“Many are the afflictions of the righteous.”
Thus are they made like Jesus their covenant Head. Scripture does not flatter us like the story books with the idea that goodness will secure us from trouble; on the contrary, we are again and again warned to expect tribulation while we are in this body.
Our afflictions come from all points of the compass, and are as many and as tormenting as the mosquitoes of the tropics. It is the earthly portion of the elect to find thorns and briars growing in their pathway, yea, to lie down among them, finding their rest broken and disturbed by sorrow. BUT, blessed but, how it takes the sting out of the previous sentence!
But the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
Through troops of ills Jehovah shall lead his redeemed scatheless and triumphant. There is an end to the believer’s affliction, and a joyful end too. None of his trials can hurt so much as a hair of his head, neither can the furnace hold him for a moment after the Lord bids him come forth of it. Hard would be the lot of the righteous if this promise, like a bundle of camphire, were not bound up in it, but this sweetens all. The same Lord who sends the afflictions will also recall them when his design is accomplished, but he will never allow the fiercest of them to rend and devour his beloved.
By Charles Spurgeon
[Article and video found at “The High Calling”]
Summary: Howard Butt, Jr. of Laity Lodge shares an important reminder that our ministry doesn’t only happen through church—God works through us wherever we are.
Sometimes, the best way to keep from burning out at work may be to look at where our true ministry lies; even the best causes can sometimes take more than we have to give.
Take a second, and just think about what it would be like if all of us were preachers. What about if all of us left our hometowns and entered the mission field? It’s pretty clear that if we all devoted ourselves solely to church work, then the church wouldn’t work.
Paul reminds us that the church is a body, composed of separate, equally vital parts. Imagine if your feet decided that they’d rather be hands (and that’s just one of the more feasible examples I could mention). God has created us as individuals, and by doing so He’s given His Church literally millions of ways to experience His love, and to reflect His glory.
It’s important not to let anything we do become an idol; whether it’s work in an office or in the pulpit. If we can avoid compartmentalizing our “Christian lives” from our day-to-day experiences, that will go a long way towards doing this.
Want to hear more? You can find this video, with transcript, and dozens more over at the High Calling Youtube Channel.
Steve was promoted into a top management spot at work. For the first time, he could help influence company policy and direction. Wow! This was exciting . . . and humbling. Steve prayed for wisdom and strength to lead well, to glorify God in his new role.
For the first few months, Steve knew he would have to devote extra time to work. He cleared his calendar of all evening commitments except work or family. But his pastor was unhappy. He said: “You always lead the clothing drive. Don’t forget: church comes first.”
This is Howard Butt, Jr., of Laity Lodge. Let’s not make church work into an idolatry. Church doesn’t come first. God’s will comes first. Everything we do is church . . . in the high calling of our daily work.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes. 5:16-18)
“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart.
God is nigh unto them (with reverence be it spoken), God takes so much complacency in the company of such, that he cannot endure to have them far from him; he must have them always under his eyes; as for these broken ones, he will be sure not to leave them long, nor go far from them, but will be ready at hand to set their bones, to bind up their wounds to keep them from festering.
It may be he may put them to much pain before he brings the cure to perfection, but it is to prevent future aches …. a wise man will not think him unmerciful that puts him to exquisite pain, so he may make a thorough cure of it.
Thus God doth by his patients sometimes, when the nature of their distemper calls for it. But, however, he will be sure not to be out of the way when they want him most. It is possible that they may look upon themselves as forgotten by God, they may not know their Physician when he is by them, and they may take their Friend for an enemy; they may think God far off when he is near; but when their eyes are opened and their distemper is pretty well worn off, they will, with shame and thankfulness, acknowledge their error; nay, they do from their souls confess, that they do not deserve the least look of kindness from God, but to be counted strangers and enemies; but God will let them know that he loves to act like himself, that is, like a God of love, mercy, and goodness; and that they are the persons that he hath set his heart upon; he will have them in his bosom, never leave them nor forsake them; and though these contrite ones many times look upon themselves as lost, yet God will save them, and they shall sing a song of thankfulness amongst his delivered ones.”
Written by James Janeway