mercy’s store

Let us wonder; grace and justice
Join and point to mercy’s store;
When through grace in Christ our trust is,
Justice smiles and asks no more:
He Who washed us with His blood
Has secured our way to God.
~John Newton

It is days like today when the store of God’s mercy
is much needed…
in this sinner’s life.

My prayer, today, must come from another pen:
Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

~Charles Wesley


consistency of life

And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye. For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:39-45).

In considering the text above, Ryle states that, “the main object is…the importance of consistency of life. The passage is a solemn warning not to contradict by our lives what we have said with our lips…a loud profession of doctrinal purity will never procure respect for a minister’s sermon if his congregation sees him cleaving to ungodly habits.”

If what I have in my head does not affect what I do with my hands and my feet
then my having it will not lead to commendation, but rather condemnation.

Great God and Father, save me from besetting sins, and from presumptuous sins as well. Without Your perfect law, the grace You have given me, and the guidance of Your Spirit, I would have a fruitless life and no profitable ministry to others. My heart is often inclined to evil, LORD, so I pray, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You” Psalm 51:10-13.
For Christ the King. Amen.

stretch out your hand

Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered. So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him. But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, “Arise and stand here.” And he arose and stood. Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?” And when He had looked around at them all, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.”
(Luke 6:6-10)

Unearthed, from the simple soil of “and he did so,” we see the response of faith to the command of Christ, “stretch out your hand,” as J.C. Ryle, once again, offers depth of insight into this commerce between Jesus and this man:

Our Lord said…”Stretch out your hand.” The command, at first sight seems unreasonable…obedience impossible…the poor sufferer was not stopped by doubts…at once he made the attempt to stretch forth his hand and…was cured. He had enough faith to believe that He who bade him…was not mocking him
and ought to be obeyed.

He who bids us to…
…fear not
…cast our cares on Him
…not be anxious
…seek ye first
…consider the lilies
is not mocking us
ought to be obeyed.

LORD, help me live in obedience to and dependence upon You. Let me not hesitate to “stretch out my hand” in response to Your commands. The tasks you set before me are often enormous and my strength little. I must depend on Your kindness and mercy. Forgive my lack of obedience to Your commands, my willful transgressions of Your Law. I do indeed bring only my sin and need to You when I come to Your throne–no goodness, nor merit, no wisdom, no strength. Yet countless times, by Your grace, You send me out to serve You cleansed, restored, and strengthened. Let me never forget Your benefits towards me, those benefits already received and those promised for my future need.

enduring much

Why do You cast me off?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

~Psalm 43:2b

Spurgeon restates the question, “LORD, why am I called to endure so much for so long?” and considers this a “useful question [when] addressed to the right quarter. The answer will often be because we are saints and MUST BE MADE LIKE OUR HEAD, and because such sorrow is chastening to the spirit and yields comfortable fruit.”

This “being made like our Head” can be a painful process. Better though, as one old puritan calls them, “sanctified afflictions,” than the prosperity and peace of the wicked, for their judgment is sure:
Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
They are utterly consumed with terrors.
~Psalm 73:18-19

forgotten finery

Can a virgin forget her ornaments,
Or a bride her attire?
Yet My people have forgotten Me
days without number.
~ Jeremiah 2:32

Matthew Henry warns, “Those who begin well, but do not persevere, will justly be upbraided with their hopeful and promising beginnings. Those who desert religion, commonly oppose it more than those who never knew it. For this they could have no excuse. God’s spiritual Israel must own their obligations to him for safe conduct through the wilderness of this world, so dangerous to the soul. Alas, that many, who once appeared devoted to the Lord, so live that their professions aggravate their crimes! Let us be careful that we do not lose in zeal and fervency, as we gain knowledge.”

O Father, let me not forget my ornaments.
O Bridegroom, let me not forget my attire.
You have clothed me in Your Righteousness, and ornamented my life with all the riches of glory in Christ Jesus. Let me never forget Your goodness to me. Keep my feet from following after other gods, fix my eyes on my Savior. Except by Your grace I would be as Israel, playing the harlot. Pour out Your mercy with Your grace, O Lord.

prostrate awe; sacred fear

And when I saw Him [the One like the Son of Man], I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.(Revelation 1:17-18)

Spurgeon says of John’s encounter with the Alpha and Omega, “The sight of the King in His beauty caused no alarm to John in Patmos, and yet it made him fall at His feet as dead. Oh to behold Him and worship Him with prostrate awe and sacred fear!” O Lord, let me see You and worship You today.

And from one of my most cherished passages of Scripture, John 20:14-16, we find Mary, weeping at her Lord’s tomb…she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” How my heart will sing with joy to hear Him speak my name.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.

perfect holiness; infinite wisdom

God’s way is perfect, and when we would have him alter it to please us, we are guilty of tempting him; and the fact that we do so in vain, while it magnifies the Lord’s holiness, by no means excuses our guilt. We are in most danger of this sin in times of need, for then it is that we are apt to fall into unbelief, and to demand a change in those arrangements of providence which are the transcript of perfect holiness and infinite wisdom. C.H. Spurgeon

these arrangements of providence I find so trying
are born of Your Perfect Holiness
and Infinite Wisdom.
Forgive my murmuring heart.
Ravish me with Your grace
until my fear gives way to thanksgiving.
My Savior, cleanse me.
My Shepherd, lead me.
My king, rule me.
My Lord, subdue me.