Begone Unbelief!

“One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations.”  – St. John of Avila

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Do you want to know supreme joy, do you want to experience a happiness that eludes description? There is only one thing to do, really seek Him, seek Him Himself, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If you find that your feelings are depressed do not sit down and commiserate with yourself, do not try to work something up but go directly to Him and seek His face, as the little child who is miserable and unhappy because somebody else has taken or broken his toy, runs to its father or its mother. So if you and I find ourselves afflicted by this condition, there is only one thing to do, it is to go to Him. If you seek the Lord Jesus Christ and find him there is no need to worry about your happiness and your joy. He is our joy and our happiness, even as He is our peace. He is life, He is everything. So avoid the incitements and the temptations of Satan to give feelings this great prominence at the centre. Put at the centre the only One who has a right to be there, the Lord of Glory, Who so loved you that He went to the Cross and bore the punishment and the shame of your sins and died for you. ~Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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Mary… sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to Him and said “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” ~Luke 10:39-42

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You have need of patience; and if you ask, the Lord will give it: but there can be no settled peace till our will is in a measure subdued. Hide yourself under the shadow of His wings; rely upon His care and power; look upon Him as a physician who has graciously undertaken to heal your soul of the worst of sicknesses, sin. Yield to His prescriptions, and fight against every thought that would represent it as desirable to be permitted to choose for yourself. ~John Newton

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GOD IS GOOD

Often I find that God is teaching me a familiar lesson. Hopefully, I am learning the same lesson with a deeper understanding. The lesson of late has been that God is good, a truth so simple and yet so foundational. Without it everything we believe crumbles. Our enemy knows this and steadily and slyly slanders the character of God. Circumstances of late have caused me to doubt the goodness of God. I found myself numb and shut off to God. This lasted one day and that is a mercy. I spent several years of my life with my heart closed in self-protection. I don.t want another day of it. It shuts out all good more than it shuts out hurt. I thought to myself, “You, traitor. God crosses your will and you doubt Him.” He granted a measure of repentance. Then more circumstances…. and nagging questions came. “Is this how God treats His children? Does He take away all the .happy. things so that we will love Him better?” Newton.s hymn came to mind: “..crossed all the fair designs I.d schemed..” But I didn.t like it. Next came answers. He showed me again that He is life. He showed me again that to know His love is everything. He showed me the joy unspeakable of seeing Jesus. Words. Common words for us. He is sufficient. He is all. But these weren.t just words to me; they were reality. They were life. All the seeming stuff of life, the circumstances, faded into the nothingness that they really are. How did these answers come? A scripture, a sermon, a kindness, a hymn. Seeing God love me in the midst of me doubting His love…again. One reason I ended up here, doubting His love, was that I had wrong expectations. Frustration and disappointment came because something I expected didn.t happen or vice versa. Frustrated and disappointed, I then turned and doubted a good Father who never promised those things I expected. Too often I expect to love without cost or pain. I expect my children not to have adversity (and at the same time, I expect them to have godly character.) I expect heaven here and now. And it is not. A friend often says, “Everything above hell is mercy.” How true. How did a hell-deserving sinner come to expect and demand a perfect life of ease here? Another problem is simply perspective. John and I talked on our vacation about how things must have appeared at the time of Christ. “Every valley filled in…every mountain brought low.” A baby in a stable, a young family fleeing to Egypt, a poor man from Nazareth (“Can anything good come..?”) , a preacher rejected in His hometown, a group of stubborn and fearful followers, a short-lived fame, a shameful death. “ Every valley filled?” God does not lie. While the eyes of man saw these things, God was doing just what He said He would do. Imagine them being brought to pass in the dusty villages. Miracles. Yes. Words unlike any heard before. Yes. Was this the cataclysmic event of history that had been looked forward since the fall of Adam? Yes. But it did not appear so to human eyes, not even to those nearest Him. What was really happening? God taking on flesh and dwelling among us. The law fulfilled, Sin, death, the grave, and the devil conquered. The wrath of God satisfied. A way made for man to know God. To know God. Hearts of stone made hearts of flesh. Like mine. The world turned upside down. I want to see what is going on as He sees it, or at least I want to trust Him. When I am tempted to doubt the goodness of God, I hope I will remember these things. I want my expectations and perspectives to match His word. My Christian life often gets shaken to the foundations. I find myself still standing on the Rock and believing that He is, and that He is good. “ Those who come to Him must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” John Newton’s hymn “Begone Unbelief” (# 697 in “Christian Hymns”) says it all better than I could. – Misty Snyder

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Begone, unbelief; my Saviour is near, And for my relief  will surely appear: By prayer let me wrestle, and He will perform; With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm.

Though dark be my way, since He is my guide, ‘Tis mine to obey, ‘Tis His to provide; Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail, the word He has spoken shall surely prevail.

His love in time past forbids me to think He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink; Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.

Determined to save, He watched o’er my path, when, Satan’s blind slave, I sported with death; And can He have taught me to trust in His Name, And thus far have brought me to put me to shame?

Since all that I meet shall work for my good, the bitter is sweet, the medicine is food; Though painful at present, ‘Twill cease before long; And then, O how pleasantthe conqueror’s song! ~John Newton