The Arrows of God’s Discipline

“O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.” (Psalm 38:1-3)
Saints are not sinners, but they sin. Sinning is not the tenor or bent of their lives. Rather it is holiness. But we yet abide in the flesh and are susceptible to being turned aside from the ways of God to the ways of depraved men.

As we grow in grace, God removes certain sins from our lives through divine chastisement. This is not punishment, but God’s means of teaching and correcting His children. We suffer from His scourging rod and learn to put out of our lives those things that displease Him.
A child of God under chastisement realizes he is being rebuked by His heavenly Father. He does not ask that he not be rebuked, for that is necessary for his spiritual growth. But he asks that the rebuke be not in God’s “hot displeasure,” that God will be merciful and gentle. Notice also there is no pleading of innocence, no complaining that he does not deserve what he is suffering. None of that. A Christian knows he deserves much more affliction than he gets.

There is nothing more grievous to a child of God than to experience God’s heavy hand of displeasure on him. The whole man suffers, physically, psychologically and spiritually. The sensibility of God’s anger will not permit rest.

The arrows of God’s chastisement are aimed at, and hit a particular object. The object is sin, a particular sin. It is not the believer’s only sin, but it is the sin which God wants out of his life now. It is the sin that causes us the most problem, that besets us from the race we must run, the one thing we love so much we are loathe to part with it. We know what it is. And as soon as we agree with our righteous Lord about its offensiveness and put it away, the affliction will cease and we can again rest in the love and favor of God that is merited by our Lord Jesus Christ.

– Conrad Murrell

Stand Still and See

“Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” – Exodus 13:14

These words contain God’s command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut up on the right hand and on the left; what is he now to do? The Master’s word to him is, “Stand still.” It will be well for him if at such times he listens only to his Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions. Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in his love and faithfulness. Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part, it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.”

But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it if you are a child of God. His divine fiat has bid you go from strength to strength, and so you shall, and neither death nor hell shall turn you from thy course. What, if for a while thou art called to stand still, yet this is but to renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time. Impulsiveness cries, “Do something! Stir yourself; to stand still and wait, is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once–we must do it so we think–instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something but will do everything. Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it and expect a miracle.” But Faith listens neither to Presumption, Despair, nor to Cowardice, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands. “Stand still;”–keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.”

– C. H. Spurgeon

Church Life Together

It was the English Puritan, William Bridge, who drew up the church covenant at the Old Meeting House Congregational Church in Colegate, Norfolk, England in 1643. He had spiritual oversight over this congregation, but was not their pastor. On 28th June in that year Bridge and the fellowship of Christians in Colegate entered into the following covenant, here paraphrased in modern English.

‘We, being desirous in the fear of God, to worship and service Him according to His revealed will, do freely covenant with the Lord, in the presence of His saints and angels, that we will always endeavor, through the grace of God assisting us, to walk in all His ways, according to His written Word, which is the only sufficient rule of good life for every man. Neither will we allow ourselves to be polluted in any sinful ways, either public or private, but will abstain from the very appearance of evil, giving no offence to the Jew or Gentile, or churches of Christ.
‘That we will all love and improve our communion as brethren, by watching over one another, and as needed, will counsel, admonish, reprove, comfort, relieve, assist, and bear with one another, humbly submitting ourselves to the government of Christ in His church. ‘Lastly, we do not promise these things in our own, but in Christ’s strength, neither do we confine ourselves to the words of this Covenant, but shall at all times account it our duty to embrace any further light on truth, which shall be revealed to us out of Gods Word.’

This expresses relational church covenanting together, as a church body, and reflects the seriousness, as well as, the love shown in walking together with your brethren and being truly, wholeheartedly, committed to your church. How can any believer be in a church with one another without being joined together in relational commitment to the whole church, as well as to the individuals in the body? The questions are several that we should apply to our own church situation: 1) Do I have a real relationship to my pastor/elders that is loving and ongoing? 2) Am I as committed a member to our church as there is in the body–fully committed or half-hearted about it? 3) Do I maintain an ongoing relationship with others in the body? 4) Am I faithful and consistent at all the church meetings? 5) Am I numbered among those in the church that are considered the most faithful and most exemplary among the brethren? Showing up at a class once in a while or just on Sunday mornings to hear a sermon from a pastor I don’t really even know (and who doesn’t know me) is not New Testament Christianity. In reality and in practice, what kind of relationship do I really have with my church?

– Geoff Thomas and Mack Tomlinson

Am I a real Christian? Pt 2

But there is something more. God’s Holy Spirit must inwardly deal with our minds as we consider these things, and our affections as we respond to the wonder of being sure that we have been saved by the grace of God, so that there can be occasional eruptions of joy inexpressible that are created by the Spirit of God, assuring us even on our worst days that we are real Christians behaving as we do. This is God’s prerogative; it is his gift, speaking to our inmost being challenging our conduct, or he is telling us that he loves us and he wants us to feel loved.

It cannot be otherwise. We Christians make this claim that Father, Son and Holy Spirit have come to us personally and individually and that the living God indwells us, that we have illimitable access to him. Do you think you can have this absolute reality within the dispositional complex of our inmost beings – our hearts and souls – and not know of the indwelling God? Do you think it good or even possible to have him for years in our lives and yet possess no conviction that he is there? A Christian is married to Christ. Would such a Christian not know the stirrings of affection of the Lord Christ who is husband of the one the Savior loved and died for, to whose life the believer is joined for ever, whose body is his home, his temple?

How does the Lord of glory make himself known to us? Certainly he does so by making us understand and believe and love the truths of Christian teaching. By him we know what is true and what is erroneous. Certainly also God increases our assurance by making us hunger and thirst for righteousness, and sorrow over our daily sins.

But there are also occasions when a certainty springs up in our hearts. We are reading the Bible and some words of promise are made peculiarly comforting and personal to us. Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings. When we are hearing the preaching of the word we might be blessed with a renewal of joy at hearing of the Lord Jesus in the glory of his person and work as he is being offered to us in the gospel, and once again we receive him by faith. Sometimes as we drive the car we may be overwhelmed with the love of God and need to stop. We can watch a sunset over the ocean, or look at the majesty of the Grand Canyon, or see our daughters talking seriously together listening intently and showing such affection to one another and the Spirit takes our love for them and they for us and overwhelms us with what his grace has given us. He gave us his Son and with his Son he freely has given to us – to me – every wonderful thing that has enriched my life.

I do not personally think of such moving experiences as being higher forms of assurance than those that come from reading the Bible and knowing that these truths are what I believe, or gaining from Scripture the confidence that this holy way of life is all my desire. They are just other wonderful privileges of the Christian life, a growing delightful relationship with a heavenly Father, and the best Friend, and the love of the Spirit for us.

The Bible’s teaching on assurance is an invitation. It is saying, “Come now and trust what you read. If you are trapped in a background of easy believism or trapped in the opposite fear of assurance being a certain sign of being presumptuous and so crushing the young shoots of hope and assurance as they appear.” Take the Bible and read it! Take and read now. Pray that you will be given deliverance from your doubts and have confidence to believe – just as the Biblical writers believed the honest and kindly promises that our one loving God has made to sinners whose hopes are all set in the lovely uniting one.

‘Come to me for rest,’ he says. ‘I am meek and lowly of heart. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’
– Geoff Thomas

Am I a real Christian? Pt 1

There is not a true Christian who has not asked himself or herself that question; in fact, every Christian should be examine his life to see if redemption is their privilege and eternal blessedness.

As we come to the Lord’s Supper, we do so renewing our awareness of our true condition and our thanks for the glorious Son of God, who became the Lamb of God, and took away the sin of all who are joined to him, even if that faith that joins them to Christ is as thin as a spider’s thread. Oh, that such a union of me, a sinner, and Him the Savior, were mine for ever and ever!

Am I a Christian? There is a Book that can help me answer this. It is the Bible, the word that God has given us. It helps us first by telling us what a real Christian believes, that God is our Creator, that he is three persons–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; it tells us that this holy Father loved sinners in this groaning world so much that he sent his only begotten Son, Jehovah Jesus, to save us from the judgment we deserve by living on our behalf the life we have not been living, and then dying the death that our sins deserve, exchanging our stony hearts for new hearts that love him and want to serve him perfectly.

To those who put their trust in him, God gives his Holy Spirit, who strengthens and energizes us to live brand new lives that please and honour him. We are enabled to fulfill our real end in living, to glorify God and enjoy him. So through our union with Christ, we shall be made fit to be declared righteous in the coming Judgment and be welcomed into the presence of the one before whom the angels hide their eyes and cry ‘Holy, holy, holy!’ This is what the Bible teaches and what true Christians believe.

Can you say, “Well, I believe that, not perfectly alas, but these are the truths that are very, very important to me. This is what I want to hear from the pulpit whenever I attend church.” Then be encouraged! You believe what real Christians believe. You can enjoy no assurance of your salvation unless you believe these doctrines that God has taken such pains to give us in the Bible.

The Bible also tells me how a real Christian lives. He or she is in earnest about keeping the law of God. That law is first simply summarized in the ten commandments, but then it is amplified in Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5. A Christian’s behavior is also described in Romans 12 and Ephesians 5-6. Reading these parts of God’s book sustains in every Christians two feelings–a longing to live that way and a sorrowful confession that his life does not match up, and that he is so glad that the Lord Jesus’ life did. He kept God’s law. He was poor in spirit, and hungered and thirsted after righteousness. He was pure in heart, meek and lowly, and was a peace maker. He lived like that, in spite of the suffering it brought into his life. He loved his neighbor as himself. He loved his enemies and prayed for them when they had nailed him by his hands and feel to the cross. He did not overcome evil by evil, but overcame evil with good. That is the life every Christian esteems and admires. “I want to live that life by the power of grace, but how far short of attaining it I am, alas!”

Every Christian feels like that. No other way of life is attractive to him. His conscience convicts him when he falls short of the law of God in his inward desires, let alone in his outward behavior. The book God has given to us defines for us what we are to believe and describes for us how we are to live. There can be no assurance that we are real Christians unless we find some confidence in our hearts, some conviction, that these truths are what we want to believe, and also this new heavenly conduct is how we want to live. These are the two foundations of attaining a feeling of assurance that we are the children of God. There can be no certainty without the desire to to believe and behave as God has described for us. — to be continued

Geoff Thomas

Does God need us?

A few weeks ago, in a Scripture class, we drifted off the topic onto ‘the attributes of God’. In answer to a question, I referred to Acts 17:24-25, ‘The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.’ Immediately, one of the brightest students was duly offended by the thought that God does not need us, and commented rather sadly: ‘You have just made me feel worthless.’ I suppose a steady diet of self-esteem philosophy does that to one, although it is not easy to derive much comfort from a deity who needs us. He would be like a well-intentioned, but not altogether competent friend who was always offering to help when we wished that he wouldn’t.

Back in 1952 J. B. Phillips wrote a book entitled Your God Is Too Small. Since then, God seems to have become yet smaller, in many eyes at least. Theologians who take the Bible seriously say that God is self-sufficient, which means that he simply exists, and can exist quite happily, as it were, without us. They speak of ‘the aseity of God’, meaning he is sufficient in himself, whereas we human beings most certainly are not sufficient in ourselves. The very first verse in the Bible, Genesis 1:1, implies the self-sufficiency of our Creator. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and so, we might ask, what was he doing before he created the universe? Aristotle thought that the world was eternal, and Carl Sagan’s slogan was ‘The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.’ Against this, the God of the Bible exists for all eternity as ‘I am who I am ’ (Exod. 3:14). It is highly significant that Jesus speaks the same language (John 8:58). Before he created the heavens and the earth, the triune God enjoyed love and fellowship within the three Persons of the Godhead. In his ‘High Priestly Prayer’, Jesus prays: ‘And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed’ (John 17:5).

Further into the prayer we read: ‘Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world’ (John 17:24). So the creation of the world by the triune God was an act of grace, not necessity. He was not lonely! To God, the nations are but a drop from a bucket or dust on scales (Isa. 40:15); indeed, they are nothing and less than nothing before him (Isa. 40:17). We are like grasshoppers, and God has no difficulty in bringing princes to nothing (Isa. 40:22-23). My offended student did not know the half of it! The truth is, as A. W. Tozer wrote: ‘Without doubt the mightiest thought the mind can entertain is the thought of God.’

No doubt this is why grace has ceased to be amazing in the Western world. God, if he exists at all, is just a few rungs above us on the ladder of importance, and he is very much just a slightly larger version of humanity. Armed with no concept of sin, holiness nor the almighty self-sufficiency of God, we almost think we do God a favour by choosing him. It is almost like we have voted him into office. Hence we have lost the powerful impact of the Bible’s teaching that God stoops down to us, as, for example, in Psalm 103:13-14, ‘As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.’

Does God need us? We need each other. Society is a set of intertwined relationships. But God does not need us in the slightest. If we are saved in Christ Jesus, this is ‘to the praise of his glorious grace’ (Eph. 1:6), not because of any supposed need on God’s part. We can conclude with the words of John Flavel: ‘Those who know God will be humble. Those who know themselves, cannot be proud.’

– Peter Barnes

Why do we pray for one another?

Requests for prayer; we hear them over and over again, as we read the New Testament Scriptures (and especially the letters of Paul), and as we come week by week to the church prayer meeting. Christians asking fellow Christians to pray for them. Why do we make such requests? And why do we respond to them with the very prayer that is sought?

Let us assume what is ordinarily the case, that the believers who are seeking our prayers are praying themselves. Is that not enough? Why is it felt to be important – even necessary – to multiply voices, to have many people praying? Shouldn’t the individual prayers of believers be sufficient? Especially given what James says about the prayers of a righteous man being ‘powerful and effective‘ (Ch.5.16)

The answer lies in how God in his wisdom has arranged things. He has made us, as believers, to be dependent on one another. He intends that we should function, not in isolation from one another, but together.

We see this in the area of understanding the Scriptures. It is perfectly true that someone alone with his Bible and with only the Holy Spirit to teach him may grasp much of the mind of God. But it is also the case that ordinarily we are dependent upon others for understanding. That is how God has constituted things. Hence the need for parents to teach their children. Hence the church’s need for teachers. We are not meant to go it alone in this matter.

Nor in regard to prayer. God has ordained that in large measure we should be dependent on one another’s prayers. We are part of a body and God would have us function as a body. We are members of a church and God would have us function as a church. And so as one man preaches the others are upholding him in prayer, asking God for courage and clarity and for the word to be made effective. As one believer faces danger, his fellow Christians are interceding for his safety. There is a divinely constituted togetherness when it comes to prayer.

Two things follow. One is that in imitation of the Apostle Paul believers should not hesitate to ask their fellow Christians for prayer. The other is that, in response to such a request, those fellow Christians should pray. Sometimes this will involve only a small number of Christians – maybe as few as two (the one who is in need and the one who is in the know). At other times it will involve the entire church.

Our missionaries are a case in point. It is their situation that most closely parallels that of Paul. A missionary should feel, ‘I am dependent on the prayers of God’s people’. And sensing that, he should seek their intercession. His supporting churches, for their part, should understand, ‘This brother needs our prayers’. And accordingly they should pray.

And if they don’t pray? There is every reason to suppose that in some measure there will be a withholding of divine blessing. For God has made us dependent on one another. Therefore we fail our missionaries if we do not pray for them, and for our ministers too. They will be less effective than they otherwise would be. As they come to us, then, with their requests that we pray for them, understand that they really do need our prayers. So pray.

– David Campbell

When I am Afraid

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” – Psalm 56:3

It cannot be said of any man that he is made without fear. Even the most courageous are not without some fear. When the church is in the
storm of persecution, and almost covered with the waves, the stoutest passengers in the storm may suffer from this boisterous passion as the storm rages without, and all for the lack of thoroughly believing, or not seasonably remembering that the Lord High Admiral of all the ocean, and Commander of all the winds, is on board the ship to steer and preserve her in the storm.

The Lord of hosts governs all creatures and their actions. All the armies of heaven and earth are at his command. We can rely
upon his care and love if we look to him in the day of trouble. We can trust him in danger, as a child trusts in the care and protection of his father—O what peace and rest!

Who would be afraid to pass through the midst of armed troops when you know that the General of the army is your own father? If we
sanctify the Lord of hosts as our heavenly Father, he will be a sanctuary to us in times of danger. He will surely protect, defend, and provide for us in the worst of times and cases. We can follow him as a cloud by day and a flame of fire by night! His glory will be our defense and place of refuge. Let the winds roar, the rains beat, the lightning flash—yet you are in safety.

The best of men are too apt to be overcome with fear in times of imminent distress and danger. But we do not duly consider God’s
almighty power, his vigilant care, unspotted faithfulness, and his engaged covenant for his people! This lies at the root of fear. If we
but once thoroughly understood what power there is in God’s hand to defend us, what tenderness in his heart to comfort us, and what faithfulness to all his promises given over to us, O, how quiet and calm would our hearts be! Our courage would quickly be up, and our fears down.

– John Flavel

An Appreciation of Jerry Bridges

Jerry Bridges died in his eighty-sixth year on March 6, 2016. Once or twice I shared the speaking duties with him at a couple of conferences and enjoyed getting to know him. He wrote a little autobiography, God Took Me By the Hand, which threw light on his humble origins in the Depression years of the 1920s in the USA.

He was born with four physical defects: he was cross-eyed, deaf in his right ear, and had deformities in his breastbone and spine. His parents were financially poor, education dropouts, and religiously and socially isolated. There were no boys his age in the neighbourhood, and no toys in the house. They lived alongside the railway tracks. ‘I was probably the poorest of the poor.’ His parents could not afford to give him money for the more nutritious school meals, or 25 cents for him to see the conjurer’s show when it made its annual visit to the school, or to pay for his eyesight to be remedied. He got up at 4 a.m. and delivered newspapers each day. He lost his mother when he was fourteen and henceforth lived at home with his father. Yet from Scripture he came to know that ‘of God and through God and to God are all things’. From Psalm 139 he learned that God had created him just as he was, birth defects and all. God controlled the genetics and God gave him a fine ­intelligence quotient. Jerry’s book The Pursuit of Holiness has sold a million copies and he wrote more than a dozen other books, all worth reading and passing on. I have just read his final book on humility which is a sweet study of the Beatitudes. He was awarded a D.D. from Westminster Seminary.

By the common grace of God Jerry Bridges was placed under excellent teachers in school and university. In his church he painfully learned that going forward in response to an altar call is not the same as being converted. When he was nine someone asked him why he wasn’t going forward to be saved, and so he went forward, but felt no different. He went forward again when he was eleven, and two years later he did it again but with the same negative response. He said to himself that evening that he was never going to go forward again. Jerry wrote, ‘we do need to understand and believe the gospel, and we do need to put our trust in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, but in the final result it is the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit that makes us new creatures in Christ.’

Jerry’s brother became the assistant pastor in the church and one evening he called him and asked eighteen-year-old Jerry if he would like to come with him to visit a member. As they discussed the faith his brother said to this man, ‘If you don’t know you are saved you are probably not, because when you are saved you know it.’ With hindsight, Jerry looked back at that conversation and realized that he would not make such an absolute statement, but back then it was a spur to settle his own relationship with God. That night in his room he prayed and said, ‘O God, I don’t know if I need to go forward in church again or not. I don’t want to but if I have to, I am willing. Whatever it takes, I want Jesus to be my Saviour.’ Immediately he had assurance of salvation and quickly went off to sleep. Soon he read Romans 5:1, ‘Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ He had no doubts about his salvation ever again.
Soon Jerry joined the Navy and he came into contact with the Navigators and learned the importance of personal devotions and the memorization of Scripture. Again a sincere half-right statement was used by God to direct his mind into taking the word of God seriously. A Navigators’ teacher said, ‘The Bible was not given to increase your knowledge but to guide your conduct.’ Of course Scripture is not a book of morals but God’s redemptive plan in Christ, but Jerry read the Bible henceforth to believe and obey.
In January 1960 in San Diego he attended a church where one night a woman gave him a booklet and asked him to read it. It was called The Doctrine of Election, and as he glanced at it he was deeply offended. He had never met this doctrine before. He thought that the woman was taking him into heresy. He put the booklet aside and refused to engage with it, but the thought stayed in his head and the very next morning as he prayed he was probed by God. Fifty years later he still remembers how the one called ‘Wonderful Counsellor’ dealt with him.
How many people are in San Diego?

About 600,000.
How many of them do you think are believers?
No more than 60,000. Ten per cent.
You are one of them, aren’t you?
Yes Lord, and I am so grateful that I am.
Why are you a believer?

Immediately Jerry had to go back to the love and initiative of God in saving him. It was not a lucky decision. It was God who had made the difference, and so he prayed, ‘Lord, I have offered myself to you before, but in the light of a deeper understanding of your mercy and grace, I present myself once more.’ He added that in the twinkling of an eye he was changed to what he later learned was a Calvinist position. It was a watershed event for him. ‘It eventually changed my whole outlook about God, the world, and the gospel. It eventually led to a clear understanding of the sovereignty of God.’ Over the next three years the woman who had given him the booklet on the doctrine of election sent him books on the Puritans and as he read them and studied the Bible he became a committed Calvinist, ‘but I hope a friendly Calvinist toward those who hold a different view’.

For a while Jerry worked for the Navigators in the Netherlands, and there he met our friend Alan Levy, the pastor in Pontarddulais, Wales. Alan remembers their meetings in a park where they ate their sandwiches at lunchtime and shared their growing appreciation of the doctrines of grace. It was in the Netherlands that Jerry was asked to fill in for a speaker who had been taken ill. This was the first time he had spoken at a meeting of more than a handful of people. It was God’s first step in Jerry’s ultimately preaching the word on a full-time basis.

In September 1976 he began to write The Pursuit of Holiness in his spare time and it was published in October 1978, and I suppose it will never go out of print. God blessed the book because it was indeed a serious call to holiness. Jerry assumed that it would be the only book he would ever write and that he had said all that he wanted to say in it. How differently things turned out!
Jerry once told me that the most important book he had ever read was George Smeaton’s The Apostles’ Doctrine of the Atonement. ‘In this book Smeaton looks at every verse on the atonement from Acts to Revelation. The value of it lies in its continued emphasis on the representative union of Christ and his people.’ He was anxious that Americans read and understand these truths and so in 2007 he wrote The Great Exchange which was based on Smeaton’s great classic.

Jerry Bridges was sixty-five years of age before his first books began to appear. If God had planned for him to be a writer and teacher, why did God wait for so long to bring his purposes to full development? Jerry said, ‘God wanted me to write and teach truths that have to be learned through lots of difficult experiences and lots of mistakes. But by his providence he had been leading me all the way. To him be the glory.’

Jerry Bridges looked back through his life with some self-analysis. Maybe he is right in his diagnosis. It is worth seeing things as he looked at it all. ‘The years 1955 through 2011 were a period of fifty-six years. I look at twenty-five of them as experiencing the blessing of God on my labours. Another fifteen years were clearly painful, and another sixteen were neither particularly painful nor blessed. As I look at these numbers I feel especially blessed by God. I think of relatives and friends whose lives have been marked more by pain than by anything else, and I realized how blessed I have been.’

— Geoff Thomas

Thoughts from Andrew Bonar on Joy

Daily Thoughts: The Joy of the Lord

Thoughts from Andrew Bonar on Joy

I have been taught that joy in the Spirit is the frame in which God blesses us to others. Joy arises from fellowship with Him; I find that whatever sorrow or humiliation of spirit presses on us, that it all should give way, in some measure, to a fresh taste of God’s love when going forth to preach.

I was much struck today by a simple thought, namely, that our joys are only beginning! Yes, the joys we have tasted are a mere foretaste. All we get here below is but an earnest and no more. And as truly as our joys are only beginning, so our sorrows are soon ending. They will soon be over–our last tear shed and our last sigh expressed.

Rejoice is as much a command as repent.

Cultivate joy as much as you cultivate honesty and uprightness.

The oil of joy calms down the waves of trouble.

Why should we be afraid to rejoice when God is not afraid to trust us with joy?

Love is the motive for working, and joy is the strength for working.

Would it have been right for the prodigal son to sit at his father’s table in tears, saying, “I just cannot be glad”, when the Father said, “It is right that we should make merry and be glad?”

Love and joy are the two prominent fruits of the Spirit. If you can cherish this glad spirit, you will be a useful witness, even if you never speak a word.

There are far more people make to think by seeing a Christian’s joy than by any words he may speak.

— Andrew Bonar