T R O U B L E . . . .

Paul Tripp Ministries, Inc.

REMEMBER WITH SPECIFICITY

Two weeks ago I wrote to you about trouble. I may not know who you are or what your life has been like, but I can almost guarantee that trouble has paid a visit, is currently visiting, or will visit your life in some capacity.

When trouble comes, it’s vital that you talk to yourself. I teach this principle all the time – no one is more influential in your life than you are because no one talks to you as much as you do. What you say to you in moments of trouble will impact the way you respond.

David was a man well acquainted with trouble. Poor David; if you read the Psalms, he always seems to be in trouble! But in these moments, David was always talking to himself. We saw this in Psalm 27 – “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

There’s something else David did in times of trouble that’s very helpful; it’s found in Psalm 4 – “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!” (Psalm 4:1, ESV, emphasis mine)

In the midst of trouble, David remembered the acts of God. Notice how the above phrase is in the past tense – “you have given me relief when I was in distress.” He’s not thanking the Lord for currently relieving his distressing circumstances.

What can we learn from David? In times of trouble, it’s helpful to remember with specificity the past acts of God’s relieving mercy and grace.

You and I have such a short-term memory. Because of sin, we’re all about the gratification and pleasure of today. When trouble comes knocking, we get absorbed in the immediate, forgetting what God has delivered us from in the past and what he’s transforming us into for the future.

David speaks gospel sense to his soul: “Remember, this is not new. I’ve experienced trouble in the past and God was good to me then. He remains good to me today, and what I’m facing is not out of his loving and wise rule.”

I would guess that David learned this theological skill from his ancestors. In the Old Testament, God stops the rushing waters of the Jordan River so the nation of Israel can cross on dry land. The Lord tells Joshua to set out 12 memorial stones. Why? “So that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty.” (Joshua 4:24)

I would encourage you to take notes from Joshua and David. Remember, with specificity, the good things God has done for you. Journal, take a picture, or do whatever else can help you, so when trouble comes knocking, you can say like David, “You have given me relief when I was I distress.”

God bless

Paul David Tripp
REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

How often do you talk to yourself?

Reflect on some of the things you’ve said to yourself in the past week. What were you saying to you?

What, or who, are some influences that can shape what you say to you?

What are some examples from your life when God has given you relief from distress?

How can you create “memorial stones” to remind yourself that the hand of the Lord is mighty?

S U F F E R I N G . . . . .

Paul Tripp Ministries, Inc.

BE ANGRY. DON’T SIN.

Last week I encouraged you to remember with specificity the good things the Lord has done for you. Today we return to Psalm 4 and continue to learn how to suffer well.

In the midst of his trouble and grief, King David says to himself, “Be angry, and do not sin.” (Psalm 4:4) This can be a confusing verse, because in most of Scripture, isn’t anger categorized as a sin?

For example: “Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:2); “Anger resides in the lap of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9); “Do not associate with one easily angered” (Proverbs 22:24); “You must rid yourselves of […] anger…” (Colossians 3:8)

So if the Bible defines anger as a sin in many places, how can David say, “Be angry, and do not sin” without contradicting God’s Word? Here’s a principle to remember: the ‘biblical acceptability’ of your anger depends upon the law which you’re angrily defending.

Think about it this way: how much of your anger last week was a result of you angrily defending the law of God? Were you angered by injustice and political corruption? Were you angered by Christians being persecuted? Were you angered by the weak being exploited?

Sadly, that anger doesn’t last very long. Frequently my anger is a result of me angrily defending another law – the law of me. I get angry when someone changes the channel, when they add something to my schedule, or when they request I give up something to serve them.

The same principle applies to anger and suffering. Most of the things you suffer from are angering to God: bodies weren’t designed to break, people weren’t created to betray, and governments weren’t established to abuse. Suffering in a fallen world should make you angry because suffering almost always correlates with God’s law being broken in some way.

But all too often, we’re angry because the suffering inconveniences our little kingdom. It robs us of money, time, comfort, and pleasure. We’re not grieved and angry in unison with God; in fact, in many cases, we’re angry at God for allowing such things to come our way.

So when suffering enters your door, you should be furious. But your anger should be motivated by the law of God, not the law of self. It’s much easier for me to write that than to live it, but Christ provides abundant daily grace for our anger problems.

For a deeper discussion on how to be good and angry at the same time, check out my curriculum by the same name: How to be Good and Angry.

God bless

Paul David Tripp
REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

What are some current events that should anger you as a Christian?

How can you translate your anger into Christ-exalting action?

When are the most common occurrences of your anger?

What does your anger reveal about your heart?

How can you seek help for your anger?

Be sure to add “wednesdaysword@paultrippministries.org” to your address book.

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A Search for Purple Cows: A True Story of Hope …… a must read for you who suffered similar and struggle with God’s view of you.

A wife and mother’s amazing journey from darkness into a life fully restored in God’s light.

A whimsical comment from a kind stranger, ‘Be sure to search for purple cows,’ brings hope to a woman and her children fleeing from a life filled with trouble. In A Search for Purple Cows, Susan Call reveals to the world how painful a relationship can be when love deteriorates into a cycle of abuse and betrayal. Her moving memoir chronicles how she first met her husband, a handsome, stylish, generous man with whom she worked. Eventually they fell in love, married, and had two children. Their life seemed idyllic — they had a beautiful home and everything a family could desire. But soon, inside those walls, Call was tormented by her husband’s alcoholism, domestic abuse, and infidelity that cast her family into a world fraught with fear and despair. God found her in the midst of her pain, and showed her, through the unlikely source of a Christian radio station, that a journey toward Him was possible even in the most unthinkable circumstances. Call eventually found the strength to move on and start anew. Written with candor and grace, A Search for Purple Cows will leave you laughing, crying, and believing that God is present and able, ready to bring hope and healing.