(Letters of John Berridge, 1716-1793)
Alas! how little do we possess of that love which bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things. We grow more like Jesus, only as we grow up into Him in love; and this grace purifies, and sweetens the affections, banishing selfishness, so far as it prevails. It is the temper of Heaven, and the nature of God; for God is love.
And can a God of love allow His children to lack anything needful? Does He feed His birds, and will He starve His babes? Has He given us bodies to be fed and clothed; and will He withhold food and clothing? If you happen to feel anxiety about these matters, remember the sweet, quieting word, which Jesus has dropped to hush your heart, “Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of these things!”
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:25-26
Deuteronomy 32:35 (King James Version) 35. To me belongeth vengeance and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
I read throughout the Bible where God punished Israel (and even other heathen countries) for their rebellion against Him and His laws. And I also read where eventually they cry out to God for repentance. They come to the place where they realize that they have wronged God and turn back and beg for mercy. Of course, God stays His hand and gives them relief from their punishment and all is rosy for a while.
I look at society today and see a completely different sort. I see a people who are so intelligent and logical that they can explain the most horrendous events away and never be none the wiser as to their origins.
I see a people who not only have the greatest hate for God, but seem to get offended at the drop of a hat when He is mentioned.
I see a society that sneers at the Christian and detests his existence.
If you mention that pandemics and suffering originate from the sovereign hand of God, they laugh you to scorn and pity your ignorance (Eph. 4.18).
What has changed? Why don’t people throw themselves to their knees in remorse and cry out for mercy anymore?
It’s the same God that runs the show. It’s the same God that is growing angrier by the day over man’s rebellion. It’s the same God that keeps the fires of hell stoked for the day of Judgment.
Yet, man as a whole, just carries on as if life is bliss and all is well in heaven and earth.
I like how Jonathan Edwards relates the picture of a spider being held over the fire. My wife hates spiders with a passion. She would rather put up with thousands of mosquitoes rather than live with one spider. I picture her having to hold a big, juicy, squirming spider by the leg as it frantically tries to crawl back onto her hand. I know for a fact that it wouldn’t be too long before she hurled that vial creature into the consuming flames.
Man is indeed walking through life with a countdown timer ticking. Second by second, tick by tick, man is creeping ever closer to the day he will stand before God and give account for his life on earth. Yet, life seems to continue as normal. Yes, we have quarantines, isolation, social distancing, etc., but how many of us have had genuine thoughts of repentance, reform or revival these last weeks? How many of us have literally been stopped in our tracks by this whole trial and looked up?
Not very many I’m afraid. If the church isn’t turning to God and crying out for reform, then why should the world? All the world sees is a disobedient church rebelling against the orders from our local governments and doing what they can to skirt the rules. How does this make Christ look, seeing as we are supposed to represent Him?
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God should be listened to by all, saved and unsaved. At this time of year, as we inch closer to remembering Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, shouldn’t we be focusing on allowing this wake-up call to cut through the cobwebs and mental fog and really shake us up?
What’s so different between this calamity and those we read about in the Bible? Same God. Same sin. Yet, we seem to feel like this is just a virus and it doesn’t really concern us (Prov. 28. 14).
At no other time in history are we as a society faced with so much that can confuse, deceive and destroy us. Some between 40 to 60% of everything we’re told online is fake. The problem is, which part? It is virtually impossible to figure out what’s true and what’s false. And in doing so, you will run into many sources that make their stance sound like the real one. Argh! Even when it comes to Scripture. If you look online you will literally find hundreds or even thousands of interpretations regarding Revelations and eschatology. How on earth can anyone find the truth anymore?
I have had many conversations with Christians in person and online and I have only found a very small few that I can actually talk too and agree on most everything. Notice I said, ‘most everything’. But then there’s those who call themselves Christians and believe such erroneous ideas that you stand back and shake your head in disbelief. Just because one calls himself ‘Christian’, doesn’t mean he’s saved. That’s for sure!
In my experience, one truth seems to outweigh everything else when it comes to God. That truth is His absolute sovereignty. God is supreme and all-powerful and in control of the good and the bad. Every creature is on a leash and He controls them all. There is no such things as free will and there is no such thing as some sort of battle between good and evil. God controls the devil and allows him to do His bidding just as He does everyone else, and no one, no matter how powerful he is, can operate outside His sovereignty.
This truth separates the true believer from the false convert. The true believer will embrace God’s sovereignty and rest in its comforting shadow, while the false convert will fight and struggle against it.
This deception has all but ruined the church, but it has done something amazing. It has revealed the tares and separated them off from the wheat. Now we can tell them apart! Now we can know who’s genuinely saved and who’s faking it.
Unfortunately the world doesn’t care about the wheat and the tares and all they see is a bunch of hypocrites.
At this time of year, when we celebrate God’s wrath passing us over and the the beautiful work of Jesus Christ washing us clean from all sin, we must ensure that we act in such a way that brings glory to Jesus Christ and makes the world take notice. They do watch us and they are aware of the fakery of the church. I see this all the time in satires and jokes.
Jesus deserves to be held in such high regard that any notion of sin would be so abhorrent that we would run away from the temptation faster than a COVID-19 symptom party. Paul speaks of carrying around the dying body of Jesus Christ in his daily life. How would that change your way of doing things if you were given the task of carrying the bleeding Lamb of God around all day? Everytime you went to sin, you saw Him staring at you through swollen eyes? Everytime you wanted to sin, you would hear a whisper from bleeding cracked lips, “Don’t”.
I think more of us need this daily reminder. We take life to flippantly. We waste way to much time and leave far too much behind us on a day to day basis. This, I suppose is the downside to eternal security. We don’t have to do anything to earn or secure our salvation, so most, if not all of us, become complacent and comfortable. This is indeed a tragedy. Instead we are suppose to be running the race, spreading the seed of the Gospel to all mankind, and being the ACTIVE ambassadors we were commissioned to be.
Yes, the sinner is in the hand of an angry God, and the more he sins the greater God’s hatred and disgust grows against him, but we as Christians are supposed to be the light that shines in the darkness that gives the lost a beacon of hope to latch onto. If we adopt the dimmer switch of compromise, then when the darkness thickens, the lost won’t see you.
I feel I can truly relate to Keith Green in this song. I feel cold, dry and hardened.
I wonder…if there’s anyone else in this world like me right now.
It seems this virus has slowed everything down to a snail’s pace, and now I have nothing but time on my hands.
I don’t have anymore work. All our contracts have cancelled on us. My wife teaches piano via the internet, and has some students still. But other than that, we are home and not sure how to spend our time.
Our children homeschool so they are still finishing their studies. I do have some work in the workshop to do so that keeps me from going ‘cabin-fever’ crazy, but I have noticed something strange. I am finding that since a lot of the distractions are gone, my thoughts have been drawn to my spiritual life. Or lack thereof anyway.
Anyone else feel the same drawing to things spiritual lately? Anyone else feel deep down that this time of quarantine and social distancing is actually a blessing where God can finally get through because the phone’s not busy?
Our finances will undoubtedly suffer through this trial, but since God is on control of every penny that flows through our life, He is well able to deal with this. We wear masks, wash our hands continually, and keep a safe distance from those around us, yet, all it takes is one lapse from one of us, and bang, we are infected. But yet God is controlling every cell and atom of everything in this world, so He’s also in control of that.
What do I have to worry about? Really…nothing. So my thoughts coast again toward my relationship with my Lord Jesus. This is a glorious time to really get back to that place where me and Jesus were inseparable. Where I yearned to be with Him and learned so much at His feet. Instead I find myself in the kitchen busy and burdened with much.
This period of trial for the human race will end one day. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Most of us have nothing better to do anyway. Shouldn’t God get our best instead of our leftovers? Give Him your attention and humbly submit yourself to His will. Curl up at His feet and give Him the time He deserves.
(Samuel Davies, “The Nature and Universality of Spiritual Death”)
“My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber.
The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side.
The sun will not strike you by day, or the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life.
The Lord will protect your coming and going, both now and forever!”
God is the guardian and deliverer of His people!
From how many dangers has He preserved us!
From how many calamities has He delivered us!
Dangers, distresses and deaths crowd upon us–and surround us in every age and every place! The air, the earth, the sea, and every element–are pregnant with numberless inlets of pain and death ready to seize and destroy us!
Sickness and death swarm around us! Nay, they lie in ambush in our own constitution, and are perpetually undermining our lives–and yet our divine Guardian preserves us for months and years unhurt, untouched. And how many ‘salvations’ of this kind has He wrought for us! Salvations . . .
Salvations from seen and unseen dangers!
Salvations in infancy, in youth, and in maturer years!
These things we cannot deny, without the most stupid ignorance, and an atheistic disbelief of divine Providence.
Sovereign Ruler of the skies,
Ever gracious, ever wise,
All my times are in Your hand,
All events at Your command!
His decree, who formed the earth,
Fixed my first and second birth;
Parents, native place, and time,
All appointed were by Him.
He who formed me in the womb,
He shall guide me to the tomb.
All my times shall ever be,
Ordered by His wise decree!
Times of sickness, times of health;
Times of poverty, and of wealth;
Times of trial, and of grief,
Times of triumph, and relief.
Plagues and death around me fly;
Till He bids, I cannot die!
Not a single shaft can hit,
Till the God of love sees fit!
“Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear . . .
the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you!”