Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thomas Brooks Quote (Chastening)

"Corrections are pledges of our adoption, and badges of our sonship, God had one Son without sin, but none without sorrow" Brooks Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices Banner Pg. 85 Note). "'As many as I love , I rebuke and chasten' (Rev. 3:19). Saints, saith God, think not that I hate you, because I thus chide you. He that escapes reprehension may suspect his adoption. God had one Son without corruption, but no son without correction" (Pg. 85,86).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Smiling at Frowning Providences

When the Christian finds himself to be under great afflictions and facing much adversity, which is the case for all Christians at one point or another in their lives (Job 5:7), he can either despairingly say, "I'm having a hard time seeing God in all of this." Note that Job's wife who knew that God was the ultimate source of Job's suffering, but sinfully advices Job to, "Curse God and die" (Job 2:9)! Or he can say, "The Lord is not far from it, he is not merely in it, but he is behind it!" Though we do not realize it at the time the former position is one of a faint hearted attitude and lacking of strong faith, but "How painful are honest words!"(Job 6:25). We think that we are solid until the time of testing comes and reveals hollow places in our faith that need some constructive attention. When it comes to this I am afraid that I have been more like Job's wife than Job, whose weakest moments have been greater than my strongest.

But what lessons we could learn and what relief we could be gained by considering that God was in absolute providential control of Job's destiny? How much better off we would be if we were to smile at frowning providences, especially in that we have the example of Job set before us! Let us faithfully believe as it is promised by God, that just as he was at the helm of Job's life, it is also true that he is the captain in ordering the direction and affairs of our lives. If we cannot seem to muster a smile during the bad times, for there is a time for everything, and suffering in itself is terrible, we have this assurance that God directs all things for his glory and our good. Now this is a joyful thought even in the worst of circumstances that though "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Ps. 30:5). This was the bases for martyrs who died in pain, but went rejoicing and singing into heaven.

To accuse one of lacking faith or being substandard in integrity is an easy estimation to make by those that are strangers to affliction, and are on the outside looking in, not going through the same thing, is it not? How true it is that, "Men at ease have contempt for misfortune as the fate of those whose feet are slipping" (Job 11:5). And though it is true that this is a question of faith low minded empathy and high minded sympathy is what we want and need when going through troubling times, and further it ought to be the tools of counsel and instruction when dealing with our brothers and sisters who find themselves out to be under the scourging rod of God. We do not know what God may be up to in the various circumstances of people's lives.

Testing is the tool of working in us strong faith and though faith may at first be weak and strained under a heavy burden, it is what keeps us in that it stems from God, and it is strengthened all the more for it. However, the best as well as the worst of Christians have a tendency to have tunnel vision when it comes to spiritually trying matters. Like Jobs counselors we assume that God must have such and such a thing in mind. But God usually does his work in secret and mysterious ways that we cannot discern. The norm for us is not the normal way that God works.

The disciples probably assumed the coin in the mouth of the fish was relevant only to them and their taxes, but where did the coin come from other than another work of God in dealing with mariners that had found their providential lot to be that of an encounter with troubled seas? Whatever the case may be with this, it is a verity that God uses affliction for our good and for his glory. What we see as now being painful to us is but the work of a loving and disciplining father who will not permit us to be so prosperous that we do not attain to the fullness of himself that we are so desperately in need of.

So instead of asking where God is in our trials let our spirits find humble harmony with Job, who suffered far more than all of us, and acknowledge that it is God who is the dispenser of both good and evil. "Shall we accept good from God and not trouble" (Job 2:10)? Job had faith and this is what helped him through his trial. And how his faith was measured and developed more perfectly because of his trial! Unwavering faith, though it can be shaken yet it cannot be shattered, is what reveals the persevering believer from the falling apostate. If we have to ask where God is in the evil that befalls man we are in an indescribably terrible state as compared to having the peace of knowing that we are under the sovereign care of God who brings frowning providences, but only such that we might ultimately smile at.

Things are not so bad if one can say "God is behind the thing." To have to look for God in a bad situation is to be in a most miserable predicament. It is not that one merely has a problem when he cannot see God in an affliction, and has to look for his hand in the matter, but rather the more serious problem is that he does not see God altogether in the affliction to begin with. There is a problem with our language usage here. It is true that the devil did his worse to Job, but just as the devil had command over nature and evil men, it was God who had command over the devil.

"He wounds but he also binds up; he injures but his hands also heal" (Job 5:18). Job's pain was very real, he suffered a lot, and he cried, cursing even the day of his birth (Job 3:1), but not God, and in the end he found occasion for a smile. He was closer to God for his sufferings and the Lord blessed the latter part of his life more than the first (Job 42:12). "A gracious soul may look through the darkest cloud, and see a God smiling on him" (Thomas Brooks Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices Banner Pg. 86).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thomas Brooks Quote (Sin angainst Mercy Devilish)

"To render good for evil is divine, to render good for good is human, to render evil for evil is brutish: but to render evil for good is devilish..." (Brooks Precious remedies against Satan's devices Banner of Truth Pg. 73).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

John Calvin Quote (Salvation and Truth)

"One thing is certain, that these two things--salvation and the knowledge of the truth--are always inseparably joined together" (Calvin Treatise on the Secret Providence of God Reply to calumny I).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Thomas Brooks Quote (Meditating)

"Remember, it is not hasty reading, but serious meditating upon holy and heavenly truths, that make them prove sweet and profitable to the soul" (Brooks Precious remedies against Satan's Devices Banner of Truth Pg. 21).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Just Dispensation of Evil by God and the Hardness of the Hearts of his Enemies

"The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him" (Rev. 16:8,9 NIV).

The general and popular consensus is that God does not have any hand whatsoever in the evil that befalls man. They rail, "If God was sovereign he could have prevented this evil. This evil is evidence that God does not exist." Or "God did not have anything personally to do with this evil. His presence is far from it. Rather it is the fruit of bad men that brought such and such evil on us. Or, maybe it is the work of the devil who keeps God at bay and busy trying to clean up his messes." This line of reasoning is backwards. We should not assume that God has no part by way of an active role in the disasters that there be. It is not that he has no control over them. He is the dispenser of them. We should not assume that God is distantly absent from evil when on the contrary he may be directly causing it. It is not that this evil happened because there is no God. It happened because there is a God! It is not that God sins or is "evil" in doing so, but that he is sovereign in the governing of the world and just in his punishment of man who in fact is sinfully evil. His justice is in no way compromised and vitiated when he punishes his enemies with plagues and other disasters. Furthermore the just recompenses of God manifestly make evident the true nature of his enemies by bringing to the surface and out into the intense sunlight the hardness of man's heart. But in spite of this and because of this he will not call on God for mercy in order that he might withdraw his fierce wrath, sheath his sword, and abate his anger, that they might no longer suffer under his mighty and terrible indignation. Instead they refuse to repent and give him the glory that is due his name. It is not that the wicked do not discern that God is punishing them with his vengeance and if they only knew this they would give him the honor that is due him. They know in their heart that it is God who is in control and it is him who plagues them. Their consciences' and flesh are seared, but it is not mother nature, chance, or bad luck that they curse. In their depraved hardened hearts it is God that they curse.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thomas Brooks Quote (Repentance)

"...a true penitent doth not only loathe his sin, but he loathes himself, the vessel that smells of it; so Ezek. 20:43: 'And there shall ye remember your ways and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.' True repentance will work your hearts, not only to loathe your sins, but to loathe yourselves" (Brooks Precious remedies against Satan's devices Pg. 59 Banner of Truth).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Thomas Brooks Quote (Death)

"Death is not mors hominis, but mors peccati, not the death of the man, but the death of his sin" (Brooks A saint's Last Day is his Best Day Sermon note 1 Pg. 400 Vol. 6).