The Firm Grip of the Father
Thy Faithful hand fails not to keep // This fickle hand that fails to reach4.23.13
Not Only to Profess, But Also to Practice
We most humbly beg You to give us grace…
not only to be hearers of the Word,
but doers also of the same;
not only to love,
but also to obey Your gospel;
not only to favor,
but also to follow Your godly doctrine,
not only to profess,
but also to practice Your blessed commandments…
to the honor of Your holy Name, and the health of our souls.
- Thomas Becon, 1511-1567
The Grieved Soul, Joseph Hart
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.
Stuck. Trapped. Imprisoned.
Jesus, come. Fill 2013.
And Can It Be That I Should Gain
Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose, went forth and followed Thee.
God is there and He is too good
As this year ends, the question I am asking is: Where was God when so many good things happened this past year?
How can God be a God of justice,
yet allow so much good to happen to people who dishonor him
by disbelieving in him,
or giving lip service to his existence, or paying no more attention to him than the carpet in their den,
or rejecting the kingship of his Son, or scorning his word,
or preferring a hundred pleasures before him?
How can God be righteous
and do so much good to us
who are so unrighteous?
—John Piper, Where was God in all the Goodness of 2012?
Here is something Marvelous:
For even if the Word in his immeasurable essence united with the nature of man into one person, we do not imagine that he was confined therein.
Here is something marvelous:
the Son of God descended from heaven in such a way that, without leaving heaven, he willed to be borne in the virgin’s womb, to go about the earth, and to hang upon the cross; yet he continuously filled the world even as he had done from the beginning!
For those weak in faith, take heart
It is utterly crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him. This is the way Paul thought of his own strivings. He said, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12). The key thing to see in this verse is that all Paul’s efforts to grasp the fullness of joy in Christ are secured by Christ’s grasp of him. Never forget that your security rests on Christ’s faithfulness ﬁrst.
Our faith rises and falls. It has degrees. But our security does not rise and fall. It has no degrees. We must persevere in faith. That’s true. But there are times when our faith is the size of a mustard seed and barely visible. In fact, the darkest experience for the child of God is when his faith sinks out of his own sight. Not out of God’s sight, but his. Yes, it is possible to be so overwhelmed with darkness that you do not know if you are a Christian — and yet still be one.
—John Piper, When I don’t desire God