Posts tagged ‘grace’

May 26, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (May 26th): Prayer for a Constant Supply of Grace

by Aaron Dunlop

Reading: “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not”Luke 22:32

O blessed Advocate within the veil, I come again this morning with a grateful heart that You are even now interceding for Your tried and tempted saints “that their faith fail not.” Impart to me, Lord, a constant supply of Your promised grace.

Not only sprinkle my heart with Your blood, but conquer it by Your love. Fill me with deep contrition for an erring past; inspire me with purposes of new obedience for the future. May I know, in my sweet experience, that “Your yoke is easy and Your burden light,” that, growing in holiness, I am growing in happiness too. Give me an increasing tenderness of conscience about sin. Lead me, with more filial devotedness, to cultivate a holy fear of offending so gracious a Father. Habitually realizing my new covenant relationship to You, may I ever be ready to exclaim with joyful sincerity, “O Lord, truly I am Your servant!”

Revive, blessed God, Your own work everywhere. “Take to Yourself Your great power, and reign.” Remove all hardness and blindness of heart, all contempt of Your Word. May it have free course and be glorified.

Bless my dear friends. However far separated from one another, we can ever meet at the same throne of the heavenly grace, pleading the same “exceeding great and precious promises.” May we all be following the same path of grace now and meet amid the endless joys of glory hereafter. And all I ask is for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

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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May 6, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (May 6th): Prayer for Sanctifying Grace

by Aaron Dunlop

“I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.”Exodus 31:13

Dear heavenly Father, may it be mine to know, in growing experience, the happiness of true holiness. May I jealously avoid all that is likely to estrange me from You, and zealously cultivate all that is calculated to draw me nearer towards You. “Your favor is life”—O show me that to lose Your favor is death indeed!

This blessed work of inward sanctification is Yours. Alas! I feel my constant proneness to wander from You and to seek my happiness in that which is perishable. My best resolutions, how frail! My warmest affections, how languid and lukewarm! My holiest moments, how distracted with vain thoughts and worldly cares! But strengthen me with all might, by Your Spirit, in the inner man. My daily cry would be, “More grace! more grace!” There is no sufficiency in myself; but have You not promised to make Your grace sufficient? May I make it my grand ambition to be marking, day by day, my Zion-ward progress—conformity to a holy God.

For this end, overrule all the dispensations of Your providence. May I hear a voice in each of them proclaiming, “Be holy.” May I be led to bear and rejoice in them all, if they can be the means of bringing me nearer Yourself. And may the grace of the Lord Jesus, and the love of God, and the communion and fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with me now and ever. Amen. .

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.

March 27, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (March 27th) Growing in Grace “More and more…”

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” 2 Peter 3:18  

One of the most encouraging signs in a young convert is to see spiritual growth. The change from a life of ungodliness to Christianity is distinct and clearly seen—there are many practices of life, speech and activities that are clearly changed as a result of conversion.

So often however, after that initial “new creature” experience we reach a plateau of Christianity and relax our pursuit of godliness.  Weeks slip into months and months into years and we cannot identify any one area of life that has seen growth, or a single sin overcome or a single grace developed.

How often we are content to be saved from hell but so distracted by the world around us. We have expectations of heaven and no pursuit of Christ-likeness. Our prayer life is ritualistic and barren, the Scriptures are read but without ever hearing the author speak through them, there is no active searching the heart for sin, no seeking for the work of the Spirit of God in the life. We are content to go on with certain sins so long as they are not too prominent—what we might call “acceptable sins” like pride, anger, gossiping, or discontent.

Christian, make it your one pursuit in life to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Seek to have the testimony of Patrick who said “more and more did my love of God and my fear of Him increase, and my faith grew and my spirit was stirred” (Confession, sec. 16).

“One thing essential to growth in grace is diligence in the use of private means of grace. By these I understand such means as a man must use by himself alone, and no one can use for him. I include under this head private prayer, private reading of the Scriptures, and private meditation and self-examination. The man who does not take pains about these three things must never expect to grow. Here are the roots of true Christianity. Wrong here, and a man is wrong all the way through.”—J.C. Ryle

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

May 11, 2014

Daily Devotionals (May 11th): Grace and Peace

by Aaron Dunlop

philippians

The word grace is perhaps the most controversial word in the history and development of Christian theology and at the same time the most famous in Christian hymnology, where it is described as “Amazing Grace.” We often refer to grace as the “unmerited favour of God.” This is a true statement as it stands, but grace never stops with God; it is dynamic, not static. The Bible speaks of grace as something that grows in the Christian (Ephesians 3:8) and in which the Christian grows (2 Peter 3:18). It is this growth in grace that brings peace to the Christian. There is no peace for the unbeliever outside of the grace of God, and there is no peace in the believer without growth in grace. It is the favour of God through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit—this is grace and peace.

Reading: “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”—Philippians 1:2 

July 11, 2013

Daily Devotionals: (July 11th) The Grace of Fear

by Aaron Dunlop

Reading: Genesis 3:10

Immediately after the fall of man into sin there was a strange calmness in the Garden of Eden. There was no thundering and lightening as would later accompany the justice of God against sin (as at Sinai and Calvary for example). Contrast this calmness with the turmoil in Adam’s heart. Fear, the most penetrating emotion of the human psyche had disrupted the once peaceful heart of man.

Where did Adam’s fear come from? Contrary to modern psychology, it was not from circumstances around him. As we have already noted, the garden was strangely calm. It was not from an abusive childhood. It was not even from the promise of punishment: “Thou shalt surely die.” Adam’s fear came from the knowledge that God was there. Adam’s fear is clearly from inside; it is his own conscience. But why did Adam fear? God had not spoken yet concerning his sin; there were no signs of divine anger. Did he not know God to be loving and gracious?

Adam knew God to be gracious, but he was also aware of the justice of God. We do well to fear God because of sin; it is a healthy fear and a mark of grace. Divine grace cannot abolish divine justice, so it awakens a healthy fear of justice and brings us penitently to the judge. Many have no shame for sin and no fear (Jeremiah 3:3; 8:12) and are bold in the face of God. But fear shows a consciousness of guilt before a just and holy God.

This fear of a just God is what motivated Paul to preach the gospel and persuade men to seek God’s mercy rather than try to hide from Him (2 Corinthians 5:11). The sinner has no cause to fear justice if he has found divine forgiveness (1 John 4:18).

“If sense and fear of wrath and punishment be your trouble … it concerns you, and it is your part and duty to turn to God, the King of Kings, whose name and nature is to forgive iniquity, transgression, and sins; and you may be accepted, go to him by Jesus Christ, whose office is to take away your sin, and to present you without sin to His Father.” Henry Scudder (The Christian’s Daily Walk, 228)

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