Angry Prayers – Partakers of His Suffering

Angry Prayers
ice gutter

Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11

The neighbors probably didn’t know what to think as they looked out their windows at me one wintry day. I was standing in the driveway with a garden shovel clutched in my hands, whacking wildly and angrily at a clump of ice that had formed beneath a corner gutter. With each smack, I was uttering prayers that were variations on one theme: “I can’t do this.” “You can’t expect me to do this.” “I don’t have the strength to do this.” As a caregiver, with a long list of responsibilities to handle, I now had this ice to deal with, and I had had enough!

My anger was wrapped around a bundle of lies: “I deserve better than this.” “God isn’t enough after all.” “Nobody cares anyway.” But when we choose to cling to our anger, we become mired in the trap of bitterness, never moving forward. And the only cure for anger is truth.

The truth is that God does not give us what we deserve; He gives us mercy instead. “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you” (Ps. 86:5). The truth is that God is more than enough, despite what we see. The truth is that His strength is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9). Yet before we can find such reassurance, we may need to step back, lay down the shovel of our own efforts, and take Jesus’ hand that’s extended to us in mercy and grace.

God is big enough to listen to our anger and loving enough to show us, in His time, the path forward.

Loving God, forgive me for my outbursts of anger. Today I choose to lay down my sinful anger and accept Your mercy and grace. Thank You for forgiveness and for truth that leads to wisdom.

Shelly Beach is the author of several books, including Precious Lord, Take My Hand: Meditations for Caregivers.

Grace: Getting what we don’t deserve.

Mercy: Not getting what we do deserve.

By Shelly Beach
Partakers of His Suffering
grass path woods

…but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings… —1 Peter 4:13

If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a number of experiences that are not meant for you personally at all. They are designed to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what takes place in the lives of others. Because of this process, you will never be surprised by what comes your way. You say, “Oh, I can’t deal with that person.” Why can’t you? God gave you sufficient opportunities to learn from Him about that problem; but you turned away, not heeding the lesson, because it seemed foolish to spend your time that way.

The sufferings of Christ were not those of ordinary people. He suffered “according to the will of God” (1 Peter 4:19), having a different point of view of suffering from ours. It is only through our relationship with Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. When it comes to suffering, it is part of our Christian culture to want to know God’s purpose beforehand. In the history of the Christian church, the tendency has been to avoid being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ. People have sought to carry out God’s orders through a shortcut of their own. God’s way is always the way of suffering— the way of the “long road home.”

Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp out our personal ambitions? Are we prepared for God to destroy our individual decisions by supernaturally transforming them? It will mean not knowing why God is taking us that way, because knowing would make us spiritually proud. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through— we go through it more or less without understanding. Then suddenly we come to a place of enlightenment, and realize— “God has strengthened me and I didn’t even know it!”

There is no allowance whatever in the New Testament for the man who says he is saved by grace but who does not produce the graceful goods. Jesus Christ by His Redemption can make our actual life in keeping with our religious profession. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1465 R


Running The Race of Faith

Hebrews 12:1-3

The runners in a marathon must all follow a clearly marked course. Suppose one of the athletes decides to pick his own path. He keeps to the 26.2-mile race standard and sets his finish line in the same spot as the official one, but he runs through neighborhoods with fewer hills and across less crowded parks. His plan seems excellent to him, but when he crosses the finish line, there will be no medal or ribbon waiting.

That would certainly be a silly thing to do. Yet believers fall into this very trap when they decide the course for their lives instead of running the race God sets. By submitting to His will—doing what He says and going where He leads—we remain on the right path. But the moment we revert to our old habits and start making decisions based on our own wisdom, we go far afield.

Whether believers run the race God’s way or their way, the finish line is the same—namely, heaven. However, the difference is what we have to show for all the energy expended getting there. No one wants to look back and realize, I didn’t really accomplish anything of value. Regardless of how grand a legacy someone leaves, the only truly lasting and worthwhile deeds are those done for the Lord in the power of His Spirit.

Thankfully, no matter how far off course we veer, the Holy Spirit is still present. He reminds us of the right path—as well as the power available to get back on it and persevere. Your route is set; your choice clear. Run the race set before you and finish well.

Mortify Your Fleshly Members

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)

This imperative command is very important for the twice-born. It is nothing less than an active execution of passionate, evil deeds born from the lusts of the flesh. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:13). The list that follows is unyielding.

– Fornication (porneia) includes all deviant and extramarital sex (Leviticus 18:6-23; Romans 1:26-28).
– Uncleanness (akatharsia) references that which is “dirty; foul, wanton, or lewd” (Ephesians 4:17-19).
– Inordinate affection (pathos) is a word used only of homosexuality (Romans 1:26; 1 Thessalonians 4:5).
– Evil desire (epithumia) describes evil cravings (1 Peter 4:3; Jude 1:17-19).
– Covetousness (pleonexia) is simply greediness that is idolatry (2 Peter 2:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 2:5).

This evil behavior will surely bring the “wrath of God . . . against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). That judgment will be carried out on such people because of an impenitent heart that is “treasuring up” the “righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5-6).

The most startling fact of this behavior is that those who willfully participate in it know “the judgment of God” and that “they which commit such things are worthy of death.” Not only does this behavior signify a rebellious heart but also an open desire to “have pleasure in them” (Romans 1:32).

“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6). HMM III

Don’t Suffer Shipwreck

This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them
mightest war a good warfare; holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.
—1 Timothy 1:18-19

Yet the ministry is one of the most perilous of professions. The devil hates the Spiritfilled minister with an intensity second only to that which he feels for Christ Himself The source of this hatred is not difficult to discover. An effective, Christlike minister is a constant embarrassment to the devil, a threat to his dominion, a rebuttal of his best arguments and a dogged reminder of his coming overthrow. No wonder he hates him.

Satan knows that the downfall of a prophet of God is a strategic victory for him, so he rests not day or night devising hidden snares and deadfalls for the ministry. Perhaps a better figure would be the poison dart that only paralyzes its victim, for I think that Satan has little interest in killing the preacher outright. An ineffective, half-alive minister is a better advertisement for hell than a good man dead. So the preacher’s dangers are likely to be spiritual rather than physical, though sometimes the enemy works through bodily weaknesses to get to the preacher’s soul.

I pray for every one of my fellow servants, especially those who may be close to succumbing. Give Your great grace and victory today. Amen.

Fear of the Lord: Cannot Be Induced by Threats

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…. John 6:44

The efforts of liberal and borderline modernists to woo men to God by presenting the soft side of religion is an unqualified evil because it ignores the very reason for our alienation from God in the first place!

It seems to be an obvious fact that until a man has gotten into trouble with his own heart he is not likely to get out of trouble with God.

Cain and Abel are solemn examples of this truth. Cain brought a present to One whom he assumed to be pleased with him. Abel brought a sacrifice to One who he knew could not accept him as he was. His trembling heart told him to find a place to hide. Cain’s heart did not tremble—he was well satisfied with himself.

The fear of God would have served Cain well in that critical moment for it would have changed the whole character of his offering and altered the entire course of his life for the better.

As indispensable as is the terror of the Lord, we must always keep in mind that it cannot be induced by threats made in the name of the Lord. Hell and judgment are realities, and they must be preached in their biblical context as fully as the Bible teaches them, but they cannot induce that mysterious thing we call the fear of the Lord.

The Holy Spirit alone can induce this emotion in the human breast. It is a feeling rather than idea: it is the deep reaction of a fallen creature in the presence of the holy Being the stunned heart knows is God!

Worthy or Unworthy?

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge. EPHESIANS 3:19

The love of Jesus is so inclusive that it knows no boundaries. At the point where we stop loving and caring, Jesus is still there—loving and caring!

The question may be asked: “How does the living Christ feel today about the sinful men and women who walk our streets?”

There is only one answer: He loves them!

We may be righteously indignant about the things they do. We may be disgusted with their actions and their ways. We are often ready to condemn and turn away from them.

But Jesus keeps on loving them! It is His unchanging nature to love and seek the lost.

He said many times when He was on earth, “I have come to help the needy. The well do not need a doctor—but the sick need attention and love.”

We are prone to look at the needy and measure them: “Let us determine if they are worthy of our help.” During all of His ministry, I do not think Jesus ever helped a “worthy” person. He only asked, “What is your need? Do you need My help?”

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your unconditional love for all mankind. I pray that lost men and women everywhere will acknowledge their sin problem and give their hearts to Jesus.