| Re: failure|
Really our fear of sin is greater than our trust in the One who frees us from sin.
That statement is amazing, really. Worth pondering on for awhile.
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.
This also...answers some of my questions as to why, even though a group or church may seem to have all the right 'biblical answers', yet still seems lacking somwhere and can't put my finger on it. Those who think they know the most, may actually know the least.
blessings to you and yours. My heart will always have a little spot with SI written on it :-)....
In His love, Chanin
| 2007/9/24 11:05||Profile|
Dear brethren, I thought this to be as good a place as any to post this blessed hymn. I bless my God for our fellowship here, I bless Him for the sweetness of knowing Him in freedom and without condemnation. May His Spirit impart such revelation to our souls, may we discover what Esther discovered before the king: a scepter of favor. May we discover what Ruth found in Boaz: unmerited lovingkindness and protection. O brethren, He is kind and good and gentle and there is forgiveness and restorative healing in His wings...if we would only but come before His throne in our stained garments of our own failures and weakness. O that we would strip and forever remain naked in His presence, humbled, so that He might clothe us with new garments always.
"Thou knowest, Lord, the weariness and sorrow
Of the sad heart that comes to Thee for rest;
Cares of today, and burdens for tomorrow,
Blessings implored, and sins to be confessed;
I come before Thee at Thy gracious word,
And lay them at Thy feet: Thou knowest, Lord.
Thou knowest all the present: each temptation,
Each toilsome duty, each foreboding fear;
All to myself assigned of tribulation,
Or to belovèd ones than self more dear;
All pensive memories, as I journey on,
Longings for vanished smiles and voices gone.
Thou knowest all the future: gleams of gladness
By stormy clouds too quickly overcast;
Hours of sweet fellowship, and parting sadness,
And the dark river to be crossed at last;
O what could confidence and hope afford
To tread that path, but this, Thou knowest, Lord!
Thou knowest, not alone as God, all knowing;
As man, our mortal weakness Thou has proved:
On earth, with purest sympathies oerflowing,
O Savior, Thou hast wept, and Thou hast loved;
And love and sorrow still to Thee may come,
And find a hiding place, a rest, a home.
Therefore I come, Thy gentle call obeying,
And lay my sins and sorrows at Thy feet;
On everlasting Strength my weakness staying,
Clothed in Thy robe of righteousness complete:
Then rising and refreshed I leave Thy throne,
And follow on to know as I am known."
Paul Frederick West
| 2007/9/24 13:56||Profile|
Im thankful for this article. It brings us back to a correct attitude towards sin and also a trust in our Lord. Id be interested in modern writings on this.
Should the Lord see fit to use me in this capacity, I would be supremely honored to spend the rest of my life promulgating the truths disclosed in this article and thread. I can think of no better course of remedy to those who are broken and crushed in failure than to minister such precious truth. Twin issues of pandemic proportion exist in the church today, where sheep are either brainwashed with apostate junk, or instead misled into trying to live spiritual lives to a contrived dynamic unattainable. What we need are preachers with the glorious remedy of truth; preachers who truly know God, preachers who have failed and failed and failed and have at last surrendered and been [i]crushed[/i] by God and put in the blast furnace and who have come out the other side with a pricelessly translucent faith and humility as precious and dear as the finest china available. Such worth to God these refined and perpetually broken men are! These are men like Art Katz and Keith Daniel and Zac Poonen and T. Austin Sparks and many others, both known and in yet unknown obscurity. These are in another league of man, another calibre; they are the "fine porcelain" products who have both seen God in the fire and considered it profitable enough to remain there until God seemed fit to show them off to the body as ensamples for whosoever will.
I will say this with all my heart: the only treasures of any worth I have received in my Christian walk have come only through great pain and utter self-abasement and failure. If I have ever shared anything in these forums that has blessed and edified others, such truth has only come by pain and tears and great hurt. My brethren, I do not say this to boast; no, I say it to further edify and encourage others [i]that the Son of God is in the fiery furnace[/i]. God is no respector of persons; if you call on Him He will answer with fire, and you will see that His love is a burning, consuming flame. I write this only for those who have been called to the furnace; others may not yet understand this principle.
Paul Frederick West
| 2007/9/24 19:11||Profile|
This thread brought back sentimental feelings of my first weeks on SI, right after I got saved. Paul, thank you for this edifying thread, and greater thanks to our merciful God who knew we needed it.
I had a very similar experience as yours. I was zealous, a bible college grad and missionary, and yet unaware of God's deeper character of righteousness known only through a vision of immense grace.
Last August I started visiting SI because of the influence of Abe_Juliot, my room mate. God opened my eyes through the sermons here and I quickly began to see my errors. I had prayed the so-called sinner's prayer and worked hard to "live for God"; though I could recite doctrines and told everyone that salvation was by grace through faith in Christ; yet I had never become poor in Spirit. Finally God revealed that I was beggared by my sin. He brought to see my inner enmity with the righteousness of God. My heart had yet to relinquish control to the Sovereign of all and it was obvious by my compromised lifestyle. I had given up some deceit and some lusting, yet I still indulged in worldly habits and glorified things Christ died to save men from. I had never honestly said, God, take it all! because I enjoyed the sins. Finally God broke me with warnings of hell and of taking His sacrifice for granted.
For a month I cried daily in my bedroom, for the first time praying that Jesus would take away all of my sins and cause me to walk worthy of Him. I didn't want anymore to do those things which offend and dishonor His name. After a month of this awful, painful, private humiliation before God, confessing my weakness to obey Him, something new happened. In a matter of days, less than a week, I realized a powerful zeal to do what was right. It overwhelmed almost all of my fleshly desires. I could think freely, pray longer and harder, my thoughts were vastly purer than ever before. And it was happening with ease! I had been born again, by the Spirit of God!
Since that time I have not become sinless, but I certainly sin less. And when I sin I lament having offended God. Sin makes me cry for hurting Him, though I know I am forgiven. He has filled me with a passionate desire to tell others about this new birth which is essential to escaping the punishment of eternal hell.
| 2007/9/24 23:02||Profile|
| Re: A Timely Word for Someone...|
Saints, I thought to resurrect this thread with a timely word I feel is for someone here to read. Someone in addition to myself, of course. Embrace the words of Bridge:
[i]"What is prayer and the nature of it? Prayer is the pouring out of the soul to God; not the pouring out of words, nor the pouring out of expressions, but the pouring out of the soul to God. Many times, words and expressions are a great way off from the soul, but sighs and groans are next to the soul, and have more of the soul in them than many words and expressions have."[/i]
I would use this to comfort anyone here who may be heavy-laden with trying to please God. Take your rest from self-defeat and just learn to [i]sigh[/i] in the inner man, and helplessly confess, [i]"O Lord, thou knowest all things..."[/i], and take comfort in knowing your walk with Christ Him was wrought by Him, and shall be kept by Him. Dear brother, it is His hold on you and not your hold on Him, and He is a God that looks into broken hearts.
Let Psalm 44:21 be soothing: [i]"Shall not God search this out? For He knoweth the secrets of the heart."[/i]
Paul Frederick West
| 2008/7/4 16:41||Profile|
| Re: A Puritanical Remedy for Spiritual Discouragement|
"God never permits His people to fall into any sin but He intends to make that sin an outlet unto further grace and comfort to them. The Scripture tells us that the Lord permitted Hezekiah to fall, that Hezekiah might know all that was in his heart. He did not know his own heart before, and therefore the Lord let him fall that he might know his own heart. Sin gains not, but is a loser by every fall of the godly. And if you look into the Scripture, you will observe that when the people of God fall, they usually fail in that grace wherein they most excel. Wherein they did most excel, therein they did most miscarry. Observe:
1. Moses did most excel in meekness, and therein did he most miscarry -- we read of no other sin concerning Moses but his anger.
2. Job did most excel in patience, and therein did he most miscarry.
3. Peter did most excel in zeal and resolution for Christ -- "Though all the world forsake thee, yet will not I" -- and therein did he most miscarry, denying Christ at the voice of a damsel. Yea, you will observe that the saints fell and failed in the grace wherein they did most excel; and they did most excel wherein they did most miscarry.
What is the reason of this? The Lord, by the overruling hand of His grace, did make their very miscarriages, inlets and occasions to their further grace and holiness. God has a great revenue from the very infirmities of His people. He never permits any of His people to fall into any sin, but He hath a design by that fall to break the back of that sin they fall into. Now, then, have the saints and the people of God have any reason to be discouraged in this respect?
You know how it was with the leper in the times of the Old Testament, when he was carried from his own house by reason of his uncleaness; or even now, with a man that has the plague and is carried from his own house by reason thereof. The man may say, "Though I be removed from mine own house, and have not the use of my house, yet I have the right to my house still. And though I cannot come to the use of my land, yet I have the right to my land still."
So likewise a godly man may say as concerning his own sin, "This sin of mine is indeed the plague of my soul, and a leprosy, but though by this leprosy of mine I am now suspended from the use of my comforts -- yea, from the full use of my interest in Jesus Christ -- I yet have an interest in Christ. I still have a right to Christ, although I cannot come to the use of Him as I did before -- yet I have a right to Jesus Christ now, even as I had before."
And if all these things be so, why should a godly man be cast down or discouraged in this respect? Surely he ought not be so."
- William Bridge, from "A Lifting Up for the Downcast", 1648
Thank you for posting this and also for reviving the thread. I think I missed the original post but God knew "now" is when I needed to read it. Are there more excerpts available from this work?
| 2008/7/5 13:20||Profile|
I think I missed the original post but God knew "now" is when I needed to read it. Are there more excerpts available from this work?
Yes, there are. The whole book is chock-full of this kind of ministry; William Bridge was a very special and unique Puritan writer in that the only type of ministry he is known for is of the "comforting" kind, for those sorely afflicted by trials and tribulations and tests and failures and defeats. He had a very keen understanding of God's purpose behind the sin and sufferings of a saint, and he had a wonderful way of extrapolating Romans 8:28 from just about any circumstance you can face as a child of God.
For those of us prone to valleys of spiritual depression and heaviness, I really can't recommend this book more gleefully. Mine is a worn-out, yellowed copy I came across by serendipity while browing through a second-hand, secular bookstore...it was in their trash heap (aka bargain bin) for .50 cents. I have found that this is usually the trademark for God's most precious jewels; you won't find them in Christian bookstores and front-and-center with glossy covers where everyone can see them. You find them like you would have found the Lord in Jerusalem - rejected, ugly and worn, outside the gates of the city, down in the refuse pile.
I will post some more excerpts from this little-known masterpiece very soon; I pick them out and hand-type them as I sense the Spirit leading me. I pray others are blessed to also read this gold.
Paul Frederick West
| 2008/7/5 20:11||Profile|
"What is prayer and the nature of it? Prayer is the pouring out of the soul to God; not the pouring out of words, nor the pouring out of expressions, but the pouring out of the soul to God. Many times, words and expressions are a great way off from the soul, but sighs and groans are next to the soul, and have more of the soul in them than many words and expressions have."
I would use this to comfort anyone here who may be heavy-laden with trying to please God. Take your rest from self-defeat and just learn to sigh in the inner man, and helplessly confess, "O Lord, thou knowest all things...", and take comfort in knowing your walk with Christ Him was wrought by Him, and shall be kept by Him. Dear brother, it is His hold on you and not your hold on Him, and He is a God that looks into broken hearts.
Timely indeed . . . . Thank you
| 2008/7/6 8:50|
| Re: A Lifting Up in Weak Grace|
Question: "If I were strong in the faith, I should be able to do more service for God. I should be able to always resist my temptations, and overcome the evil one, for the apostle John writes: [i]'I write to you, young men, because ye are strong, and have overcome the evil one,'[/i] but I have great temptations and but small strength to resist them. I have a great deal of work to do for God, and have no strength at all to do it. Have I not cause or reason to be discouraged?
Answer : "No, for the spiritual battle is not always to the strong. Our victory lies not in ourselves and our own habitual strength, but in Christ's fresh assistance. How often have the strong fallen, and the weak stood! Our strength lies in Christ without us, and not in ourselves within us. And if you look into the 2nd and 3rd chapters of John's Revelation, you will find that whereas all the churches are charged with some sin or another, only the church of Philadelphia is charged with no sin at all, and instead commended for keeping the word of Christ's patience - and this church, and no other church, is said to have "little" strength. And you know what Paul says: 'When I am weak, then I am strong; most gladly therefore will I rejoice in mine infirmities that the power of Christ my rest on me'.
Though your grace be weak, yet you may do much for God in your day. The tongue is a "little member" says James, and yet boasteth great things. Great ships are turned about by very small helms, and shall not a "little grace" do as much as a little tongue, or as a little fire, or a little helm? You see how the smallest of things are often the most fruitful in nature: the strong persons have not always the most children, but the weak. The herring is a weak fish in comparison to the shark or whale, but what abundance of herring there are in the sea! The dove is a feeble bird in regard of an eagle, and yet it is more fruitful. The vine is a weak tree, yet more fruitful than the oak. So, in grace ye may be weak, yet fruitful overall. The jailor was weak in grace as soon as he was converted, and likewise Zaccheus and the thief, yet what clusters of divine grapes did immmediately grow upon these branches? And if you may be very fruitful in good - though weak -why be ye discouraged in regard of your own weakness?"
- William Bridge, from the sermon[i]"The Lifting up in the Case of Weak Grace"[/i], 1648.
Paul Frederick West
| 2008/7/6 12:06||Profile|
Saints, I thought to resurrect this thread with a timely word I feel is for someone here to read
that someone has to be me...waiting on His mercy to resolve..faith is strong, mind is sound, heart, however...heading a different direction..how can this be?
| 2008/7/6 12:22||Profile|