Wednesday, 7 December 2016

When you are worried about church

John Flavel, writing for those who are worried and distressed by the state of the church and how true Christians are persecuted:

Ponder this heart-supporting truth: how many troubles soever are upon [church], yet her King is in her. What! Hath the Lord forsaken his churches? […] ‘The Lord is with us, fear them not.’ A historian tells us, that when Antigonus overheard his soldiers reckoning how many their enemies were, and so discouraging one another, he suddenly stepped in among them with this question, ‘And how many do you reckon me for?’ Discouraged souls, how many do you reckon the Lord for? Is he not an overmatch for all his enemies? Is not one Almighty more than many mighties? ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ - p61, Keeping the Heart (italics original)

Monday, 5 December 2016

Affliction is a pill

Affliction is a pill, which, being wrapt up in patience and submission, may be easily swallowed; but discontent chews the pill, and so embitters the soul. – John Flavel,Keeping the Heart, p56

When you are brought low

God respects you as much in a low as in a high condition; and therefore it need not so much trouble you to be made low; nay, he manifests more of his love, grace and tenderness in the time of affliction than in the time of prosperity. As God did not at first choose you because you were high, he will not now forsake you because you are low. Men may look shy upon you, and alter their respects as your condition is altered; when Providence has blasted your estate, your summer-friends may grow strange, fearing you may be troublesome to them; but will God do so? No, no: ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,’ says he. If adversity and poverty could bar you from access to God, it were indeed a deplorable condition: but, so far from this, you may go to him as freely as ever. ‘My God will hear me,’ says the church. Poor David, when stripped of all earthly comforts, could encourage himself in the Lord his God; and why cannot you? Suppose your husband or son had lost all at sea, and should come to you in rags; could you deny the relation, or refuse to entertain him? If you would not, much less will God. Why then are you so troubled? Though your condition be changed, your Father’s love is not changed. – John Flavel, Keeping the Heart, p50–51