The Benefits of Affliction.

royalg_024_pg54Psalms 119:71  It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

This seems like a very strange statement to such a pleasure seeking, indulgent, pampered generation like our own.

In many of our churches we have been taught almost the exact opposite.

It is implied and sometimes said outright that God will not let us suffer or go through tribulation.

But that line of thinking is unbiblical.

Jesus said, “…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Gods Word says that His children are appointed to afflictions. {I Thessalonians 3:3}

“Affliction is one of God’s medicines. By it He often teaches lessons which would be learned in no other way. By it He often draws souls away from sin and the world, which would otherwise have perished everlastingly.
Health is a great blessing, but sanctified disease is a greater. Prosperity and worldly comfort, are what all naturally desire; but losses and crosses are far better for us, if they lead us to Christ. Thousands at the last day, will testify with David, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.”- J.C. Ryle {1816-1900]

“How would the great work of sanctification go on in a person — if they had no trials?
Trouble is often the only fire which will burn away the dross which clings to our hearts.
Trouble is the pruning-knife which Christ employs in order to make us fruitful in good works. The harvest of the Lord’s field is seldom ripened by sunshine only. It must go through its days of wind and rain and storm.” – J.C. Ryle  {1816-1900}

God sometimes teaches us by affliction.

“Very little is to be learned without affliction. If we would be scholars we must be sufferers. There is no royal road to learning the royal statutes; God’s commands are best read by eyes wet with tears.” – C.H. Spurgeon {1834-1892}

“Assurance grows by repeated conflict, by our repeated experimental proof of the Lord’s power and goodness to save; when we have been brought very low and helped, sorely wounded and healed, cast down and raised again, have given up all hope, and been suddenly snatched from danger, and placed in safety; and when these things have been repeated to us and in us a thousand times over, we begin to learn to trust simply to the word and power of God…”- John Newton, Author of Amazing Grace {1725 -1807}

Affliction causes us to pray more.

Under the rod we are more likely to cry out to God.

Affliction causes us to exercise our faith and increases our faith.

Under affliction we look toward another world.

Afflictions help us to understand that we are pilgrims and strangers in this world.

Afflictions make us humble. They drive us to God.

“Affliction is but our shepherd’s dog; he comes not to devour us, but to drive us to the fold.”

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  {I Peter 5:6-7}

God “…cannot fail or forsake. He can smite rocks, and open seas, and unlock the treasuries of the air, and ransack the stores of the earth. Birds will bring meat, and fish coins, if He bid them. He takes up the isles as a very little thing; how easily, then, your heaviest load, while there is nothing so trivial but that you may make it a matter of prayer and faith.” – F. B. Meyer {1847-1929}

“LOSSES AND CROSSES ARE FAR BETTER FOR US, IF THEY LEAD US TO CHRIST.” – Brother Shawn

Good thoughts and quotes on Affliction: Every Mans Monitor,  pages 12-22

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Hateful World

pprog_38_p91_vanityfair

John 15:18-19  “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

John 16:20  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”

Nothing has changed. The world still hates Jesus. They rejoiced when He was crucified and they would still cry, “Crucify Him ! Crucify Him” in our day.

Jesus told His disciples that they should expect to be hated.

It is believed that all of His disciples met violent deaths save one.

As J. C. Ryle stated, “The world does not want Christ back again, and thinks that it does very well without Him.”

Again, Jesus tells us, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

The world can never be friends with the true Christian nor should the faithful Christian expect to get on with the world.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4

Matthew Henry said concerning this verse, “…He who sets his heart upon the world, who places his happiness in it, and will conform himself to it, and do any thing rather than lose its friendship, he is an enemy to God.”

Christians have been chosen out of this world and that is why the world hates Christians.

Believers shouldn’t be surprised if the world hates us.

“Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”  I John 3:13

Note the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”  II Timothy 2:3-4

As believers we too have been chosen out of this world.

We also should desire to please “Him who hath chosen [us] to be a soldier”

“…Men respect a thoroughbred Christian, but nobody has a good word for a mongrel. Be one thing or the other, either hot or cold, or Christ will reject you, and the world too. If a thing be right, do it; if you resolve to serve the Lord, do it, offend or please; and if, on the other hand, you prefer the service of Satan, do at least be honest enough not to pretend to be on the Lord’s side.” – C.H. Spurgeon

May the Lord give us courage to stand.

Illustration: Vanity Fair John Bunyan’s depiction of the world.

Public Domain Images from the Henry Altemus edition of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (Illustrations by Frederick Barnard, J.D. Linton, W. Small, etc. Engraved by Dalziel Brothers)

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay at Home Slugs Part Six.

Appletons_15_pg060

This is the last installment on this particular subject:

Proverbs 31:10-12  “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

“This description of the virtuous woman is designed to show what wives the women should make and what wives the men should choose…” – Matthew Henry {1662-1714}

I want to begin this blog with what some may consider an unusual word.

Pride.

One of the things that made this woman a virtuous woman was pride.

Not that she was proud but that she took pride on how she lived and what she did.

You will notice this throughout this passage of scripture.

She took pride in the food she prepared, the meals she prepared for her family. {vs. 14-15}

Many women today do not even know how to prepare a meal.

She took pride in her work. She rose up early and she worked late into the night. She worked hard to provide for her family. {vs.15, 18, 27}

Many ladies today read and text and surf…they do anything but work.

They are lazy compared to this virtuous woman.

She took pride in her ability to add to the family income. {vs.18}

She was a businesswoman, an entrepreneur.

She seemed to be a woman who could run a couple of businesses and still keep the house clean and take care of her families needs. {vs. 16, 24}

This also by the way gave her the ability to give to those who were less fortunate. {vs. 20}

From what I have seen lately there are more than a few ladies who boast about being “stay at home moms” whose family would be better off if they took a job instead and with the extra income hired a housekeeper. {sic}

She took pride in her home. {vs. 22, 27}

Her house didn’t look like a tornado just came through.

Her husband was not embarrassed when someone stopped by.

Dirty dishes weren’t stacked up in the kitchen and the house was clean.

She took pride in decorating her house and making it a pleasant place to live and visit.

When this is mentioned today the “stay at home slugs” just roll their eyes because they “don’t have time to clean the house…they are too busy”. {Doing what pray-tell?} Then they proceed to blame it all on little Oswald and Esmeralda. Maybe she is teaching little Oswald and Esmeralda to be as lazy and a big slob like she is.

She also took pride in the way she and her family were dressed. {vs.19, 21-22}

Her kids didn’t look like they were dressed out of the “rag bag”.

They didn’t show up looking like something that just fell off of a dump truck.

Their clothes didn’t look like they dug them back out of the dirty clothes.

I guess its the latest trend among some to see how sloppy and slouchy  you and your kids can look ?

{no sob stories please… My wife  has always managed to make sure our family looked clean and neat most often times with clothes from the thrift store or yard sales}

I suppose the “stay at home slug”somehow thinks it is a badge of honor to live in a pigsty.

Gods Word has nothing but good to say about this woman in Proverbs 31.

She is a role model for every Christian lady.

She is a pattern.

Read the last part of the chapter…

Proverbs 31:25-31

“Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

May God help our Christian ladies to aspire to this woman’s diligent, hardworking example.

Brother Shawn

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay at Home Slugs Part 5

Appletons_15_pg060I realize that this 2016 and not the 1890’s or even the 1950’s. The golden days of June Cleaver are over and done. But I want you to notice from a Christian perspective these admonitions have not changed, just as many other things have not changed.

Just because we live in so-called “modern days” does not mean as Christians we have the right to throw the Bible in the trash can.

The Bible is more relevant today to the believer as the Wall Street Journal is to the investor.

Gods Word still tells His people how to live.

Fashions may change.

Occupations may change.

Hobbies may change.

The entire world may change around us but that doesn’t relegate the Bible to the dust bin.

This passage tells women how to live.

Notice it doesn’t say; Get a college education or make sure you have a good career.

It says…

“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things That they may teach the young women to be sober to love their husbands, to love their children To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”   Titus 2:3-5

If your idea of a being a good wife is laying around on the couch talking on the phone, watching the TV or spending hours on the computer while the house looks like something off of a “hoarders” reality show…you need help.

You need one of the “aged women” to teach you how not to be a “stay at home slug”.

Brother Shawn

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Stay at Home Slugs Part 4

Appletons_15_pg060Not long ago I received the question, “What is the proper role of a Christian wife and mother?” {we have a question box at the front of the church that people can put their questions in}

I thought Proverbs 31 would be a great place to examine what the Bible says concerning the proper role of a wife and mother.

But before I look at Proverbs I would like to share a New Testament passage that is given from God to guide the women both young and old.

Titus 2:3-5 “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Let’s look at the phrase “keepers at home” and the Greek words behind the English translation.

Strong’s (Greek Dictionary of the New Testament) Definition: From G3624 and οὖρος ouros (a guard; be ware); a stayer at home that is domestically inclined (a good housekeeper): – keeper at home.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon Definition: Caring for the house, working at home, the (watch or) keeper of the house, keeping at home and taking care of household affairs, a domestic.

This passage tells us that a Christian lady is to be taught by the older ladies to be “sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands”

 If a Christian lady learns to do these things there is no doubt she will be fine example and role model.

By learning and doing the things mentioned in these verses a Christian lady would also be pleasing to Jesus Christ.

To behave otherwise is to bring a reproach on Christ and Christianity.

In the words of the Apostle, a Christian lady should do these things “that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

To some, it seems these things almost come naturally

…others, according to the Apostle Paul, need to be taught.

Either way, its right.

Brother Shawn

Stay at Home Slugs Part 1

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Stay at Home Slugs Part 3

Appletons_15_pg060Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10

This is the third in a series concerning a question I was asked recently: “What is the proper role of a Christian wife and mother?”

Some may read these articles and say something like, “your wife is OCD” or “cooking and cleaning is no big deal to me”. That indeed may be the case but I am trying to look at the question from a Biblical context. In other words I want to answer the question from the Bible not just from feelings or experience. For instance I often times do not “feel” like going to work. I’d rather sit on the couch and watch old movies or read a good book in my pajamas. But I was taught {by example} that a man is supposed to work and provide for his family. Later on after I became a Christian I learned that God expected the man to provide for their house.

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” I Timothy 5:8.

A lot of ladies may not “feel” like keeping the house clean or cooking dinner or keeping up with the laundry. It may not seem important to them. It could be that they would rather lie around on the couch or do some shopping instead. But the Bible says that a virtuous woman, a woman whose value is far above rubies should be different.

A lady who will not take care of her house or her children is not a “bad person” necessarily; she is just not a virtuous woman according to Gods Word.

If a man is physically able to work and provide for his family the Bible says he should do just that.

If a woman is physically able to keep house and take care of her family the Bible says that is what she is supposed to do.

She may be a “stay at home mom”.

She may be a “home-school” mom.

She may be a lot of things…

But if she doesn’t look “well to the ways of her household”…I would label her a “stay at home slug”                                                                                                                               Next time I hope to examine this Bible list of what a virtuous woman looks like exactly…

Brother Shawn

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay at Home Slugs Part 2

Appletons_15_pg060Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:10-12

As to my salvation experience “all I know is what I know”.

When God saved me He changed me. It was a radical change. There was a night and day difference in my life. He did the same for my wife.

I have real issues with people who say Jesus saved them but there has been no change in their life.

He is a life changing Saviour.

“All I know is what I know”.

When it comes to domestic life, again, “all I know is what I know”.

I was raised in a “Leave to Beaver – Father Knows Best” environment.

My dad worked everyday and when he came through the front door in the evening my mother was taking dinner off of the stove or out of the oven. My mother kept her house meticulously clean. There were never stacks of dirty dishes or piles of unwashed laundry.

We went out we looked our best.

When Evelyn and I were married she was the same way. {By the way she was not raised or taught to be that way.}

We have been married for 32 years.

My wife has always kept my house clean.

She has always made our family delicious meals.

She has always kept our clothes washed.

She always took pride in the appearance of her family when they went out.

She has at times worked outside of the home for extra income but even then she kept the house up.

My wife has also struggled with her health but she has still managed to keep the house clean.

She also took pride in her home. I have NEVER been embarrassed to invite someone into my home.

Does it sound like I am bragging on my mother and my wife?

I am.

“All I know is what I know”.

I guess that’s ok because the Bible says, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” Proverbs 31:28

Maybe some are just lazy…you know like slugs.

Next time I would like to look at the virtues of a virtuous woman according to the Bible.

Brother Shawn

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment