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

FAITH IN CHRIST NOT IN THINGS

“…Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” (Heb 12:2 ESV).

“Would you have more faith?  Then seek to become more acquainted with Jesus Christ” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p196).

“Is there anything in the true Church of God that would…indicate a proneness to substitute for Christ something in the experience of the believer?  Indeed.  Examples are…only too common.  When the act of faith is substituted for the object of faith…Faith is only the channel through which…blessings are received.  And yet, who has not detected in his heart a tendency to look to faith for the evidence of his Christianity instead of to Christ, thus making the act of believing a substitute for the object in which we believe” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 29th)?

“…where there is true faith, Christ will always be known and realized, as an actual living personal Friend.  He that knows nothing of Christ as his own Priest, Physician, and Redeemer, knows nothing yet of believing” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p191)!

“We glorify God when our service comes from faith in his strength, because the one who gives the strength gets the glory….1 Pet 4:11” John Piper (ref#220, p212).

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).

FAITH

FAITH IS

“To believe, in the language of the New Testament, is simply to trust….Every one that believes on the Son of God, and trusts his soul to Him, is at once pardoned, forgiven, justified, counted righteous, reckoned innocent, and freed from all liability to condemnation” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p181).

“…doing something by relying on the strength which God supplies simply means doing it by faith” John Piper (ref#220, p245).  “…it is simply going out of yourself and taking up your rest in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 22nd).

“A true faith includes more than a mere belief; it is accepting the gospel…It is something more than a mere assent of the understanding, because it is called obeying the gospel…(1 Pet 4:17)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p93).

“…anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:35 ESV).

“…faith is trusting God and responding to him” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2104, [Acts 10:35]).  “Faith consists in two things: in being persuaded of the promises and in embracing them…(Heb 11:13)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p94).

“True belief in Christ is the unreserved trust of a heart convinced of sin, in Christ, as an all-sufficient Saviour.  It is the combined act of the whole man’s head, conscience, heart and will” J.C Ryle (ref#273, p183).  “The belief of an individual involves ‘the mind, emotions and the will’” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p4).

“Faith is likened to looking to Christ, and following Christ, and fleeing to Christ….Faith brings nothing to Christ but an empty hand, by which it takes Christ and all that is in Him” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p18).

“Faith is the ceasing from all nature’s efforts, and all other dependence; faith is confessed helplessness casting itself upon God’s promise, and claiming its fulfillment; faith is the putting ourselves quietly into God’s hands for Him to do his work” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p83).

SCRIPTURE

MEDITATING ON SCRIPTURE

“…to pursue holiness with discipline, we must do more than hear, read, study or memorize Scripture.  We must meditate on it” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p99).

“One cannot stress too much the necessity of reading and meditating upon the Book…the Word of God is not like any merely human book.  There is a spiritual as well as an intellectual element in the apprehension of it….Therefore, we must always avoid mere knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but must allow the Spirit of God to make personal application of the Word to our own lives….God’s Word is intensely practical” Alfred Martin (ref#260, p123).

“Meditation of Scripture is a discipline” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p170).  “We must choose to meditate instead of thinking about other things, or listening to the radio, or watching television.  We simply have to decide which end of the influence continuum we want to live on and take steps accordingly” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p171).

“It is not necessary that we should discover new ideas in our meditation.  Often this only diverts us and feeds our vanity.  It is sufficient if the Word, as we read and understand it, penetrates and dwells within us” Dietrich Bonhoeffer (ref#28, p83).

“Can we ever know positively that our understanding of Scripture is entirely correct?…we cannot.  But we can know positively whether we are seeking God’s truth in a manner that glorifies Him” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p132).

“’Lord, my sweetest privilege is obedience to Thee; my highest freedom is wearing Thy yoke; my greatest rest is bearing Thy burden…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 22nd).

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

NECESSITY OF SCRIPTURE

“..thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Ps 138:2 KJV).

“…let us become stronger in the Word that God has been pleased to communicate to us…so we might have much greater love for his holy Word and give ourselves wholly to it” John Calvin (ref#164, Dec 31st).

“…the works of creation…while they testify to ‘His power and Godhead’—thus leaving man inexcusable for his atheism—nowhere supply an answer to the momentous question, ‘What must I do to be saved?’…They tell of a fallen, but not of a restored humanity” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p33).

“We do not read anywhere that God delights in the cloud-capped mountains or the sparkling stars, but we do read that…His delights are ‘with the sons of men.’ (Prov 8:31)” Charles Surgeon (ref#34, Sept 21st AM).

FATHER, nature displays Your creative beauty and tells me there is a great and powerful GOD, but Your written words informs me of Your love for me personally.

“As a revelation of the love of God, His Word is inexpressibly precious.  We want to know more than the mind of God.  We are sinners, and we want to read His heart—His loving, gracious, sin-forgiving heart.  We want to know, not only what His thoughts and purposes are, but what His [thoughts] towards us are….And when we approach the subject yet closer…what a transcendent, marvelous unfolding of His love is presented in the gift of His beloved Son” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p36)!

“…There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus….” (2 Tim 3:14-17 MSG).

“Beloved, let this be the one and chief object in your study of the Bible: the knowledge of Jesus.  The Bible is not a history, a book of science, a poem—it is a record of Christ.  Study it to know more of Him, His nature, His love, His work” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p37).

“Of these Scriptures, He is the…substance, the sweetness, the glory—the one, precious, absorbing theme” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p37).  “Search the Scriptures, know the Scriptures, love the Scriptures, and live the Scriptures” John Calvin (ref#164, Dec 31st).

“Whatever you neglect, neglect not the Bible” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p37).

HOLY SPIRIT

GRIEVING THE SPIRIT

“Don’t grieve God.  Don’t break his heart.  His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself.  Don’t take such a gift for granted” (Eph 4:30 MSG).

“All that we know of ourselves spiritually, all that we know of God, of Jesus, and of His Word, we owe to the teaching of the Holy Spirit.  All the real light, sanctification, strength, and comfort we ever possess on our way to glory, we must ascribe to Him” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, March 19th).

“…the Spirit that God caused to live in us jealously yearns for us” (James 4:5 International Standard Version).

“Think of the grief of the Spirit of Love!  Who can measure the anguish of His rebuffs, reproaches, and rejection.  Love is sensitive.  It shrinks from distrust, indifference and reproach.  It yearns for love” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p 122-123).

“The Spirit though always the blessed occupant of the Church of Christ and of the individual believer, may not always be manifestly present.  The prayerless, unholy, and trifling walk of a believer will cause Him to withdraw His sensible presence.  The coldness, formality, worldliness, and divisions of a church will compel Him to withhold the plentiful rain or the gentle dew of His precious influence.  He may be so disowned, dishonored, wounded, and grieved, as to retire behind the curtains of His secret glory for a while, leaving the scene of worldliness and strife to the curse and the reproach of barrenness” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, March 19th).

Oh FATHER, You have graced me with the HOLY SPIRIT. And I plead for more of His influences, not less.   I remind myself it is my work to not interrupt His work.

HOLY SPIRIT

ABIDING WITH THE SPIRIT

“…the Holy Spirit…God has given to those who obey him” (Acts 5:32 ESV).

“The Spirit of God undertakes the achievement of an amazing work.  He enters the soul, and proposes to restore the empire of grace, the reign of holiness, and the throne of God.  He works to form all things anew, to create a revolution in favor of Christ and heaven.  He undertakes to change the heart, turning its enmity into love; to collect all the elements of darkness and confusion, changing them into perfect light and perfect order; to subdue the will, bringing it into harmony with God’s will; to explore all the recesses of sin, turning its very impurity into holiness; in a word, to regenerate the soul, restoring the divine image and fitting it for the full and eternal enjoyment of God in glory” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 4th).

So, first I have to make a habit of asking the FATHER daily for the SPIRIT.  Then I have to make a habit of recognizing often throughout the day His presence with me.  Then I have to discipline my actions to parallel the FATHER’s.

It’s just like possessing a new nature.  It can’t be in me latent but I must work it into my activities—use it—depend on it.  FATHER, my goal is to cast out my humanness and rely on the SPIRIT’s direction.

Refusing human fleshly thoughts will be a constant battle the rest of my life.  But practice leads toward perfectness.  I will never get there but the process (progression) will bring me more and more joy.  FATHER, thank You for the HOLY SPIRIT who brings You to me and takes my praise back to You.

Matthew, speaking of JESUS says “…He will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned”(Matt 3:11-12 MSG).