In as much as the Lord
Has permitted this
Terrible thing, in righteousness,
To come upon you;
It must be accepted as His appointment,
And reckoned as the furnace,
By which He is searching…..testing…..probing;
And purging the soul:
Suffering sanctifies the whole,
As fire searches and purifies metal.
We believe we are to the full for God;
Until we are exposed to the cleansing fire of pain;
And the scourging of affliction:
Then shall we discover, as did Job,
The dross that abides and the impurities within,
To restrict, and hamper our walk with Him.
For nothing so detaches us from the clutter of life:
The love of sense; or the adhesion of earthly affections,
As the infliction of anguish.

1Co 9:25  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible

Psa 65:5  By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation;

2Co 6:4  But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

My friend; tonight you may be laid-up & shut-in by illness, injury, or simply old age; or you may be locked-in by the scourge of depression, as you struggle in a fallen and desparetely wicked world. You feel left out; excluded, and forgotten from all fellowship — perhaps, even at times, from God. Perhaps you can no longer engage in active work or ministry and the guilt is simply compounding the burden and preventing communion with our Lord. To those of you who suffer tonight — and all of us suffer and pass through times of severe trial and molding— in my own life, I have faced these demons: for 16 years I lived in a depression so profound that I could barely leave the house; and didn’t leave – EVER – alone — so you see, I am not speaking to you as one who does not know the pain and sufferings of this life for the lambs of God. But in the midst of my prayers, and my compassion for you; I want to ask you a question — and I want you to consider it carefully: Is it really true that God, by setting you aside from active engagement with the world around you; has set you aside in your persuit of His will and His commands for you?

While you are thinking; let me pose yet another thought: let’s turn over the idea that through your affliction, He is summoning you to a higher and holier sphere of duty, though perhaps more limited and obscure.

Your present situation, contains within it, its own unique and high obligations to God. It bears a special message from Him to you, perhaps only to you. Think of the testimony you are to bear of His divine grace, through your self-denial.

You are called upon now, my friend,  to glorify God in a passive, rather than in an active consecration to His service. Graces which until now perhaps, have lain dormant, or were only faintly brought into play, are now to be developed and exercised to their utmost capacity. Patience is to be cultivated, acceptance is to be exhibited, faith is to be exercised, love is to be tried, and prayer is to be honed to a weapon; and are not these great, and even sublime works unto His glory? I tell you now, in His name, that the power, and the message that He brings from that languid couch, or that sick-bed, will be more solemn, more searching, and more full of the risen Yeshua, and the power of the Holy Spirit; than was ever heard from a pulpit!

All your fellow believers will, in the Spirit, share in and receive strength from the testimony of one passing through a present and personal trial of profound import. We all know that a sick-room is not the place for theorizing upon truth and eternity. This brings power into your witness and can open up whole new doors of service that would never otherwise crossed your mind; doors that perhaps only you can enter. Remember, only in our weakness, can His strength become truly real in our lives.

My friends, do not deem yourself useless simply because you have become incapacitated for active labor. Our Father, in His wisdom, has merely changed your sphere of duty. Receive, with all meekness, our Heavenly Father’s dispensation in your life; for the truth is, that, while it has set you in isolation and affliction; it has also set you apart more exclusively and entirely for the Lord Himself. Your great desire has always been to glorify Him; let Him select the means that bring it forth. For His glory is made manifest in sickness, trial, and even death, every bit as much as, if not more, than in health and activity.

Oh my friends, accept and embrace all that He has given you — both the sweet and the sour — and seek His glory within your struggles — and as you call out to Him; hear His voice in that sweet reply, as He bids you “arise, my love, my fair one, and come away” — Oh believer here is your strength and power for this journey — come what may — look to Him; cleave unto Him; labor for Him; suffer in Him; and, if need be, die with Him. That you life may be a witness to loving and trusting, suffering and rejoicing, and living and dying, for our risen Lord Yeshua only; bringing honor and glory to God. This, my friends, is no mean feat — no wasted, or set aside life — be it in infirmity, or in health.

He will always keep the discipline of sorrow
In His hands…….as the Lord proclaims,
“My Father is the Husbandman,”
His hand holds the pruning knife,
His eye is fixed upon the cauldron.
His gentle touch is lightly on the pulse,
Caressing; comforting as the darkness clears.

We thank you Lord for all that you have given us; and we desperately seek your strength and guidance to use all things unto your glory. Amen.

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