Friday, June 10, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 6/10-12/11 Devotion

Hip, hip, hooray--it's almost Sunday! To help get us ready for church, here is the great Puritan pastor Richard Sibbes, from his "The Bruised Reed" book. Sibbes is dealing with weakness, and how it should not keep us from duty. . . .

"It should encourage us to duty that Christ will not quench the smok-
ing flax, but blow on it till it flames. Some are loath to do good be-
cause they feel their hearts rebelling, and duties turn out badly. We should not avoid good actions because of the infirmities attending them. Christ looks more at the good in them which He means to cher-
ish than the ill in them which He means to abolish. Though eating in-
creases a disease, a sick man will still eat, so that nature may gain strength against the disease. So, though sin cleaves to what we do, yet let us do it, since we have to deal with so good a Lord, and the more strife we meet with, the more acceptance we shall have. Christ loves to taste of the good fruits that come from us, even though they will always savor of our old nature.

"A Christian complains he cannot pray. 'Oh, I am troubled with so many distracting thoughts, and never more than now!' But has [God] put into your heart a desire to pray? Then He will hear the desires of His own Spirit in you. 'We know not what we should pray for as we ought' (nor how to do anything else as we ought), but the Spirit helps our infirmities with 'groanings which cannot be uttered,' (Rom. 8:26), which are not hid from God. 'My groaning is not hid from You,' (Psa. 38:9). God can pick sense out of a confused prayer. These desires cry louder in His ears than your sins. Sometimes a Christian has such con-
fused thoughts that he can say nothing but, as a child, cries, 'O Fa-
ther,' not able to express what he needs, like Moses at the Red Sea. These stirrings of spirit touch the heart of God and melt Him into compassion towards us, when they come from the Spirit of adoption, and from a striving to be better."