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Discussion Forum : General Topics : A Puritanical Remedy for Spiritual Discouragement

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 Re:

Very touched by your testimony Brother. Sounds very familiar ministry wise, except the way I was broken was through other means. Our God has unlimited resources that He can use to show us who we really are. He has Hospitals, mental wards, counterfeit spirits, car accidents, the death of a loved one and on & on --- so many ways to take our cocky side down. He is so good.
The most valuable lesson He gave me was to know that every human - until the day they die, will have "pride" in their lives. Even Hudson Taylor testified to this, as did other great men of days past.
It frightens me most when I hear Saints talk of how humble they are 'now'. I hold my breath now whenever I hear it. I'm sure you know what I mean - that fear that grips you for their sake makes your heart skip a beat, literally. Pride is "the root" of ALL sin and all that is un-Christ-like. Anything un-like Christ is sin - not just those we can list. And we are never fully rid of this pride until we SEE Him as He is. He's chizeling at it - but to be 100% delivered is not in this life. Only a hungering and thirsting to continually be refined - as you said - in the fires - but to be totally rid of that sly pride in us is only in our hopes. If we could only/always remember that, we'd have it much easier in our relationship with Him and all else. There are no pride-free humans - none. God help us to see that.
We can preach "humility" until the cows come home and in most cases, it only puffs up the reader, because at least they've read about it and agreed.
How deceptive our own hearts are - Indeed.
Another hard lesson to learn is our relationships at home. 1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
How many Ministers do you suppose have happy wives? Not just Pastors, but any of us in the ministry. 'That' is a hard saying. I find that unless that is in order - there is an "under-current of anger" in the man's (or woman's) life for the unfulfilled relationship - whether the one is at fault or not. There's a tension there that eventually surfaces in some 'not nice' way. The anger will surface somewhere and God will normally try to give warning signs before it's done in public - if we can heed those warnings first, before we blow it in public.
We need to pray for one another's Homes. And for the single among us - for the Lord to show how pride is what stops the flow of His virtue. The mind set that "we deserve better in life or something that we Don't have".

Lord Bless you brother and brothers. I also covet your prayers until we meet by His Side. Thank you.

 2007/9/22 19:38
BrokenOne
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Joined: 2007/6/7
Posts: 429
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

 Re:

Quote:
This thread has been water to a dry land


AMEN!!!

Quote:
Well, it was during these times that God rearranged my furniture and did a massive makeover that only He could do. He smashed me in a million shards and then put me in the furnace. After the shards melted, He molded me back together on His wheel and then put me back in the furnace. And again, and again, and again. And I'm still in the furnace, on the wheel, back in the furnace, back on the wheel. Everytime I think the majority of the chaff's finally gone, the flames increase and more just gushes out. I'm like a sponge that always seems to yield dirty water if you squeeze hard enough. And God knows how to squeeze!

But the furnace is the place where God teaches grace, and the furnace is a blessed place.



The furnace is a blessed place…..

Brother Paul, thank you for sharing so openly. This is a tremendous testimony. As a fellow occupant of the furnace, I too can see it as His mercy.

Danielle


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Danielle

 2007/9/22 19:39Profile
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Joined: 2003/10/30
Posts: 1554


 Re: A Puritanical Remedy for Spiritual Discouragement

Oh there is much here.

Brother Paul, your last post reminded me of that wonderful hymn by Wesley:

[b]And can it be that I should gain[/b]

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

 2007/9/22 19:59Profile









 Re:

Thank you, brother Paul, for sharing the article first of all and then sharing what God has been doing in you.
It's been wonderful to read it all throughout today! And it's been a blessing to read the words of the others also...this is a truly edifying thread, to God be the glory.

I pray that God continues to take all of us deeper in the process of conforming us to the image of Christ Jesus.

~Joy

 2007/9/22 19:59
PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re: Sonship

Quote:
Brother Paul, your last post reminded me of that wonderful hymn by Wesley:



It's wonderful you mention this hymn, as it is one of my all-time favorites. It is a most glorious hymn to sing with a pure heart. Charles Wesley wrote another amazing hymn I love: "Arise, My Soul Arise" The part about the Spirit of God answering to the Blood of Christ and confirming to my discouraged spirit that I am [i]born of God[/i] -- that is, a [i]son of God[/i] -- is just staggering.

I don't think I've ever come across such deep truth so effortlessly conveyed.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2007/9/23 18:12Profile
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Joined: 2006/1/19
Posts: 1406


 Re:

Thank you Brother Paul,

This brings back what so many of us have learned the hard way, but bless God and Saviour that it did happen. I believe it is the only way we could ever really know what it means to have the Son to make us free.

Quote:
And when I crashed and burned, it happened suddenly and in totality, like the falling of the towers on 9/11. In a blink of an eye it was all over, all my strength and confidence and self-sufficiency and spiritual pride was immediately emasculated



I stopped the quote here to add my own failure: looking at the horrors of my past through pills and a bottle that only led to four years of unrelenting torment, and then; oh how wonderful it was to read these lovely words and have the Holy Spirit quicken them to my heart.
WHOM the SON sets FREE is FREE INDEED.

The apostle Paul wrote:

Philip. 3:8-14
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, [9] And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: [10] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; [11] If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. [12] Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. [13] Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, [14] I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

That we may never tire of seeking to know Him more.

Thank you again Brother Paul.

In His Love
pastorfrin

 2007/9/23 19:51Profile
PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

Quote:
This brings back what so many of us have learned the hard way, but bless God and Saviour that it did happen. I believe it is the only way we could ever really know what it means to have the Son to make us free.



Yes, my brother. I do know that in my case, it was [i]the[/i] only way. It still is. The Lord knows me as His son, and as an omniscient Father He knows all things [i]for[/i] me best and does all things [i]to[/i] me well. I would never know true freedom had I not fallen. What compounded the pain was that I fell into the very sin I preached so vehemently against. When I heard reports of pastors falling into pornography, I would secretly sneer and say to myself, "If they had the type of walk [i]I[/i] have, that would have never happened..." I would actually think these things in my heart as I listened and put on an empathetic face.

Oh, the secret inward whisperings. That's where it all started. The success, the continued victories over the flesh had a paradoxically ruinous effect to me because I let it swell my head with spiritual pride and blind my eyes to the plights of [i]real[/i] soldiers laying bloodied and tattered in the trenches. I was too immature to realize how great a tactician Satan is, how silently beguiling the flesh can be, and how transparent victory over the world may seem. I thought I had crucified those giants, but they had only gone into hiding, like the five Canaanite kings sitting low in the cave at Mekkedah.

Like I said yesterday, and to echo your sentiments dear brother, to sit in torment and suffering and then to have the Holy Spirit quicken a precious word to your spirit -- this is true freedom. Such was the shock when I suddenly realized the true God of the universe was unlike the other deity I once preached and thundered mercilessly to awestruck kids and adults. I only saw the true God from the shadows, but as the fires of affliction came upon my soul, the shadows began to dissipate and I started to see His awesome nature in the bright blaze of suffering...and discovered in the hour of my greatest need that He alone was my full sufficiency of grace and mercy and fathomless love. This amazing and eternal God of all creation told me I was [i]His son,[/i] and that He loved me more than I could ever comprehend. This blessed revelation of God's incomprehensible [i]acceptance of me despite my failure[/i] had an immediate anihilating effect on me and utterly smashed my entire domain of religious self-sufficiency into a million pieces.

I began to think of how close a son is to his father when he is being spanked. I saw that he is on his father's lap, and the father's hands are on him. I soon discovered that the hands of God are big and strong and firm, but that they are also most loving and warm and good during His correction. The balance between pain and comfort is always perfectly tempered, and my soul has since learned to bow in humility and thanksgiving before His most noble rod.

The reminder that I am a [i]son[/i] never diminishes with the spanking; it grows stronger, and by each spanking I am more assured of sonship. I am a [i]son[/i] and my Father loves me as such, and therefore He spanks as such. O the blessedness of [i]sonship[/i] through the blood of Christ, to meditate thereon in brokeness and crushing failure. To despise self to such a deep degree until an awareness of God's acceptance enters through the portals of heavenly glory, beyond space and time...up to the place where the magnificent Father of Lights dwells in eternity and cares for His earthbound sons and cleanses them by faith through the everflowing fountain of blood streaming like a crimson rainbow from heaven to earth.

I do bless God that He is my Father, and I am His son.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2007/9/23 20:44Profile
moreofHim
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Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632


 Re: failings and falling

Paul,

thank you for your post, for your openess. I can relate to so much of what you are saying. Though I have fallen and failed in different areas, it still caught me so off guard.

Like you, at one point I was so 'proud' that I knew the way to live the 'victorious' christian life. I even had my own website to prove it. I thought I had done the hard part of surrendering all to the Lord and then everything would be just fine. How wrong I was.

I cannot call myself an expert at anything anymore. I cannot give people my quaint little 'remedies' for overcoming anymore. I do not dare.

Reminds me of something Carter Conlon once said:

Quote:
"If we had no problems we'd be impossible to live with. We'd have these pat answers, we'd be throwing little trite scriptures at everybody, we'd be an impossible people to live with." -Carter Conlon (Why Do Some Battles Never Go Away)



I have nothing of my own anymore. None of my self sufficiancy. None of my own doing. It is truly by grace that I sit here- and I truly know that and understand that now. I don't deserve Him or His grace- yet He offers it anyway. I am so unworthy, yet He says I am not worthless.

I thought it was my responsibility to live the perfect christian life in front of other christians as well as non believers. I tried with all my might to do that. I wanted to make Christ look good. Unbeknownst to me, the Lord didn't want me to look perfect to others. Do I understand it all, understand why not? No. But I know it has to do with pride, with my relationship to Him- for I once thought I had to be 'perfect' for me to be accepted by Him (and I still struggle with this).

I really don't have all the words to say about this; but just thank you. Not many understand this unless they have lived it. You see people talking about living a perfect sinless life, and you kind of just feel like laughing or crying. There is no explaining until you have failed so miserably - despite your best attempts to be pleasing to God.

In His grace, Chanin


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Chanin

 2007/9/24 9:28Profile
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: A most wonderful remedy indeed!

Quote:
this is a truly edifying thread, to God be the glory.



Reading through this yesterday brought such an incredible ... speechlessness along with that tremendous sensation that electrifies the hair on ones arms ... it brought out some measures that I would not have even suspected ... I was, and am still humbled by our brothers sharing and the responses that followed. It caused some reflection towards past thoughts shared about past years fellowship, those things shared amongst ourselves, even towards some corrective moments where one of our own expressed the deep heart expressions of prayers for each other ... and then she shows up with a reply! :-)

In all sincerity of heart and love for the brethren, it is high privilege to be in this company of saints.


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Mike Balog

 2007/9/24 10:10Profile
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: The sweet lessons that arise from the smoke of failure and sin

Quote:
The furnace is where God introduced me to the Puritans and the doctrines of grace and hope in the midst of my failures, and the Holy Spirit has repeatedly used them like a balm to my scorched soul.



Sometimes I think that our greatest fear in the church is sin and failure. The danger is that we either deny it altogether or zealously swarm around it to “pull out the sliver”. But then we miss the important lessons to be gained. We fail to see failure as the path to growth in grace – not only for the sinner, but also those surrounding his/her life.

I suspect that the underlying fear is the perceived threat to the organization’s “unity” and preservation. Quick! Snuff out the “sin” before we get a bad reputation, or before it gets out of hand, or we totter! Never mind the process of patience, tolerance, prayer, talking/working it through, getting to the root of it, finding God’s grace and freedom etc.

Is this not really perfectionism: the fear of the imperfect. Really our fear of sin is greater than our trust in the One who frees us from sin.

This faulty thinking leads to a controlling type of Christianity, where the system is held together by quick remedies: bandaids - a form of godliness without the power.

I’m thankful for this article. It brings us back to a correct attitude towards sin and also a trust in our Lord. I’d be interested in modern writings on this. One of the best that I have discovered so far is Larry Crabb’s book: “The Pressure’s Off”. I know there’s stuff out there – I’ve bumped into it on the net. That shouldn’t be surprising. Many of us, like Paul West, are discovering God’s sweet grace through the process of our failures.



Diane



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Diane

 2007/9/24 10:12Profile





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