Christian Wounding

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August 15, 2017

Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22

The best things of life come out of wounding. Wheat is crushed before it becomes bread. Incense must be cast upon the fire before its odors are set free. The ground must be broken with the sharp plough before it is ready to receive the seed. It is the broken heart that pleases God.

The sweetest joys in life are the fruits of sorrow. Human nature seems to need suffering to fit it for being a blessing to the world.

Beside my cottage door it grows,
The loveliest, daintiest flower that blows,
A sweetbriar rose.

At dewy morn or twilight’s close,
The rarest perfume from it flows,
This strange wild rose.

“But when the rain-drops on it beat,
Ah, then, its odors grow more sweet,
About my feet.
Ofttimes with loving tenderness,
Its soft green leaves I gently press,
In sweet caress.

A still more wondrous fragrance flows
The more my fingers close
And crush the rose.

Dear Lord, oh, let my life be so
Its perfume when tempests blow,
The sweeter flow.

And should it be Thy blessed will,
With crushing grief my soul to fill,
Press harder still.

And while its dying fragrance flows
I’ll whisper low, “He loves and knows
His crushed briar rose.”

If you aspire to be a son of consolation; if you would partake of the priestly gift of sympathy; if you would pour something beyond commonplace consolation into a tempted heart; if you would pass through the intercourse of daily life with the delicate tact that never inflicts pain; you must be content to pay the price of a costly education–like Him, you must suffer.

@wearywithsorrow

Clouds of Rain

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If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth. Ecclesiastes 11:3

Why, then, do we dread the clouds which now darken our sky? True, for a while they hide the sun, but the sun is not quenched; he will be out again before long. Meanwhile those black clouds are filled with rain; and the blacker they are, the more likely they will yield plentiful showers.

How can we have rain without clouds? Our troubles have always brought us blessings, and they always will. They are the dark chariots of bright grace. These clouds will empty themselves before long, and every tender herb will be gladder for the shower. Our God may drench us with grief, but He will refresh us with mercy. Our Lord’s love-letters often come to us in black-edged envelopes. His wagons rumble, but they are loaded with benefits. His rod blossoms with sweet flowers and nourishing fruits. Let us not worry about the clouds, but sing because May flowers are brought to us through the April clouds and showers.

“O Lord, the clouds are the dust of Thy feet! How near Thou art in the cloudy and dark day! Love beholds Thee, and is glad. Faith sees the clouds emptying themselves and making the little hills rejoice on every side.”
~C H. Spurgeon

 

What seems so dark to thy dim sight
May be a shadow, seen aright
Making some brightness doubly bright.
The flash that struck thy tree–no more
To shelter thee–lets heaven’s blue floor
Shine where it never shone before.
The cry wrung from thy spirit’s pain
May echo on some far-off plain,
And guide a wanderer home again.

“The blue of heaven is larger than the clouds.”

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn

 

A Holy Priesthood

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August 12, 2017

1 Samuel 2:35

If Hannah is put forward as a model for godly parenting, the second half of 1 Samuel 2 reveals the priest Eli as a model for negligent parenting. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are worthless men who do not know Yahweh (1 Sam. 2:12). They steal for themselves the choicest parts of the sacrifices that people bring to the tabernacle (1 Sam. 2:13–17), and they abuse their priestly authority by seducing the women who serve at the entrance of the tabernacle (1 Sam. 2:22).

Certainly, Eli tries to stop his sons from treating Yahweh with contempt. In 1 Samuel 2:23–25, Eli confronts them, warning that, “If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” (1 Sam. 2:25). Eli’s sons do not, however, listen, “for it was the will of the LORD to put them to death” (1 Sam. 2:25).

Because Eli does not remove his sons from the priesthood, Yahweh declares that he himself will put Hophni and Phinehas to death on the same day (1 Sam. 2:34). Yahweh rejects Eli’s house from the priesthood and instead promises to raise up a new house to serve him as priest forever: “I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever” (1 Sam. 2:35).

On one level, Yahweh keeps this promise by raising up Samuel as the faithful priest who will do everything in Yahweh’s heart and in his mind. But on the other hand, Samuel cannot be the ultimate fulfillment of this promise, for two reasons. First, while Samuel is a Levite (1 Chron. 6:27, 33), he is a descendent of Korah and not of Aaron (1 Chron. 6:33–37), and we do not see any long-term justification for Samuel’s irregular priesthood. Second, Samuel’s sons do not end up walking in the ways of their father, but instead they take bribes and pervert justice (1 Sam. 8:1–5). Ultimately, Samuel’s house is not a sure house, to go in and out before Yahweh’s anointed forever.

Instead, Yahweh will later send another priest to mediate and to intercede for us with God—a priest who also could not claim Aaron as his ancestor. Instead, this priest arises from the order of Melchizedek (Gen. 14; Ps. 110:4; Heb. 7). Furthermore, we read that, through his perfect priesthood, this priest has made his entire people into a holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 1:6).

In Christ, not only have have you been blessed by Yahweh’s fulfillment of his promise in 1 Samuel 2:35, but you are the fulfillment of that prophecy as well

@wearywithsorrow

Examining Ourselves

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August 12, 2017

Examining Ourselves

Luke 18:8

(8) I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

The churches of this world generally teach that all a person has to do is to believe on Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, intellectual and even emotional beliefs on their own produce the static, idle faith that James speaks about—dead faith. However, in one who is truly called by God—an individual who has living faith—his belief galvanizes into a conviction that will produce righteous works. These works ultimately produce the “much fruit” that will glorify God the Father (John 15:8).

Just what is the faith that Jesus Christ is looking for? It is a faith far greater than we might imagine. It is faith, not just in individual truths or doctrines, but in an entire way of life—the righteous, holy way that God Himself lives. God wants us to accept and follow the whole package of Christian living that He reveals in His Word.

Granted, it is very hard to do. We live in one of the most sinful, evil, corrupt, self-centered societies of all times, and our patience and conversion are being severely tested. The world wants us to come out of the narrow way that protects us, teaches us, and prepares us for our future. It is pushing and enticing us to accept the broad way that will pull us down to failure and destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

But the life that God has called us to is truly awesome! In John 17:3, Jesus declares the kind of life we have been chosen to live by faith: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Living this eternal life gives us the ability to know God: how He thinks, makes decisions, shows His love, feels for others, extends mercy and forgives, etc. In other words, living God’s way now allows us—as much as is humanly possible—to know the mind and ways of God. It is in God and His incredible way that we must have faith.

Because our calling and potential are so tremendous, God gives us a warning to consider in II Peter 2:20-21:

For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

Once we start down this road, we have committed ourselves to following it to the very end.

For this reason, Paul challenges us in II Corinthians 13:5 to examine ourselves as to whether we are in the faith. He tells us to test ourselves to prove that Christ lives in us. We will not fail the test if we draw close to Him and truly work to make the changes we need to make as individuals to take on the very nature and life of God.

Then, when the question arises, “When the Son of man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” the answer will be a resounding, “Yes!”

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn

Where To Bring Your Broken Heart

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I received this Devotional from Desiring God by John Piper and I had to share especially for those with a brokenheart. Myself have been grieved for the past 3 (three) years with this sorrow and I pray desperately for all who suffer with this grief. He does store our tears in a bottle though for sure, he has billions for me because they have all run over. It took me awhile to read this through with tears. Thank you Lord for your mercy and love. My strength has been made perfect in weakness.

AUGUST 12, 2017

Where to Bring Your Broken Heart

Article by Josh Squires on Desiring God
Regular Contributor

“Help. My heart is broken.”

This is one of the most common refrains in my counseling ministry. There are many causes: love unrequited, jobs lost, dreams quashed, spouses and children taken. No matter its roots, the pain is unbearably similar for its sufferers. And the question that hangs over it all is this: “Now what?”

Weep Well

Grief is an act as well as a feeling. When hearts are broken, cheeks should be wet. I wish it weren’t true, but it is. There is something about weeping that is incredibly scary. It’s a vulnerable act that floods our thoughts and feelings, leaving us fatigued. Little wonder then that people avoid it like the plague, or feel that they need to make an excuse for it.

But Scripture itself does not take such a negative view on mourning. God does not tell his children to “dry it up!” Rather, God stores our tears in his bottle (Psalm 56:8). In an ancient, arid land where bottles were not a dime a dozen, only precious things were kept in bottles. Even more, God himself weeps and makes no apology for it (Luke 19:41–44; John 11:35). When God finds his heart hurting, his cheeks are not dry, and you should not be ashamed if yours aren’t either.

It’s not enough to merely give our emotions vent; they need to be shepherded (Psalm 120:1; 130:1). Christians are not merely those who weep, but those who weep well. It is not true that our stress, sadness, anger, and negative emotions just need an emotional outlet to release the pressure. This “hydraulic” view of the affections often does more harm than good — before we know it, we can barely put our emotional kettle on the burner before the whistle begins to wail for relief.

Instead, the key is to marry an emotional outlet with hope. This does not mean that we always, at every single moment, need to sustain a conscious feeling of hope alongside our grief — God makes room in Scripture for passages like Psalm 88 and Job 3. He does not ask the believer to take a Pollyanna view of the believing life. But Paul reminds the Thessalonians that their grief is different from a mere emotional outpour (1 Thessalonians 4:13). It is grounded in the truth of the gospel which is the spring of hope and life itself (Romans 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:14–17). Gospel hope is the foundation of healthy grief. We may not always see it or focus on it, but it is there, and it will rise again (Psalm 51:12).

Go to Prayer

Grief needs prayer. It is the communion of our souls with their Maker and Sustainer. The Psalter is not just a collection of ditties for believers but a living example of the prayers of the faithful. Praying isn’t about changing God’s mind but submitting the most earnest desires of our hearts to him, and trusting his stewardship with them, even when those desires are aborted.

Christ calls out through prayer in his most desperate hour (Matthew 26:36–39). And Paul tells us that even when we don’t know how to pray as we ought, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, mending our prayers on the way up (Romans 8:26). There is something about prayer, about giving unto our Lord those thoughts and feelings which are most intimate, that makes our hearts more pliable to the comfort that only the gospel brings.

God loves to hear the raw, unscripted prayers of his children’s hearts (Psalm 62:8). But prayer is more than just an emotional dump. Our prayers are prayers to a God who has revealed himself and provided for us in his word. In grief, our prayers and our souls will benefit by feeding on God’s word.

Meditating on Scripture forces our hearts to move beyond ourselves and think on the grand scope of God’s redemptive work for his people (Colossians 1:13–14). It gives hope where otherwise there may be none (John 14:27; Romans 8:31–39; Hebrews 13:6; James 1:2). It puts our grief in perspective, reminding us that our heartache is but a tiny glimpse of the pain experienced by God at the cross (Matthew 27:46) — a suffering that he entered into willingly (John 10:18), despising the cost of shame for the joy of redeeming a people (Hebrews 12:2).

Go to Rest

Grief is exhausting. Physically and emotionally, we find ourselves worn out. A persistent and terrible fog seems to descend on our minds and bodies making it hard even to breathe at times like these. Those in grief need rest. More than just physical rest (though often no less), we need spiritual rest. It is in these moments that the words of our Lord seem sweeter than honey:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30).

Resting in Jesus often means intentionally disengaging from the busyness of the world. Choosing to focus what little emotional energy we have on Kingdom purposes helps provide a peace that mere logic cannot explain (Philippians 4:4–9).

Go to Friends

Grief isn’t private. It’s often difficult and humiliating to let someone in on the depths of our pain, but God loves his people too much to let your suffering begin and end with you. Keeping your grief hidden robs the church of our ability to have the unbelievable joy of Galatians 6:2: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

All people at all times do not need to be clued into the depth of the darkness in which you find yourself, but allowing others to walk beside you in your time of distress is a way of serving them, while also allowing them to serve you. It’s a reminder that the life of a pilgrim in this fallen world is far from rose-colored and, someday, when the current trial is behind you, the church will get the benefit of witnessing God’s tangible faithfulness to you.

All too often, Satan uses our grief to indulge our desire to isolate, not only personally but corporately. Gathering for worship just feels like a chore too difficult to manage. When we grieve, it may be difficult to sing, pray, or concentrate in worship. It may feel as if the Lord’s Supper is a hollow activity. But worship is the ventilator of our spirits — keeping us alive when all else seems to fail. Bit by bit, even when we don’t appreciate it, worship is consoling our grief and nurturing our souls back to health.

Weep and Draw Near

In a world where sin infects and impacts all things, it is impossible for believers to make it through without hearts that break. But we have a God who is not silent at such times. He knows, because he has walked in our shoes (Hebrews 4:15). He has felt the terrible pangs of a broken heart. And at such times, he does not tell us to shut up and go away, but rather to weep, draw near to him, and rejoice in him.

@wearywithsorrow

 

In Our Days of Distress

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August 11 2017

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  Habakkuk 3:17-18

Observe, I entreat you, how calamitous a circumstance is here supposed, and how heroic a faith is expressed. It is really as if he said, “Though I should be reduced to so great extremity as not to know where to find my necessary food, though I should look around about me on an empty house and a desolate field, and see the marks of the Divine scourge where I had once seen the fruits of God’s bounty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”

I think these words are worthy of being written as with a diamond on a rock forever. Oh, that by Divine grace they might be deeply engraven on each of our hearts! Concise as the form of speaking in the text is, it evidently implies or expresses the following particulars: That in the day of his distress he would fly to God; that he would maintain a holy composure of spirit under this dark dispensation, nay, that in the midst of all he would indulge in a sacred joy in God, and a cheerful expectation from Him.

 

Last night I heard a robin singing in the rain,
And the raindrop’s patter made a sweet refrain,
Making all the sweeter the music of the strain.
So, I thought, when trouble comes, as trouble will,
Why should I stop singing? Just beyond the hill
It may be that sunshine floods the green world still.
He who faces the trouble with a heart of cheer
Makes the burden lighter. If there falls a tear,
Sweeter is the cadence in the song we hear.
I have learned your lesson, bird with dappled wing,
Listening to your music with its lilt of spring
When the storm-cloud darkens, then’s the TIME to sing.

–Eben E. Rexford

 

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn

Greed

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August 11, 2017

Amos 8 4-6

(4) Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, (5) Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? (6) That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?

 

To enlarge their coffers, merchants opened their shops for business the minute the Sabbath and holy days passed. They used nonstandard weights and measures to cheat their customers of a few ounces of grain. Some cheated the people to the point that they had to sell themselves into slavery to pay their debts! At the end of the day, the businessman would sweep up the bad wheat berries left on the floor, and sell them to the poor as first-quality wheat when business resumed in the morning!

Their problem lay in their personal attitude toward sin and holiness. God looked at their hearts and saw nothing of His righteousness and holiness. Whenever He finds a lack of these elements in His people, He becomes very concerned. The Israelites manifested their godless attitude in their domineering ways, their penchant to exploit, and their insatiable feeding of their own indulgences. Although God appears to attack mainly the rich and powerful throughout the book, the poor and needy probably had the same attitude but lacked the power to carry it out. Thus, God will punish both “the great house”—the rich—and “the little house”—the poor (Amos 6:11).

Israel’s attitude toward the things of God was one of total disrespect and indifference. When Jesus cleansed the Temple (John 2:13-16), one thing that angered Him was how the priests disqualified the peoples’ sacrifices without legitimate grounds, forcing them to buy animals far above fair market value. Sincere worshippers would have no choice but to pay fifteen or twenty times the normal price for another sacrificial animal that the priests had already proclaimed acceptable. The Israelites of Amos’ day exhibited the same attitudes in their normal business practices.

The sin that underpinned these attitudes is covetousness, causing them to turn everything in life to self-advantage. As in America, competition was the lifeblood of the people, the vitality of the nation, and they felt they had no alternative but to lie, cheat, and steal to keep their “competitive edge.” “The end justifies the means” was their motto. God says that they did not have to approach business this way. The nation was very wealthy—there was enough for everyone.

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn

The Experience Must Come

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August 11,2017

 

And he saw him no more. — 2 Kings 2:12
It is not wrong to depend upon Elijah as long as God gives him to you, but remember the time will come when he will have to go; when he stands no more to you as your guide and leader, because God does not intend he should. You say — “I cannot go on without Elijah.” God says you must.

Alone at your Jordan (2 Kings 2:14). Jordan is the type of separation where there is no fellowship with anyone else, and where no one can take the responsibility for you. You have to put to the test now what you learned when you were with your Elijah. You have been to Jordan over and over again with Elijah, but now you are up against it alone. It is no use saying you cannot go; this experience has come, and you must go. If you want to know whether God is the God you have faith to believe Him to be, then go through your Jordan alone.

Alone at your Jericho (v.15). Jericho is the place where you have seen your Elijah do great things. When you come to your Jericho you have a strong disinclination to take the initiative and trust in God, you want someone else to take it for you. If you remain true to what you learned with Elijah, you will get the sign that God is with you.

Alone at your Bethel (v.23). At your Bethel you will find yourself at your wits’ end and at the beginning of God’s wisdom. When you get to your wits’ end and feel inclined to succumb to panic, don’t; stand true to God and He will bring His truth out in a way that will make your life a sacrament. Put into practice what you learned with your Elijah, use his cloak and pray. Determine to trust in God and do not look for Elijah any more.

Oswald Chambers

@wearywithsorrow

He Abstained

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August 10, 2017

When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. John 11:6

In the forefront of this marvelous chapter stands the affirmation, “Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus,” as if to teach us that at the very heart and foundation of all God’s dealings with us, however dark and mysterious they may be, we must dare to believe in and assert the infinite, unmerited, and unchanging love of God. Love permits pain.

The sisters never doubted that He would speed at all hazards and stay their brother from death, but, “When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.”

What a startling “therefore”! He abstained from going, not because He did not love them, but because He did love them. His love alone kept Him back from hasting at once to the dear and stricken home. Anything less than infinite love must have rushed instantly to the relief of those loved and troubled hearts, to stay their grief and to have the luxury of wiping and stanching their tears and causing sorrow and sighing to flee away. Divine love could alone hold back the impetuosity of the Savior’s tender-heartedness until the Angel of Pain had done her work.

Who can estimate how much we owe to suffering and pain? But for them we should have little scope for many of the chief virtues of the Christian life. Where were faith, without trial to test it; or patience, with nothing to bear; or experience, without tribulation to develop it?

 

Loved! Then the way will not be drear;
For One we know is ever near,
Proving it to our hearts so clear
That we are loved.
Loved when our sky is clouded o’er,
And days of sorrow press us sore;
Still we will trust Him evermore,
For we are loved.
Time, that affects all things below,
Can never change the love He’ll show;
The heart of Christ with love will flow,
And we are loved.

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn

Comfort Does Not Come To The Lighthearted

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August 9, 2017

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee who passing through the valley of weeping, make it a well. Psalms 84:5-6

Comfort does not come to the light-hearted and merry. We must go down into “depths” if we would experience this most precious of God’s gifts–comfort, and thus be prepared to be co-workers together with Him.

When night–needful night–gathers over the garden of our souls, when the leaves close up, and the flowers no longer hold any sunlight within their folded petals, there shall never be wanting, even in the thickest darkness, drops of heavenly dew–dew which falls only when the sun has gone.

I have been through the valley of weeping,
The valley of sorrow and pain;
But the ‘God of all comfort’ was with me,
At hand to uphold and sustain.
As the earth needs the clouds and sunshine,
Our souls need both sorrow and joy;
So He places us oft in the furnace,
The dross from the gold to destroy.
When he leads thro’ some valley of trouble
His omnipotent hand we trace;
For the trials and sorrows He sends us,
Are part of His lessons in grace.
Oft we shrink from the purging and pruning,
Forgetting the Husbandman knows
That the deeper the cutting and paring,
The richer the cluster that grows.
Well He knows that affliction is needed;
He has a wise purpose in view,
And in the dark valley He whispers,
“Hereafter Thou’lt know what I do.”
As we travel thro’ life’s shadow’d valley,
Fresh springs of His love ever rise;
And we learn that our sorrows and losses,
Are blessings just sent in disguise.
So we’ll follow wherever He leadeth,
Let the path be dreary or bright;
For we’ve proved that our God can give comfort;
Our God can give songs in the night.

@wearywithsorrow