Don’t let mental sickness affect judgement of spiritual maturity

The state of godliness is not to be judged of by the fears and sorrows in which it usually begins. A man’s life is not like his infancy at his birth. The fears and penitent sorrows, which foolishly fleshly sinners fly from, do tend to everlasting peace and joy; and perfect love will cast out all tormenting fears, unless it be those of a timorous diseased temper which have more of sickness than of sin and will be laid aside with the body, which was their cause. A life of peace and joy on earth may succeed the tremblings of the newborn convert; but a life of full everlasting joy will certainly succeed the perseverance and victory of every believing holy soul.

–Richard Baxter, A Grief Sanctified

Also see:

God Is Love–And Many Other Things

I just finished reading The God Who Is There by D.A. Carson. The Kindle version is on sale right now for $3.99. It’s aimed at new Christians, but with all due respect, I don’t think he is one to write a book for new Christians. I learned a lot. He’s a quote machine. Because of that, it took me a long time to get through the book. I’ve been taking notes on books I read, and I was taking notes and blogging (first four links) on so much of what I read, it seemed to take forever.

I highly recommend it. The book is friendly to new Christians who like to read and investigate more than just the basics. It’s also great for seasoned Christians. He mainly uses Genesis, John and Revelation to talk about who God is and how he deals with people.

The quote below is something I think about a lot. It seems like there is so much focus on the fact that God is love, it’s to the exclusion or diminution of all of the other things God is, as well as having a distorted view of his love as you’ll see below. God is to be feared (which shouldn’t need to be qualified), God is awesome (in the traditional sense of the word–not how it’s used now), he is a God of wrath, judgement, anger, he hates. For those in his Kingdom, these can be comforting things, in addition to warnings. I hope you like the quote.

Why People Today Find It Easy to Believe in God’s Love

If there is one thing that our world thinks it knows about God–if our world believes in God at all–it is that he is a loving God. That has not always been the case in human history. Many people have thought of the gods as pretty arbitrary, mean-spirited, whimsical, or even malicious. That is why you have to appease them. Sometimes in the history of the church Christians have placed more emphasis on God’s wrath or his sovereignty or his holiness, all themes that are biblical in some degree or another. God’s love did not receive as much attention. But today, if people believe in God at all, by and large they find it easy to believe in God’s love.

Yet being comfortable with the notion of the love of God has been accompanied by some fairly spongy notions as to what love means. Occasionally you will hear somebody saying something like this: “It’s Christians I don’t like, I mean, God is love, and if everybody were just like Jesus, it would be wonderful. Jesus said, ‘Judge not that you be not judged.’ You know, if we could all just be nonjudgmental and be loving the way Jesus was loving, then the world would be a better place.” There is an assumption then about the nature of love, isn’t there? Love is nonjudgmental. It does not condemn anyone. It lets everybody do whatever they want. That is what love means.

Of course, it is sadly true that sometimes Christians—God help us—are mean. Certainly it is true that Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matt. 7:1). But when he said this, did he really mean, “Do not make any morally discriminating judgments?” Why then does he give so many commands about telling the truth? Don’t such commands stand as condemnation of lies and liars? Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves: doesn’t that constitute an implicit judgment on those who don’t? In fact, in the very text where Jesus says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” he goes on to say just five verses later, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs” (Matt. 7:6), which means that somebody has to figure out who the swine are.

In other words, when Jesus says something as important as “Do not Judge, or you too Wlll he Judged,” there is a context to he understood. Jesus, after all, cuts an astonishingly high moral swath through his time. So if people think “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” means that Jesus is abolishing all morality and leaving all such questions up to the individual, they have not even begun to understand who Jesus is. Jesus does condemn the kind of judgment that is judgmental, self-righteous, or hypocritical. He condemns such judgment repeatedly and roundly. But there is no way on God’s green earth that he is condemning moral discernment or the priority of truth. In any case there is more to God’s love, to Jesus’s love, than avoiding judgmentalism.

That means that when we think of God’s love, we need to think of God’s other attributes too—his holiness, truthfulness, glory (his manifestation of his spectacular being and loveliness), and all the rest–and think through how all of them work together all the time. Sadly, precisely because our culture finds it relatively easy to believe that God is a God of love, we have developed notions of God’s love that are disturbingly spongy and sentimental and almost always alienated from the full range of the attributes that make God, God.

the-god-who-is-there

Moderation Schmoderation

I believe in optimalation (or optimisation if you prefer) rather than moderation, which I’ve never really believed in. Scripture calls for ‘all’, ‘everything’, ‘more and more’ too often for me to believe in moderation in everything. Maybe I’m too much into the radical and crazy.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Deuteronomy 6:5

He said to all of them, “Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses every day, and follow me.
Luke 9:23

Always be joyful.
Never stop praying.
Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

We always have to thank God for you, brothers and sisters. It’s right to do this because your faith is showing remarkable growth and your love for each other is increasing.
2 Thessalonians 1:3

I found that most of the ‘extreme’ references have to do with love.

Before any of you wish to correct me, this should be tempered with the many things that really do need moderation.

When you find honey, eat only as much as you need.
Otherwise, you will have too much and vomit.
Proverbs 25:16

This is actually the verse that spurred on this post. (I got my days mixed up and read chapter 25 on the 26th and vice versa.)

Some commentators even widen this to the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. I don’t think at this time in this world it’s a problem for most people though.

Keil and Delitzsch on the above verse:

That it is not to be understood in a purely dietetic sense (although thus interpreted it is a rule not to be despised), is self-evident. As one can suffer injury from the noblest of food if he overload his stomach therewith, so in the sphere of science, instruction, edification, there is an injurious overloading of the mind; we ought to measure what we receive by our spiritual want, the right distribution of enjoyment and labour, and the degree of our ability to change it in succum et sanguinem, – else it at last awakens in us dislike, and becomes an evil to us.

Can one gain too much true spiritual knowledge at once? Study too much even if it isn’t to the detriment of other things in life?

The beginning of wisdom is to acquire wisdom.
Acquire understanding with all that you have.
Proverbs 4:7

If you think you’re wise, you’re probably not

God wants us to compare ourselves to him and know that wisdom comes from him. If you have other verses/passages on that, let me know. There isn’t much difference between a fool and a wise person when we compare ourselves to God, which should keep us humble. The more we know, the more we know how much we don’t know–if we’re doing it right–along with wisdom.

These are all NLT because I like how it renders 1 Corinthians 3:18, and I usually try not to use a bunch of translations in one post. [Edited for clarity.]

There is more hope for fools
than for people who think they are wise.
Proverbs 26:12 NLT

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise.
1 Corinthians 3:18

For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?
1 Corinthians 4:7

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
James 3:13-17

Breaking News: Depression Doesn’t Always Have a Cause

Tangled Up in Blue: Depression and the Christian Life – Reformation21

Actually, this is very, very old news. If you’d rather not read the whole article, here is a quote from it on something that I’d like more people to realize, along with another comment below it:

Charles Spurgeon, who himself wrestled throughout his life with depression, described it well: “Causeless depression cannot be reasoned with, nor can David’s harp charm it away by sweet discoursings. As well fight with the mist as with this shapeless, undefinable, yet all-beclouding hopelessness … The iron bolt which so mysteriously fastens the door of hope and holds our spirits in gloomy prison, needs a heavenly hand to push it back.” He had a category for causeless depression, depression that shows up through no fault of one’s own.

So did Martyn Lloyd Jones. He preached a series that later became a book on the topic, known to us as Spiritual Depression (Eerdmans, 1965). He warned Christians of the temptation to over-spiritualize conditions like depression, writing, “Many Christian people, in fact, are in utter ignorance concerning this realm where the borderlines between the physical, psychological and spiritual meet. Frequently I have found that such [church] leaders had treated those whose trouble was obviously mainly physical or psychological, in a purely spiritual manner; and if you do so, you not only don’t help. You aggravate the problem.”

It seems Martin Luther had a similar category too. Speaking of his own struggle with depression (and the use of medicine in his own day) he said, “When I was ill…the physicians made me take as much medicine as though I had been a great bull…I do not deny that medicine is a gift of God, nor do I refuse to acknowledge science in the skill of many physicians. But take the best of them, how far are they from perfection?…When I feel indisposed, by observing a strict diet and going to bed early, I generally manage to get round again, that is, if I can keep my mind tolerably at rest. I have no objection to the doctors acting upon certain theories, but, at the same time, they must not expect us to be the slaves to their fancies.” Luther had a category for depression that is mostly physical in cause and cure.

[...]

In other words, Christians with much less understanding of mental health than we have seemed to have a better grasp of it than we do.

–Sammy Rhodes, Tangled Up in Blue: Depression and the Christian Life

Even today many church leaders don’t trust what Lloyd-Jones and others had to say. He had such great insight and as far as I know, he didn’t even deal with chronic depression himself. I suppose along with God’s grace, being a formal medical doctor and an astute pastor was enough for him to develop a keen sense of these things.

After the news of Robin Williams, plenty of people who’ve never really been depressed have waxed… something, trying to explain exactly what happened and use the opportunity to promote their point of view and get hits on their blog, or retweets on their Tweeter, or be liked on their Facebook.

Also see:

Around the Web – Aug.19.14

Becoming Christ-like: The Goal of the Christian Life? | Daniel B. Wallace

Reading Tips: Read and Retain

Excellent resources on depression – Reformation21 Blog

Stopping Suicide an Info Graphic – a repeat

Heidelberg Catechism | Scripture Zealot blog – 119 through the end is a very brief primer of the Lord’s prayer and what it entails, for any of you that might be helped by it

How does God lead us? | WisdomForLife

God Is Spirit and So Are We

There are two messages to this post:

  1. Isn’t it amazing that being made in God’s image, we are also spiritual beings? The fact that we are able to be reborn spiritually, and with God’s Spirit in us is amazing beyond explanation or comprehension.
  2. This can only come from God. We can’t intellectualize ourselves into the Kingdom or just make a statement and then do nothing or have nothing to show for it.

This came about from reading the book that the quote below is from. I added some emphasis in the first two Scripture quotes so that hopefully you’ll see what I’m getting at. (Good luck.)

God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind.
Genesis 1:25 NLT

Then God said, “Let us make humans in our image, in our likeness.
Genesis 1:26 GW

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your stubborn hearts and give you obedient hearts. I will put my Spirit in you. I will enable you to live by my laws, and you will obey my rules.
Ezekiel 36:26-27

However, he gave the right to become God’s children to everyone who believed in him. These people didn’t become God’s children in a physical way-from a human impulse or from a husband’s desire to have a child. They were born from God.
John 1:12-13

Flesh and blood give birth to flesh and blood, but the Spirit gives birth to things that are spiritual. Don’t be surprised when I tell you that all of you must be born from above. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where the wind comes from or where it’s going. That’s the way it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
John 3:6-8

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will go to them and make our home with them.”
John 14:23

Those who obey Christ’s commandments live in God, and God lives in them. We know that he lives in us because he has given us the Spirit.
1 John 3:24

We know that we live in him and he lives in us because he has given us his Spirit. We have seen and testify to the fact that the Father sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God lives in those who declare that Jesus is the Son of God, and they live in God.
1 John 4:13-15

Being born again is not only a confession. D.A. Carson says, “Where there is new birth, you will always see the results.” [Emphasis is his.] New birth has not necessarily taken place because “somebody’s made a commitment to Jesus.” Where there is new birth–where it has genuinely come from God–you will see transformation. You will see change in the life. That does not mean that people have suddenly reached perfection: we shall have more Christian growth and Christian failures in due course. But where new birth takes place, there is a change of direction, or origin. There is a cleaning up in the life. There is a transformation. There is a beginning of life from God himself that shapes our existence in a new direction.

–D.A. Carson, The God Who Is There

You give glory to my Father when you produce a lot of fruit and therefore show that you are my disciples.
John 15:8

As all of us reflect the Lord’s glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

The New Covenant is still an agreement.

But now Christ has brought you back to God by dying in his physical body. He did this so that you could come into God’s presence without sin, fault, or blame. This is on the condition that you continue in faith without being moved from the solid foundation of the hope that the Good News contains.
Colossians 1:22-23

But the fruit comes from God.

You didn’t choose me, but I chose you. I have appointed you to go, to produce fruit that will last, and to ask the Father in my name to give you whatever you ask for.
John 15:16

I don’t mean to make a portrayal that seems to remove any responsibility on our part.

He gave the right to become God’s children to everyone who believed in him. These people didn’t become God’s children in a physical way-from a human impulse or from a husband’s desire to have a child. They were born from God.
John 1:12-13

How these two sides of God’s truth—His sovereignty in choosing us (Romans 9) and our responsibility to confess and believe (Romans 10)—reconcile is impossible for us to understand fully. But Scripture declares both perspectives of salvation to be true (John 1:12-13). It’s our duty to acknowledge both and joyfully accept them by faith.

–John MacArthur

Sproul Quote

If You’ve Got It, Don’t Flaunt It

Proverbs 12:23 -
A prudent man concealeth knowledge – “If a fool hold his peace he may pass for a wise man.” I have known men of some learning, so intent on immediately informing a company how well cultivated their minds were, that they have passed either for insignificant pedants or stupid asses.’
–Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Whole Bible

I thought this was kind of funny to read. Very concise. It’s interesting that someone with true spiritual knowledge can become a braggart, windbag, or someone who doesn’t know when to impart knowledge and when it’s best to keep it to themselves, otherwise looking like a fool. (The word ‘asses’ here is like donkeys.) Just as if a fool would only keep quiet, even though he’s stupid on the inside, doesn’t show it on the outside. It’s an interesting contrast. Many of us could learn from it.

Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise.
1 Corinthians 3:18 NLT

Conforming to Jesus

I’ve always felt that Christians, especially men, are rather homogeneous in the USA. We’re supposed to conform to Christ, but if we look and act like most of the other Christian men, then we’re probably doing it right. If we live in suburbia, wearing a suit and tie to church, or at least one of those shirts with a little alligator on it, we’re probably doing it right. If we’re clean cut, don’t swear (I’m actually very strict about that one, but just using it as an example), and don’t get angry, then we’re probably doing it right. And you know what we’re also doing? Conforming to the image of corporate America.

If I were to conform to this, I would feel like I’ve lost myself, not being a fan of corporate culture. (This isn’t a negative commentary on business.) Thank God he gave us a Person to conform to who’s looks are a secret. We’re to conform to his character, not the look of certain contemporary people in our supposed center of the world. This frees us to be ourselves as He made us to be. The more different a person is from the “norm”, the more difficult it can be, unless they care so much more about pleasing God than men. Which is how it should be.

This is a portion of the prayer ‘The Love of Jesus’ from The Valley of Vision. At first it almost sounds like one of those ‘love song’ type praise choruses. I like the various wordings and the message. It’s reassuring. When I’m thinking this way, I’m know I’m probably doing it right.

My heart melts at the love of Jesus,
my brother, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh,
married to me, dead for me, risen for me;
He is mine and I am his;
given to me as well as for me;
I am never so much mine as when I am his,
or so much lost to myself until lost in him;
then I find my true manhood.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Romans 8:29 NIV (all)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If you love the world, love for the Father is not in you. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful people, the lust of their eyes and their boasting about what they have and do–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:15-17

What Does “Grace Upon Grace” Mean?

First of all, is it in the Bible? It almost sounds like a catch-phrase of some sort. Why, yes, yes it is in the Bible. You can find it in John 1:16:

For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
John 1:16 NASB

That’s the wording I’m familiar with for some reason. KJV has “grace for grace.”

This is according to D.A. Carson (quoting the TNIV). This is consistent with what he wrote in his commentary on John, published almost 20 years earlier. Is there another interpretation that you or another scholar prefer?

GRACE AND LAW

John adds, “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given” (1:16). That is exactly what the text says—but what does it mean? It does not mean “grace on top of grace” or “one grace after another,” like Christmas presents piled up under a Christmas tree, one blessing after another. It means we have all received a grace in place of a grace already given. What does that mean? The next verse tells us: “For the law was given through Moses [which takes us back to Exod. 32—34]; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (1:17). In other words, the gift of the law was a gracious thing, a good and wonderful gift from God. But grace and truth par excellence came through Jesus Christ, not in the display of glory to Moses in a cave but in the display of Jesus and the bloody sacrifice on the cross. The law covenant was a gracious gift from God, but now Jesus is going to introduce a new covenant, the ultimate grace and truth. This is a grace that replaces that old grace. It is bound up with a new covenant.

The God Who Is There, pg 116, Chapter 7, The God Who Becomes a Human Being, published in 2010

Would God Take His Holy Spirit From David or Us?

I was thinking that naturally, the Holy Spirit, Spirit of holiness, or Spirit of God was thought of differently in Old Testament times than when after God’s Kingdom broke into this world (Luke 17:21). If we have been born again, we don’t need to worry about God taking His Holy Spirit from us.

Here is a great concise answer by a Facebook friend of mine:
“David’s anxious plea is not meant to cast a shadow on the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints but an indicator of the human anxiety that naturally befalls man on account of sin.”
–Warren Cruz via Facebook

Treasury of David – Spurgeon’s commentary and collections of writings on them:

Take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Withdraw not his comforts, counsels, assistances, quickenings, else I am indeed as a dead man. Do not leave me as thou didst Saul, when neither by Urim, nor by prophet, nor by dream, thou wouldst answer him. Thy Spirit is my wisdom, leave me not to my folly; he is my strength, O desert me not to my own weakness. Drive me not away from thee, neither do thou go away from me. Keep up the union between us, which is my only hope of salvation. It will be a great wonder if so pure a spirit deigns to stay in so base a heart as mine; but then, Lord, it is all wonder together, therefore do this, for thy mercy’s sake, I earnestly entreat thee.
–Charles Spurgeon

Verse 11. Cast me not away. Lord, though I, alas! have cast thee from me, yet cast me not away: hide not thy face from me, although I so often have refused to look at thee; leave me not without help, to perish in my sins, though I have aforetime left thee.
–Fra Thomé de Jesu.

John Calvin:
Verse 11. Take not thy Holy Spirit from me. The words of this verse imply that the Spirit had not altogether been taken away from him, however much his gifts had been temporarily obscured…Upon one point he had fallen into a deadly lethargy, but he was not “given over to a reprobate mind; “and it is scarcely conceivable that the rebuke of Nathan the prophet should have operated so easily and suddenly in arousing him had there been no latent spark of godliness still remaining…The truth on which we are now insisting is an important one, as many learned men have been inconsiderately drawn into the opinion that the elect, by falling into mortal sin, may lose the Spirit altogether, and be alienated from God. The contrary is clearly declared by Peter, who tells us that the word by which we are born again is an incorruptible seed 1Pe 1:23; and John is equally explicit in informing us that the elect are preserved from falling away altogether. 1Jo 3:9. However much they may appear for a time to have been cast off by God, it is afterwards seen that grace must have been alive in their breasts even during that interval when it seemed to be extinct. Nor is there any force in the objection that David speaks as if he feared that he might be deprived of the Spirit. It is natural that the saints, when they have fallen into sin, and have thus done what they could to expel the grace of God, should feel an anxiety upon this point; but it is their duty to hold fast the truth, that grace is the incorruptible seed of God, which never can perish in any heart where it has been deposited. This is the spirit displayed by David. Reflecting upon his offence, he is agitated with fears, and yet rests in the persuasion that, being a child of God, he would not be deprived of what, indeed, he had justly forfeited.

ESV Study Bible Note:
Ps. 51:11 take not your Holy Spirit from me. Some have taken this to imply that the Holy Spirit can be taken from someone, at least in the OT; others have suggested that the Holy Spirit is viewed here in his role of empowering David for his kingly duties, and that this is a prayer that God not take the kingship and the divine anointing for kingship from David as he did from Saul (see note on 1 Sam. 16:14; cf. 1 Sam. 16:13). To evaluate these views, one should observe that the OT rarely discusses the Holy Spirit’s role in cleansing the inner life (besides here, Ezek. 36:27 is the main OT text on the subject), and certainly does not enter into technical questions of the Spirit’s permanent indwelling. Further, the fact that this is a psalm for the whole congregation argues against the idea that this is David’s personal prayer about his kingship. The whole tenor of this psalm is that, if strict justice were God’s only consideration, he would have the right to bring dire judgment on those who sin (which includes all of his own people), and that the only possible appeal is to his mercy. The function of the psalm, as a song sung by the entire congregation, is to shape their hearts so that they feel this at the deepest level, lest they ever presume upon God’s grace.

NLT Study Bible:
your Holy Spirit: Or your spirit of holiness. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can change the human will to make it “loyal” (51:10) and “willing to obey”

‎”You haven’t really understood Psalm 51 until you have realized that every word of this penitential psalm cries for Jesus. Every promise embedded in this psalm looks for fulfillment in Jesus. Every need of Psalm 51 reaches out for help in Jesus. Every commitment of Psalm 51 honors Jesus. The sin that’s at the heart of this psalm will only ever find its cure in the grace of Jesus.

Yes, Psalm 51 is a prayer of confession. And it’s true that Psalm 51 is all about what true repentance produces in the heart and life of a man. Psalm 51 defines how true repentance always produces heartfelt worship. But more than anything else, Psalm 51 is Immanuel’s hymn. The forgiveness of Psalm 51 rests on the shoulders of the One whose name would be Immanuel. The Jesus who would provide everything that David (and we) need took a glorious name. It is a name whose implications are almost too wonderful to grasp and too lofty to imagine. It’s a name that summarizes everything the biblical narrative is about.”

–Paul David Tripp, Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy

John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, went through a period of two years where he felt very far from God. In his autobiography wrote that the words of Psalm 77 kept invading his mind: “Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again show me favor?”
–Found in The One Year Book of Psalms

The Scriptures are sufficient by Thomas Brooks

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Scriptures are sufficient . . .
to inform the ignorant,
to confute the erroneous,
to reform the wicked, and
to guide and direct, support and comfort, the godly.

Here a lamb may wade, and here an elephant may swim!

Here is milk for babes, and meat for strong men!

Here is . . .
comfort for the afflicted, and
support for the tempted, and
ease for the troubled, and
light for the clouded, and
enlargement for the straitened, etc.

Oh,
how full of light,
how full of life,
how full of love,
how full of sweetness,
how full of goodness,
how full of righteousness,
how full of holiness, etc.,
is every chapter, and every verse in every
chapter, yes, and every line in every verse!

No human writings are comparable to Scripture:

  1. for antiquity;
  2. for rarity;
  3. for variety;
  4. for brevity;
  5. for plainness;
  6. for harmony;
  7. for verity.

All which should greatly encourage Christians to a
serious perusal of them. “Oh, how I love Your law!
I meditate on it all day long.” Psalm 119:97

Comfort for the Suffering

O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart;
you will incline your ear
Psalm 10:17 ESV

My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
Psalm 119:28

The next three go together. “Share in the inheritance of the saints” is eternal life.

This is my comfort in my distress, that your promise gives me life.
Psalm 119:50 NRSV

may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.
Colossians 1:11b-12 NRSV

I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18 GNB

This one is key for me. The glory that will be revealed will be so immeasurably better than the worst suffering, that it will have been worth it for what we will have then. It doesn’t lessen the suffering now, but it gives us some hope by faith.

The next two go together. The trinitarian God knows.

As a father has compassion for his children,
so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
For he knows how we were made;
he remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:13-14

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16

Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? 8 If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. 9 Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live?10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness.
Hebrews 12:7-10

They Poured Out A Prayer

They Poured Out A Prayer

(Thomas Brooks, “A Word in Season to Suffering Saints“)

The greatest antidote against all the troubles of this life, is fervent prayer.

“Lord, in trouble have they visited You; they poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them.”
Isaiah 26:16

“They poured out a prayer.” Before, they would say a prayer—but now, they poured out a prayer.

Saints never visit God more with their prayers—than when He visits them most with His rod. Saints never pray with . . .

that seriousness,
that spiritualness,
that heavenliness,
that humbleness,
that brokenness,
that fervency,
that frequency—as they do, when they are under the mighty chastening hand of God!

A sincere Christian never prays so sweetly—as when under God’s rod. When a Christian is in trouble—then prayer is his food and drink.

Oh, what a spirit of prayer was . . .
upon Jonah—when he was in the whale’s belly; and
upon Daniel—when he was among the lions; and
upon David—when fleeing in the wilderness; and
upon the dying thief—when he was on the cross; and
upon Jacob—when his brother Esau came to meet him with four hundred bloody cut-throats at his heels!

When a Christian is under great troubles, deep distresses, and most extreme dangers; he
should pray …
more for the sanctification of affliction—than its removal;
more to get off his sins—than to get off his chains;
more to get good by the rod—than to get free from the rod;
that his afflictions may be a purifying and refining fire,
that his heart may be low and his graces high,
that he may be more weaned from this world,
that he be more ripe for eternal glory.

Around the Web – Aug.5.14

The Selfie – Housewife Theologian

'Bibliotheca' Bible Project Blows Up On Kickstarter With Chapterless Bible – The Bible as Jesus read it

The Dangers and Duty of Confessing Sin to One Another – Feeding on Christ – Buzzwords–transparency and vulnerability

When We Misinterpret God | Parchment and Pen

7 Different Ways to Read a Book | Challies Dot Com – some of these could apply to Bible reading (and some definitely not!)

Infographic: 6 Counterproductive Approaches to “Studying the Bible” | Crossway

Was Jonathan Edwards a Puritan? – Reformation21 Blog – this is also educational on who the Puritans were

Do inner promptings reveal God’s will? | WisdomForLife

22 Facts About Sleep That Will Surprise You (Infographic) — Health Hub from Cleveland Clinic – not exactly on topic, and this one has made the rounds, but I know that me and at least one other reader are interested in this – I’ve read about #12 a few times now