Paul Tripp – Inner Strength

I came across this post from 6 years ago and it was exactly what I needed.  I find that the more I trust God, the more I find his providence and timing to be absolutely impeccable.  Hopefully this article will bless and encourage you as much as it did me.

 

“Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (v.14)

This side of eternity you and I are called to wait. We’re called to recognize that the most important, most essential, most beautiful, and most lasting things in our life are things over which we have no control. No, these things are the gracious gifts of a loving Father. He never is foolish in the way he dispenses his gifts. He never plays favorites. He never mocks our neediness. He never plays bait and switch. He never teases or toys with us. His timing is always right and the gifts that he gives are always appropriate to the moment. He is kind, faithful, loving, merciful, and good.

The One on whom we wait is a dissatisfied Messiah. He will not relent, he will not quit, he will not rest until every promise he has made has been fully delivered. He will not turn from his work until every one of his children has been totally transformed. He will continue to fight until the last enemy is under his feet. He will reign until his kingdom has fully come. As long as sin exists, he will shower us with forgiving, empowering, and delivering grace. He will defend us against attack and attack the enemy on our behalf. He will be faithful to convict, rebuke, encourage, and comfort. He will continue to open the warehouse of his wisdom and unfold for us the glorious mysteries of his truth. He will stand with us through the darkness and the light. He will guide us on a path we could never have discovered or would never have been wise enough to choose. He will supply for us every good thing that we need to be what he’s called us to be and to do what he’s called us to do in the place where he’s put us. And he will not rest from his work until every last microbe of sin has been completely eradicated from every heart of each of his children!

Yet, with all of this being true, we find it hard to wait. We aren’t always “strong” in our waiting. No, waiting for many of us becomes a time for increasing fear, doubt, discouragement and susceptibility to temptation. As faith grows weak, our resolve begins to dim, and we begin to secretly wonder if its worth it to obey.

Why? Why do we struggle to be “strong and take heart,” when we are being called to wait? Perhaps the answer is found in Romans 4: 18-21.

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father
of many nations, just as it has been said to him, ‘So shall your
offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that
his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years
old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver
through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened
in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God
had the power to do what he had promised.”

Why did Abraham grow stronger in faith as he waited those many long years? It isn’t because he played mental denial games. No, the passage makes it very clear that he faced the facts of the situation head on. In his time of waiting, Abraham had a very different experience than we often do because Abraham did something that we often fail to do. Here it is. The temptation, in times of waiting, is to focus on the thing we are waiting for, all the obstacles that are in the way, our inability to make it happen, and all of the other people who haven’t seemed to have had to wait. Along with this we rehearse to ourselves how essential the thing is and how much we are daily losing in its absence. All of this increases our feeling of helplessness, our tendency to think our situation is hopeless, and our judgment that waiting is futile.

While it’s true that Abraham considered the facts, they weren’t the focus on his meditation. No, his focus was on the God who had made this promise. Everyday Abraham would get up and remind himself that the God who’d made the promises on which he was waiting was absolutely able to deliver them. The God who made heaven and earth would have no trouble causing an old woman to deliver a promised child! Abraham didn’t fill his mind with his own weakness and the seeming futility of the situation. No, he filled his mind again and again with the glory of God’s immeasurable power, and as he did, he grew stronger and stronger in faith.

Somewhere in your life you are being called to wait. In your waiting, you are being given an opportunity to deepen and strengthen your faith. So, get up tomorrow and fill yourself with vitamins of truth. Nourish your heart with the nutrient food of the glory of God. Feed on the strength-giving meat of his goodness, grace, and love. Snack throughout the day on his power and his presence. And watch the muscles of your heart grow stronger as the days go by. Feed on your Lord and be strong!

HT: Inner Strength

Round Up

Spiritual Schizophrenia – If I watched a video of your everyday life for the past six weeks, would I conclude that your faith shapes everything you think, desire, say, and do?

The Book of Job – The book of Job is not answering a theoretical question about why good people suffer.  It is answering a practical question: When good people suffer, what does God want from them?

You Are going to Die – You know, it’s possible that God’s plan for us is littleness. His plan for us may be personal failure.

How To Count It All As Loss – What does it mean to count everything as loss for the sake of Christ? What does it mean to renounce all that we have for Christ’s sake?

Quote:

As we preach the word of God, we must have our toes on the very brink of eternity.  For our voice may be the last voice that many will ever hear. – Steve Lawson

Round Up

You are Not a Superhero – You and I were created to live dependent lives, never surviving on the basis of our own strength, wisdom and control. From the moment of our first breath, we were limited, weak, and fragile beings.

Dancing With Wolves – Any literal shepherd tasked with feeding and leading a flock of lambs would be thought deranged if he regarded wolves as potential pets to be domesticated and amalgamated into the fold. Suppose he actively sought and tried to befriend young wolves, presuming he could teach them to mingle with his sheep—insisting against all wise counsel that his experiment might succeed, and if it does, that the wolves will acquire the sheep’s gentleness and the sheep will learn beneficial things from the wolves. Such a shepherd would be worse than useless; he himself would pose an extreme danger to the flock.

Has Any People Heard the Voice of God…And Survived? – A 3-part link.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Quote:

“If you are one of those who undergoes regular worldview-size shifts in your thinking. If your message changes every time a new fad, or a new bestselling book comes along. If you are by nature fascinated with new perspectives and radical doctrine, get out of the ministry. Please. People like that only sow doubt and confusion. The man of God is supposed to be like a tree planted by rivers of water — steadfast, immovable — growing in a steady, constant fashion rather than lurching wildly from one point of view to another all the time.” — Phil Johnson

Round Up

The Secret Will of God – When you think about the will of God, what do you think? If you had to define the phrase – the will of God – what would you write?

Proverbs:  God’s Sovereignty and Wisdom – George Will writes, “Suppose the car had hit the pedestrian slightly harder. What car? The one on Fifth Avenue the evening of Dec. 13, 1931, when an English politician on a lecture tour momentarily forgot the American rules of the road and looked the wrong way when stepping into the street. Winston Churchill could have died.”

Will America Be Judged? – The reason the gospel of Jesus is precious is that it offers joyful rescue from furious judgment. The Bible speaks of the “fury of the wrath of God the Almighty” (Revelation 19:15). And the Bible exults that “Jesus delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Damnable Deception – What would you call a man or a woman who claimed to receive direct messages from God that contradicted the clear teaching of Scripture? Words like charlatan, heretic, liar, and phony probably come to mind. And yet there are many Christians—often earnest but ignorant believers—who follow and even defend such men and women.

Thoughts:

God’s grace in Christ does more than forgive the guilt of sin, it also breaks the power of sin.

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are NOT BURDENSOME. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 1 John 5:2-4

“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.” Romans 6:6-7

“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6,

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.   1 Corinthians 1:18

Daily Roundup

Jean-Baptiste Faure – This is a website devoted to images of galaxies, nebula, and generally, all things outer space related.

Extend the Same Grace You Preach – What can I say, I have been, and am constantly reminded that I still am, guilty of this.

Three Common Areas of Neglect – Brian Croft is writing this to pastors, but it could apply to anyone who tries to be intentional in their service to God.

Four Reasons Men Don’t Read Books – I’ll admit that I cannot relate to this article as I love to read.  It is a rare day when I don’t sit down and read, but I know that I am the exception in this regard as far as men go.

Cutting Honest Throats by Whispers – An excerpt from The Power of the Tongue by Octavius Winslow.

Soli Deo Gloria – Or to put it in English, it means essentially that everything that is done is for God’s glory to the exclusion of humankind’s self-glorification and pride.

Quote:

It is in vain to teach righteousness by precept, until Christ bestow it by free imputation, and the regeneration of the Spirit. ~John Calvin

 

Daily Roundup

Dangerous Calling – A new book out by Paul Tripp. You can read the introduction and first chapter in PDF format by clicking on the link.

Hospitality and the Great Commission – In a progressively post-Christian society, the importance of hospitality as an evangelistic asset is growing rapidly. Increasingly, the most strategic turf on which to engage the unbelieving with the good news of Jesus may be the turf of our own homes.

A Thirst for Hermeneutics – Would you let a surgeon, two weeks out of medical school, perform brain surgery?  Our Pastors need to be properly trained in the art of Biblical Interpretation (Hermeneutics) because they are dealing with eternal issues, not just temporal ones.

Elements of Productive Bible Study: Meditate – John MacArthur’s post continue on studying the Bible.  These are very informative articles.

Quote:

“The purest joy in the world is joy in Christ Jesus.  When the Spirit is poured down, his people get very near and clear views of the Lord Jesus.  They eat his flesh and drink his blood.  They come to a personal cleaving to the Lord.  They taste that the Lord is gracious.  His blood and righteousness appear infinitely perfect, full and free to their soul.  They sit under his shadow with great delight. . . . They lean on the Beloved.  They find infinite strength in him for the use of their soul — grace for grace — all they can need in any hour of trial and suffering to the very end.” – Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Daily Roundup

Sola Scriptura Our Only Foundation – Scripture is our only and definitive source of of knowledge of who God is.  Lets get back to Scripture.

Are Bigger Churches Better?– A global survey conducted by Christian Schwartz found that smaller churches consistently scored higher than large churches in seven out of eight qualitative characteristics of a healthy church.

The Secret of Sanctification – A hint:  It starts at the Cross.
The Ministry, A 4 Part Sermon Series by Dr. Sinclair Ferguson  – 4 Sermons that deal with Preachers and Preaching.
Don’t Settle for Your Mediocre Preaching – While this article is aimed more at ministers of the Word, the laity should hold their pastors accountable also (wonder if that last part will preach).
Quote:

He that wishes to attain right views about Christian holiness, must begin by examining the vast and solemn subject of sin. He must dig down very low if he would build high. A mistake here is most mischievous. Wrong views about holiness are generally traceable to wrong views about human corruption. – J C Ryle

Daily Roundup

No Compromise Radio on Why the Elephant Room is Compromised – Mike Abendroth, Phil Johnson, Carl Truman and James White talk about the Elephant in the Room.

Suffering is Better Than Sin – David Murray comments on Thomas Manton’s sermon Moses’ choice of Christ’s reproach instead of the pleasures of Egypt.

Don’t Settle for Mediocre Preaching – An article geared towards Pastors, yet laity should also step up and hold Pastors accountable (I know that won’t be popular with the Pastors).

Atheism 101 – We live in an atheistic or secular society, one that worships at the altar of scientific positivism/secular humanism and this society is becoming more militant.

Pastor, Don’t Abandon the Flock – An exhortation for Pastors to shepherd their flock.

Coexist? – Every seen that bumper sticker?  Here is another that I like better.  Might have to get me one!

Quote:

Christ, as it were, spent himself for us. Though we were enemies, yet he so loved us that from love to us he had a heart not only to look at our things, but to spend his own things for us, to forego his own ease and comfort, and outward honor, and to become poor for us. “For even Christ pleased not himself; but as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me” (Rom. 15:3). And not only so, but to spend himself for us, to spend his blood, to offer up himself a sacrifice to the justice of God for our sakes. – Jonathan Edwards