Beams of Majesty and a Heart of Mercy

the bruised reed

On Fridays, I’ve decided to post quotes from some of my favorite authors as a way for me to review golden nuggets of truth and keep them in the forefront of my own heart and mind throughout the year.

I also hope it serves you, as a reader of RevivingTheSoul in offering comfort, encouragement, and strength for your own journey in the ups and downs of life on this side of heaven.

This Friday’s quote comes from the Puritan, Richard Sibbes, from one of the books that has impacted me the most, The Bruised Reed, which I read in the midst of one of the most difficult seasons of my life and God used it to greatly comfort me. There is healing in these words from “The Heavenly Doctor Sibbes”:

“(Christ) is a meek king; he will admit mourners into his presence, a king of poor and afflicted persons. As he has beams of majesty, so he has a heart of mercy and compassion. He is the prince of peace (Isa. 9:6). Why was he tempted, but that he might ‘succour them that are tempted’ (Heb. 2:18)? What mercy may we not expect from so gracious a Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) who took our nature upon him that he might be gracious?…

What should we learn from this, but to ‘come boldly to the throne of grace’ (Heb. 4:16) in all our grievances? Shall our sins discourage us, when he appears there only for sinners? Are you bruised? Be of good comfort, he calls you. Conceal not your wounds, open all before him and take not Satan’s counsel. Go to Christ, although trembling, as the poor woman who said, ‘If I may but touch his garment’ (Matt. 9:21). We shall be healed and have a gracious answer… Peace and joy are two main fruits of Christ’s kingdom. Let the world be as it will, if we cannot rejoice in the world, yet we may rejoice in the Lord. His presence makes any condition comfortable.” The Bruised Reed, p. 8-9

“Nevertheless”

fresh green grass with bright blue sky

“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.” Psalm 73:23-24

Nevertheless. What a word! What a thought! What a truth this verse contains!

Asaph’s Struggle

The psalmist, Asaph, has just explained how he was embittered in his soul and acting in a brutish manner, like a beast, before God (v. 21-22). He was doubting God’s Sovereignty and God’s wisdom, complaining in the bitterness of his soul (v. 13-14) and envious when he saw the prosperity of those who were not serving the Lord (v. 2-3).

Asaph had doubted God’s care and God’s control over the universe, and he had questioned God’s care and love for him personally.

God, in His mercy, opened the psalmist’s eyes toward the truths of His Sovereignty and final justice, and He gave the psalmist understanding and wisdom to discern the final end (v. 17-20).

After spending time in the sanctuary of God and receiving this fresh insight and perspective on life, Asaph was convicted of his sin. He was convinced of his pride and arrogance, his unbelief and sinful complaints (v. 21-22). He had doubted God’s love, doubted God’s control, doubted God’s care, and questioned His wisdom and power and rule over the universe.

In essence, Asaph had thought he could do a better job than God in ruling the universe with equity and justice. What an offense toward God!

And then we come to this one glorious word:

“Nevertheless”

    “Nevertheless, I am continually with you.”

    “Nevertheless, you hold my right hand.”

    “Nevertheless, you guide me with your counsel.”

    “Nevertheless, you will receive me to glory.”

What an ocean of grace is found in this one little word: nevertheless! I want to bathe my heart in it this evening! I want to enjoy every gentle wave of mercy it brings.

God’s love to me meets me right where I am. In the midst of all my sin and doubt, pride, selfishness, and complaining heart, I heard the Savior say, “Nevertheless, I am with you.” “Nevertheless, I forgive you.” “Nevertheless, I will guide you.” “Nevertheless, I will take you to eternal pleasures at my right hand.”

    “Never-the-less.”

Take heart, dear believer. If you are in Christ, this is the banner that hangs over your life, even in the midst of your fallenness and sin.

“Nevertheless, I am with you and I receive you.”

What a word! What a truth! What a Savior is Jesus, the Christ!

The Only Way to Really Be Happy

iStock_000006218537The Way to Be Happy

On Fridays, I’ve decided to post quotes from some of my favorite authors as a way for me to review golden nuggets of truth and keep them in the forefront of my own heart and mind throughout the year.

I also hope it serves you, as a reader of RevivingTheSoul in offering comfort, encouragement, and strength for your own journey in the ups and downs of life on this side of heaven.

The first quote in my Friday favorites is from JC Ryle, a 19th Century Anglican pastor whose writings have greatly served my soul:

“The only way to be really happy in such a world as this, is to be ever casting all our cares on God. It is trying to carry their own burdens which so often makes believers sad. If they will tell their troubles to God, he will enable them to bear them as easily as Samson did the gates of Gaza. If they are resolved to keep them to themselves, they will find one day that the very grasshopper is a burden.

There is a friend ever waiting to help us, if we will unbosom to him our sorrow – a friend who pitied the poor and sick and sorrowful, when he was upon the earth – a friend who knows the heart of man, for he lived thirty-three years as a man among us – a friend who can weep with the weepers, for he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief – a friend who is able to help us, for there never was earthly pain he could not cure. That friend is Jesus Christ. The way to be happy is to be always opening our hearts to him. Oh that we were all like that poor Christian who only answered, when threatened and punished, ‘I must tell the Lord.’

Jesus can make those happy who trust him and call on him, whatever be their outward condition. He can give them peace of heart in a prison, contentment in the midst of poverty, comfort in the midst of bereavements, joy on the brink of the grave. There is a mighty fullness in him for all his believing members – a fullness that is ready to be poured out on every one that will ask in prayer. Oh that men would understand that happiness does not depend on outward circumstances, but on the state of the heart.” A Call to Prayer, p. 23-24

Hopefully, now you can see why JC Ryle is one of my favorite authors.

Over the years, my heart has been strangely warmed by his company and directed again-and-again to my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the good news we have in the gospel of his grace.

May we all open our hearts to him and enjoy what it’s like to be really happy in such a world as this!

For more of JC Ryle, you can read my post A Never-Failing Passport for Our Prayers. You are also invited to sign up for the RevivingTheSoul email newsletter through the link below so you don’t miss any posts.