VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

DUPED AGAIN

8/2/09

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 9.23.12 AMI did it again, after vowing not to, after being informed—after knowing I shouldn’t, I still did.

I went to church and let what people said discourage me. I wasn’t going to do that because one of satan’s tactics is to point out my failings. I wasn’t going to let him ruffle me today, but I did.

There was something said about a subject I addressed in my book. I concluded I had arrived at the wrong conclusion. It was at that point I began to listen to satan. And then it took only minutes before he had me thoroughly convinced that all I would do is lead people astray if I published the book.

One may say that depressed people—people who can easily be swayed by the enemy, are deprived, but, not so. I came to lunch feeling very inadequate about my ability to glorify GOD. But, this is a good position to be in for I unconsciously give JESUS the invitation to come and encourage me.

It amazes me that JESUS is closer to me than satan but rarely do I recognize His presence unless I get into discouragement. Sure enough over lunch JESUS encouraged me as I read in Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to…grant to those who mourn…the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit:…that he (GOD) may be glorified. Isa 61:1,3

JESUS, You grant me gladness and the ability to praise along with everything else! Why am I wallowing in my inadequacies? I need to stop boohooing and let You do Your work. GOD needs to be proclaimed.

FATHER, Your Word has lifted me from the pit and I thank You for it. Yet, I can’t just skip away thinking only how blessed I am that You lift me from the valley and set me once again on a rock (Ps 40:1-2).

No—Let me say, “Praise be to You, GOD, who vindicates Your holy name (Ezek 36:22).” Then, let me remember my evil ways and deeds in the valley and loath myself (Ezek 36:31) for it is not for my sake You act but for Your holy name (Ezek 36:32)!

I will correct my mistake in the book and go on.

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SABBATH

THE DELIGHT OF THE SABBATH

…We really would love to have a list of steps to believe, honor and obey GOD (ref#164, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon#2097, “The Delight of the Sabbath” July 18, 1999). Oh, to just apply a list of dos and don’ts…

But, trouble happens when we look for lists. We fall into the category of sacrificing instead of obeying. The LORD desires we see our enjoyment of His blessings through obedience. Sacrifice is not pleasing to Him when we weary ourselves following a list of man-made rules. (1 Samuel 15:22)

God’s Word binds us only to Him and to His Word. We are free in matters of faith and worship from every human directive (from any kind of list).

“We are free from the doctrines and commandments of men” [Westminster Confession of Faith] (ref#164, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon#2097, “The Delight of the Sabbath” July 18, 1999).

CHRIST has purchased the right to be our only Master (ref#164, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon#2097, “The Delight of the Sabbath” July 18, 1999). So we must ask Him directly. We should ask Him every Sabbath what our agenda should be for the day.

SUPPLICATION

SO AFFLICTED PRAYING IMPOSSIBLE

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 3.20.13 PM“The God of providence has limited the time, manner, intensity, repetition, and effects of all our sicknesses…the limitation on sickness is wisely adapted to our strength, to the intended purpose of the sickness, and to the grace apportioned. Affliction does not come haphazardly” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, August 17th, PM).

FATHER, ____ may be too deeply absorbed in sorrow, or too weakened by disease and racked with pain to muster prayers to You. Many situations make ____ unfit for concentrated spiritual thought. But, sweet JESUS intercedes in (his/her) stead (ref#61, Feb 10th).

“…when human sympathy and power are exhausted, Jesus has ‘entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God’ (Heb 9:24)” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, Feb 10th).

Pray for ____, JESUS. When ____ in (his/her) affliction cannot think of You, aid (him/her) to know You are thinking of (him/her). You live to make intercession (Heb 7:25).

THANKSGIVING DAY 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 4.31.50 PMWhen the temperature arrives at 32 degrees Fahrenheit it hesitates, failing to move smoothly on its upward or downward path because it is at the point of change—water must become liquid or solid. 32 degrees is a defining point.

Another defining point is when I stand between the physical and spiritual world. It requires work to get from one to the other—especially from the all-to-familiar physical world to the spiritual world.

Moving off the defining point cannot be done unconsciously, (particularly moving to the spiritual world). It requires knowledge of what’s happening and discipline on my part to move ahead. I must exert energy and consciously prepare. My favorite words for this is: “to be purposeful.” I must decide to move to the spiritual. GOD makes it possible but I must actually do it.

But there is even more involved. The moment I resolve to move I am immediately entangled in a war where I encounter resistance and must become a fighter.

“…the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion…” (Matt 11:12 AMP).

In every one of the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation JESUS calls them to be conquerors (Rev 2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 2:26; 3:5; 3:12; 3:21). So, this fight is not just a decision to move forward, it requires persevering—battling—“storming heaven.”  That’s my part but… I CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT GOD.

So this Thanksgiving I am pleased to thank GOD for providing strength so I can conquer the resistance and move into the spiritual world.

  1. Thank You, FATHER, for aiding my resolve to throw back the warm covers in the morning and rise to commune with You.
  2. Thank You for giving me an accountability partner to ride with so that I’m less tempted to be lazy or fall off from attending prayer group on Thursday.
  3. Thank You for providing an opportunity to serve on Sunday mornings and the conviction to fulfill my obligations with excellence.
  4. Thank You, LORD, for the self-motivation You impart so I am able to sit long hours and write in Your presence.
  5. Thank You for the love of music so I can endure piano practice and find You in the song.

FATHER, when I will, You give me the power to overwhelmingly conquer (Rom 8:37). You make it possible for me to move off the defining point between the physical and spiritual world. I cannot fathom a “thanks” big enough to offer You for this.

CONFESSION

REFLECTIONS ON CHRIST

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 3.03.10 PMFATHER, my eyes are on CHRIST for “…my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly]…” (Phil 3:10 AMP).

FATHER, do not let me lose sight of my determined purpose. I gladly review the Glorious CHRIST through Your word.

CHRIST, You are gentle and humble in heart (Matt 11:29) and yet You overcome the world (John 16:33). You reflect the glory of Your FATHER and bear the very stamp of His nature; You uphold the universe by Your word of power (Heb 1:3) and yet You live and make Your home in me (1 John 3:24).

FATHER, in the face of JESUS CHRIST, Your glory is seen (2 Cor 4:6), yet CHRIST bears my grief and carries my sorrows (Isa 53:4). In Him all Your fullness dwells (Col 1:19), yet CHRIST personally rescues me and draws me to Himself, investing me with all the privileges of a new life in Him (1 Thes 1:10).

When CHRIST walked this earth, FATHER, He found that in Your presence, was fullness of joy and at Your right hand were pleasures forevermore (Ps 16:11). I desire fellowship with JESUS so that I may experience His joy of You fulfilled in myself. I want to comprehend CHRIST’s delight complete in me. Oh, that His joy may be perfected in my soul—that I may have His gladness filling my heart (John 17:13)

CHRIST is Your power working, FATHER, thus I have a personal trust springing from faith and leading to faith (Rom 1:16,17). Thank You for CHRIST Who is the Author and Perfecter of faith (Heb 12:2). Thank You for CHRIST Who enables me to move along in this world as He, Himself, did—from faith to faith.

ADORATION

 

“[God is a Spirit] this is one of the first, the greatest, the most sublime, and necessary truths in the compass of nature! There is a God, the cause of all things—the fountain of all perfection—without parts or dimensions, for he is ETERNAL—filling the heavens and the earth—pervading, governing, and upholding all things: for he is an infinite SPIRIT” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [John 4:24])!

GOD IS MY SALVATION

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 2.47.34 PMOf old You laid the foundation of the earth,

and the heavens are the work of Your hands.

They will perish, but You will endure;

they will grow old, but Your years will have no end (Ps 102:25-27).

 

Before the mountains were brought forth,

or ever You had formed the earth,

even from everlasting to everlasting,

You are God (Ps 90:2).

 

You are the Rock, Your work is perfect;

for all Your ways are just,

a God of truth, without iniquity—

righteous and upright are You (Deut 32:4).

 

Behold, You are my salvation,

I will trust and not be afraid;

yes, the LORD, is my strength and song;

You also have become my salvation (Isa 12:2).

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

THE BENEFITS OF SINNING

3/24/15

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 2.37.38 PMWell, I need to write this. Maybe I can get it out of my system so I can go back to bed and sleep.

The situation was something difficult for me; I knew I didn’t have the talent to preform it well. So, I practiced—and practiced, setting everything up in a way that I could get through the morning.

But, I wasn’t directing the morning. Immediately there were events that I didn’t anticipate. By the time the second change happened, I lost all confidence in getting through the situation successfully.

How I had prayed that GOD would be glorified. How I wanted to lose myself in the task and enjoy His presence. But all thought of GOD crumbled when I knew I was going to fail at what I committed myself to.

Because I knew I was going to showcase my failure in front of 50 or so people I was panicked—numb, unable to think straight. I wanted to concentrate and memorize the changes in the situation so I would not fail so badly, but my panic would not let me. The little bit of thought panic allowed, was my realization I was crashing into the self-pity pit.

You know sometimes you think you can hide your feelings. Well, I knew I wasn’t hiding my feelings. Everyone around me knew I was out of sorts. My lousy attitude even incited a friend to speak cross words to me. All I wanted to do was run out the door but pride caused me to set my jaw and go through the situation.

But, wonders of wonders. Me, totally sucked into deep sin, experienced GOD blessing people through my wickedness. Thank You, FATHER!

Thirty some hours later now, the SPIRIT has pointed out many sins. And, He probably still isn’t done. I am so anxious to get to tomorrow so I can see my friend and ask her to forgive my bad attitude.

And, what have I learned from all this?—that I fall into sin and will always fall into sin. The prince of this world can dupe me. But, thank You, FATHER, You use my ugliness to move me toward holiness.

If I had not sinned, and the SPIRIT had not convicted me, I would not be now begging to come into Your presence to be healed. All these little incidents of failure, I pray, teach me to come into Your presence sooner and sooner.

 

SABBATH

THE GIFT OF THE SABBATH

…In creation GOD rested from His work not because He was tired but because He was establishing a cycle of life—six days work, one day rest (ref#164, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon#2096, “Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath” July 11, 1999).

“This day is a gift from God to be experienced as a delight and a joy—a day that shapes and frames your life, creates purpose, and structure and order and cohesion and a day that goes a long way to relieving panic and stress” Alistair Begg (ref#164, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon#2097, “The Delight of the Sabbath” July 18, 1999).

Do you feel like the energizer bunny? If you identify with the following words, then the Sabbath rest is crucial:

Fatigue

Nervous excitability

Disease

Impatience

Rashness

(ref#164, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon#2097, “The Delight of the Sabbath” July 18, 1999).

SUPPLICATION

KEEPING THE SABBATH

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 4.21.23 PMFATHER, I pray for ____ to guard (his/her) Sabbaths. Sometimes without knowing, the world, satan, and (his/her) own flesh succeed at turning everything gray. There is no way (he/she) can comprehend the dullness until (he/she) sits before You during (his/her) Sabbath.

FATHER, make ____ realize, as You commune with (him/her), how weak (he/she) has become living the last six days in the world, them pour into (him/her) the strength (he/she) will need for the next six days.   Being in Your presence not only allows ____ to let go of the week prior but also energizes (him/her) for the next.

No one recognizes burnout until they are burned out. So alert ____ to (his/her) desperate need for more strength—strength needed to joyously obey You that can only be provided by the HOLY SPIRIT. Draw (him/her) into Your rest as (he/she) settles in to waiting in Your presence. Only in waiting before You can (he/she) compare (his/her) weak present condition with the joyous strength You are able to infuse in (him/her).

You are very serious about demanding Sabbath-keeping (Ex 31:14) for You know how harmful not keeping it is. On the Sabbath, FATHER, do not let ____ settle for just resting (his/her) body or satisfying (himself/herself) with a diversion from (his/her) work (Isa 58:13). Don’t let (him/her) even be content to learn more of You or worship You.

In Your presence is fullness of joy (Ps 16:11). Give ____ the knowing that (he/she) will have all (he/she) needs for the coming week so (he/she) may rejoice in Your provision. Draw (him/her), LORD, into keeping the Sabbath. For joy in You is (his/her) strength (Neh 8:10).

THANKSGIVING

TRUSTING IN HOLY SPIRIT

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 4.09.32 PM“He breathes the mind and life of Christ in me, so that I live as He did, in and for the Father’s love” Andrew Murray (ref#19, SEVENTH LESSON).

“…I trust the Holy Spirit. He has begun to deliver me from my innate sins, and I trust Him to drive them all out. I trust Him to curb my temper, to subdue my will, to enlighten my understanding, to check my passions, to comfort my despondency, to help my weakness, to illuminate my darkness. I trust Him to dwell in me as my life; to reign in me as my King; to sanctify me wholly, spirit, soul, and body; and to take me up to dwell with the ‘saints in light’ (Col 1:12) forever” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Oct 7th PM).

FATHER, thank You that the SPIRIT abides with me forever—permanently—even though I may not be sensible to His presence—even though He may withhold His comfort or suspend His influence for a while when I am walking carelessly. He may even permit indwelling corruptions for a moment but even when He breaks my heart, He always binds it up. He may fill me with godly grief but then thanksgiving (ref#61, Aug 26th). SPIRIT, thank You; I rely on You.