FAITH

WEAK FAITH

“Faith has its trials as well as its temptations….The faith of a child of God may not only be severely assailed, but there are times when that faith may waver greatly….Nothing but the divinity that dwells within that grace keeps it….David: in the strength of faith slaying Goliath, and in the weakness of faith fleeing from Saul!…Nothing but the power of God and its own incorruptible and imperishable nature preserve it” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 2nd).

“You don’t have to hide in guilt when weak faith gets you off the path, because your hope in life isn’t your faithfulness, but his.  You can run in weakness and once again seek his strength.  And you can know that in zealous grace he will not leave his craftwork until faith fully rules our heart unchallenged.  He always gives freely what we need in order to do what he has called us to do” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 12th).

“…this direct faith; it is simply resting upon Christ…realizing our utter weakness and helplessness and hopelessness….” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 10th).

FATHER, when I recognize weak faith my first reaction is to rely on myself to rise to the occasion.  Misguided, I think I own faith and it is my responsibility to make it better.  But, no; I own nothing; I have given my life to CHRIST.  Now that I know, continually remind me that my strength of faith comes from You.  If I dislike my weak faith let me turn to You and plead and not think twice of trying to raise faith myself.

FAITH

FAITH IN SUFFERING

“…Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through…suffering comes out proved genuine…” (1 Pet 1:6-7 MSG).

“…Paul…had a thorn in the flesh, and he could not understand it.  It seemed all wrong to him.  He wanted to preach the Gospel, but the thorn was a hindrance to him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, May 6th).

“Let us trust this love.  Trust it when veiled, trust it when it threatens to slay, trust it when it seems to frown, trust it even when we cannot trace it” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 6th).

“Jesus…is a…Brother born for your adversity.  His grace and sympathy are sufficient for you….You are now to walk by faith and not by sight.  This, then, is the great secret of a life of faith: to hang on Jesus daily, to go to Him in every trial, to cast every burden on Him, to take the infirmity, the corruption, the cross, as it rises, simply and immediately to Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 4th).

“According to the degree of our faith will be the degree of our peace, our hope, our strength for duty, and our patience in trial” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p195).  “…your faith may be sharply tempted or severely tried, but it shall never, never quite fail; for Jesus lives in you, and lives in you forever” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 3rd).

“…I am suffering…But I am not ashamed…for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return” (2 Tim 1:12 NLT).

FAITH

SUPERNATURAL FAITH

“I need emancipation; I need to be lifted to another realm; I need a force and a strength and a power that I do not have myself.  That is my need, and here is the answer: I am given faith—I am given an outlook and understanding—I am introduced to a source of power” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 7th).

“Faith means you take God at his word, you never let yourself think that you’re smarter than him, and you live inside his boundaries….We tend to live by sight, by personal experience, by collective research, or by good old intuition, but faith isn’t natural” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, April 17th).

“The highest rational knowledge of God cannot profit without the knowledge of faith….In the Scriptures, Christians are not called knowing persons, but believers” Thomas Watson (ref#225, p151).

“…trusting God to shape the right living in us…It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is…God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead….You’re not ‘doing’ anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation….” (Rom 10:4-10 MSG).

“The obedience that gives God pleasure is produced by the power of God’s grace through faith.  The same dynamic is at work at every stage of the Christian life.  The power of God’s grace that saves through faith (Eph 2:8) is the same power of God’s grace that sanctifies through faith” John Piper (ref#220, p245).

 “…God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power…” (1 Cor 2:4-5 MSG).

FAITH

UNBELIEF

“’…If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all’” (Isa 7:9 ESV).

There is a significant difference between amazement and faith.  God doesn’t just want to blow your mind; he wants to rule your heart….You can be amazed by the grand sweep of the redemptive story in Scripture and not be living by faith…You can be amazed by the great worship music you participate in every Sunday and not be living by faith….You can be amazed by the wonderful biblical preaching and teaching that you hear and not be living by faith” David Paul Tripp (ref#190, June 27th).

“There is nothing really mysterious and hard to understand about saving belief.  But the whole difficulty arises from man’s pride and self-righteousness….They cannot understand it because they will not stoop” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p182).

“’…my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him’” (Heb 10:38 ESV).

“…faith…the more it is exercised, the mightier it becomes…God never places His child in any difficulties or throws on him any cross except to call faith to exercise; and if the opportunity of its exercise passes away without improvement, the effect will be a weakening of the principle and a feeble exertion of power in the next trial” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 27th).

FATHER, what scary information—that the less faith I have the less faith I have.  This hits on the subject of obedience.  How many times does my memory tell me of my disobedience?  Please keep me in remembrance of these four words: “disobedience flows from unbelief” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2366, [Heb 3:15-19]).  My disobedience is caused by not trusting You fully.  Oh to have great faith!

“…the real trouble with most Christian people is not so much in the realm of their conduct and practise as in the realm of their belief” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p39-40).  “The commandments of God are only as hard to obey as the promises of God are hard to believe” John Piper (ref#220, p250).

“Nothing more effectually…obscures our view of Christ than the sin of unbelief.  Not fully believing His Word, not simply and implicitly relying on His work, not trusting His faithfulness and love…”  Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 1st).

“…whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23 ESV).

SCRIPTURE

THE STORE HOUSE OF SCRIPTURE

“What informs your life?…We can allow a lot of things to supplant the proper role of scriptures in our lives…parents; friends; movies; music; media; scientific theories; teachers; professors” JD Blom (ref#276).

“…men and women, instead of taking the message as it is in the Bible, are imposing their own message upon it.  They are approaching it with their philosophies, their theories, their ideas, and their attempts to understand; and they are bypassing what is stated in this Book that is open before them in a language that all can understand” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, July 9th).

“The idea of much liberal theology is that Christian theology should be interpreted from the stand point of modern knowledge and experience.  Jesus is saying that this should absolutely NOT be the case.  The scriptures alone are the primary source for informing and guiding our lives” JD Blom (ref#276).

FATHER, I confess it is so easy to pluck up sensible facts from trusted friends and plant them in my personal doctrinal garden.  Trusting the Bible to inform me is hard work that I naturally don’t want to do.  Therefore, help me continue the habit of enlightening myself with Your Scriptures on a routine basis.

“…holy and sanctifying are the nature and the effect of divine truth….It brings down and lays low the high thoughts of man by revealing to him the character of God; it convinces him of his deep guilt and awful condemnation by exhibiting the divine law; it unfolds to him God’s hatred of sin and His justice in punishing and His mercy in pardoning it…it implants new principles, supplies new motives, gives a new end, begets new joys, and inspires new hopes—in a word, diffuses itself through the whole moral man, changes it into the same image, and transforms it into ‘an habitation of God through the Spirit’” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 22nd).

“Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces” (Jer 23:29 ESV)?  “God’s word shatters the sinful heart” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1417, [Jer 23:29]).

“We are never the same after listening to the truth; we may forget it, but we will meet it again….A man may not grasp all that is said, but something in him is intuitively held by it” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, April 3rd).

“…there is still an infinite storehouse of understanding of the mind of God waiting for us in Scripture” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p175).

SCRIPTURE

BIBLICAL WRITERS

FATHER, now is the time I sit before a large table full of paper slips placed into subject piles all containing quotes about Your Holy Scriptures.  Thank You for the honor to record what Your godly people have said about Your Book.  But, all these quotes are written by men and women who don’t possess the SPIRIT in order to write Your exact words.  Only men who have written the Bible fit that category.

“Sermons, and tracts, and theological writings of all kinds, may be sound and edifying, but they are only the handiwork of uninspired man.  The Bible alone is the Book of God” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p3).

“All the words in Scripture are God’s words” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p73).  “Its first line, its last line, all its teachings, understood or not understood, are by the same Author…Whoever may have been the writers—whatever their circumstances, their impressions, their comprehension of the book, and the measure of their individuality in this powerful and mysterious operation—they have all written faithfully and under superintendence…under the guidance of the same Master, for Whom a thousand years are as one day; and the result has been the Bible” Louis Gaussen (ref#246, p8-9, “God-breathed Scripture”).

“The apostles and prophets were the people to whom God revealed spiritual truth” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 7th).

“…no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21 ESV).

“…when these…were written, it was not a case of a man in control of himself, using his natural powers and propensities and abilities, thinking things out and then writing as best he could.  Not at all!  The whole time, he was controlled by…the Spirit…this divine energy.  This divine [creative impulse] came upon him, it held him and carried him, and he was borne along by the Spirit.  And it was as a result of that process that…prophecies and…Scriptures came into being” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#250, p45).

“If the Bible is not inspired in the strictest sense of the word, then it is worthless; for it claims to be God’s Word” A.W. Pink (ref#250, p3, “The Impregnable Rock”).

SCRIPTURE

WHAT IS THE BIBLE?

“The Bible isn’t a series of stories.  It isn’t a catalog of interesting characters.  It isn’t a manual of theology.  It isn’t a book of interesting wisdom principles.  One story, with one hero, forms the cord that holds the whole Bible together.  The Bible is essentially the story of redemption. This grand redemptive story, with God’s essential explanatory notes, is the main content of the Word of God” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Dec 9th).

“The message of the Bible is not to urge us to try to find truth; it is to ask us to listen to the truth, to God’s truth.  For its whole point is to say that God, knowing Himself, knowing man, knowing everything, has devised and schemed a plan whereby men and women can be delivered out of their failure and sin and can be made citizens and worthy citizens of God’s kingdom.  This is God’s plan” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, July 2nd)!

“…God’s faithfulness to his people convinces us that there is nothing missing from Scripture that God thinks we need to know for obeying him and trusting him fully….Scripture today is exactly what God wanted it to be, and it will stay that way until Christ returns” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p68-69).  “…He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words” (Heb 1:1-3 MSG)!

“O Word of God Incarnate”

 

O Word of God incarnate, O wisdom from on high,

O truth unchanged, unchanging, O light of our dark sky;

We praise thee for the radiance that from the hallowed page,

A lantern to our footsteps, shines on from age to age.

 

The church from her dear Master received the gift divine,

And still that light she lifteth o’er all the earth to shine.

It is the golden casket, where gems of truth are stored;

It is the heave’n-drawn picture of Christ, the Living Word.

 

It floateth like a banner before God’s host unfurled;

It shineth like a beacon above the darkling world.

It is the chart and compass that o’er life’s surging sea,

‘Mid mists and rocks and quicksands, still guides, O Christ to thee.

 

O make thy church, dear Savior, a lamp of purest gold,

To bear before the nations thy true light, as of old.

O teach thy wand’ring pilgrims by this their path to trace,

Till, clouds and darkness ended, they see thee face to face.

 

Author: William Walsham How, 1867 Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p72)

HOLY SPIRIT

THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THE CHURCH

“It is for the church to explore the resources of the Spirit; the resources of the world are futile” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p19).

“…the Church of God has two Paracletes, or Advocates – one in heaven with the Father, Christ, and the other on earth, in the heart of the believer, even the Holy Spirit” Charles Ross (ref#241, p90).

“The Father gave Him [CHRIST] the gift, and He passes it on to us;…The gift of the Holy Ghost to the Church is also, then, the absolute proof of the sufficiency of the work of Christ and of its acceptance with God….’I accept your work, it is sufficient; You have died for the redeemed, they are Your people.  So I will give you My Spirit to give to them, and then they will know that they are Your people and My people…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p138).

“ He [the SPIRIT] has come to reign over each and all.  Jesus Christ had defined His mission and outlined His program.  He was to unify them into one Body, guide them into all truth, and strengthen them for all service.  In the Church He is the supreme executive, but He has His seat in the soul.  He directs all things from the spiritual center of the inner life” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p44).  “His objective is to produce holiness…But His ultimate work is to make us a holy people…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 2nd).

FATHER, I know that the HOLY SPIRIT will create in all of us who CHRIST claims as His bride, holiness and purity.  Your perfect will is to bring us a life of prayer and brokenness before Your throne.  I hunger to be secluded with You in the secret closet waiting for You to bring Your remnant church into one mind—living only for You. David Wilkerson (ref#138, p165).

HOLY SPIRIT

THE SPIRIT’S MOVEMENTS – EXAMPLES

“…God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient…” (1 Pet 1:1-2 MSG).

“Can you work yourself up into being an automatically loving person in every situation, to all people, consistently over time?  I doubt it. Can you try and try and try to be a joyful person to the point where you suddenly become joyful always, no matter what is happening?  No.  It is only as we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us—opening ourselves continually to His power and presence—that our very nature is transformed…”  Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p62).

So, how do I know if flesh is moving me or the SPIRIT?  I can get up on Sunday morning and go to church; did the SPIRIT move me to do that? Maybe, but probably not.  I (flesh) just decided to do it (probably because it is a habit and expected of me).

Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes the moving of the SPIRIT this way: “…you are aware of the power of God dealing with you, surging and rising within you, and you are amazed and astonished….a wonder-working power active in you, moving, disturbing, leading, persuading, drawing you ever onward” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 19th)?

I know the SPIRIT resides in me:

When a command materializes in my head and I don’t default to rationalization.

When my thinking is clear and my will is willing.

When I can observe clearly the enemy’s activity.

When I easily confess my sins and forgive the sins of others.

When I know the preacher is speaking directly to me.

When I possess the boldness to witness.

When GOD’s will becomes easy to perform.

When my prayer is answered before I am done praying.

When I write blogs and don’t get hungry or tired.

When I have endless patience while waiting for the LORD.

When I try to express inexpressible joy because I understand now that He lives to order me aright.

When His words are so hot on the page I’m reading I lift my hands in submission and praise.

 “…the gift of the Spirit always sets the heart singing. Its confidence is unwavering, its power is invincible, and its joy unspeakable” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p34). AMEN!

HOLY SPIRIT

BABES IN CHRIST

“…make certain about His calling and choosing you…” (2 Peter 1:10 NASB).

FATHER, it is not that You commission me to work hard so that You choose me.  No, You have already chosen me and I need to convince myself that You have chosen me.  What pleases You and proves to me that fact is my complete submission to the HOLY SPIRIT. Thank You for the joy that fills my heart when I obey.

“Religious enterprise that has not learned to rely on the Holy Spirit makes everything depend on the human intellect—‘God has said so-and-so, now believe it and it will be all right’, but it won’t.  The basis of Jesus Christ’s religion is the acceptance of a new Spirit, not a new creed,…” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, Sept 10th).

Christ had unfolded to His disciples an infinite system of truth, but it lay cold and dead in their memories. He deposited precious seed in the soil; but the soil lacked the warmth and sunshine that the Spirit of God alone could give. Compare the difference between the disciples before and after Pentecost. When the Spirit of God is in you you have spiritual

  1. Life.
  2. Satisfaction.
  3. Power.”

(D. Thomas, The Spirit With You and In You,[John 14:16], (New York, NY: The Bible Illustrator, 1905-1909, https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/14-16.html)

“…we cannot transform ourselves.  Only the Holy Spirit can do that….we must bring ourselves under the transforming action of the Holy Spirit.  This means…that we must continually submit our minds to the Word of God, which is the chief instrument the Holy Spirit uses to transform us” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p172-173).

“The greatest test is that the true Spirit always glorifies Christ.  Christ is always in the center….The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of order, not of disorder,  Doctrine and love are required; experience and power, intellect and mind—the whole person is involved and functions as this perfectly balanced body with no schism, with no rivalry and competition, but with the whole manifesting and ministering unto the glory of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Make sure the Spirit of God is in you” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 5th).