>Octavius Winslow’s Book -Chapter Five, Trial a Help Heavenward –

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Octavius Winslow Archive

What a great little book Octavius Winslow wrote, Help Heavenward; I would really like to encourage you to read it. Grace Gems has the whole book on line; and believe me, the chapters are short and full of encouragement for the believer.

Here are my favorite quotes and some of my reflections on chapter 5, Trial, a Help Heavenward.

“That we must through much tribulation enter into the
kingdom of God.”—        Acts 14:22.

If God’s providence has you going through a season in your life which is characterized by trial, be encouraged today as you read the words of this godly man that reminds us that trials in the life of the believer are a blessing, because they draw us closer to God.

“We should have a more vivid conception of the power of affliction as an ingredient of holiness if we kept more constantly in remembrance the fact that all the afflictive, trying dispensations of the believer are covenant dispensations— that they are not of the same character nor do they produce the same results as in the ungodly. They are among the “sure mercies of David.” In the case of the unregenerate, all afflictions are a part and parcel of the curse, and work naturally against their good; but in the case of the regenerate, they are, in virtue of the covenant of grace, transformed into blessings, and work spiritually for their good. Just as the mountain stream, coursing its way, meets some sanative mineral by which it becomes endowed with a healing property, so afflictions, passing through the covenant covenant, change their character, derive a sanctifying property, and thus become a healing medicine to the soul.”

How different are these words than the ones preached in many pulpits today! How comforting it is to know that because of God’s Grace, because He has called us to be in His covenant, trials help us heavenward. He is with us, He is working in us through each one of those trials. It is all about our relationship with Him; our sanctification, our loving Him more than anything in this world. It is about being able to say, “The Lord is Shepherd I SHALL NOT WANT…”

“Trial, too, increases our acquaintance with Christ. We know more of the Lord Jesus through one sanctified affliction than by all the treatises the human pen ever wrote. Christ is only savingly known as He is known personally and experimentally. Books cannot teach Him, sermons cannot teach Him, lectures cannot teach Him; they may aid our information and correct our views, but to know Him as He is, and as we ought, we must have personal dealings with Him. Our sins must bring us to His blood, our condemnation must bring us to His righteousness, our corruptions must bring us to His grace, our wants must bring us to His fullness, our weakness must bring us to His strength, our sorrow must bring us to His sympathy, and His own loveliness and love must attract us to Himself. And oh, in one hour, in a single transaction, in a lone sorrow, which has brought us to Jesus, who can estimate how rapidly and to what an extent we have grown in a knowledge of His person and work, His character and love? I need not enlarge upon other branches of spiritual knowledge which trial promotes—how it increases our personal intimacy with God as our loving Father and Friend; and how it opens our understanding to discern the deep things of God in the Scriptures, so that the Bible in the hour of affliction appears like a new revelation to us. Oh yes, times of trial are times of growth in experimental knowledge.”

Trials are seasons in which we can know Him in a way that we would not know Him otherwise. Trials are seasons in the life of the Christian where he can not only see what is inside of him, but he can also meet God in a new and beautiful way through fervent prayer.

“Trial quickens us in prayer, and so effectually helps us heavenward. The life of God in the soul on earth is a life of communion of the soul with God in heaven. Prayer is nothing less than the Divine nature in fellowship with the Divine, the renewed creature in communion with God. And it would be as impossible for a regenerate soul to live without prayer, as for the natural life to exist without breathing. And oh, what a sacred and precious privilege is this!—is there one to be compared with it? When we have closed the door,—for we speak now of that most solemn and holy habit of prayer, private communion,—and have shut out the world, and the creature, and even the saints, and are closeted in personal, solemn, and confiding audience with God, what words can portray the preciousness and solemnity of that hour! Then is guilt confessed, and backslidings deplored, and care, unburdened, and sorrow unvailed, and pardon sought, and grace implored, and blessings invoked, in all the filial trustfulness of a child unbosoming itself in the very depths of a father’s love, pity, and succour. But precious and costly as is this privilege of prayer, we need rousing to its observance. Trial is eminently instrumental of this. God often sends affliction for the accomplishment of this one end—that we might be stirred up to take hold of Him.”

When trials come, let us see an opportunity to grow in our devotions, to be drawn closer to the One who loves us with perfect love and works all things for good in the life of His children. Let us rest in His arms through prayer and the meditation of His Word; let us see beyond ourselves and up to Him, who is able to sustain us and present us blameless at the day of Christ before God, the Father.

“Trials are necessary to wean us from the world. Perhaps nothing possesses so detaching, divorcing an effect in the experience of the Christian as affliction. The world is a great snare to the child of God. Its rank is a snare, its possessions are a snare, its honours are a snare, its enterprises are a snare, the very duties and engagements of daily life are a snare, to a soul whose citizenship is in heaven, and whose heart would fain be more frequently and exclusively where Jesus, its treasure, is… But God in wisdom and mercy sends us trial to detach us from earth, to lessen our worldly-mindedness, more deeply to convince us how empty and insufficient is all created good when His chastening is upon us, to intensify our affection for spiritual things, and to bring our souls nearer to Himself.”

May God open our ears to hear His Word of comfort today and eyes to see Him sustaining us through the storm.

“Lord, whom have I in heaven but Thee? 
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. 
Thou hast stricken and wounded and laid me low, 
but Thou wilt comfort, heal, and raise me up again. 
Righteous art Thou, O Lord, 
when I plead with Thee; 
yet let me talk with Thee of Thy judgments.
Let this trial detach me from the world, 
wean me from my idols,
transfer my heart to Thee, 
and speed my soul with a quicker step
heavenward.” 

Thanks to Matthew Blair @The Octavius Winslow Archive, who invited his readers to read this wonderful book.

>Octavius Winslow’s Book -Help Heavenward-

>I wish I could have the time to blog about every book I read! But then, I would not have time to read…

I mentioned few weeks ago that I was going to be part of this reading group hosted by Matthew Blair at the Octavius Winslow Archive, so yes, I have been reading  along and enjoying this book a lot.  The chapters are short and very meaty; you don’t have to buy the book, because Matthew Blair posts the chapters on his blog, and you can also find them at Grace Gems.

I also said that I was not planning to write about this book, but this week I will. (and who knows… maybe next week too)

It is chapter 4, The Clouds of the Christian, The Chariot of God; this title means that whatever comes to our life that seems like a cloud, is indeed what God has brought us to our lives to bring us closer to Him, to Heaven. We are not to fear, if we are children of God because we have hope in God; Because He has justified us, who can condemn us?

“the darkest dispensations in which He hides Himself shall presently unveil the brightest views of His character and love; and thus the lowering cloud that deepened in its darkness and grew larger as it approached, shall dissolve and vanish, leaving no object visible to the eye but Him whose essence and name is Love. Oh, it is because we have such shallow views of God’s love that we have such defective views of God’s dealings. We blindly interpret the symbols of His providence, because we so imperfectly read the engraving of His heart. Faith finds it difficult to spell the word “Love,” as written in the shaded characters of its discipline; to believe that the cloud which looks so sombre and threatening is the love-chariot of Him who for our ransom gave Himself unto the death, because He so loved us!”

If we could understand this Perfect Love! If we could only see Him in the darkest clouds.

Seeing Him…  is the only way to live through hard providences; seeing His glory brighter than any storm, and the greatest storm, the greatest cloud of darkness is our sinful nature, but Jesus came and took it away.

“So divine, blinding, and overpowering is the essential glory of our redeeming God, that a believing sinner, enveloped by its beams, is changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. All his unrighteousness, his sins, and hell-deservings are consumed and destroyed by the Divine Sun of righteousness: Jesus makes this cloud His chariot, and waits to bless us with its vision.”

Winslow says that also the Divine Truths, (for example, are the revealed doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, Election, Sovereignty, the New Birth, and the Resurrection) maybe regarded as the cloud-chariots of God.

“The gospel is the vehicle in which Christ makes his constant advent to our souls”

We don’t need to understand every single doctrine, every single mystery in the Word; but that we are sinners and Christ is the only Saviour.

“Regard it as one of your chief mercies that your salvation depends not upon reason but upon faith: that you are not called upon fully to comprehend, but unquestioningly to believe and love: that you are not the less saved because your faith deals with obscurity, nor is your faith less real, precious, or saving, because it abjures the wisdom of the sage for the docile spirit of the child, and the learning of the philosopher for the humility of the disciple. Let your great study be the mystery of Christ’s love to sinners—the mystery of Christ’s love to you.”

 God’s providential government over our lives brings us Heavenward, Winslow says:

“Those clouds of providential dispensations, which turn our day into night, bring out to view such constellations of Divine promises, discover such perfections of the Divine character, and present such discoveries of Divine love, as to make even night more wonderful and resplendent than day. Ah, beloved! we should know but little what Christ’s chariot of love was, but for the clouds in which He comes to us.” 

Let us fix our eyes not on the cloud but on the One who is blowing the winds, on the One who brings storms and calms tempests.

“It is our wisdom and our happiness to know that there is not an event or circumstance, a cloud or a sunbeam, in our personal history and experience, that is not a vehicle of Christ. He maketh the clouds His chariot; and His providential dispensations, whatever their form or their hue, are His means of approaching and visiting us. “The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” 

Let us no fear the storm, let us find our hiding place, the Cross of Christ; let us hide beneath the wongs of the Almighty, let His Love be our shelter!

 The last chariot the Lord has prepared for us to help us Heavenward is death; which shall bring us to our home where we will be able to see the Lord and be with Him forever!

“Let us so live detached from, and above, the world, and creatures, and earthly delights; let us so live in fellowship with God, and in communion with Divine and eternal things, that when the Lord’s chariot gently knocks at our door, we may have nothing to do but to step into it and away to heaven!… Be patient and trustful; the Lord’s time is best, and ere long thou shalt exclaim, “It is the voice of my Beloved that knocketh! the Master is come and calleth for me. Earth, farewell! friends, farewell! parents, kindred, wife, children, home, farewell! Sorrow, suffering, trial, sin, farewell! I go to be with Jesus for ever!” And then a cloud of glory shall receive you out of their sight, and so shall you ever be with the Lord.”

As I read these words I was reminded of Paul, he too knew that to be with Christ is far better…

Under His sun and by His grace…. Daily On My Way to Heaven

Next week we’ll talk about Chapter 5, Bonds Loosed

>Octavius Winslow’s Book -Help Heavenward-

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The Octavius Winslow Reading Group

Matthew Blair, the blogger behind The Octavius Winslow Archive, invited his readers to read along a great book by Winslow; Help Heavenward. We are currently talking about chapter two, Progressive Meetness for Heaven, what an incredible book is this! I encourage you to join us, there is still plenty of time; the chapters are short and you can read them on the same blog. (Chapter One,  Chapter Two, Chapter Three “due” next Monday)

I really wanted to read this book, but for the sake of time I am not blogging about my reflections, however, you can still read my comments on this second chapter here.

Have a wonderful day, my friends!

>Joseph and Mary an Advent Scene -and my gift to you-

>Isn’t is wonderful? Just look at them! I wonder; how was that journey like? One full of expectation, full of joy, full of weariness and I am sure one full of uncertainty too; after all, Joseph and Mary were humans, bound to their flesh, just like you and I.

May our journey to the manger be full of expectation!

The Baby Jesus was being formed in Mary’s womb; nine months of waiting…  I think of my own life. I pray that daily, on my way to heaven, Jesus may be formed in me too.

The journey is the same, full of joy, expectation, promises,  and weariness too.

But He is in me. I shall not fear.

I am reading this book, Songs of the Nativity; Selected Sermons on Luke 1 and 2 by John Calvin, and I would like to share with you few quotes from the first sermon:

“Our happiness is bound up with faith and faith itself is full acceptance of the promises of salvation contained in the gospel. On what, precisely, do these promises depend? On the fact that God forgives our trespasses and recognizes us as righteous, miserable sinners though we are”

“how is it possible for us to rejoice in God? The Virgin Mary supplies us with the answer when she says ‘in God my Saviour’. That is where our joy begins -with the assurance that God is for us a Saviour. The word “Saviour” does not mean that he comes to our aid once and once only, but that He will always take care of us and of our salvation until He has brought it to fulfillment. We may, indeed, be replete with all kinds of goods, and yet be powerless to rejoice in God. Just to feel joy is simplicity itself. That is what the children of this world do all the time. But to rejoice in God is impossible until we experience the love He has for us, and until we know that He will not desert us but will lead us on to the end… So however many troubles and trials may beset us, whatever sorrows and vexations we may feel. God’s peace is bound to prevail. Nothing should stop us; rejoicing in Him”

Dear friends, thank you for sojourning with me! I love each one of you and I am grateful for you!

Thank you for coming, for reading my words, thank you for your comments, and most of all,; thank you for your friendship.

My little Christmas gift for you, dear readers, is this; I took a series of beautiful pictures of Mary and Joseph on their frail journey to Bethlehem; and, well, you can download them and use them as you wish! You can print any of them, or use them on your blog entries, or as desktops, etc… You can find the whole series at my photography blog, My Daily Journey-through my lens

May His grace abound as we journey daily on our way to Heaven!

>The Holiness of God -Chapter 2-

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We are reading at Challies the book The Holiness of God by Sproul  today we are conversing about chapter 2; Holy, Holy, Holy.

Here is where my thoughts find their place.

Isaiah’s calling started with  an encounter with the Holy One. An encounter in a real moment. A life changing moment: A man and His Holy creator meeting alone. Once God called Isaiah, he  couldn’t resist the calling. The man couldn’t say no to such irresistible grace, he did not have a choice. “The call was sovereign” says Sproul, and I just nod as I read, I think on how The Holy One called me. Who can say no to the Sovereign One? Who thinks that we actually have the power to choose to come to him or not?

To come before the Holy One is to see your sinfulness. Isaiah cried “Woe to me!” And before the Holy, Holy, Holy God, he knew he was “guilty, guilty, guilty”

But once the Holy One calls us, we come and we meet Grace.

And what else can we long for once we have been called to Him but to see His face?

“[Isaiah] had heard the voice of God speaking to him out of the burning bush. He had witnessed the river turned into blood. He had tasted manna from heaven and had gazed upon the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. He had seen the chariots of Pharaoh inundated by the waves of the Red Sea. Still he was not satisfied. He wanted more. He craved the ultimate spiritual experience. he inquired of the Lord on the mountain, “Let me see your face. Show me your glory”. The  request was denied…”

Exodus 33:19-23, tells us that Isaiah was only allowed to see God’s back, never His face and Sproul reminds us that even by just gazing at His back, Isaiah’s face was so radiant that people were terrified when they saw him.

How then, after reading this, I still long to see His face?

Sproul explains what I could not:

“The final goal of every Christian is to be allowed to see what was denied to Moses. We want to see Him face-to-face. we want to bask in the radiant glory of His divine countenance. It was the hope of every Jew, a hope instilled in the most famous and beloved benediction of Israel: ‘The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace’ ” (Num. 6:24-26)

This hope, crystallized in the benediction of Israel, becomes more than a hope for the Christian-it becomes a promise…”

We shall see Him as He is. (I John 3:2)

Yes… 
WE SHALL 
SEE HIM
AS HE IS.

One day, if He has called us into His family we will SEE HIM!

What a promise!

What a joy!

Not only His back, but His face!

Not to find a judge but a Father.

Today we are still in a sinful body, we are abiding in a dark world, we are still defiled.

“None of us in this world is pure in heart. It is our impurity that prevents us from seeing God. The problem is not with our eyes; it is with our hearts. Only after we are purified and totally sanctified in heaven will we have the capacity to gaze upon Him face-to-face”

I just loved how Sproul says, that we are to be like Isaiah, who “measured himself by the ultimate standard” and the moment he did so “he was destroyed -morally and spiritually annihilate. He was undone. He came apart. His sense of integrity collapsed”

This is where I see Grace, the Holy One, the only Holy, Holy, Holy God calls us sinners into his presence, we meet with Him alone, we are undone. And just when we see our sinful nature, just when we come apart before Him, He washes our sins away and give us the gift of repentance, and promises us that one day, soon, we will see Him face- to-face.

Under his sun and by His Grace,

The Holiness of God – Chapter Three- The Fearful Mystery-

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Related Posts:

The Holiness of God Chapter One.
God’s Sovereignty in the Gospel of Luke
In Silence
Woven

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>The Holiness of God -Chapter One-

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I am joining again a great group of readers at Challies. It has been a joy get to know some great bloggers, thinkers and God lovers through this “reading- along” group; so if you are visiting this place  from Challies, please leave a comment; I would love to “meet” you!

This time the book we are reading is The Holiness of God by R.C Sproul, a great pick, a book already known as a classic in the Reformed faith. Today we are talking only about chapter one.

Chapter One. The Holy Grail

One thing, that is it, only one thing I will share of this chapter that I do not want to forget never. One thing in chapter one that every one needs to know.

We all need a specific moment in our lives, a “life transforming” moment:

“Being alone with God. A Holy God. An awesome God. A God who could fill our lives with terror in one second and with peace the next”

 This is the way to eternal life. Meeting alone with a Holy God, spiritually naked, on our knees, in awe and knowing  that we are not worthy of Him.

Living a moment like this changes our eternal life. Meeting alone with a Holy God in the quietness is what we need in order to live.

Have you been alone with God; a Holy God?

Other posts that you might enjoy reading:

When Light Meets Daily Life III and the Bruised Reed Ch. 3
The Bruised Reed Part 1 (at the former blog)
While in the Quietness…

The Holiness of God -Chapter Two- (Holy, Holy, Holy)