Posts tagged ‘faith’

June 8, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (June 8th): Prayer for the Simplicity of Faith

by Aaron Dunlop

Reading: “Only believe.” —Mark 5:36

O eternal, ever-blessed fountain of all light, source of all happiness, “God of all grace,” look down upon me this morning with that love which “You bear to Your own,” as I venture anew into Your sacred presence. Let me enjoy a sweet season of fellowship with You. Let the world be shut out and may I feel alone with God. “Under the shadow of Your wings would I rejoice.”

I come in the nothingness of the creature, standing alone in the fullness of Jesus. I come “just as I am, without one plea” as a sinner and as the “chief of sinners” to You, almighty Saviour. I seek to disown all creature confidence, and, with all the burden of my guilt, to cast myself for time and for eternity at Your feet. “Lord, save me, else I perish.” I cannot stand in myself. I can stand only in Him who has stood so willingly a surety for me, who is still at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, presenting my name and my prayers and my plea before the throne.

have no other confidence, and I need no other. Jesus, I am complete in You. Let me not look inwardly on myself, where there is everything to sink me in despondency and dismay; but let me look with the undivided and unwavering eye of faith to Your bleeding sacrifice. I rejoice to think of the many robes in the church triumphant Your blood has already made white. I rejoice to know that the same blood is free as ever, the same invitation is addressed as ever, the promise and He who promised remain “faithful” as ever: “Him who comes to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Adapted from the Rev. John McDuff, D.D., The Morning Watches, 1852.

John Ross Macduff was born at Bonhard, near Perth, on May 23, 1818. After studying at the University of Edinburgh, he became parish minister of Kettins, Forfarshire,  in 1842. In 1849 he moved to St. Madoes, Perthshire, and in 1855 to Sandyford, Glasgow. He received the degree of D.D. from the University of Glasgow in 1862, and from the University of New York about the same time. He retired from pastoral work in 1871, moved to Chislehurst, Kent where he died in 1887.

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April 16, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (April 16th) Faith in the Purposes of God

by Aaron Dunlop

Reading: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15

That Christ rose from the dead speaks to the victory over Satan and the fulfillment of that first great promise of the Lord in Genesis 3:15. Christ, the champion has appeared, and the work is going on which will accomplish the great prediction on which the destiny of our race hangs—the head of the serpent crushed.

We know that the government of the world is in the hand of God and therefore we may rest assured that there is not a single link in the apparently perplexed chain of human events which does not connect with and guide to the coming glory. And we may rest assured not only that all the histories of the kingdoms of this world are under the influence of an unfelt but irresistible control, but also that personal events as well as national, private as well as public, are all under the same mandate, commissioned to lead on to the same great consummation—the Kingdom which cannot be moved.

This truth gives a seriousness and dignity to everything. It banishes littleness from life, because it connects all life with the glory of the risen Saviour and the eradication of evil. When the eye of the spirit is thus opened to see God working, in everything and by everything, to bring on the reign of righteousness, we shall feel ourselves invited to the blessed privilege of entering into the purposes of God, of sympathizing with the everlasting counsels of His grace, of rejoicing in their assured fulfillment. The believer knows that it is not in vain and that the rule of God in the universe has called him to do all things to the glory of God.

“What is God’s remedy for dejection at apparent failure in our labours? This—the assurance that God’s purpose cannot fail, that God’s plans cannot miscarry, that God’s will must be done. Our labours are not intended to bring about that which God has not decreed.”—A. W. Pink

Adapted from Thomas Erskine (1788–1870)


March 25, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (March 25th) Faith in a Sovereign God

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28  

Some hold to the notion that faith is really just a religious system—the I-have-my-own-faith mentality. Others look on the life of faith as a type of “magic formula”—the idea that God has promised me whatever I pray for, as long as I ask “in faith.” This life of “faith” in effect transfers sovereignty from God to man—God does my will, rather than my will being submitted to His. But true faith is a humble submission to the sovereign will of God, “in whatsoever state I am” (Philippians 4:11)

Patrick learned about the sovereignty of God early in life through great affliction when he was taken captive “as a youth, indeed almost a boy without any beard (Confession, sec. 10). Even then he knew that God had brought him low, into the valley of humiliation for a purpose and that he “deserved it.” He says, [and God] “scattered us among many peoples even to the ends of the earth, where now I in my insignificance find myself among foreigners.… And there the Lord opened up my awareness of my unbelief” (Confession, sec. 1,  2). God had a very definite purpose in the suffering of Patrick—suffering that proved to be for Patrick’s good.

It was in sufferings that Patrick learned to look to God and to lean on Him. This confidence in the sovereignty of God that Patrick learned as a young Christian never left him, and he leaned to trust the purpose of God for good in whatever came his way. In prayer he said, “So that today among the heathen I might steadfastly exalt and magnify Your name wherever I find myself, and not only in success but also in affliction And so whatever happens to me, be it good or bad, I should accept it calmly and always give thanks to God who showed me that I might place implicit and unlimited trust in Him, and who helped me so that I, for all my ignorance, should in the last days venture to undertake such devout and wonderful work” (Confession, sec. 34).

“Our Lord does not promise to change life for us; He does not promise to remove difficulties and trials and problems and tribulations; He does not say that He is going to cut out all the thorns and leave the roses with their wonderful perfume. No; He faces life realistically, and tells us that these are things to which the flesh is heir, and which are bound to come. But He assures us that we can so know Him that, whatever happens, we need never be frightened, we need never be alarmed.”—D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

All quotations from the Confession or Letter of Patrick are taken from the edition by A. B. E. Hood, 1978.

March 24, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (March 24th) Personal Faith

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4

We hear a lot in the news today about “faith.” When the media interviews someone who has been overtaken by tragedy, the person will often say something like, “I have faith,” or, “My faith will see me through this.” We hear this also as we engage in personal evangelism. Someone refuses a gospel tract with the polite rebuff, “I have my own faith.” Generally what is meant by “faith” in such a case is a religious system: the “Protestant faith,” the “Catholic faith,” the “Mormon faith,” or some other system of religious teaching.

The true believer, however, can speak of a personal faith, not just an impersonal system of truth held to. Saving faith is a personal faith. It is a faith that God gives me along with the ability to exercise it. It is, therefore, “the life of God in the soul of man.”

It is this personal aspect of saving faith that makes it real, vital, and bold, and it was out of this experience that Patrick wrote, “Sufficient is the honour which is not yet seen but of which the heart is assured; and He that has made the promise is faithful, He never lies” (Confession, sec. 54).

That Jesus saves is a blessed truth to preach, but that He has saved me is infinitely more blessed—and the heart is assured. I might be unknown in this life and have little honour, but Jesus knows me, and the Father has promised to honour me in Him—and the heart is assured. I might suffer in this life and my body be wracked with pain and disease, but I am promised a body like unto His glorious body—and the heart is assured. I might not have much by way of earthly goods, but He has promised me an “inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for [me] (1 Peter 1:4)—and the heart is assured. This is the God-given faith by which I live and shall live!

“Faith upholds a Christian under all trials, by assuring him that every painful dispensation is under the direction of his Lord; that chastisements are a token of His love; that the season, measure, and continuance of his sufferings, are appointed by Infinite Wisdom, and designed to work for his everlasting good; and that grace and strength shall be afforded him, according to his need.”—John Newton

All quotations from the Confession or Letter of Patrick are taken from the edition by A. B. E. Hood, 1978.

April 5, 2014

Daily Devotional (April 5th): Heroic Faith

by Aaron Dunlop

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“[After repentance] I started to obey God in my heart one step at a time…. I learned that we must obey in faith before we feel better or different. At this time, though, obeying in faith, to me, felt like throwing myself off a cliff. Faith that endures is heroic, not sentimental.” (p. 22)

Reading: “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”—Habakkuk 2:4

Selections from The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (Pittsburgh: Crown & Covenant, 2012). Used with permission.

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