EXPECTING AND ENDURING TEMPTATIONS

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“Get up Christians, and be upon your watch-towers. You may sleep, but your enemies never will; you may suppose yourselves safe, but then are you most in danger. See that you put on the whole panoply of God, and are armed from head to foot, and having done all, watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation. Every morning we ought to ask the Lord to keep us from unknown sins, to preserve us from temptations that we cannot foresee, to check us in every part of life if we are about to go wrong, and to hold us up every hour that we sin not.”

— C H Spurgeon

“To the Christian in his own experience Christ is ever the power of God. As for temptation he can meet that with Christ; as for trouble he can endure that through Christ who strengthens him, yea, he can say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

— C H Spurgeon

“Soldier of Christ, you have to struggle with yourself. My own experience is a daily struggle with myself. … In sober truth, every man and every woman who enlists for Christ will have to wrestle till their bones shall sleep in the tomb. There shall be no pause nor cessation for thee from this day until the laurel is upon thy brow. If thou art defeated one day, thou must overcome the next; if a conqueror to-day, thou must fight to-morrow. Like the old knights who, slept in their armour, you must be prepared for reprisals?always watchful, always expecting temptation, and ready to resist it; never saying, ‘It is enough,’ for he who saith, “It is finished,” until he breathes his last has not yet truly begun. We must have our swords drawn, even to the very last.”

— C H Spurgeon

1 Corinthians 10:12-14 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

James 1:12-16 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.

Luke 11:2-4 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

1 Peter 1:6-7 Wherein 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 honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

GOD HAS TWO HEDGES

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“God is never better to us—than when the creature is most bitter to us!

Thus God dealt with Israel, “She said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore I will hedge up her path with thorns; I will wall her in—so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.'” Hosea 2:6-8.

God has two hedges which the Scripture takes notice of:

1. The hedge of his protection, which you read of Job 1:10, “Haven’t You placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns?”

2. The hedge of affliction, which you read of here: “I will hedge up her path with thorns.”

Now the Lord make use of both these hedges:

The hedge of protection—is to keep His people from danger.
The hedge of affliction—is to stop His people from wandering.

The hedge of protection—is to keep them in God’s way.
The hedge of affliction—is to keep them out of sin’s way.

The hedge of protection—is to keep them from suffering.
The hedge of affliction—is to keep them from sinning,
and to put them upon returning to God.

So it was with Israel here—when God had hedged up her way, that she could not find her paths, nor overtake her lovers—then she cries out, “I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now!”

It is a great mercy for God to wean a soul from the world; for it never suffers greater—than when it forsakes God to live upon the creature! “Those who cling to lying vanities—turn their backs on all God’s mercies!” Jonah 2:8. It is forsaking the living fountain—to quench our thirst from a broken cistern! Jeremiah 2:13.

When the Lord weans a soul from the world—He embitters the world to the soul; either by some affliction, or by some disappointment in the creature—which makes the soul look out for the more pure and lasting satisfactions, which are in Christ.”

— Matthew Mead, The Power of Grace in Weaning the Heart from the World

THE KNIFE OF THE HEAVENLY SURGEON

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“From our Lord’s words, we learn that there is a limit to sickness. In all sickness, the Lord says to the waves of pain, “Hitherto shall you go—but no further!” His fixed purpose is not the destruction of His people—but the instruction of His people. Wisdom hangs up the thermometer at the furnace mouth—and regulates the heat!

1. The limit is encouragingly comprehensive. The God of providence has limited the time, manner, intensity and effects of all our sicknesses. Each throb is decreed, each sleepless hour predestinated, each relapse ordained, each depression of spirit foreknown, and each sanctifying result eternally purposed. Nothing great or small escapes the ordaining hand of Him who numbers the hairs of our head!

2. This limit is wisely adjusted to our strength, to the end designed, and to the grace apportioned. Affliction does not come by ‘chance’—the weight of every stroke of God’s rod—is accurately measured. He who made no mistakes in balancing the clouds, and measuring out the heavens—commits no errors in measuring out the ingredients which compose the medicine of souls. We cannot suffer too much—nor be relieved too late!

3. The limit is tenderly appointed. The knife of the heavenly Surgeon never cuts deeper than is absolutely necessary. “He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” A mother’s heart cries, “Spare my child!” but no mother is more compassionate than our gracious God. When we consider how self-willed we are—it is a wonder that we are not driven with a sharper bit!

The thought is full of consolation—that He who has fixed the bounds of our habitation, has also fixed the bounds of our tribulation.”

— Charles Spurgeon

John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

 

 

A CROSS TO CARRY

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Matthew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

“Prayer is the best practical remedy that we can use in time of trouble. We see that Christ Himself prayed, when His soul was sorrowful. All true Christians ought to do the same.

Trouble is a cup that all must drink in this world of sin. We are “born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.” We cannot avoid it. Of all creatures, none is so vulnerable as man.
Our bodies,
our minds,
our families,
our business,
our friends —
are all so many doors through which affliction will come in. The holiest saints can claim no exemption from it. Like their Master, they are often “men of sorrow.”

But what is the first thing to be done in time of trouble? We must pray. Like Job, we must fall down and worship. Like Hezekiah, we must spread our matters before the Lord.

The first one we must turn to for help, must be our God. We must tell all our sorrow to our Father in Heaven. We must believe confidently that nothing is too trivial or minute to be laid before Him, so long as we do it with entire submission to His will. It is the mark of faith to keep nothing back from our best Friend. The thorn in the flesh shall either be removed — or grace to endure it will be given to us.”

— J C Ryle

All the children of God have a cross to carry. They have trials, troubles, and afflictions to go through for the Gospel’s sake. They have . . .
trials from the world,
trials from the flesh,
trials from the devil.

They have trials from relations and friends — hard words, hard conduct, and hard judgment.

They have trials in the matter of character — slander, misrepresentation, mockery, suggestion of false motives — all these often rain thick upon them.

They have trials from their own hearts.

They have each generally their own thorn in the flesh, which is their worst foe.

This is the experience of the children of God. Some of them suffer more — and some less. Some of them suffer in one way — and some in another. God measures out their portions like a wise physician, and cannot err. But never, I believe, was there one child of God, who reached Heaven without a cross!”

— J C Ryle

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Psalms 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Job 5:7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Psalms 86:7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.

Psalms 142:2 I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

PERHAPS HE WILL SMITE YOU!

“So you should realize that just as a parent  disciplines a child, the Lord your God
 disciplines you to help you.” Deut. 8:5

I can truly say of everything I have ever tasted in this world of God’s mercy, (and my path has been remarkably strewn with divine lovingkindness), I feel more grateful to God for the bodily pain I have suffered, and for all the trials of diverse sorts I have endured, than I do for anything else.

I am sure I have derived more real benefit, and permanent strength, and growth in grace, and every precious thing, from the furnace of affliction, than I have ever derived from prosperity.

I know not how to quite express my meaning, but even depression of spirit and deep sadness have a peculiar charm within them, which laughter in vain may emulate.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted!

Ponder and consider the much gratitude you owe to God for His chastening rod. Dwell much in your heart upon what God evidently regards as one of His distinguishing blessings. Do not lightly pass over what God would have you consider. Count the cross and the rod to be doubly worthy of your deepest thought.

Hear the rod and Him who has appointed it.”

Remember that whenever you are chastened, you are not chastened as a slave master smites his victim, nor as a judge orders the criminal to be lashed; but as a man chastens his son, so are you chastened.

Your chastisement is a sign of sonship, it is a token of love! It is intended for your good.

Accept it, therefore, in the spirit of sonship, and “Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, neither faint when you are corrected by Him.”

It is the Lord your God who chastens you!

If He were not your God He might let you alone!

If He had not chosen you to be His own, He would not take such care of you!

If He had not given Himself to be your treasure, He might not be so diligent in weaning you from all other treasures!

But because you are His, He will withdraw  your love away from this poor world.

Perhaps He will take one child after another from you, that all the love that was lavished
on the children might flow towards Himself.

Perhaps He will leave you a widow, that the love that ran in the channel of a husband may
run altogether to Himself.

Perhaps he will take away your riches, that the consolation you derived from them may
be all derived from Him.

Perhaps He will smite you, and then lay you on His own bosom, faint and helpless, that you may derive a strength and a joy from close and near fellowship with Himself, which you would never have had, if it had not been that these other joys were removed.

Bless God for your chastenings!

Let the sweetest note of your music be to Him who, as a loving father, chastens His children for their good.

“So you should realize that just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God  disciplines you to help you.” Deut. 8:5

— Charles Spurgeon

WHAT DO YOU TAKE PLEASURE IN?

2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

2 Timothy 3:12-13 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

Acts 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

1 Peter 4:12-16 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. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.