Archive for the ‘Trials’ Category

Sweet Trials

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” Isa. 43:2

Are trials sweet in your life? They should be according to Eph. 5:20 which instructs us to give thanks for all things at all times. I know that is easier said than done, but that is what it says.

If you look at the stories of the Bible you find that trials were a regular part of the growth process that God took the people through.

Apparently God knew what He was doing, for they came forth as pure gold and the better for it.

For the three worthies in the fiery furnace, they only lost the cords that were artificially binding them. Nothing else was adversely affected. Not only that, as a result of their living testimony of God’s protecting power, the reigning King, Nebuchadnezzar, came to know the power of God in a way that would not have been possible otherwise.

The same could be said of other worthies mentioned in the Bible.

I believe the same is true for people in our day. Think of all the people who have come to know God as a result of some trial. Think of the people who came back from a dread sickness seeking after God for the first time.

The trials were sweet because (1) it provided time to consider their precarious spiritual condition; (2) the trial also led the person to become anxious about their own condition; (3) it caused them to pray more earnestly than before; (4) it brought about a life-changing encounter with God. Truly the trial was sweet.

The same could be said about other situations as well. That doesn’t mean that all trials can be understood, or are necessarily seen as sweet by the naked eye. However, trusting in God and claiming His promise, we can believe it to be so.

When we are in heaven and can ask about everything that went on down here, we are going to realize far better than we do now, that God ordered ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES of our life, EVEN the UNTOWARD ones.

So trials ARE sweet!

Notice what Francis Ridley Havergal, the writer of many hymns, said: “Pain, as to God’s own children, is truly and really, only blessing in disguise. It is but His chiseling, one of His graving tools, producing the likeness to Jesus for which we long. I never yet came across a suffering (real) Christian who could not thank Him for pain! Is not this a strong and comforting fact! I do not say that they always do so during the very moments of keenest pain, though much more often than not I think they are able to do this; but, certainly, they do deliberately praise Him for it afterwards. I think one must pass through it for oneself before one can fully realize the actual blessedness of suffering; meanwhile, you may well take the testimony of those who have.”

This one comes from William Chalmers Burns who was so successful as a revivalist in the UK, Canada and China: “How sweet the trials of a Christian are when he meets with Jesus in them, and feels that the Lord is making them a means of purging away his dross, and taking away all his sin. The believer’s trials are like the fiery furnace to the three children of Israel at Babylon, which burned off their bands, but touched not a hair of their heads. Seek, dear followers of the despised Immanuel, to obtain glimpses of his divine glory and grace, through the power of the indwelling Spirit, and these will make you to see such a surpassing beauty and glory in Jesus, that you will count all things loss that you may win him, and be found in him. If you find the way to glory hard and rugged, oh! think what it cost the Son of God to open up that way! Remember also that, wherever you are called to go, in following the Lamb, you may see, by faith, the prints of Immanuel’s feet on the path before you. He does lead his people through fire and through water, but it is to a wealthy place. Soon will he come to call us home to the place prepared for us above. Soon he will offer up for us the prayer, ‘Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory,’ and then shall we depart and be with Jesus! To them that look for him, he will appear the second time without sin unto salvation!”—William Chalmers Burns

And from Ellen White: “God has a purpose in sending trials to his children. He never leads them otherwise than they would choose to be led if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling. He subjects them to discipline to humble them,–to lead them, through trial and affliction, to see their weakness and to draw near unto him. As they cry to him for help, he responds, saying, “Here am I.”

Here are links on overcoming trials at path2prayer.com.

I know it isn’t easy seeing trials as being sweet, but they are. Let’s keep trusting God!!!

God Always Has A Plan

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

December 23, 2010

I am now at the YWAM center in Lonavala, Maharastra, India. I am not sure how many students are here at this young adult convention, but there are a good number. They have come from all parts of India. Several groups drove 25 hours from the southern most part of India. The young adults here are wonderful and I consider myself fortunate to spend time with them. Yesterday one of the students shared the most touching testimony of how he came to Christ and to the church. Convinced that there was error, he eagerly studied the Bible and books to find all the errors. But instead of that he discovered Jesus and became a believer. He is one of the best medical students of his “college,” and is faithfully living out his faith among the other students who are largely Hindu and Muslim. He prays much and has been seeing specific answers to prayer. He has also been faithfully honoring God by not taking examinations on the Saturday Sabbath. His friends have ridiculed him in this, and assured him he will fail, but God has intervened countless times to allow him to take and pass alternate exams that are considered impossible to pass.  The wonderful thing about all of this is that his friends from the other faiths are watching carefully and are fully aware of his motivation as a Christian. He could have chosen to take the exam on the Sabbath as a matter of expediency, but he has chosen to honor God and God is honoring him. Please join me in praying for this modern Daniel.

Some thoughts from the Bible…

“But he shook off the creature into the fire.” Acts 28:5

“They will take up serpents, and if they drink anything deadly it will by no means hurt them….” Mark 16:18

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purposes.” Rom. 8:28

Acts 27 and 28 cover Paul’s perilous journey to Rome, and his two years of confinement where he was “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” (Acts 28:31)

It is interesting that in the course of the journey to Rome there were decided differences of opinion between Paul and the sailers on what they should do. Paul, perceiving oncoming dangers, advised them to not leave the port. His words were overruled, however, and they quickly found themselves in great danger. In an effort to save themselves, the sailers tried various maneuvers to keep the boat aright. But facing strong contrary winds, they allowed the ship to be driven before the wind. Over time they threw their cargo overboard, their ship’s tackle and eventually even lost the ship; all of this was due to not listening to Paul.

In the sailers’ defense they didn’t know anything about Paul and were probably prejudiced against him. He was a prisoner and prisoners were not listened to much, especially when it came to sailing a ship.

During this time Paul isn’t mentioned. However, from verse 21 we get the sense that Paul had been seeking God’s help through prayer and fasting. When he emerged, and after reminding the sailers they should have listened to him, he encouraged them that there would be no loss of life, though the ship would be lost. Paul also told them about an angel who had come and visited him, sent from the God he belonged to and whom he served.”

True to Paul’s words, the ship was eventually run aground on Malta and all the men safely made it ashore. The locals showed “an unusual kindness,” unusual perhaps because their visitors were prisoners and prisoners were not usually treated kindly. They even made a fire where the men could warm themselves.

It was in the course of gathering sticks for the fire that a major “praise the Lord” event took place. Reaching into the sticks, Paul was suddenly bitten by a venomous viper. The locals looking on, concluded that Paul must be a murderer  and were quite certain he would quickly die. But shaking the snake off and suffering no harm, Paul quietly continued gathering sticks. Surprised, the locals then decided he must be a god.

When arriving at Malta Paul had only been known as a prisoner who was undoubtedly justly condemned for some crime. But as a result of God’s intervention, they recognized there was something other worldly about Paul.

Some things strike me.

(1) God cares and is always willing to communicate. God communicated with the sailers because he cared about them, but to no avail. God is still as willing to communicate and help in our day.

(2) God usually communicates through his godly children, but they are not always listened to due to prejudice. In this case God communicated through Paul. Unfortunately Paul was not sufficiently respected and therefore his message was disregarded. Still today prejudice against God’s messengers plays an unfortunate role in God’s voice being heard at times.

(3) Taking our concerns to God through prayer and fasting is always a good policy. Because the sailers would not listen to him, Paul took his concerns to God. God honored his obedience in praying and fasting, and sent needed communication. I don’t pray and fast enough and I suspect you don’t either. Jesus’ words, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:21) is still true in our day. Are we praying and fasting when we face problems?

(4) We serve because we belong! Paul was a great servant of God, but he served God because he belonged to Him. Here at the convention I have been talking with the young adults about what it means to surrender and completely give oneself to God. It is because we belong to God that we serve God.

(5) God sometimes uses negative events to bring great blessings. In Paul’s case it was being bitten by a viper. In our case, it may be some other misfortune. In all such cases, God is working for good to those who love Him, and sometimes His only way of initially bringing the needed blessing is negative.

(6) God carefully orchestrates all the details necessary to work His good will. God made sure the viper was hiding in the sticks when it was needed. God works just as decidedly on our behalf in whatever way is needed. I know it may seem trite to suggest that God is always decidedly working on our behalf, but I really believe it and am doing what I can to always live with that understanding.

(7) Finally, God always has a plan to reach others. When Paul arrived at Malta the chance of him significantly influencing the people on the island was minimal; they only knew he was a prisoner. But God had a plan to overcome their prejudice, and as Paul quietly obeyed, God worked His plan. We are still reading about the blessings that came in our day. I can’t help but believe that God has a plan to reach people everywhere, no matter what religious background they have.

As I write I struggle with a cold, and many of the young adults here are similarly struggling. We would appreciate your prayers for our getting well. I believe I will fast and pray today to seek God’s help in turning this sickness around. I have been wondering why God allowed all of us to be so affected and believe that it is part of God’s good will on our behalf. I am not sure what to do, but am certain that obeying Jesus’ injunction can only help.

Father in heaven, thank You that ALL things somehow work for good. I don’t know what is going on in the life of the person reading this but You do. Please be a constant presence today, bringing wisdom and help in all the best ways, so that today may be a blessed day in every regard. You know the prayers that are going up. Perhaps for overcoming some physical ailment like I am; perhaps for something else. Thank you for not only knowing what is going on, but also bringing together the elements necessary to bring the needed blessings. Encourage my friend today that every prayer is being heard, and that regardless of how bleak circumstances may look, that those very circumstances are part of Your great plan of blessing. Thank You for being more than able for my friend, today! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

God bless you today Dan!

This was first sent as one of my “almost daily notes.” I would love to add you to the list if you are interested. Please write me to request being put on the list.

So the Lord Preserved David

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

“So the Lord preserved David wherever he went.” (2 Sam. 8:6)

As a person reads through 2 Samuel there is a distinct progression that is almost always present in serious spiritual growth.

Faithfulness in daily life: David first learned to be faithful as he served his Heavenly Father in serving his human father as a shepherd. He also learned that God was faithful to him.

Call and anointing for greater work: Then He was called to an important future work and anointed for that work—though he didn’t realize what he would go through in being prepared for that future.

Enduring necessary “wilderness” learning experiences: Then the Spirit took David into his own wilderness experience as he endured the ongoing attacks of Saul. There he learned to trust God and do the right thing even though there were constant suggestions to get rid of Saul by his companions.

Early, more self-centered victories: Then Saul died and through a variety of experiences David was made King. He even won some important victories, but they were mainly self-centered defensive victories to survive and consolidate his power.

Obeying in the slightest details: In gratitude David zealously tried to bring the ark home, but his zeal was not according to knowledge (Rom. 10:2), and Uzzah died, and the ark ended up at Obed-Edom’s house. David had forgotten that what was genuine respect from the Philistines, was rebellion when he knew better—or at least could and should have known better. The ark finally made it home, though his wife Michal was not living up to the light she should have had, and begrudged him and ended up bringing a curse upon herself (2 Sam. 6:23).

Submitting cherished plans: David was grateful to God, and wanted to show his gratitude by building a house for God. God had never asked for a house, and I think appreciated what David wanted to do, but in spite of Nathan the prophet giving a quick, non-prayed over “go for it” response, David soon learned that it wasn’t God’s plan for him to build that house, no matter how sincere his motives were. Though 2 Samuel doesn’t explain why David’s magnanimous desire was refused, 2 Chronicles (22:8-10) states the prohibition came due to David being a man of war. Men of war are not the people who build great houses for God—not then, not now! Rather, his son Solomon, a man of peace, a man who was a living demonstration of God’s mercy and forgiveness, and who at least for a time wanted God’s wisdom more than anything else, was given the task. Still today, great spiritual advances are achieved through godly peacemakers, who announce and encourage peace with God and encourage peace between humans.

Grateful submissive obedience: Instead of becoming angry and building the house for God in spite of instructions otherwise, David humbly submitted and happily obeyed the ongoing leading of God.

Zealous victories according to knowledge:
Notice the phrases taken from 2 Sam. 8:1-14:
“David attacked the Philistines and subdued them.”
“Then he defeated Moab.”
“The Moabites became David’s servants, and brought tribute.”
“He defeated Hadadezer… and recovered territory….”
“He put garrisons in Demascus….”
“So the Lord preserved David wherever he went.”
“David took the shields of gold….”
“…took a large amount of bronze.”
“Toi King of Hamath…sent Joram his son to David… brought with him articles of silver, articles of gold, ….”
“David dedicated these to the Lord.”
“David made himself a name….”
“All the Edomites became David’s servants…”
“And the Lord was with David wherever he went.”

David was doing an amazing and wonderful work for God. Why? Because God was with him wherever he went! And why could God be with him wherever he went? Because he was God’s man, doing God’s work, God’s way, on the throne God had placed him on!

If you want to know the same level of blessing in your life, be faithful, accept the wilderness experiences—apparently God sees they are necessary, be zealous according to knowledge, seek to know and do God’s will, submit, and obey. Then rejoice and prepare for God to use you in a great way!

So, are you reading? Are you zealous according to knowledge? Are you trusting God in spite of attacks during wilderness experiences? Are you submitting even if fond plans are being deferred—perhaps even being given to someone else? We are all on a journey. If we trust and obey (Matt. 4:4) we shall see the unmistakable evidences of God’s blessings in our lives.

Father, give my friend a heart to know and love you today. Carefully orchestrate all the circumstances and events in his or her life, such that he or she will be perfectly prepared for whatever work you have in mind. Might there be a willingness to ask, to submit, and to obey, so that you can be present, and bless, in all that is going on. And might every blessing accruing be seen as coming from you, such that all might be dedicated to you. I ask this for Jesus’ sake, and for those you are wanting to reach through my friend today. Thank you in advance, Amen.

Learn more about how to grow spiritually at path2prayer.com. Read how God raised up godly men and women on the famous Christians page.

God’s Way of Peace

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Here is God’s way of peace…

“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, oh LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Ps. 4:8

“Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” Ps. 34:15,16”

“Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace.” Ps. 37:37’

“The mountains will bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.” Ps. 72:3

“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.” Ps. 119:165

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Prov. 16:7

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isa. 26:3

“Or let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” Isa. 27:5

“The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” Isa. 32:17

“Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” Isa. 48:18

“There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.” Isa. 48:22 (to the unrepentant wicked!)

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isa. 53:5

“All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isa. 54:13

“The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace.” Isa. 59:8

“The heart of Jesus was always at peace. His life was calm amid the storms of life…. The secrets of Jesus were the perpetual presence of God in His soul, and His never-faltering faith in the loving, careful providence of God in all the experiences of His checkered life. Can we not have this? We may if we are willing to pay the price. If we will surrender our will utterly to Him; if we will tear down every veil that might hide His face, and throw open our whole being to His indwelling and use; if we will cease scheming, planning, devising, and fall back on the absolute care and arrangements of God; if we will learn to reckon on God as absolutely as on any resourceful human friend; if we will dare to believe that God holds Himself responsible for the sustenance and equipment for duty of all who absolutely seek His glory—then ‘Our lives shall be full of sunshine, and the cares that infest the day… shall silently steal away.'”—F. B. Meyer

My Prison Hath Neither Lock Nor Door

Monday, February 8th, 2010

“Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.” Hosea 7:8

In the past centuries God often used letters to bring great blessings to His children. Among famous letter writers were John Newton, Fenelon, Gerhard Tersteegen and Samuel Rutherford.

The following comes from a letter by Samuel Rutherford who was a non-conformist Scottish Puritan, who was banished from Edinburgh for refusing to comply with the dictates of the ruling prelates, and forced to live in Aberdeen where he was not allowed to preach. The banishment was not welcomed and hard to endure, but in his difficulties he discovered an understanding of God and His ways that would not have been possible in any other context. In this letter he extolls God’s gracious care and blessing in his “confinement,” concluding that his prison had “neither lock nor door.” This was obviously true since he was free to move about, but he was speaking to the greater reality of God not only bringing blessings no matter what was going on, but also God bringing special blessings. Eventually Rutherford was condemned to death for his non-conformist views, but he was spared the execution, for he died of illness before it was carried out. However, he was looking forward to dying for Jesus. I think we need to adopt Rutherford’s attitude towards our trials and begin viewing them through the lens of God’s love and perfect keeping, for our situations have “neither lock nor door” in our day.

Rutherford’s letter…

Dear Brother:

I never believed, till now, that there was so much to be found in Christ on this side of death and of heaven. Oh, the ravishments of heavenly joy that may be had here, in the small gleanings of comforts that fall from Christ! “What fools are we who know not, and consider not the weight and the telling that is in the very earnest-penny, and the first fruits of our hoped-for harvest! How sweet, how sweet is our infeftment (old Scottish word referring to taking possession of property, in this case of the blessings found in Christ)! Oh, what then must personal possession be!

I find that my Lord Jesus hath not miscooked or spilled this sweet cross; He hath an eye on the fire and the melting gold, to separate the metal and the dross. Oh how much time would it take me to read my obligations to Jesus my Lord, who will neither have the faith of His own to be burnt to ashes, nor yet will have a poor believer in the fire to be half raw, like Ephraim’s unturned cake! This is the wisdom of Him who hath His fire in Zion, and furnace in Jerusalem. I need not either bud or flatter temptations and crosses, nor strive to buy the devil or this malicious world by, or redeem their kindness with half a hairbreadth of truth. He who is surety for His servant for good doth powerfully overrule all that. I see my prison hath neither lock nor door: I am free in my bonds, and my chains are made of rotten straw; they shall not bide one pull of faith…. Therefore we wrong Christ who sigh, and fear, and doubt, and despond in them. Our sufferings are washed in Christ’s blood, as well as our souls; for Christ’s merits brought a blessing to the crosses of the sons of God. And Jesus hath a back-bond of all our temptations, that the free-warders shall come out by law and justice, in respect of the infinite and great sum that the Redeemer paid….

I bless the Lord, that all our troubles come through Christ’s fingers, and that He casteth sugar among them, and casteth in some ounce-weights of heaven, and of the Spirit of glory that resteth on suffering believers, into our cup, in which there is no taste of hell.

My dear brother, ye know all these better than I. I send water to the sea, to speak of these things to you; but it easeth me to desire you to help me to pay my tribute of praise to Jesus. Oh what praises I owe Him! I would I were in my free heritage, that I might begin to pay my debts to Jesus. I entreat for your prayers and praises. I forget not you.

Your brother and fellow-sufferer in and for Christ,
Samuel Rutherford,
Aberdeen, Sept. 17, 1637

Read the rest of Rutherford’s letter and more articles on how to endure trials at path2prayer.com.

Overcoming Discouragement

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Discouragement is a problem that needles many people. Every day one either personally struggles with discouragement or encounters someone who is struggling with discouragement

Is this what God had in mind when he said “Fear not, neither be discouraged (Deut 1:21)”; or “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33)”?

I doubt it. The Bible is full of promises and admonitions that speak otherwise

In the Old Testament God was continually trying to encourage His people:

When Joshua was being commissioned to lead the Hebrew armies, God said, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).

Later, after an ignominious defeat had been incurred, when there would have been reason to be discouraged, God said to Joshua, “Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land” ( Joshua 8:1).

David waxed eloquent regarding His God: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident (Ps. 27:1-3). God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1).

In the book of Isaiah there are continual encouragements to look away from the problems of daily life: “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation” (Isa 12:2). “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isa. 41:10). “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Isa. 43:1,2)

Jeremiah had the same confidence: “But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid” (Jer. 46:27).

When Paul was bound in the castle against his will, God stood by him saying, “Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. (Acts 23:11)” He didn’t have lots of reasons to be encouraged but God was encouraging him just the same. When death seemed imminent, Paul encouraged the people saying, “Be of good cheer, for there shall not be the loss of any man’s life (Acts 27:22). Paul had been encouraged, and now he was encouraging others. Later he asserted: “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6).

Writing on discouragement in her book, Living in the Sunshine, Hannah Whitall Smith suggests that discouragement is really faith in evil, and speaking against God. The causes she lists are many, and include our inadequacies, difficulties that seem insurmountable, an illegitimate fear of people and mistakes we have made in the past, for all of which she cites many Bible examples of people who did not allow these kinds of dispiriting elements get them down. Moses was warned against feeling inadequate; Joshua was encouraged when facing the task of overcoming the imposing walls of Jericho; Paul was to face Roman inquisitors; Jeremiah was told not to be afraid of the people’s faces; and David certainly had plenty to mourn when considering his past, but it did not stop him from praising God. All of these people were told to be of good cheer!

She also points to two outcomes of discouragement: it leads to complaining and murmuring against God, and it is highly contagious. I fear I have been guilty of the first at times, and certainly acknowledge that I have encouraged people to do likewise.

How can we overcome discouragement? She rightly points out that it is awfully hard to talk oneself out of discouragement. The best thing is to trust God and believe His promises, and then turn from the discouragement. Regarding the latter, I don’t know of anything better than cultivating a grateful attitude and choosing to say “yes” and “thank you” for whatever is going on in my life. I would also add, doing something good for another person.

A final precious thought coming from her chapter on discouragement is the thought that mistakes are not to drive us FROM God, but TO God. She reminds that the condition of a soiled table cloth doesn’t lead to it being thrown out, but to it being cleaned; and the joy and confidence a housewife could have if she knew there was a highly skilled laundress caring for her tablecloth. We of course know the one who is able to clean better than any other person, and we can have conplete confidence in Him.

Finally, Satan specializes in discouragement, for he knows that discouragement causes us to look at our circumstances and our inadequacies more than at God, and so long as that goes on he has the upper hand.

You may want to read all of Hannah Whitall Smith’s chapter on discouragement at path2prayer.com. You will many helpful articles on discouragement at path2prayer’s Practical Christianity section. Also, I send out a newsletter from time to time with encouraging thoughts on how to walk with Jesus, pray, and know success as a Christian. Email me at path2prayer@gmail.com to be on the mailing list.

All Things Work For Our Good!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

I found the following wonderful thoughts of Daniel Rowlands recently. Apparently there is even more to rejoice about than we realized! Read and be blessed!

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

“Observe what he says. Make thou no exception, when he makes none. All! Remember he excepts nothing. Be thou confirmed in thy faith; give glory to God, and resolve, with Job, ‘though he slay me, yet will I trust him.’ The Almighty may seem for a season to be your enemy, in order that he may become your eternal friend. Oh; believers, after all your tribulation and anguish, you must conclude with David, ‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.’ Under all your disquietudes you must exclaim, ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!’ His glory is seen when he works by means; it is more seen when he works without means; it is seen, above all, when he works contrary to means. It was a great work to open the eyes of the blind; it was a greater still to do it by applying clay and spittle, things more likely, some think, to take away sight than to restore. He sent a horror of great darkness on Abraham, when he was preparing to give him the best light. He touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh and lamed him, when he was going to bless him. He smote Paul with blindness when he was intending to open the eyes of his mind. He refused the request of the woman of Canaan for a while, but afterwards she obtained her desire. See, therefore, that all the paths of the Lord are mercy; and that all things work together for good to them that love him.

You can read more from the same sermon at path2prayer.com in the practical Christianity section.

Here are more encouraging readings on the subjects of trial and difficulty.