Quotes by Steve Swartz
We can’t say that our joy depends on our emotion, but don’t buy for a minute that Christian joy is devoid of emotion!
If you have come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, having repented of your sin and come humbly to Christ, not one tiny bit of your suffering is because of the judicial punishment for your sin. It may be for your sanctification and your loving discipline, but not for punishment. Christ is the one who bore the wrath of God against sin on your behalf.
[Our] heavenly Father is infinitely big, wise, and capable. As God gets bigger and bigger in your mind and heart, your trial will get smaller and smaller.
The Bible makes no apology about assigning the existence of calamity to God, yet God’s holiness is never compromised.
Wisdom and comfort are found in knowing and trusting God as He has revealed Himself – even when you can’t understand the reason for your suffering.
God does not commit evil, but He ordains that it exists. The prophet Isaiah recorded, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:7). Evil exists by God’s permission and through the foreordained choice of those whom He created. Otherwise, we’d end up with a separate power that causes evil, in which case God would no longer be sovereign. However, evil is not a glitch in God’s plan but rather an integral piece of God’s plan!
We love theology because it informs our understanding of the Lord, but theology becomes just an intellectual exercise if it doesn’t impact how we worship and how we enjoy the Lord.
Suffering and pain are never without purpose. They are never without cause. For the believer in Christ, suffering and pain never happen without eventual resolution!
Hospitality is making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish there were.
How we handle suffering is directly related to our view of God. Most professing Christians think they believe in the sovereign power of God, but in reality they don’t act like they believe that God is completely sovereign. They don’t believe God is in control of every single event in their life.
The best time to look for blessings is when you feel like your life is devoid of them. The enjoyment of God’s pleasures is the outworking of genuine trust in the Lord. This demonstrates authentic contentment. It’s the Lord’s quiet, comforting way of informing you that He remains right here. He sits with you through the countless silent blessings He gives every single day.
Self-sufficient Christians are weak, easily deceived, ineffective in service, easily angered, over-confident, and ruled by their emotions. Insufficient Christians, who know they can do nothing outside the power and strength that Christ gives, are actually strong, because the power of God flows through their utter dependence on Him.
God’s grace doesn’t transform the situation, it transforms our perspective of the situation.
True faith produces obedience, and obedience proves that faith is valid [James 2:21-22].
For us as sinful men and women, prayer is not designed to align God with our will, but to align our will with God. Prayer is not to make God more like us but to make us more like God. It should firm up the muscles of our faith.
Emotion as a result of tragedy is not sin; rejecting God’s sovereignty and responding in anger or impatience is sin. Yes, we accept God’s plan in humble submission, but this doesn’t mean we don’t go before Him to weep and wail.
Cultivate your trust and familiarity with the Lord in prayer now so that when the hammer comes down, when the dam bursts, and when the earthquake hits, the door to the throne room of God is well-oiled and will open easily when you run through it.
When the river of suffering rages around you and you ignore prayer, there is no peace, righteousness, strength, growth, sustenance, joy, courage, and steadfastness. Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians that the path to peace is prayer. This is one of the amazing benefits of suffering – you can fully expect to find your times of prayer with the Lord to be sweeter, more engaging, more passionate, and more focused. Don’t expect to accept the plan of God without doing so in prayer.
Trials: 1. Trials drive us to God’s Word in new and desperate ways (Ps. 119:71). 2. Trials teach us deep, honest, real communion with God in prayer (Ps. 42:1). 3. Trials make us learn to walk in His power. (2 Cor. 12:8-9). 4. Trials make us turn more and more to the Lord (Ps. 4:8). 5. Trials remind us that we are small and God is big (Ps. 115:1). 6. Trials give us genuine emotion of anticipation of our heavenly hope (Rom. 8:18). 7. Trials teach us to value God’s blessings (Ps. 97:12). 8. Trials make us more useful for Him (Luke 22:31-32). 9. Trials put God’s mercy on display (Is. 30:18). 10. Trials shatter the idols of our own dreams and aspirations and make us live truly content with God’s will (Phil. 1:27).
Why name joy the gift in trials? Because trials keep us from becoming complacent about our loving God and Savior when we are forced to our knees and the tears won’t stop. It is only then that our communion with our God is the purest. Trials drive us to run boldly to the throne of grace, to the safety of being on our faces in the presence of God, and to spend time in deep communion with God. When we are hurting, we don’t suffer as much from weak, shallow, and meaningless minutes with the Lord, We learn to relish and anticipate hours with God! The experience of communion and intimate fellowship with God is the very depiction of joy!