Sweet Drops 6: Weak but His

By Richard Sibbes

Let us assure ourselves that God’s grace, even in this imperfect state, is stronger than man’s free will in the state of original perfection.[Adam] It is founded now in Christ, who, as he is the author, so he will finish, [or complete] our faith (Heb.12:2). We are under a more gracious covenant.

What some say of rooted faith,” fides radicata, that it continues, while weak faith may come to nothing” seems to be contradicted by this Scripture; for, as the strongest faith may be shaken, so the weakest, where truth is, is so far rooted that it will prevail.

Weakness with watchfulness will stand, when strength with too much confidence fails.  Weakness with acknowledgement of it, is the best place and thing for God to perfect his strength in; for consciousness of our weaknesses drive us out of ourselves to him in whom our strength lies.

From this it follows that weakness may be consistent with assurance of salvation.  The disciples, even with all their weaknesses, are bidden to rejoice that there names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).  Failings, with struggle, in growing in holiness should not weaken the peace of our being justification and assurance of salvation.  It doesn’t matter as much what weakness is in us, as what good; but how we think of them; not what our particular failings are so much as what is the thread and tenor of our lives, for Christ’s dislike for the things that are amiss in us turns not to hatred of us, our persons but to the victorious conquering of all our infirmities[weaknesses].

Some have, after struggles, wondered at the goodness of God that so little and such trembling faith should have upheld them in so great combats, when Satan had almost caught them.

And, indeed, it is to be wondered at, how much a little grace will prevail with God for acceptance, and over our enemies for victory, if the heart is upright.

such is the goodness of our sweet Savior that he delights still to show his strength in our weaknesses.

 


Excerpt from Works of Richard Sibbes, kindle, Loc. 1884, [Language modernized in places by this site [] ours.


Excepts of Mercy

Sweet Drops: This is 6

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Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:1

By R.C. Chapman

Let him kiss me with kisses of His mouth; for Your love is better than wine. Song of Solomon 1:1

You “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (1st Timothy 6:15, Revelation 19:16), we may speak with You freely, for You are the Lamb that was slain (Revelation 5:12) –You are our Friend—Beloved; Your Church nestles in the bosom of Your love.  We are Your bones and Your flesh (Ephesians 5:30). In eternal love with tender pity You rejoice over us, and cleave to Your Church, Which is Your body; we are many members, Lord; the one body.  You say, in a manner, we are Your very self.

Lord, Your glory does not confound us. You are our Great High Priest, bearing the iniquity of [even] our holy things.  Therefore, poor and needy, we draw near; and You sprinkle us with Your own blood, and raise us to yet greater and greater boldness of faith.—Oh my soul! The bolder, the humbler.  Consider who you speak with.  He doesn’t love to keep a dignified aloofness.  He is the Son of Man, the Son of God; the “friend that sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18: 24): Coming to know Him will bring worship, reverence, confidence, love.

His heart yearns over you, my soul; and He takes it well, and a kindness, that you long after Him. He counts it the honor due to His name, when you with joy and love and all holy confidence cry out: “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth.”  He doesn’t forget that He is your husband.  Are you weary of all things but Him? Happy soul! This was light from Himself:  He gave it to you.  So is your own darkness felt, and all things under the sun vanity to you.  Yet! He has not taken your idols and left you with nothing:  He will fill you with Himself.

You may command Him; your weakness has power and will prevail; and if He seems not to answer for a while, or even so much as give you a good word or kind look, be sure to believe His truth and tender heart. Hope against Hope; in good time He, by powers of the Spirit, the Comforter, will so fill and overwhelm you with His love, that you will find your heart too narrow for the full tide of His kindness and comfort after you had been disappointed.

 


Excerpt from Meditations on the Song of Solomon, Kindle, Loc. 52 [Language modernized in some places by this site.][ ] added by this site for clarity.


Excerpts of Mercy

Meditations on the Song of Solomon: This is 1:1.

1:1           1:4          1:5          1:6          1:7           1:8-1/2 —2/2          1:9          1:10          1:11          1:12          1:13          1:14          1:15          1:16

Sweet Drops 4: Deformed Yet His

By Richard Sibbes

Since Christ is set before us, let us not believe Satan’s representations of him. When we are troubled in conscience for our sins, Satan’s manner is to present Christ to the afflicted soul as a most severe judge armed with justice against us.  But then let us present him to our souls as offered to our view by God himself, holding out a scepter of mercy, and spreading his arms to receive us.

When we think of Joseph, Daniel, John the Evangelist, we frame conceptions of them with delight, as of mild and sweet persons. Much more when we think of Christ, we should conceive of him as a mirror of all meekness.  If the sweetness of all flowers were in one, how sweet must that flower be?  In Christ all perfections of mercy and love meet.  How great must that mercy be that lodges in so gracious a heart?  Whatever tenderness is scattered in husband, father, brother, head, all is but a beam from him; it is in him in the most eminent manner.  We are weak, but we are his; we are deformed, but yet carry his image upon us.  A father looks not so much at the blemishes of his child as at his own nature in him; so Christ finds matter of love from that which is his in us.  He sees his own nature in us: we are diseased but yet a part of his body.  Who has ever neglected his own body because parts were sick or weak?  None ever hated his own flesh.  Can the head forget the body?  Can Christ forget himself? We are his fullness, as he is ours.  He was love itself clothed with man’s nature, which he united so near to himself, that he might communicate his goodness more freely to us.  And he didn’t take our nature when it was at it best, but when it was abased, with all the natural and common infirmities it was subject to.

Let us then, hate all suspicious thoughts, as either cast in or cherished by that damned spirit who, as he labored to divide between the Father and the Son by jealousies, by saying, “If you are the Son of God” (Matt. 4:6), so his daily study is to divide between the Son and us by breeding false opinions in us of Christ, as if there were not such tender love in him to such as we are. It was Satan’s art from the beginning to discredit God with man, by calling God’s love into question with our first father Adam.  His success then him ready to use that weapon still.

 


Excerpt from-Works of Richard Sibbes, Kindle, Loc. 1497, Common Domain, Language modernized slightly in places by this site.


Excepts of Mercy

Sweet Drops: This is 4

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Manton’s Merciful Appeals

By Thomas Manton

For the other sort, who are kept from coming to trust Christ by their own fears, they are likely to say things like,

“It is true there is mercy in Christ for sinners, but Christ has not callrd me personally.”

– My brothers, what are you looking for? An audible voice to speak to you, You John, You Thomas, etc.? In the the tenderness of the gospel you are included as well as others, and why will you exclude yourselves? If God says sinners, you should reply, “I am the greatest sinner”.

“I remember it said, in John 10:3, Christ calls hi sheep by name, and leads them forth. How does Christ call them by name?”

-By speaking particularly to their case, as if he tapped them on the shoulder, and said; “Here is comfort for you.” As at a feast, when there is a dish that we set on the table , though all are free to take from it, yet we say, Here is a dish for me.”  So you should apply yourselves and take your own portion;  though it be put forward to everyone, when God directs his messengers to speak particularly to your case, that is all the calling by name you need, since prophesies are ceased, so you should say, This dish was provided for my hungry conscience, intended for me,..But they will reply,

“Sure there is no mercy for me, I am so unworthy.”

-I answer—The invitation does not look for worth, but thirst: Rev.22:17, “Let him that is thirsty come, and whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely.” You are not worthy, but you are thirsty, or else why are you groaning as you are?

-And by the way take notice of the pride that is in legal dejection.[disqualifying yourself through the law]

Men unwilling to come to Christ; would like to be worthy before they come to him; and therefore the apostle says: “For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they didn’t subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” Rom 10:3. A proud man would attempt to establish a righteousness in himself, and is reluctant to low themselves to take all from another;…

-The more the need to come to Christ; he came to call sinners. Matt.9:13. It doesn’t’ matter what you have been, but what you could be; Christ does not call us because we are holy but that we may become holy. Is it rational to say, “I am too poor to take charity, I am too dirty to take a shower?

But they have refused so many call already, and scorned God’s counsel.

-Wisdom calls scorners, Prov.1:22. “Turn you scorners; how long will you delight in scorning?” It is a mercy that you have been able to hear one more call; don’t increase your guilt that you complain about.

But I don’t know how to come to Christ.

-The blind and the lame are invited to the wedding, Matt.22, and wisdom calls fools, Prov.9:4, “Whosoever is simple”. The stray lamb is brought home on the shepherd’s shoulders, Luke 15.  Oh, that these words might be spirit and life to you!

 


[Language slightly modernized in places by this site.]

Peter’s Masterpiece 2

by Paul M.

1st Peter 1

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy became the father of us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (3)


to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance, and that doesn’t fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who by the power of God are guarded through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (4-5) 

I believe God(Father, Son, Spirit) is good, merciful, gracious and reasonable.  God is love. He obviously desires us to be these to one another, He is the source the from which these streams of love flow.  This is the God who gave us an illustration condemning the the rich man who cared little for poor Lazarus, at his door step.  God being the ultimate “rich man” does not treat us poor and needy ones as the rich man He condemned, if we would only believe, He is, who He says He is.  This is the God who communicates Himself as running to meet His son, this son who had rejected and treated his father as if he were dead to him.  This father also reaffirmed his love to his older ungrateful and unmerciful son.

This is the heart of the gospel.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy became the father of us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”  First and foremost the gospel message of reconciliation is one of the mercy, goodness, graciousness and love of God.  God through His reconciling mercy is reaching to us all, at times almost as if He is begging us to trust and come.  He lowers himself at times in the scripture to the place of beggar, tenderly entreating us not to destroy ourselves, through disbelief.

We are given hope, raised to a much greater hope than we have ever known.  Before coming to know this hope, we had our minds on other inheritances, we wanted and sought in a variety of ways, the respect, the love and the honor of other people.  We sought things that enhanced these  for us, we wanted more than anything else, to be seen as successful, great, and worthy of these things from others.  Many of us envisioned the “blessed life” the “good life” as being one of independence, one of finding peace and security in our own greatness, ingenuity and character.  We are learning now, the blessed life is one of meekness and dependence on God.

God came to this earth, lowly and meek.  The hope He gives us which replaces our former hopes to varying degrees, and I hope great degrees is to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance.  This inheritance doesn’t fade away as the spindle of our lives run out. This is a hope which grows stronger year after year, decade after decade.  He has reserved the best for last, reserving for us a place with Him in heaven.  He himself guards this hope within us.  We are guarded by this merciful and loving God, through His power.  He gives, renews and revives our faith in Him.  He sustains and grows the perfect seed within us, though it resides along side our remaining sin.  This remaining sin that we grow to hate, believe and pray against.

This gospel, of the good news of mercy, peace and love, has been revealed to the world through Christ.   This gospel goes against our natural inclinations, of finding respect, love and honor through our own greatness, ingenuity and character and in resulting material security.   The gospel message is one of progressively dying to these things, meaning the loving and seeking of these things.  These deceptive dreams and prizes of our former lives, before God’s merciful invasion of us personally.  By the mercy and grace of God we will turn more and more from ourselves, our greatness, our glory, our character, and our love and dependence on these things will fade.  Our Lord will pull us out of this horrible pit, of muddy and boggy false dreams more and more.  He will by giving us a growing faith and love for Him, for Jesus, for His righteousness, character and glory, increase the clarity of our eyes and hearts.  Though we may stumble at times and fall from this clarity, if we are His, he will draw us back, and even to a place of greater clarity.  We can have this expectant hope, even at and in the low places.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.  On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand.  When darkness seems to hid His face, I rest on His unchanging grace.  In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.  His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood.  When all around my soul gives way,  He then is all my Hope and Stay.  When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in Him be found.  Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.-Edward Mote

 



The Storm

Clarity

 

 

 

 

Excerpts of Mercy

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Richard Baxter

The Conviction of Sin

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Hugh Binning

Christ’s Righteousness

Christian Love: T.O.C.

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John Bunyan

Merciful Appeal to Sinners

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R.C. Chapman

Meditations on the Song of Solomon: T.O.C.

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Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Ch. 1

Thomas Manton’s Merciful Appeals

John Newton “Benefit of Affliction”

John Newton “Those mistakes, blemishes and faults in others”

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Richard Sibbes Sweet Drops:

1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9

Life of Faith: T.O.C.

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Poor and Needy

Poor and Needy

Matthew 5:3

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.


 

If you have spent much time reading the Psalms, God’s special affinity for the poor and needy and his disinclination for the proud and independent should be clearly communicated.  This aspect and revelation of God’s character doesn’t seem to get the attention from us, God’s word gives it.  It is my belief that this love of His for the poor and needy is one of the most crucial revelations of who God is, for those of us who are seeking closeness with Him, closeness with our Loved One.

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God is so different than we are.  The sin within us is so inclined to love the world and ourselves, as spoken of by John: 15 Don’t love the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love isn’t in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn’t the Father’s, but is the world’s. 17 The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever.(1 John 2:15-17)  Even we who claim Jesus, and greatly seek Him as our One Great Desire and Love are very much inclined to mix our own remaining sinful love of the world and ourselves with our Christian faith.  John’s warning seems to be saying to us, that we must come to love God much greater than we love the world and ourselves, as to make our remaining sin, and misplaced love, as nothing in comparison.  Though this misplaced love may hold us at times, the overwhelming Love of our loves is obviously Jesus.

When Jesus began His great Sermon on the mount, he began with these words:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.(Matthew 5:3)  I believe, this poorness of spirit, is not simply a stage we pass through before or during our conversion. This poorness of spirit, is an intrinsic quality of those who are the most blessed by God.  Those I believe, who are presently most poor in spirit, in the way the Lord is speaking of, are presently the most blessed persons on earth.  The poorness of spirit, is a knowledge of our own poorness and neediness for God, our neediness for Jesus, for the Spirit of God, and more fruit of the Spirit of God.   God fills the poor of spirit, though they will remain poor of spirit even when filled to overflowing.

This poorness of spirit is the driving desire and mover of us.  This is what moves us to seek God, to seek union and communion with Jesus.  As our poorness of Spirit increases our knowledge of and closeness with God is most likely being increased by His gracious Spirit and working on and in us.  As our poorness of Spirit is decreasing we are most likely moving further from, or being turned away from our Lord by other so called “needs” or desires.  The cares of life, the anxieties of the world, the desire to be accepted or fit in with this world and others, may be supplanting our actual One True Need.

I want to encourage the freeing of your self from the expectations you yourself, the world, and even other believers place on you.  I want to encourage you that you are free to be poor and needy.  We can admit and live in the truth of our poorness and neediness of Jesus.  We do not need to cast that expected image of ourselves, for others to see.  We do not need to become or present ourselves to others as those who have it all together.  God does not require us to be successful people, the way the world defines successful people.  We are free to be seen as deceived and stupid radicals in the world’s eyes, we are free to be looked down upon by others, we are free to be seen as weak and pitiful by others.  We are even free to be disappointing to our friends, families and loved ones, when God’s Spirit leads us to please Him at the displeasing of others.  I believe, if we embraced this freedom, we would find and experience much more joy, peace, and love in the Lord.

We too often are stuck in the middle.  We know, or I hope we know our need of God, Our  Love.  We do not however allow this need this poorness of spirit to define our lives.  We want to be needy for God, but we do not want others to see our poorness and neediness for God.  We want to be seen by others as being without need.  We often times want to be seen as successful, attractive, happy, self-sufficient, confident, needed, loved and desired people.  This is what most all people desire and seek.  As children of God, lovers of the King, we are meant to have better desires, and different desires.

When we become children of God, we become children of a totally other world and kingdom.  Children of God and lovers of King Jesus, we are set free to be free from the loves, desires, mindsets, priorities, cares, worries, and fears of this world.   We are not required to maintain a certain level of “world-cred” if you will.  Through the gentleness and kindness of Christ in us, we should be as considerate and pleasing as we can as sojourners here.  However, most of us take this way to far.  We sacrifice our freedom to be who we actually are, poor and needy children and lovers of God.  If we would take all our masks off, and be who we truly desire to be in Jesus, with much less pretense, and fear.  We would have much simpler lives.

Allowing ourselves to be led by this poorness of spirit and neediness for God, Our Love, as our root driving motivation without shame.  We will begin to be have our person’s and lives prioritized by God, or more clearly, we are allowing God to prioritize our lives Himself.  We will be seeking God, rightly with the right (Jesus given) motivations.  We will without shame be seeking, receiving and loving our One True need.

 


 

 

Mercy Beggars

Psalm 119: 132

     Turn to me, and have mercy on me,
 as you always do to those who love your name.

Most do not admire beggars.  Beggars are seen by many to be takers and not givers.  Burdens, disturbing our consciences and reminding us how far we are from ideal.  How much our mercy differs from the mercy of God.

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God’s love and mercy are totally pure.  He isn’t burdened or disturbed by beggars.  In fact, He desires more beggars.  He would have us all be beggars, and beggars to a greater degree.  Begging for mercy, knowing our need of and for Him.  As God draws us closer and closer to His heart, our eyes, minds, and hearts are opened more and more to Him.  Our true need – our need of Him and Him alone – becomes more clear.  We begin to ache for Him, akin to David’s longing for God as a deer panting for water (Psalm 42) or the Shullamite’s  lovesickness for Jesus: Sustain me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am sick with love. (Song of Solomon 2:5, Amp.)   This is the heart cry of a lover of Jesus, growing more aware of this precious pearl found in Him.  They sell all other formerly valued things (time, money, earthly pleasures) for more experience of this precious pearl.

Knowing the distance between us and Him, we become more desirous of even more intimacy, more knowledge and experience of His mercy and love for us.  We crave more evidence of His gentle, gracious and loving Spirit, shining through and past our own deformed characters and attitudes.  We long for more of His mercy, more of His grace, more of His Spirit, more of His sweetness.  We have become lovers but also beggars of His mercy, beggars of His Spirit, beggars of His Love.

We can be greatly encouraged by His love and mercy manifesting itself clearly in our own longing, desiring, and insatiable craving for Him.  We have come to taste His goodness, this goodness that vastly outshines all else.  We have come to love Him, to love His name, His every move and gentle whisper.  We can be confident of His mercy when His mercy, His love, He Himself is our life-dominating desire.

 


 

 

 

Always Dependent

Psalm 119, I believe, is a great help to understand the Christian’s life of faith.  In this psalm, you get a sense of many ups and downs, highs and lows in this life of faith. I believe most, myself included would expect this psalm to end with a high note, of victory and intimacy with God.  It does not, and to me, it is telling that it doesn’t.  This is the end of this great psalm of faith:=

Psalm 119:173-176

Let your hand be ready to help me,
    for I have chosen your precepts.
 I have longed for your salvation, Yahweh.
    Your law is my delight.
 Let my soul live, that I may praise you.
    Let your ordinances help me.
 I have gone astray like a lost sheep.
    Seek your servant, for I don’t forget your commandments.

It seems clear to me these are the thoughts of a child of God.  This seeker of God has chosen the way of God, delighting in God’s revelations, character, and law.  Now, however this child and lover of God is feeling dead, distanced from His Lord.  His greatest desire is to be in intimate, lively praise and communion with His Lord, for some reason or another he feels the lack of this now.

Let my soul live, that I may praise you.
    Let your ordinances help me.

It is a great sign of life, and  actual closeness, the promised closeness and nearness of Jesus and His Spirit, in the psalmist reaction to this hard felt need.  He returns to His Hope, His Friend and Savior for help.  He has the guidance and directing of the gentle Spirit within Him to come to His God in dependence, “Let my soul live, that I may praise you.”  He is presently depending on His Lord to restore him to a place of felt vitality, and praise of God.  God is drawing His lonely child to safety to dependence on the word and Spirit of God for help, and sustaining through this difficult time.

 I have gone astray like a lost sheep.
    Seek your servant, for I don’t forget your commandments.

This seeking child of God, I believe is acknowledging his sin, frailties, lack of faith, which has contributed greatly to his present condition.  He is crying out in true but seemingly weak faith, “Seek your servant, for I don’t forget your commandments.”  Seek me Lord, I feel lost,  I know You are my Shepherd, and Deliverer.  I do not understand fully why I have been left feeling as I do.  I have come to know Your kindness, Your mercy, Your love, You have revealed these to me in the past.  I haven’t and I will not forget your mercy and love so graciously shown and proven to me in the past.  I don’t forget and turn away from the hope of salvation You placed within me.  I am reliant on You, Jesus, to bring me back to You, in a felt way.  I trust that You are actually as near as You ever were, however I want to know and sense the love of God, You have so selflessly made possible for me.  I am confident in Your mercy and love Lord, though I do not feel it so much now.  I am walking by faith not by sight, Your truth not by my experience right now.


Personal note:

I believe God’s word is full of encouragement.  I want depressed believers to know they are not alone in their feelings of low hope, of lifelessness, I want to be a truthful witness, that the Lord is near his depressed and low saints, even when feelings and realizations of His nearness are blocked by infirmities.  I want the bullied and rejected young believer to know they are not weird or abnormal (in a negative sense) to be receiving hatred and rejection from some in the world.  I want my writings to help, even if only a little, as a counter balance to judgment and condemnation from our enemy and others.  A counter balance from some believers who may ask you, “where is your joy, where is your peace, where is your God?” or such things and intimations.  I want believers to know they do not need to prove their faith to these people.  They do not need to resort to pretenses and superficial masks, to please others.  They can continue to seek a real faith, with all its ups and downs, a true worship of God in Spirit and truth.