What Do You Do When Hope Fades?

Overcoming discouragement brings great blessing!

 

What Do You Do When Hope Fades?

psalm-23-he-makes-me-lie-down-in-green-pastures

 

 

Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck.

Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold to stand on.

I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me.

I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched and dry.

My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me…

But I keep right on praying to you, Lord, hoping this is the time you will show me favor.

Psalm 69:1-3, 13
NLT

Praying when hope seems dim

David’s prayer recorded in this psalm essentially amounts to a simple, “Save me, I’m sinking.” It’s the cry of a desperate man who can’t even think of helping himself. But at least David knew whom he needed to ask for help. Although he was exhausted from crying to the Lord in prayer, he kept on shouting to his God, the only one who could save him.

When waves of adversity threaten to drown you in despair, pray to God. Remember David’s persistence, and keep on asking God for help.

Prayer for today:

Dear Lord, I am exhausted from crying for help, but I will keep on praying to you.

From The One Year® Book of Bible Prayers edited by Bruce Barton, Tyndale House Publishers (2000), entry for February 9


I never allow myself to become discouraged under any circumstances.… The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense. Thomas A. Edison

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

GLORIFY GOD DRAW CLOSE – INDIGNATION IS COMING!

timthumb

Exodus 15:1         (KJV)

…I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously…

TiffanyHosea_007-e1284721401101

Luke 2:11-14

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

THRONE-VISION-IN-THE-COURT

Nahum 1-3

1 The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

 God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

3 The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.

5 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.

 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.

7 The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

8 But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.

9 What do ye imagine against the Lord? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.

10 For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry.

11 There is one come out of thee, that imagineth evil against the Lord, a wicked counsellor.

12 Thus saith the Lord; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more.

13 For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder.

14 And the Lord hath given a commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown: out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image: I will make thy grave; for thou art vile.

15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.

2 He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face: keep the munition, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily.

2 For the Lord hath turned away the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel: for the emptiers have emptied them out, and marred their vine branches.

3 The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir trees shall be terribly shaken.

4 The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings.

5 He shall recount his worthies: they shall stumble in their walk; they shall make haste to the wall thereof, and the defence shall be prepared.

6 The gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved.

7 And Huzzab shall be led away captive, she shall be brought up, and her maids shall lead her as with the voice of doves, tabering upon their breasts.

8 But Nineveh is of old like a pool of water: yet they shall flee away. Stand, stand, shall they cry; but none shall look back.

9 Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold: for there is none end of the store and glory out of all the pleasant furniture.

10 She is empty, and void, and waste: and the heart melteth, and the knees smite together, and much pain is in all loins, and the faces of them all gather blackness.

11 Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feedingplace of the young lions, where the lion, even the old lion, walked, and the lion’s whelp, and none made them afraid?

12 The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his holes with prey, and his dens with ravin.

13 Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will burn her chariots in the smoke, and the sword shall devour thy young lions: and I will cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messengers shall no more be heard.

3 Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not;

2 The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots.

3 The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses:

4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

5 Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.

6 And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock.

 And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee?

8 Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea?

9 Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite; Put and Lubim were thy helpers.

10 Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains.

11 Thou also shalt be drunken: thou shalt be hid, thou also shalt seek strength because of the enemy.

12 All thy strong holds shall be like fig trees with the firstripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater.

13 Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women: the gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire shall devour thy bars.

14 Draw thee waters for the siege, fortify thy strong holds: go into clay, and tread the morter, make strong the brickkiln.

15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts.

16 Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and fleeth away.

17 Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.

18 Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them.

19 There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?

 
 

Revelation 14

14 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men(Jewish men chosen of God to spread the Gospel during the Great Tribulation), being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

King James Version (KJV)by Public Domain

Note: Emphasis mine/paraphrase….color code/( )

GLORIFY GOD DRAW CLOSE – INDIGNATION IS COMING!

timthumb

Exodus 15:1         (KJV)

…I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously…

 

 

TiffanyHosea_007-e1284721401101

Luke 2:11-14

 

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

 

 

THRONE-VISION-IN-THE-COURT

 

Nahum 1-3

1 The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

 God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

3 The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.

5 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.

 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.

7 The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

8 But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.

9 What do ye imagine against the Lord? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.

10 For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry.

11 There is one come out of thee, that imagineth evil against the Lord, a wicked counsellor.

12 Thus saith the Lord; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more.

13 For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder.

14 And the Lord hath given a commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown: out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image: I will make thy grave; for thou art vile.

15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.

2 He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face: keep the munition, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily.

2 For the Lord hath turned away the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel: for the emptiers have emptied them out, and marred their vine branches.

3 The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir trees shall be terribly shaken.

4 The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings.

5 He shall recount his worthies: they shall stumble in their walk; they shall make haste to the wall thereof, and the defence shall be prepared.

6 The gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved.

7 And Huzzab shall be led away captive, she shall be brought up, and her maids shall lead her as with the voice of doves, tabering upon their breasts.

8 But Nineveh is of old like a pool of water: yet they shall flee away. Stand, stand, shall they cry; but none shall look back.

9 Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold: for there is none end of the store and glory out of all the pleasant furniture.

10 She is empty, and void, and waste: and the heart melteth, and the knees smite together, and much pain is in all loins, and the faces of them all gather blackness.

11 Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feedingplace of the young lions, where the lion, even the old lion, walked, and the lion’s whelp, and none made them afraid?

12 The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his holes with prey, and his dens with ravin.

13 Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will burn her chariots in the smoke, and the sword shall devour thy young lions: and I will cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messengers shall no more be heard.

3 Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not;

2 The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots.

3 The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses:

4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

5 Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.

6 And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock.

 And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee?

8 Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea?

9 Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite; Put and Lubim were thy helpers.

10 Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains.

11 Thou also shalt be drunken: thou shalt be hid, thou also shalt seek strength because of the enemy.

12 All thy strong holds shall be like fig trees with the firstripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater.

13 Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women: the gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire shall devour thy bars.

14 Draw thee waters for the siege, fortify thy strong holds: go into clay, and tread the morter, make strong the brickkiln.

15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts.

16 Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and fleeth away.

17 Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.

18 Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them.

19 There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?

 
 

Revelation 14

14 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men(Jewish men chosen of God to spread the Gospel during the Great Tribulation), being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

King James Version (KJV)by Public Domain

Note: Emphasis mine/paraphrase….color code/( )

VERSE OF THE DAY

LUKE 1: 30-33

0190-0133_madonna_con_il_bambino_dormiente

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Read at Bible Gateway                      Read all of Luke 1

Public Domain

God Gives Wisdom When We Seek Him For It

November 22, 2013

A Wise Request

1 Kings 3:1-15

 BRIDE WAITS FOR GROOM

Read

“Now, O LORD my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies—I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.” ((1 Kings 3:7-14))

Reflect

When given a chance to have anything in the world, Solomon asked for wisdom—”an understanding heart”—in order to lead well and to make right decisions. Notice that Solomon asked for discernment to carry out his job; he did not ask God to do the job for him.

Solomon asked for wisdom, not wealth, but God gave him riches and long life as well. While God does not promise riches to those who follow him, he gives us what we need if we put his kingdom, his interests, and his principles first (Matthew 6:31-33). Setting your sights on riches will only leave you dissatisfied because even if you get the riches you crave, you will still want something more. But if you put God and his work first, he will satisfy your deepest needs.

Respond

You can ask God for wisdom (James 1:5) and the courage to do whatever he calls you to do. God takes seriously anyone who asks for wisdom. Remember also, “when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).

This is my comfort in my affliction-Your Word

1371556478000-reader-hall-penn-sunbeams-1306200941_4_3

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 1
Volume 31 www.spurgeongems.org 1
MY COMFORT IN AFFLICTION NO. 1872
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON JULY 7, 1881.
“This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your Word has quickened me.” Psalm 119:50.
IT is almost needless for me to say that, in some respects, the same events happen unto all men alike—in the matter of afflictions it is certainly so. None of us can expect to escape trial. If you are ungodly, “many sorrows shall be to the wicked.” If you are godly, “many are the afflictions of the righteous.” If you walk in the ways of holiness, you shall find that there are stumbling blocks cast in the way by the enemy. If you walk in the ways of unrighteousness, you shall be taken in snares and held there even unto death. There is no escaping trouble! We are born to it as the sparks fly upward. When we are born the second time, though we inherit innumerable mercies, we are certainly born to another set of trou- bles, for we enter upon spiritual trials, spiritual conflicts, spiritual pains and so forth—and thus we get a double set of distresses, as well as twofold mercies.   He who wrote this 119th Psalm was a good man, but assuredly he was an afflicted man. Many times did David sorrow and sorrow sorely. The man after God’s own heart was one who felt God’s own hand in chastisement. David was a king and, therefore, it would be folly on our part to suppose that men who are wealthier and greater than we are, are more screened from affliction—it is quite the reverse. The higher up the mountain, the more boisterous the winds. Depend upon it, that the middle state for which Agur prayed, “Give me neither poverty nor riches,” is, upon the whole, the best! Greatness, prominence, popularity, nobility, royalty bring no relief from trial, but rather an increase of it. Nobody who consulted his own comfort would enter upon dignities attended with so much labor and sore travail. Child of God, re- member that neither goodness nor greatness can deliver you from affliction! You have to face it, whatever your position in life—therefore face it with dauntless courage and extort victory from it.   Yet, even if you do face it, you will not escape it. Even if you cry to God to help you, He will help you through the trouble, but He will probably not turn it aside from you. He will deliver you from evil, but He may yet lead you into tri- al. He has promised that He will deliver you in six troubles and that in seven there shall no evil touch you, but He does not promise that either six or seven trials shall be kept from you. One like unto the Son of God was with the three holy children in the fire, but He was not with them till they were in the fire—at least not visibly—and He was not so with them as either to quench the flame, or to prevent their being cast into it. “I am with you, Israel, passing through the fire,” may well describe the Covenant assurance.   May we realize the fire if only thus we can realize the Divine Presence! Gladly may we accept the furnace if we may but find the company of the Son of God with us there. Every child of God among you can, with the Psalmist, speak of my affliction. You may not be able to speak of my estate, my heritage, my wealth, my health—but you can all speak of my affliction. No man is a monopolist of misery. A portion of the black draught of sorrow is left for others. Of that cup we must all drink, little or much, and we must drink of it as God ordains. So far, then, one event happens to all.   My objective at this time is to show the difference between the Christian and the worldling in his affliction. First, Believers have in their affliction a peculiar comfort— “This is my comfort in my affliction.” Secondly, that comfort comes from a peculiar source— “For Your Word has quickened me.” And, thirdly, that peculiar comfort is valuable un- der very special trials such as are mentioned in the context.   I. First, then, Believers have their PECULIAR COMFORT under affliction. “This,” says David, “is my comfort in my affliction.” “ Thi s”—dwell on the word, “ this, ” as different from the c onsolations of other men . The drunk takes his cup and he quotes Solomon, “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that are of heavy
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hearts.” And, as he quaffs his cup, he says, “This is my comfort in my affliction.” The miser hides his gold, takes down his purse, and chinks it. Oh, the music of those golden notes! And he cries, “This is my comfort in my affliction.” Men mostly have some comfort or other. Some have allowable comforts, though they are but of minor quality. They find comfort in the sympathy of men, in domestic kindness, in philosophic reflection, in homely content—but such comforts generally fail—always fail when the trial becomes exceedingly severe.   Now, just as the wicked man and the worldly man can say of this or that, “ This is my comfort,” the Christian comes forward and, bringing with him the Word of God brimming with rich promises, he says, “This is my comfort in my af- fliction.” You put down your comfort and I put down mine. “ This is my comfort”—he is evidently not ashamed of it. He is evidently ready to set forth his solace in preference to all others. And while others say, I derive consolation from this , and I from that , David opens the Holy Scripture and cheerfully exclaims, “ This is my comfort.” Can you say the same? “ Thi s” in opposition to everything else—this promise of God, this Covenant of His Grace—“ This is my comfort.”   Now read, “ this ” in another sense, as indicating that he knew what it was . “ This is my comfort.” He can explain what it is. Many Christian people get a comfort out of God’s Word, out of believing in Christ and out of religious exer- cises, but they can hardly tell what the comfort is. A rose smells sweetly to a man who does not know the name of the rose. A rose-grower tells me, “This is the Marshal Niel.” Thank you, dear Sir, but I do not know who Marshal Niel is, or was or why the flower bears his name. But I can smell the rose all the same. So, many people cannot explain doctrines, but they enjoy them. After all, experience is better than exposition. Yet it is a splendid thing when the two go together, so that the Believer can say to his friend, “Listen, I will tell you, ‘ This is my comfort.’”   “I saw how happy you were, dear Friend, when you were in trouble. I saw you sick the other day and I noticed your patience. I knew you to be slandered and I saw how calm you were. Can you tell me why you were so calm and self- contained?” It is a very happy thing if the Christian can turn round and answer such a question fully. I like to see him ready to give a reason for the hope that is in him with meekness and fear, saying— “This is my comfort in my affliction.” I want you, if you have enjoyed comfort from God, to get it packed up in such a form that you can pass it on to a friend! Get it explained to your own understanding so that you can tell others what it is, so that they may taste the consolation with which God has comforted you. Be ready to explain to young beginners—“ This is my comfort in my affliction.”  Again, “ thi s” is used in another sense, that is, as having the thing near at hand . I do not like speaking of my comfort from God and saying, that is my comfort, that is the solace which I enjoyed long ago. Oh, no, no! You need a comfort that you can press to your bosom, and say, “ This is my comfort,” this which I have here at this present time! “ Thi s” is the word which indicates nearness. “This is my comfort.” Do you enjoy it now? You were so happy once. Are you as happy now?— “What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!  How sweet their memory still!”  Yes, that is very well, Cowper, but it would be better to sing— “What peaceful hours I now enjoy!  How sweet the present hour”?  “ This is my comfort.” I still have it with me—as my affliction is present with me, so my consolation is present with me!  You have heard, the classic story of the Rhodian who said that at such and such a place he had made a jump of many yards. He bragged till a Greek, who stood by, chalked out the distance and said, “Would you mind jumping half that length now?” So I have heard people talk of what enjoyments they once had, what delights they once had. I have heard of a man who has the roots of depravity dug out of him and, as for sin, he has almost forgotten what it is! I would like to watch that brother when under the influence of rheumatism. I do not want him to have it long, but I should like him to have a twinge or two, that I might see whether some roots of corruption do not remain. I think that when he was tried in that way, or if not just in that way, in some other, he would find that there was a rootlet or two still in the soil. If a storm were to come on, perhaps our brave dry-land sailor might not find his anchor quite so easy to cast overboard as he now thinks it is. You smile at the talk of modern perfectionism and so do I, but I am sick of it! I do not believe in it. It is so utterly contrary to that which I have to learn every day, of my own unworthiness, that I feel a contempt for it. Do have your comforts always handy—pray God that that which was a consolation years ago may still be a consolation, so that you may say, “ This is my comfort in my affliction.”
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Again, I think the word, “this,” is meant as pleading it in prayer . Let me read the previous verse, “Remember the Word unto Your servant upon which You have caused me to hope.” That is Your promise which you have made me to hope upon, Lord—fulfill it to me—for this, Your promise, is my comfort in my affliction and I plead it in prayer! Sup- pose, Brothers and Sisters, you and I are enabled to take comfort out of a promise. We have, in that fact, a good argu- ment to plead with God. We may say, “Lord, I have so believed this promise of Yours that I have been persuaded that I had in my possession the blessing promised to me. And now, shall I be ashamed by this, my hope? Will You not honor Your Word, seeing You have caused me to rest upon it?” Is not this good pleading? “Remember Your Word unto Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope, for this is already my comfort. And You will have given me a false comfort and led me into error if Your Word should fail. O my Lord, since I have sucked my comfort out of the expecta- tion of what You are about to do, surely by this You are pledged and bound to Your servant—that You will keep Your Word!” Hence the word “ this ” is seen to be a very comprehensive word. May the Spirit of God teach each of us to say of our priceless Bible, “ This is my comfort in my affliction.”   II. We pass on to note, secondly, that this comfort comes from A PECULIAR SOURCE—“This is my comfort, for Your Word has quickened me .” The comfort, then, is partly outward, coming from God’s Word, but it is mainly and pre-eminently inward , for it is God’s Word experienced as to its quickening power within the soul.   First, it is God’s Word that comforts . Why do we look anywhere else for consolation but to God’s Word? Oh, Brothers and Sisters, I am ashamed to have to say it, but we go to our neighbors, or relatives and we cry, “Have pity up- on me, have pity upon me, O my friends!” and it ends with our crying, “Miserable comforters are you all!” We turn to the pages of our past life and look there for comfort, but this may also fail us. Though experience is a legitimate source of comfort, yet when the sky is dark and lowering, experience is apt to minister fresh distress! If we were to go at once to God’s Word and search it till we found a promise suitable to our case, we should find relief far sooner. All cisterns dry up—only the fountain remains. Next time you are troubled, reach down to the Bible. Say to your soul, “Soul, sit still and hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace unto His people.”   You read one promise, and you feel, “No, that hardly meets the case. Here is another, but it is made to a special character and I am afraid I am not that character. Here, thank God, is one that just fits me, as a key fits the wards of a lock.” When you find such a promise, use it at once. John Bunyan beautifully pictures a pilgrim laid by the heels in Giant Despair’s castle and there beaten with a crab tree cudgel till one morning he puts his hand into his bosom and cries to his brother, Christian, “What a fool have I been to lie rotting in this noisome dungeon, when all this time I have a key in my bosom which will open every door in Doubting Castle!” “Say you so, my Brother,” says Christian, “pluck it out, and let us use it at once!” This key, which is called Promise, is thrust into the first lock and the door flies open! And then it is tried upon the next and the next with quick results. Though the great iron gate had a rusted lock in which the key did terribly grate and grind, yet it did open and the prisoners were free from the vile durance of their mistrust! The Promise has always opened the gate and every gate—yes, the gates of despair shall be opened with that key called Promise, if a man does but know how to hold it firmly and turn it wisely till the bolt flies back.   “This is my comfort in my affliction,” says the Psalmist—God’s own Word. Dear Friends, fly to this comfort with speed in every time of trouble—get to be familiar with God’s Word so that you may do so. I have found it helpful to car- ry “Clarke’s Precious Promises” in my pocket, so as to refer to it in the hour of trial. If you go into the market and are likely to do a ready-money business, you always take a checkbook with you. So carry precious promises with you, that you may plead the Word of God which suits your case. I have turned to promises for the sick when I have been of that number, or to promises to the poor, the despondent, the weary and such like, according to my own condition, and I have always found a Scripture fitted to my case. I do not need a promise made to the sick when I am perfectly well. I do not need balm for a broken heart when my soul is rejoicing in the Lord—but it is very handy to know where to lay your hands upon suitable Words of cheer when necessity arises. Thus the external comfort of the Christian is the Word of God.  Now for the internal part of his consolation. “This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your Word has quickened me .” Oh, it is not the letter , but the Spirit which is our real comfort! We look not to that Book which consists of so much binding, so much paper and so much ink, but to the living Witness within the Book! The Holy Spirit embodies Himself in these blessed Words of God and works upon our hearts so that we are quickened by the Word! It is this which is the true comfort of the soul.
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When you read the promise and it is applied with power to you. When you read the Law and it works with force up- on your conscience. When you read any part of God’s Word and it gives life to your spirit— then it is that you get the comfort of it! I have heard of persons reading so many chapters a day and getting through the Bible in a year—a very admirable habit, no doubt—but it may be performed so mechanically that no good, whatever, may come of it. You need to pray earnestly over the Word, that it may quicken you, or otherwise it will not be a comfort to you. Let us think of what our comfort is in the time of affliction from our soul’s being quickened by the Lord. Comfort comes thus—God’s Word has, in past days, quickened us. It has been a Word of Life from the dead. In our affliction we, therefore, remember how God has brought us out of spiritual death and made us alive—and this cheers us. If you can say, “Whatever pain I suffer, whatever grief I endure, yet I am a living child of God,” then you have a wellspring of comfort! It is better to be the most afflicted child of God than to be the happy worldling. Better be God’s dog than the devil’s darling. Child of God, comfort yourself with this—if God has not given me a soft bed, nor left me a whole skin, yet He has quickened me by His Word and this is a choice favor. Thus our first quickening from spiritual death is a sunny memory .   After we are made alive we need to be quickened in duty, to be quickened in joy, to be quickened in every holy exer- cise and we are happy if the Word has given us this repeated quickening. If, in looking back, dear Friend, you can say, “Your Word has quickened me. I have had much joy in hearing Your Word. I have been made full of energy through Your Word. I have been made to run in the way of Your Commandments through Your Word”—all this will be a great comfort to you. You can then plead—“O Lord, while You may have denied me much of the joy that some people have, yet You have often quickened me. Oh, be it so again, for this is my comfort!” I hope I am speaking to many experienced Christians who can say that God’s Word has very frequently refreshed them when they have been in the depths of distress and fetched them up from the gates of the grave. And if they can bear this testimony, they know what comfort there is in the quickening of the Word of God and they will ask to feel that quickening influence, again, so they may be of good comfort.   Brothers and Sisters, it is a very strange thing that when God wills to do one thing, He often does another. When He wants to comfort us, what does He do? Does He comfort us? Yes, and no. He quickens us and so He comforts us. Some- times the roundabout way is the straight way. God does not give the comfort we ask for by a distinct act, but He quickens us and so we obtain comfort. Here is a person very low and depressed. What does a wise doctor do? He does not give strong drink to act as a temporary stimulus to his spirits, for this would end in a reaction in which the man would sink lower. No, he gives him a tonic and braces him up. And when the man is stronger, he becomes happier and shakes off his nervousness. The Lord comforts His servants by quickening them—“This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your Word has quickened me.”   I speak to some of you who have endured long affliction and it is a joy to see you out, again, tonight. Has not God’s Word often quickened you in affliction? Perhaps you have been sluggish when in health, but affliction has made you feel the value of the promise, the value of the Covenant blessing—and then you have cried to God for it. You may have been worried about worldly cares, but you have been obliged to drop them in the time of affliction and your only care has been to get nearer to Christ and to creep into your Lord’s bosom!   Sometimes in prosperity you could hardly pray, but I guarantee you, you prayed when you were ready to perish and pined at death’s door! Your affliction quickened your prayers. There is a man trying to write with a quill pen—it will not make anything but a thick stroke—so he takes a knife and cuts fiercely at the quill till it marks admirably. So we have to be cut with the sharp knife of affliction, for only then can the Lord make use of us! See how sharply gardeners trim their vines. They take off every shoot till the vine looks like a dry stick. There will be no grapes in the spring if there is not this cutting away in the autumn and winter! God quickens us in our afflictions through His Word. Our sorrows are made to have a salutary action on our souls. We receive by them spiritual revival and health and, therefore, comfort flows in to us. It would not be wise to pray to be altogether delivered from trial, though we should like to be. It would be a pleasant thing to have a grassy path all the way to Heaven and never to find a stone in the road—but though pleasant, it might not be safe. If the way were a fine turf cut every morning with a lawnmower and made as soft as velvet, I am afraid we should never get to Heaven at all, for we should linger too long upon the road!   Some animals’ feet are not adapted for smooth places and, Brothers and Sisters, you and I are of a very slippery- footed race! We slip when the roads are smooth! It is easy to go down hill, but it is not easy to do so without a stumble.
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John Bunyan tells us that when Christian passed through the Valley of Humiliation, the fight he had there with Apollyon was very much due to the slips he made in going down the hill which descended into the valley. Happy is he who is in the Valley of Humiliation, for, “He that is down need fear no fall.” But his happiness will largely depend upon how he came down. Gently, you that are on the hilltops of delight and prosperity. Gently, lest, perhaps you slip with your feet and mischief come of it! Quickening is what we need and if we get it, even if it comes to us by the sharpest tribulation, we may gladly accept it. “This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your Word has quickened me.”   III. Lastly, and very briefly, there are certain PECULIAR TRIALS of Christians in which this peculiar comfort is specially excellent.   Kindly look at the Psalm and notice, in the 49th verse, that the Psalmist suffered from hope deferred . “Remember Your Word unto Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope.” Long waiting for the promise to be fulfilled may make the soul grow weary—and hope deferred makes the heart sick. At such a time this is to be our comfort— “Your Word has quickened me.” I have not yet obtained that which I prayed for, but I have been quickened while I have been praying. I have not found the blessing I have been seeking, but I am sure I shall have it, for already the exercise of prayer has been of service to me— this is my comfort under the delay of my hope, that Your Word has already quickened me!   Notice the next verse, in which the Psalmist was suffering the great trial of scorn . “The proud have had me greatly in derision.” Ridicule is a very sharp ordeal. When the proud are able to say something against us that stings—when they laugh, yes, and laugh greatly, and treat us like the mire in the streets—it is a severe affliction and under it we need rich comfort. If at that time we feel that if man’s word stings, yet God’s Word quickens, then we are comforted! If we are driven more to God by being scorned by men, we may very cheerfully accept their contempt and say, “Lord, I bless You for this persecution which makes me a partaker of Christ’s sufferings.” I say it becomes a comfort to us to be quickened by the Word when the ungodly are despising us.   At the 53rd verse you will see that David was under the trouble of living among great blasphemers and doers of open wickedness. He says, “Horror has taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake Your Law.” He was horrified at their vices—he wished that he could get away from and never see or hear that which distressed him so much. But if the very sight and sound of sin drives us to pray and forces us to cry to God, the result is good, however painful the process may be! If men never swore in the streets, we should not so often be driven to cry to God to forgive their profanity. If you and I could always be shut up in a glass case and never see sin or hear of it, it might be a bad thing for us. But if, when we are compelled to see the wickedness of men and hear their curses and reviling, we can also feel that God’s Word is quick- ening us, even by our horror at sin, it is good for us! We have great comfort in this peculiar species of affliction, though it is exceedingly grievous to tender-hearted, pure and delicate minds who dwell near to God.   Just read the 54th verse, and you will see another of David’s trials indicated. “Your statutes have been my song in the house of my pilgrimage.” He had many changes. He had all the trials of a pilgrim’s life—the discomforts of journeying in places where he had no abiding city. But, “ This ,” he says, “has been my comfort in my affliction.” Your Word has told me of a city that has foundations. Your Word has assured me that if I am a stranger upon earth, I am also a citizen of Heaven. “Your Word has quickened me.” I have felt myself so strengthened by Your Word that I have been glad to feel that this is not my rest. I am glad to feel that I must be away to a better land and so my heart has been happy and, “Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.”   Lastly, in the 55th verse, you see David was in darkness . He says, “I have remembered Your name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept Your Law.” Even in the night he could derive comfort from the quickening influence which often comes to the soul from the Scriptures—even when we are surrounded by darkness and sorrow. I will not go over that ground, again, but certain it is that when our soul is shrouded in distress, it often becomes more active and gracious than when it is basking in the sunlight of prosperity.   All along, then, dear Friends, your comfort and mine is the Word of God, laid home by God, the Holy Spirit, to our hearts, quickening us to an increase of spiritual life! Do not try to flee from your troubles. Do not fret under your cares. Do not expect this world to bring forth roses without thorns. Do not hope to prevent the springing up of briers and this- tles. Ask for quickening! Ask for that quickening to come, not by new revelations nor by fanatical excitement, but by
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God’s own Word quietly applied by His own Spirit! So shall you conquer all your troubles, overcome your difficulties and enter into Heaven singing hallelujahs unto the Lord’s right hand and holy arm which have gotten Him the victory!
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON—Psalm 119:49-64. HYMNS FROM “OUR OWN HYMN BOOK”—481, 119 (SONG III), 482.
Adapted from The C. H. Spurgeon Collection , Version 1.0, Ages Software.  PRAY THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL USE THIS SERMON TO BRING MANY TO A SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST.

DAVID KNEW HIS SHEPHERD

Morning

Psalms-46-Verse-1p

And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul.” 1 Samuel 27:1

The thought of David’s heart at this time was a false thought, because he certainly had no ground for thinking that God‘s anointing him by Samuel was intended to be left as an empty unmeaning act. On no one occasion had the Lord deserted his servant; he had been placed in perilous positions very often, but not one instance had occurred in which divine interposition had not delivered him. The trials to which he had been exposed had been varied; they had not assumed one form only, but many–yet in every case he who sent the trial had also graciously ordained a way of escape. David could not put his finger upon any entry in his diary, and say of it, “Here is evidence that the Lord will forsake me,” for the entire tenor of his past life proved the very reverse. He should have argued from what God had done for him, that God would be his defender still. But is it not just in the same way that we doubt God’s help? Is it not mistrust without a cause? Have we ever had the shadow of a reason to doubt our Father’s goodness? Have not his lovingkindnesses been marvellous? Has he once failed to justify our trust? Ah, no! our God has not left us at any time. We have had dark nights, but the star of love has shone forth amid the blackness; we have been in stern conflicts, but over our head he has held aloft the shield of our defence. We have gone through many trials, but never to our detriment, always to our advantage; and the conclusion from our past experience is, that he who has been with us in six troubles, will not forsake us in the seventh. What we have known of our faithful God, proves that he will keep us to the end. Let us not, then, reason contrary to evidence. How can we ever be so ungenerous as to doubt our God? Lord, throw down the Jezebel of our unbelief, and let the dogs devour it.

Evening

Good Shepherd - John 10-28

“He shall gather the lambs with his arm.” Isaiah 40:11

Our good Shepherd has in his flock a variety of experiences, some are strong in the Lord, and others are weak in faith, but he is impartial in his care for all his sheep, and the weakest lamb is as dear to him as the most advanced of the flock. Lambs are wont to lag behind, prone to wander, and apt to grow weary, but from all the danger of these infirmities the Shepherd protects them with his arm of power. He finds new-born souls, like young lambs, ready to perish–he nourishes them till life becomes vigorous; he finds weak minds ready to faint and die–he consoles them and renews their strength. All the little ones he gathers, for it is not the will of our heavenly Father that one of them should perish. What a quick eye he must have to see them all! What a tender heart to care for them all! What a far- reaching and potent arm, to gather them all! In his lifetime on earth he was a great gatherer of the weaker sort, and now that he dwells in heaven, his loving heart yearns towards the meek and contrite, the timid and feeble, the fearful and fainting here below. How gently did he gather me to himself, to his truth, to his blood, to his love, to his church! With what effectual grace did he compel me to come to himself! Since my first conversion, how frequently has he restored me from my wanderings, and once again folded me within the circle of his everlasting arm! The best of all is, that he does it all himself personally, not delegating the task of love, but condescending himself to rescue and preserve his most unworthy servant. How shall I love him enough or serve him worthily? I would fain make his name great unto the ends of the earth, but what can my feebleness do for him? Great Shepherd, add to thy mercies this one other, a heart to love thee more truly as I ought.

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