Perhaps He will smite you!

(Charles Spurgeon)  Play Audio! Download Audio

So you should realize that, “Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you to help you.” Deuteronomy 8:5 

I can truly say of everything I have ever tasted in this world of God’s mercy, (and my path has been remarkably strewn with divine loving-kindness), I feel more grateful to God for the bodily pain I have suffered, and for all the trials of diverse sorts I have endured–than I do for anything else.

I am sure I have derived:
  more real benefit,
  and permanent strength,
  and growth in grace,
  and every precious thing,
from the furnace of suffering, than I have ever derived from prosperity.

I know not how to quite express my meaning, but even depression of spirit and deep sadness have a particular charm within them, which laughter in vain may emulate.

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted!” Psalm 119:71

Ponder and consider the much gratitude you owe to God for His chastening rod. Dwell much in your heart upon what God evidently regards as one of His distinguishing blessings. Do not lightly pass over what God would have you consider. Count the cross and the rod to be doubly worthy of your deepest thought.

“Hear the rod, and Him who has appointed it.” Micah 6:9

Remember that whenever you are chastened, you are not chastened as a slave master smites his victim, nor as a judge orders the criminal to be lashed; but as a man chastens his son–so are you chastened.

Your chastisement is a sign of sonship; it is a token of love! It is intended for your good.

Accept it, therefore, in the spirit of sonship, and “Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, neither faint when you are corrected by Him.”

It is the Lord your God who chastens you!

If He were not your God, He might let you alone!

If He had not chosen you to be His own, He would not take such care of you!

If He had not given Himself to be your treasure, He might not be so diligent in weaning you from all other treasures!

But because you are His, He will withdraw your love away from this poor world.

Perhaps He will take one childafter another from you, that all the love that was lavished on the children might flow towards Himself.

Perhaps He will leave you a widow, that the love that ran in the channel of a husband may run altogether to Himself.

Perhaps He will take away your riches, that the consolation you derived from them may be all derived from Him.

Perhaps He will smite you
, and then lay you on His own bosom, faint and helpless–that you may derive a strength and a joy from close and near fellowship with Himself, which you would never have had if it had not been that these other joys were removed.

Bless God for your chastenings!

Let the sweetest note of your music be to Him who, as a loving father, chastens His children for their good.

So you should realize that, “Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you to help you.” Deuteronomy 8:5

“For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son He receives.” Hebrews 12:6

“I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.” Isaiah 48:10  

The Definition of Self (Some of Them Anyway)

1. Esteem: Self-esteem refers to a person’s beliefs about their own worth and value. It also has to do with the feelings people experience that follow from their sense of worthiness or unworthiness. Self-esteem is important because it heavily influences people’s choices and decisions. The Bible calls this the esteem of self.

2. Confidence: Self-confidence is an attitude about your skills and abilities. It means you accept and trust yourself and have a sense of control in your life. You know your strengths and weaknesses well and have a positive view of yourself. You set realistic expectations and goals, communicate assertively, and can handle criticism. The Bible calls this confidence in self.

3. Assurance: confidence in one’s own abilities or character. The Bible calls this the assurance of self.

4. Actualization: the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone. Bringing to pass something such as giving self the spotlight in your life. Putting self on the throne.

5. Will: the quality of obstinately doing what one wants in spite of the wishes or orders of others. Self-will flies in direct opposition to the sovereignty of God.

6. Awareness: “Self-awareness is the ability to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts, or emotions do or don’t align with your internal standards. There’s nothing wrong with being aware of self, but be aware of self to the point where you know its dangers and act accordingly.

7. Love: Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Loving self in order to love others, is a lie straight from the mouth of Satan. We are to love others in spite of ourselves.

Sounds like something straight out of a psychology textbook, doesn’t it?

The world puts a lot of stock in the celebration of self. The Bible? Not so much.

The world tells us that in order to be healthy, we must love, respect and even worship self. The Bible tells us to starve, buffet, and even kill self in order to be honoring to God.

The world tells us even as children that we need to love ourselves before we can love one another. The Bible tells us to love even our enemies and in doing so, we honor God. Funny. No mention of self.

Does the Bible mention anything about self? Yep.

Phil. 2.3, 4: 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

2 Tim. 3. 2-4 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.

1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.

Philippians 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.

James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

James 4:1-2 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

Romans 15:1-3 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, ‘The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me’.

Romans 2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath.

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

 1 Cor. 9. 27 But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

These are only a few verses that I was able to look up without any difficulty. The Bible is full of this.

We can safely say that God deems self an enemy that needs to be killed. The Bible also says that we need to mortify the flesh. We need to kill it before it kills us. Why? Because of something laid on my heart in prayer once, “That you feed, grows, that you starve dies”.

Simple. Feed the flesh and it grows stronger. Starve it (not allowing it to get what it wants) and it will wither and grow weak.

The same can be said over our spirits. Feed our spirits scripture, prayer and honoring music and it will grow strong, neglect it what it needs to remain strong, and it also will wither. One or the other will sit on the throne of your heart. Self or Christ. You cannot serve two masters.

The Christian will strive to kill the flesh and feed the soul. The world will feed the flesh and starve anything that remotely points him to God.

I heard a quote one time, and it goes something like this: Why should the world want to be like the church when the church spends so much time trying to be like the world?

Who Will You Ultimately Serve?

(James Smith)  Play Audio! Download

“Moses chose to suffer affliction along with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” Hebrews 11:25

The choice is done. Moses is determined. He has counted the cost:
  instead of honor, shame;
  instead of praise, blame;
  instead of respect, contempt;
  instead of plenty, poverty;
  instead of a princely portion, a slave’s lot.

Was this wise? Was Moses a wise man–or a fool? What do you think of Moses–was he right, or wrong? But if Moses was right, as I suppose you will admit, allow me to ask: Have you acted rightly? Have you made the same choice?

Have you looked at the world at its best, and at true religion at its worst; and have you seriously, deliberately, and prayerfully decided to renounce the world, and embrace the despised religion of Christ, with all the scorn, contempt, and sufferings to which it may expose you?

Moses made his choice between the children of God and their sufferings–and the Egyptians and their pleasures. And you must make your choice between . . .
  Christ, or the world;
  holiness, or sin;
  the narrow path to Heaven, or the broad road to Hell.

“Choose this day whom you will serve!”

master you must have–and it must be either Satan, or Christ.
Serve 
you must–and your service must be either sin, or righteousness.

Look, then at the world–at its honors, wealth, and pleasures;
look also at the church–at its poverty, contempt, and sufferings.

Look at Hell–with its bitter reflections, deep sorrows, and indescribable torments;
look also at Heaven–with its sweet thoughts, pure enjoyments, and endless felicity.

Now make your choice!

Do you choose the world and its pleasures now, along with Hell and its horrors forever?

Do you chose rather to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time, than to serve and suffer with the people of God, though you know your end will be as bitter as wormwood, and as dreadful as the just wrath of a holy and unchangeable God could make it?

If Moses was wise, then what can you be, but a fool?
And your foolishness now, will increase your anguish and agony to all eternity!

Arguing With a Fool Never Turns Out Good

Proverbs 26:4. “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.”

Trying to reason with a fool…

Proverbs 26:4. “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.”

There are many cases in which a fool is to be heard, and not answered at all. When a scorner reviles us, it is needless to reprove him for it. For he is a dog, and the best way you can deal with him, is to let him bark until he ceases of his own accord — if you cast a stone at him, he will only follow you the longer and bark the more furiously.

When Rabshakeh railed at Hezekiah, and blasphemed the God of Israel, the servants of Hezekiah were expressly forbidden by their master to answer him a word, for he knew that an answer would only produce some blasphemous reply. Our Lord himself often kept silence when impertinent questions were asked of him. He was well acquainted with all the secrets of wisdom, and, if he had spoken, his words would have been the fittest that could be spoken in these cases — but silence was, in his infallible judgment, fitter than any answer that his perfect wisdom could make.

But must this be a rule for us in every case? Should not the multitude of words be answered; and when the fool mocks, shall no man make him ashamed? In many cases it is very fit that a fool’s words should be answered — only you must take care in answering not to imitate him. If he speaks unreasonable, profane, peevish, or passionate words — then you must not answer him in his own style. You are angry at him for his folly, and reprove him for the extravagance of his behavior — and therefore you cannot but confess that yourselves are worthy of a very sharp reproof, if you behave like him at the very time that you are testifying your displeasure at his conduct. You cannot allege that his passionate manner of speaking and acting will justify you in behaving passionately. For if one fire kindled from Hell burns so fiercely, and threatens to devour everything that comes in its way, why should another fire be lighted from it to do still greater harm?

It does not befit the followers of Jesus to return railing for railing, or one angry word for another — but in whatever manner others talk, our tongues ought still to be governed by the law of meekness and charity.

There are no cases in which this rule is more frequently transgressed than in religious disputes. Passion and railing, when they are employed in the support of truth, appear to many to be just expressions of Christian zeal; and that noble and necessary grace of humility has been brought into suspicion, and regarded with a very jealous eye, by reason of those who have substituted passion in its place, and called it by a name to which it is as well entitled as the prince of darkness is to be called an angel of light.

The Scripture enjoins Christians to instruct opposers in meekness. It declares expressly that the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God; and it informs us that Michael, that great prince among the heavenly hosts, dared not bring a railing accusation against Satan.

A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs

By George Lawson, 1821 Chapter 26.

The Bondage of Sin

The devil, in his ways ad schemes is so very clever, he can convince you that the straight jacket of sin and bondage is actually a warm and safe covering that will make you feel better, look better and achieve your heart’s desire.

Once he has you in bondage, it will only take a miracle to release you from his clutches.

Are you allowing the devil to trick you? Are you allowing the devil to deceive you? Are you allowing the world to turn your head? Are you allowing the world to entice you?

The world is the devil’s agent, and the straight jacket of sin is your penalty for obeying him instead of God.

________________________________________________________________________

(Charles Spurgeon)

“For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Acts 8:23

“If the Son sets you free—you will be free indeed!” John 8:36

A bird that is tied by a stringseems to have more liberty than a bird in a cageit flutters up and down—and yet it is held just as fast.

When a man thinks that he has escaped from the bondage of sin in general, and yet evidently remains under the power of some one favored lust—he is woefully mistaken in his judgment as to his spiritual freedom. He may boast that he is out of the cage—but assuredly, the string is on his leg!

He who has his fetters knocked off—all but one chain—is a prisoner still.

“Let not any iniquity have dominion over me,” is a good and wise prayer; for one pampered sin will slay the soul—as surely as one dose of poison will kill the body!

There is no need for one to be bitten by a whole nest of deadly vipers—the tooth of one cobra is quite sufficient to insure his destruction.

One sin, like one match—can kindle the fires of hell within the soul!

The practical application of this truth, should be made by the professor who is a slave to any lust, or to covetousness. How can you be free—if any one of these chains still holds you fast?

We have met with professors who are haughty, and despise others; how can these be the Lord’s free men—while pride captivates their heart?

In will and intent—we must break every chain of sin! We must perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord, or we cannot hope that the Son has made us free indeed.

O Holy Spirit—break every chain of sin, I beseech you!

The Picture of Jesus: Dying to Self

When you are forgotten, neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don’t sting or hurt with the oversight, but your heart is happy being counted worthy to suffer for Christ;

That is dying to self.

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinion ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence;

That is dying to self.

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any annoyance; when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus did;

That is dying to self.

When you are content with any food, and offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of God;

That is dying to self.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or record your own good works or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown;

That is dying to self.

When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met, and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and you are in desperate circumstances;

That is dying to self.

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit, inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart;

That is dying to self.