You in the Fires of Sorrow

campfire near water
…what shall I say? “Father, save Me from this hour”? But for this purpose I came to this hour. “Father, glorify Your name.” —John 12:27-28

As a saint of God, my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that they be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow. Our Lord received Himself, accepting His position and realizing His purpose, in the midst of the fire of sorrow. He was saved not from the hour, but out of the hour.

We say that there ought to be no sorrow, but there is sorrow, and we have to accept and receive ourselves in its fires. If we try to evade sorrow, refusing to deal with it, we are foolish. Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life, and there is no use in saying it should not be. Sin, sorrow, and suffering are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.

Sorrow removes a great deal of a person’s shallowness, but it does not always make that person better. Suffering either gives me to myself or it destroys me. You cannot find or receive yourself through success, because you lose your head over pride. And you cannot receive yourself through the monotony of your daily life, because you give in to complaining. The only way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow. Why it should be this way is immaterial. The fact is that it is true in the Scriptures and in human experience. You can always recognize who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, and you know that you can go to him in your moment of trouble and find that he has plenty of time for you. But if a person has not been through the fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, having no respect or time for you, only turning you away. If you will receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.

We are not fundamentally free; external circumstances are not in our hands, they are in God’s hands, the one thing in which we are free is in our personal relationship to God. We are not responsible for the circumstances we are in, but we are responsible for the way we allow those circumstances to affect us; we can either allow them to get on top of us, or we can allow them to transform us into what God wants us to be. Conformed to His Image, 354 L


Your Healthy Body

1 Corinthians 6:19

Take a good, long look at yourself. What is your attitude about your body? How concerned are you with healthy eating and regular exercise? These are important questions that many believers never ask themselves. In fact, some may separate the spiritual life from the physical life altogether. However, this is not the view that the Lord intended.

God, who carefully crafted every one of us, places a high value on our bodies (Ps. 139:13). The human form represents the masterpiece of creation, and God entrusted our bodies to our care. Just as with any other resource—such as relationships or money—the Father expects wise stewardship from us.

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians provides a clear picture of followers of Christ mistreating their bodies. Many people in the church had been engaging in various unacceptable practices, including gluttony and sexual misconduct (1 Cor. 5:1; 1 Cor. 11:21). Because of their low view of the physical body, they incorrectly regarded this behavior as completely separate from their spiritual life. They believed they could do anything they wanted with their bodies and still be considered “good Christians.”

In verse 16 of chapter 3, Paul declares, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 16:3). The apostle reminds us God’s Holy Spirit has come to live in the heart and life of every believer.

If you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then He has taken up residence in your life. In effect, your body has become a walking testimony. What is your body saying about your relationship with the heavenly Father?

In the Midst

“And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.” (John 20:26)

Jesus, in His earthly life, was often “in the midst” of things. At the age of 12 He was found in the temple, “sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46). Then, early in His adult ministry, His hometown enemies at Nazareth attempted to kill Him, “but he passing through the midst of them went his way” (Luke 4:30). Later, in Jerusalem, a group of Pharisees sought to stone Him, but He simply went “through the midst of them, and so passed by” (John 8:59).

Finally, however, they were able to put Him to death, and as a bitter testimony of their hatred, they had Him crucified with two common criminals, “on either side one, and Jesus in the midst” (John 19:18). Three days later, the tomb was emptied, and He would never again be in the midst of enemies. Instead, He met His disciples in the upper room.

There, “when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you” (John 20:19). Eight days later, with Thomas present, Jesus once again appeared in their midst and greeted them with reassuring words of peace.

Though now in heaven, His presence still speaks peace to us through His Holy Spirit, for He promised: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Even in the ages to come, He will be in our midst, for John says, describing that scene: “In the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain,” and then all creation will sing “unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:6, 13). HMM

A Fixture in God’s Mind

The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness. —Psalm 41:3

It says in Hebrews 2:6, quoting from Psalm 8:4, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” The Greek word for mindful means “fixture in the mind.” We’re a fixture in God’s mind. And the only wonderful, strange eccentricity of the great free God is that He allows Himself to be emotionally identified with me, so whatever hurts me, hurts Him.

Whenever I’m in pain, God is in pain; whenever I suffer, He suffers. Scripture says, “The LORD… wilt make all [our] bed [s] in [our] sickness” (Psalm 41:3). God sits beside us and grieves when we grieve.

Love also feels pleasure in its object. God is happy in His love. When people love each other, they’re very happy….

A young mother is always happy over her baby. I’ve never seen one that wasn’t. Sometimes a mother may get a little angry when the child gets big enough to push things over, but for the most part, love is a pleasurable thing. And God is happy in His love toward all that He has made.

How amazing that You would take delight in loving me! Thank You, Father, for understanding me so well and for Your unfailing love. Amen.

Christ Still Receives Sinners

Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance… and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5:31)

What a gracious thing for us that Jesus Christ never thinks about what we have been. He always thinks about what we are going to be!

The Savior who is our Lord cares absolutely nothing about your moral case history. He forgives it and starts from there as though you had been born one minute before. The woman of Samaria met our Lord at the well and we ask, “Why was Jesus willing to reveal so much more about Himself in this setting than He did in other encounters during His ministry?”

You and I would never have chosen this woman with such a shadow lying across her life, but Jesus is the Christ of God, and He could sense the potential within her innermost being. He gave her the secret of His Messiahship and the secret of the nature of God. Her frankness and her humility appealed to the Savior as they talked of man’s need and the true worship of God by the Spirit of God.

In Jesus’ day, His critics said in scorn: “This man receives sinners!” They were right— and He lived and died and rose again to prove it. The blessed part is this: He is still receiving sinners!

How have we kept this resolve?

Ever to be remembered is that best and brightest of hours when first we saw the Lord, lost our burden, received the roll of promise, rejoiced in full salvation, and went on our way in peace. It was spring time in the soul; the winter was past. Then the flowers appeared in our heart: hope, love, peace and patience sprung from the sod; and our resolve was, “Lord, I am thine, wholly thine; all I am, and all I have, I would devote to thee. Thou hast bought me with thy blood; let me spend myself and be spent in thy service. In life and in death let me be consecrated to thee.” How have we kept this resolve?