For every testing and trial that comes to His children, God has a purpose. “For a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations,” and “it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” The psalmist testified that “before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept Thy word,” and “it is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes.” He further said that “I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” God works through tribulations and tears to bring His own into closer fellowship with Himself. “Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the Lord my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented.” “Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.” “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
A long road and a heavy trial May be your lot here below, But your loving Lord is near you To help you His grace to know.
“A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” Therefore let “no man … be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” So, “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.” In that soon-coming glory “ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ,” with “no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither … any more pain.”
Tested and tried with pressures, Till it seems you can’t endure, God’s purpose is not to hurt, But to make you clean and pure.
In that coming day when national Israel shall repent and be converted at our Lord’s return to earth, when “there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer,” the Holy Spirit will be unto them “the Spirit of grace and of supplications.” He is that now to all of us who know the Lord Jesus, for He indwells every believer, and “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” He is “the Spirit of grace,” imparting to us “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and enabling us to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” and to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” Thus are we “strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” And He, the blessed Holy Spirit, is also “the Spirit of … supplications,” causing us, as we yield to the Lord, to be “praying in the Holy Ghost,” and to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” And as we “walk in the Spirit,” He will cause us to look on that Pierced One with hearts made contrite by His love and grace.
The Spirit who indwelleth me Is the Spirit of God’s grace, Leading me in supplication, For all who’ve entered the race.
How often, sad to say, we Christians grumble and complain, either thoughtlessly or willfully ignoring the fact that the Lord has permitted the circumstances about which we murmur and complain. “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot,” and to murmur and complain is to say, in effect, that God has made a mistake. We may try to keep our murmuring private, as the children of Israel “murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord,” or we may even do it in our hearts, without outward expression, but it is not hidden from Him who “looketh on the heart,” for “Thou understandest my thought afar off.” One of Israel’s anticipated blessings during the millennial reign of our Lord is “that there be no complaining in our streets,” and God’s Word to us now is “neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” So “use hospitality one to another without grudging [murmuring],” and “grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door,” but let there be “rather giving of thanks.”
I need not murmur nor complain; The Lord has determined my lot; He assigneth me my portion, Blessings that cannot be bought.
Imperfect as we all are, we greatly need the exhortation and encouragement of other Christians, for “now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.” So “exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” “Where two or three are gathered together in My name,” said our Lord, “there am I in the midst of them.” By God’s grace, “I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts.” And we need each other’s fellowship and encouragement all the more “as ye see the day approaching.” While we are not looking for signs but for the assembling shout of our Lord, we cannot but see the shadows of things to come, reminding us that “now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light,” thus “redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” “The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”
The darkness is almost over; Soon the Morning Star will arise; We shall go to the realms of light, When we meet Him up in the skies.
The Lord does not bless His people in a hit-and-miss fashion; He “daily loadeth us with benefits.” Sometimes He “loadeth us” with things which do not seem to us to be beneficial, but let us never forget that “He that searcheth the hearts” and “weigheth the spirits” “knoweth what things ye have need of,” and “faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” As the king of Babylon dealt with Jehoiachin, so our Lord Jesus Christ, “the King of kings,” deals with us, with a “continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.” He has promised that “My loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail.” “The Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” Moreover, “as thy days, so shall thy strength be,” and “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” “Daily shall He be praised,” “because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning.”
Day by day His mercies come; He giveth strength for the way; Hour by hour He blesseth us, Giving us His grace each day.
What are you seeking in life, dear Christian? What are your desires? Riches, fame, so-called security, pleasure? If so, remember that “the fashion of this world passeth away,” and that “all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever.” Our Lord Jesus said to “take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” “Things” do not satisfy, but the Lord does. “Wherefore do ye spend … labor for that which satisfieth not?” But “He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” So “rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The person who puts the Lord first in his life and walks in obedience to His Word does not have to worry about “things,” “for Thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee,” and “they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.” Love “seeketh not her own.” So “seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought His judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness,” for “they shall praise the Lord that seek Him.”
What are you seeking, dear friend, For pleasure, for ease, for things? Or do you “seek those things … above,” Which satisfaction do bring?
After we have “turned to God” from our sins, through His Son, who said that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me,” then we are privileged “to serve … and to wait,” with “labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.” It is doubtful if any Christian can “serve the living and true God” rightly, unless, while so serving, he is “waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And it is equally doubtful if any Christian can rightly “wait for His Son from heaven,” unless, while so waiting, he is exercising “faith which worketh by love,” for our Lord said, “Occupy till I come.” So let us “serve” in the consciousness that we are waiting, and let us “wait” in the expectation of His promise: “Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be,” and with the realization that “in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
Serving and waiting for Him, The Lord of life and glory, Seeking to show forth His grace, To tell the gospel story.
Only the Lord knows how many wounded hearts, hurt feelings and blasted reputations are in the world today because of words spoken hastily or thoughtlessly, for words, once spoken, can never be recalled, no matter how much they are regretted. “If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself,” and are thus inclined to utter boastful words, “lay thine hand upon thy mouth.” Better “let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” “Or if thou hast thought evil” and are inclined to “speak … evil one of another,” then also “lay thine hand upon thy mouth.” “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak,” for “death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.” “Let all … evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice,” and say with David that “I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue.” Don’t let Satan mislead you into believing that if you think something, it is all right to say it. Some people pride themselves in saying what they think. Don’t do it, dear Christian! “If thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.”
“Lay thine hand upon thy mouth,” If evil “thou hast thought,” For words spoken hastily Have untold evil wrought.
One might think that such an admonition to God’s children would not be needed, but how wrong is such a conclusion. Continually, in the church, in Christian work, and in the home, situations arise which call for kindness, consideration and forbearance, and which also call for forgiveness, for genuine offenses occur among the saints. So “let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another,” for “charity [love] suffereth long, and is kind.” If you have been offended or hurt, whenever possible “debate thy cause with thy neighbor himself; and discover not a secret to another,” but “that ye would confirm your love toward him,” “consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works,” and “by love serve one another.” So “put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye,” and this “with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love.”
How much we need each other’s love To forgive us and restore; No matter what the offense is, Our Lord forgave us much more.