Archive for April 27th, 2013

This comes from a book I am reading that has been such a blessing as I read through Isaiah:

The difficulties and sufferings of life take us by surprise, but they should not.  Jesus said, ‘If they persecuted me, they will persecute you’ (John 15:20), or, as the hymn puts it, ‘It is the way the Master went, /Shall not the servant tread it still?’  All too often trials make us retire to the sidelines and ‘retire hurt,’ but Isaiah teaches ‘no.’  ‘Time of trial, time for trust, /Not time to leave but time to lean.’  That’s the Jesus-way.  Walking in darkness is no fun; it is a high risk situation and we seriously need the electric torch, or even the homely candle.  So far so good, but is it the torch of our own abilities, the candle of our own best efforts (‘I can cope’)?  Yes indeed, the time of trial may demand our utmost efforts if we are to get through, but not effort arising from self-reliance.  The effort called for is that seen in the Servant, determination to stay the course, constant come what may, but only doing so in the ‘strength that God supplies,’ confident in his God, still walking in the time of trouble, but walking because trusting, walking because leaning.  Four times over, and with tremendous emphasis in Isaiah’s Hebrew, the great divine title and name sounds out: ‘the Sovereign Yahweh.’  He is in total command.  If we are ‘in the soup,’ then it is he who has decided what sort of soup it is!  And at what temperature we must endure it!  And how long it will last!  He is a God who is truly God, Sovereign at all times, in all places, over all forces, in all circumstances.  But he is always the Sovereign Yahweh, the God of all grace, who hears our cries of distress, knows our sorrows, and comes down to deliver (Exod. 3:7-8).  The old prayer got it right: he ‘declares his almighty power most chiefly in showing mercy and pity.’  A God worth knowing, and trusting, an arm to lean on.

Alec Moyer, Isaiah by the Day, p. 248

Read Full Post »

We are very apt to have mis-thoughts of Christ; as Satan doth transform himself into an angel of light, so he would transform Christ before you into an angel of darkness: but the Scriptures hold him forth under such relations as do make him very amiable unto poor sinners.

Are you accused by Satan, world, or your own conscience? he is called your Advocate. Are you ignorant? he is called the Prophet. Are you guilty of sin? he is called a Priest, and High Priest. Are you afflicted with many enemies, inward and outward? he is called a King, and King of kings. Are you in straits? he is called your way. Are you hungry or thirsty? he is called Bread and Water of Life. Are you afraid you shall fall away, and be condemned at the last? he is our second Adam, a public person, in whose death we died, and in whose satisfaction we satisfied.

So there is no condition, but some name, some title, some attribute of Christ doth especially suit with it.

— William BridgeA Lifting Up for the Downcast  HT: FI

Read Full Post »

The words to “The Grieved Soul,” by Joseph Hart (1712-1768):

1. Come, my soul and let us try
For a little season,
Ev’ry burden to lay by;
Come and let us reason.

What is this that casts you down?
Who are those that grieve you?
Speak and let the worst be known;
Speaking may relieve thee.

2. O, I sink beneath the load
Of my nature’s evil!
Full of enmity to God;
Captived by the devil!

Restless as the troubled seas,
Feeble, faint and fearful;
Plagued with ev’ry sore disease,
How can I be cheerful?

3. Think on what thy Saviour bore
In the gloomy garden.
Sweating blood at every pore,
To procure thy pardon!

See him stretched upon the wood,
Bleeding, grieving, crying,
Suffering all the wrath of God,
Groaning, gasping, dying!

4. This by faith I sometimes view,
And those views relieve me;
But my sins return anew;
These are they that grieve me.

O, I’m leprous, stinking, foul,
Quite throughout infected;
Have not I, if any soul,
Cause to be dejected?

5. Think how loud thy dying Lord
Cried out, “It is finished!”
Treasure up that sacred word,
Whole and undiminished;

Doubt not he will carry on,
To its full perfection,
That good work he has begun;
Why, then, this dejection?

6. Faith when void of works is dead;
This the Scriptures witness;
And what works have I to plead,
Who am all unfitness?

All my powers are depraved,
Blind, perverse, and filthy;
If from death I’m fully saved,
Why am I not healthy?

7. Pore not on thyself too long,
Lest it sing thee lower;
Look to Jesus, kind as strong
Mercy joined with power;

Every work that thou must do,
Will thy gracious Saviour
For thee work, and in thee too,
Of his special favour.

8. Jesus’ precious blood, once spilt,
I depend on solely,
To release and clear my guilt;
But I would be holy.

He that bought thee on the cross
Can control thy nature;
Fully purge away thy dross;
Make thee a new creature.

9. That he can I nothing doubt,
Be it but his pleasure.

Though it be not done throughout,
May it not in measure?

When that measure, far from great,
Still shall seem decreasing?

Faint not then, but pray and wait,
Never, never ceasing.

10. What when prayer meets no regard?

Still repeat it often.

But I feel myself so hard.

Jesus will thee soften.

But my enemies make head.

Let them closer drive thee.

But I’m cold, I’m dark, I’m dead.

Jesus will revive thee.

You can hear a couple of verses sung here.

HT: Justin Taylor

Read Full Post »

Morning, June 28

“Looking unto Jesus.” Hebrews 12:2

It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.” All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.” Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument-it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.” Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee.

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesu’s blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesu’s name.”

~Charles Spurgeon~

Morning & Evening (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2003)

HT: The Old Guys

Read Full Post »

What a great reminder from Stephen Altrogge:

The disciples were rebuked by Jesus whenever they behaved as if Jesus were not present. Under normal circumstances, it would be perfectly acceptable to have a nervous breakdown while walking on the sea. But with Jesus there are no such thing as normal circumstances. Ordinarily it would be okay to freak out when your boat is sinking and your are on the verge of drowning. But with Jesus, there is no such thing as ordinary. Insert Jesus into any situation and everything changes.

We are no different than the disciples. When our finances get tight, we have ourselves a grand ol’ panic session. To which Jesus would reply, “O you of little faith! I’m right here with you! I am your good shepherd! I’ll provide for you. Why have you forgotten about me?” Insert Jesus into your finances and everything changes.

When our children begin fall into sin we allow ourselves to be buried under a mountain of unbelief. To which Jesus would reply, “O you of little faith! I’m mighty to save! Why are you afraid?” Insert Jesus into your family and everything changes.

When a promising relationship dissolves into tears and heartbreak, we can fear for our future and doubt the goodness of God. To which Jesus would reply, “O you of little faith! I have every moment of your life in the palm of my hand.”

Insert Jesus into any situation and everything changes. What once appeared hopeless suddenly is splashing over with possibilities. What once appeared bleak is suddenly ripe with God-ordained possibilities. We act like the disciples when we forget about Jesus. When we act like he’s not there, not powerful enough to intervene.

Read the rest here.

Read Full Post »