannot pretend that I am comforted of God,” he says. If only Job could have taken on the pose that he had the comfort of God, his friends would not have challenged him, but he says, “I have no comfort; I do not see God, neither can I talk to Him; all I know is that my creed and former belief must be wrong. I do not know what to accept, but I am certain God will prove that He is just and true and right, and I refuse to tell a lie in order to help Him out.”… It does not follow because a man has lost belief in his beliefs that therefore he has lost faith in God. Many a man has been led to the frontiers of despair by being told he has backslidden, whereas what he has gone through has revealed that his belief in his beliefs is not God. Men have found God by going through hell, and it is the men who have been face to face with these things who can understand what Job went through. Chambers, Oswald: Baffled to Fight Better: Talks on the Book of Job. c1931
ALL-Ways May I be always thanking, always praising, always encouraging, always helping, always giving, always serving, always praying, always interceding, always seeking, always resting, always waiting, always following, always trusting, always depending, always yielding, always surrendering, always sacrificing, always suffering, always dying, always loving that I may be in all ways Christ-like always. Tom Van Hoogen
Help! I’m Fallen and I Can’t Get Up Let me remind you now that modern orthodoxy has made a great blunder in the erroneous assumption that spiritual truths can be intellectually perceived. There have been far-reaching conditions resulting from this concept – and they are showing in our preaching, our praying, our singing, our activity and our thinking. A. W. Tozer – The Counselor, circa 1955, copyright 1993 by Christian Publications
When the Law Came, Sin Abounded It is very strange to the world to teach Christians to learn to be ignorant of the law and to live before God as if there were no law. Yet unless you are ignorant of the law and convinced in your heart that there is now no law nor wrath of God, but altogether grace and mercy for Christ s sake, you cannot be saved, for knowledge of sin comes through the law. Martin Luther – Commentary on Galatians – circa 1520; Crossway Publishing © 1998 by Watermark
A Good Builder Hides His Flaws Well The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor that it is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite. Life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for logicians. It looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; it wildness lies in wait. G. K. Chesterton – Orthodoxy, copyright 1908 by Dodd, Mead and Company
Salvation (Our Faith) That Overcomes the World We know that every good gift that God offers to us is given to meet and counter a contrasting evil. He gives us justification because there is condemnation. He gives us eternal life because there is death. He offers us forgiveness because there are sins. He brings us salvation — because of what? Justification is in terms of condemnation, heaven is in terms of health, forgiveness is in relation to sins. Then to what is salvation related? Salvation, we shall see, is related to the kosmos, the world. Watchman Nee – Love Not The World, © 1968 CLC Publications
Examine Yourself In the Way All who are sons of the daylight (1 Thessalonians 5:5) ought always to investigate in the light of the present day what is lacking to them, where they have come from, how far they have progressed, and the degree of progress that they estimate they have gained in each day and hour. William of Saint-Thierry – The Golden Letter; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
A Strong Penchant for Life As some insects with their antennae feel their surroundings and distinguish between hurtful and useful things, so spiritual people, through their inner senses, avoid dangerous and destructive influences and enjoy God’s sweet and life-giving presence; they are constrained by their blissful experience to bear witness to God. As Tertullian has said: “Whenever the soul comes to itself and attains something of its natural soundness, it speaks of God.” Sadhu Sundar Singh – With and Without Christ – circa 1925; excerpted from Devotional Classics by Foster and Smith © 2005
Self-Powered Tools Won’t Do In order for a soul to be made into a vessel unto God’s honor, “sanctified, and meet for the master to use, and prepared unto every good work,” it must be utterly abandoned to Him, and must lie passive and His hands. Hannah Whitall Smith – The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, 1875 © 1998 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It (Humbly) When Christ and His love take possession of our hearts, He gives us this love so that we might bring others to Him. In this way, Christ’s kingdom is extended. Everyone who has the love of Christ and his heart is commissioned to tell others. Andrew Murray – Andrew Murray 365 Day Devotional, © 2006 Whitaker House.
When Self-satisfaction Equals Self-destruction The climax of spiritual tragedy is reached when the prodigal settles happily down in the far country, perfectly at home with his swine and perfectly satisfied with his husks. F. W. Boreham – The Heavenly Octave: A Study of the Beatitudes, Copyright 1936 by F. W. Boreham

Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 13)

God In the Spotlight (Job 4, 5)

All of our life has as its designed purpose to know Him and enjoy Him, our heavenly Father. Paul put the sum of his purpose this way, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Philippians 3:10. We all give lip service to the importance of relationship with God through Jesus Christ and yet it seems there are a thousand other things that we place as a higher priority than getting to know our Daddy.

What we often consider knowing God is actually nothing more than the collecting of some Bible facts about Him, picking out the ones we like and dismissing the ones that are hard or difficult to understand or accept and calling that man-created persona we hold in our mind Almighty God.

These little facts that we have collected about God probably reveal less than one percent of who He actually is. It would be like looking at the Grand Canyon through a straw that is fixed on a particular view and proclaiming that you have seen the Grand Canyon in all its majesty. Only now imagine that you are looking at the One who measures the universe in the palm of His hand through the same straw.

Truth is a Light and Light is very revealing. In fact Jesus, the Light and the Truth said, “… Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” John 14:9. Just as in the example of looking at the Grand Canyon through the straw, we tend to see Jesus and thus the Father with a spotlight, illuminating a smaller part of the bigger Truth. We see truth (little T), yet Truth (big T)remains unknown to us.

What we are dealing with in Job chapters 4 and 5 is men who know some things about God, but don’t know Him. They have a spotlight in the universe of God. They see parts that come into view but don’t see the parts that have not been yet revealed. To know God is not a logical fact or a mental perception it is a revelation fact. As far as I can tell, it will take all eternity to search the universe Life of God with a spotlight. Unless God reveals Himself through revelation, you cannot know Him. “… for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 16:17.

As an important reminder consider this passage: “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.  And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.  And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.  [Ye] Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:36-40.

You can read all the scripture you like, and that is great because they testify of Him. But you will not know Him until you come to Him and He reveals Himself to you. This is the confusion of Job’s friends. They have knowledge and facts about God that they have collected and they believe they know God when actually they know some things, very finite and limited, about Him. If they actually knew Him (in part) then they would realize that they don’t know Him (in whole).

Eliphaz begins by reminding Job and he their friends have God figured out and is hinting that Job should understand exactly what God is doing with him. “Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.  Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.  But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.” Job 4: 3-5.

The tone is somewhat sarcastic implying that you have instructed others and now that you are in the seat of suffering and you are experiencing things yourself, you want to change your perception of God. Exactly. That is it. We could just about stop here. Yes, we do hold a view of God that is workable with our current understanding. Current is the key point, we are looking through the straw, we have a spotlight on God. As the spotlight is moved through the universe of a new experience we have now a more current view of God.

Eliphaz continues to expound on their theology of God, the preconception that God blesses the good man and does not bless the bad man. “Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?  Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.” vv. 7,8.

Did we think that we could go to church and Sunday School for thirty years and exhaust the knowledge of God? As a modern-day prophet has said, “We are far too familiar with a God we hardly know.” Again, this is to be likened to an ant that has surveyed the limits of the sand box and believes he has seen all the world there is to see. It is exactly in the seat of suffering that our spotlight gets a new, even larger focus, that we see something that we had not noticed before.

I am come to believe that it is only in the seat of suffering that God really does have our attention. I don’t mean to discount true desire and Holy Spirit led seeking. It’s just that we do not focus so intensely on our inner man and our relationship to God and others, we do not take a true inventory of our heart and our actions and motives until we are in the seat of affliction, trial and suffering.

I told a pastor friend about seven years ago when relaying my then present suffering (and now continued suffering) that there was so much that God wanted to do with me that required such a deep surgery and removal of big noxious parts of me that He had to get me to willingly come to His operating table. It was my love for Him and the others in my life alone that brought me to the state of willingness to endure such great personal loss and pain. There was no way I would have been willing, much less understood that I needed to do this (e.g. be willing to die to mySelf), if it were not brought to my attention and concentrated focus through suffering.

You might even say that suffering is God’s chosen and often favorite instrument. So much work can be done by The Master Physician and His scalpel. It can make the finest, most accurate incision that you cannot even imagine. He is an Artist in the operating room.

Those people in the waiting room have no idea about the precision of the surgery that is going on in you. Job’s three friends are not under the scalpel. God does not have their attention. Their logical thinking, their theology, their beliefs about their beliefs are occupying their mind. Meanwhile God is transforming the mind of Job, renewing him through the revelation of Himself. And Job is a patient patient, he does not reject the Doctor’s program for him.

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality. Now the spotlight is on you.

Quote Title Quotation Source
Fate Frozen in Fear There was one moment indeed, when the song first started and everyone was startled into silence, when she might have called to him to come and help her. She did not realize that the Fearings were holding their breath lest she did call, and had she done so, they would have fled helter-skelter through the door. However, she was too stunned with fear to seize the opportunity, and then it was too late. The next moment she felt Coward s heavy hand laid tightly over her mouth, then other hands gripped her firmly and held her in her chair. So the Shepherd slowly passed the cottage, showing himself at the window, and singing the signal song, but receiving no response of any kind. Hannah Hurnard – Hinds Feet on High Places, circa 1950, © American version 1975 by Tyndale House Publishers.
Whose Mind is Stayed On Thee – 2 Cor.13:11 No one can have the consciousness of God and not be content. George MacDonald – The Best of George MacDonald © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries.
Righteous Anger Is For Another, Not Self Our estimate of honour measures our growth in grace. What we stand up for proves what our character is like. If we stand up for our reputation it is a sign it needs standing up for! God never stands up for His saints, they do not need it. The devil tells lies about men, but no slander on earth can alter a man s character. Once let God s honour be slandered, and instantly there is something else to deal with in your meek saint. You cannot arouse him on his own account, but once begin to slander God and a new sense of honour is awakened, a new estimate has been put in. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
As Goes the Life, So Goes the Work What is true of God is true of men. Life is action and reveals itself in what it accomplishes. The bodily life, the intellectual, the moral, the spiritual life — individual, social, national life — each of these is judged by its work. The character and quality of the work depend on the life — as the life, so the work. And, on the other hand, the life depends on the work. Without this there can be no full development and manifestation and perfecting of the life — as the work, so the life. Andrew Murray – God’s Plans for You, circa 1890, © 1983 by Whitaker House
Deceived by a Treacherous “Friend” The wages that sin bargains with the sinner are life, pleasure, and profit; but the wages it pays him with are death, torment, and destruction. He that would understand the falsehood and deceit of sin, must compare its promises and its payment together. Robert South, D.D., 1633-1716 Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
Follow His Gleam Not of the sunlight,
Not of the moonlight.
Not of the starlight!
O young Mariner,
Down to the haven,
Call your companions,
Launch your vessel,
And crowd your canvas,
And, ere it vanishes
Over the margin,
After it, follow it,
Follow the Gleam
Tennyson
Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Can Two Walk Together, Lest Agreed? Lord, You have commanded me, “Make straight paths!”, yet I am yoked to another who is deaf to your command, whose heart strays and will submit to no one. The plow has drawn a crooked and perverse line in the earth, yet Lord, You can make even the crooked tree straight. I cannot contend with this yoke fellow. You must release me lest we stray together. Tom Van Hoogen
Going Home One Step at a Time And how am I to go back again? Start back by avoiding vice, going no farther into it, and you have come home. When a person who is sick does not get any worse it is a sign that he is getting better, and so is the case with vice. Go no further and your deeds of wickedness will have an end. If you do so for two days, you will keep off on the third more easily; and after three days he will then add 10, then 20, then 100, then your whole life. For the further you journey back the easier it will be to see how you should be, and the more you will begin to see of your great rewards.
So it was with the prodigal who, when he returned, was greeted with flutes and harps and dancing and feasts. His father who might have chided him for his ill-timed extravagance did nothing of the sort. He did not even mention it, but rather, looked at him as without stain, throwing himself upon him and kissing him.
John Chrysostom – Sermon on Dying to Sin – circa 400; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Blessings Come From Deep, Not Shallow, Roots Christ’s word “Blessed” is an infinitely lovelier word than our word “happy.” Our “happy” stands related to “hap” “luck,” “chance.”: it is a gamblers paradise. But the “Blessed” of the Beatitudes is suggestive of natural fruitfulness; it stands related to the roses round my lawn, to the corn in yonder valley’s and to the autumnal harvest of the orchard. It has to do with the joys that arise spontaneously and inevitably from certain fixed conditions. It is the word “Macaria,” a name that was once given to the island of Cyprus because that island was said to be so fertile as to be able to produce upon its own shores every thing that its inhabitants could either require or desire. F. W. Boreham – The Heavenly Octave: A Study of the Beatitudes, Copyright 1936 by F. W. Boreham
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