CONFESSION

THE BLOOD

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 3.58.38 PMThe blood of the Lamb cleanses me from sin—not just the first time I come to Him. It is not a once-and-for-all cleansing but the blood of CHRIST continues to flow—continues to cleanse. It saves me all the days of my life.

It is satan’s ploy to draw me to CHRIST for initial repentance and then drive me out in the wilderness so that I use my natural resources to fight sin going forward. Surely the Galatians thought as I, “CHRIST has saved me, now I have to get my act together.” The Apostle Paul accuses them: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh” (Gal 3:3 ESV)?

“You may struggle against evil as long as you please, but…you will never be delivered from it in any way but by the blood of Jesus.…Your prayers, your repentance, and your tears—the whole of them put together—are worth nothing apart from Him”  Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 23rd AM).

“In all failures in duty…remembering the innumerable tracers of imperfection and sin found upon all you do, deal frequently, closely, with the atoning blood. ‘Wash and be clean’ (2 Kings 5:13)” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, July 18th).

FATHER, remind me to always come.

“If you have ever come to the blood…you will feel your need of coming to it every day. He who does not desire to wash in it every day has never washed in it at all….there is still a fountain opened….Christ alone can give us joy and comfort….let us sprinkle our doorposts fresh with blood, and then, feast on the Lamb, assured that the destroying angel must pass us by” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 17th AM).

 

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ADORATION

UNEXAMPLED

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 3.48.02 PMFATHER, You are full of splendor

Your works are majestic (Ps 111:3).

You are exceptional, remarkable, special—

altogether extraordinary (ref#110, p482).

 

Because You are renowned

and greatly, oh so greatly famous (ref#110, p1137),

I ascribe to You,

glory and strength (Ps 29:1).

 

You are unexampled and unprecedented,

having no parallel (ref#110, p1457),

being wonderful, marvelous, amazing (ref#110, p1536),

and having exceptional merit (ref#110, p473).

 

You are incredible, splendid, supreme,

causing me astonishment (ref#110, p831),

excellent and outstanding (ref#110, p473)…

I ascribe to You glory (Ps 29:1).

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

PUZZLE PIECES ON THE CHANDELIER

5/19/14

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 5.03.57 PMYesterday was much worse than I anticipated. I knew it would be frustrating but not overwhelming.

I was up at 5AM anxious to start learning my new computer. (It was an absolute necessity to replace the old one if I was to continue writing my book.) But the trouble began Sunday when I picked up the new computer from the Geek Squad. They reminded me of a car dealership. Great relationship to sell, then contemptible service. I took it home thinking I would just learn everything by Internet video tutorials.

So, back to 5AM yesterday—by 6AM I had the computer so messed up it wouldn’t even turn off. Then I went off to visit my cell phone provider to get my email working. But, they couldn’t help with that. Called my Internet service provider – they didn’t help either. Each blamed the other. Oh, yes, now I remember about computers, service providers and tech people!

I had had enough. I walked away and went to working on a jigsaw puzzle. But my mind had not walked away and suddenly the puzzle pieces were scattered around the room and I was screaming, “Ok devil, you win.” I determined right then and there to return the computer and never touch another one again.

As I laid in bed sobbing, I realized that if I had to disband working on the book there was nothing I could turn to to occupy my time. That was the only thing I presently lived for! Desperate is too mild a word. GOD was quiet. The devil kept bombarding me. I did go pick up the puzzle pieces but cried the rest of the day.

So, maybe GOD wants me to stop spending time on the book. I’ve been enjoying doing it, maybe I’m doing it just for my benefit—you know, working for GOD with my own efforts. Should I return the computer and sit on my doorstep waiting for GOD to tell me what to do next?

I went to bed not hearing a peep out of GOD. I only determined I would hold off the rash decision to return the computer. I would get through this transition by pure grit. After all, I kept reminding myself that my plans were to take the month of June off from writing and just learn the new computer.

Truly, I was disappointed I had heard nothing from GOD. But, His silence did not shake me. I knew I still and always will stand on His strong foundation and nothing can remove me—even losing my head over a stupid computer.

By the end of the day yesterday I had a list of questions for the Geek Squad. So I have made an appointment to see them this afternoon. And now, waiting for time for the appointment I sat down to enjoy an Oswald Chambers book—“Still Higher for His Highest.”

GOD spoke—in His time, He spoke. Imagine that! I am not doing this book for my satisfaction. My heart is His. Has He not brought me into a “vivid, personal, overmastering relationship to Jesus Christ” (ref#157, Jan 9th)? I have given my life to GOD, no wonder I could not think yesterday of one other thing to do but book writing. I don’t think about satisfying myself. In 10 pages of reading Chamber’s book, GOD has addressed every accusation the devil made to me yesterday and proven his lies.

Oh, how difficult this world is but how sweet GOD’s truth is when He chooses the perfect time I need to hear it. He isn’t silent, but speaks encouragement to me exactly at the right time. Do I praise Him, or what?

SABBATH

APPLYING THE LORD’S DAY

…GOD set the day apart as the day of rest (Deuteronomy 5:14). But it is not simply a day of idleness or choosing some recreation. And, even though it doesn’t demand we spend the entire day in the presence of GOD only, we cannot satisfy the command by just attending church and doing what we want afterward.

With further investigation we find the day is not only for public and private exercises of worship but also permitted is duties of necessity and mercy [Westminster Confession of Faith] (ref# 164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 NASB). Contrary to the Mosaic Law, work can be done. JESUS teaches we will not break the command if we find it necessary to engage in:

  1. DUTIES OF NECESSITY (Matthew 12:3-4): Not only do I have to eat, etc., but in my case, I have responsibilities to the Worship team. So, if it’s imperative to do some essential labor, it’s okay.
  1. DUTIES OF MERCY (Matthew 12:11): JESUS instructs us not to neglect helping someone in immediate need. “…it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:12 NASB).

JESUS is LORD of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). We will not break the Sabbath law if we follow His example of behaving responsibly and compassionately.

SUPPLICATION

GOD’S PURSUIT

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 4.54.47 PMFATHER, Your love and patience toward each of us stretches over the entire expanse of our lives. I especially can’t fathom Your constant persistent efforts to pour out Your love on ____ who presently is resisting You.

The efforts You use to call ____ to respond to You, to name a few, are:

  • The magnificence of Your creation
  • Your providences of mercy (like providing food)
  • (His/Her) natural conscience
  • The Gospel You have explained in Your Bible (ref#61, Dec. 13th)

All these gestures toward ____ in love can be, day by day, always resisted. It saddens me to think of all Your many, constant, efforts to pursue ____and all (his/her) efforts to resist. This sadness drives me to pray. Unless You work “in people’s hearts to make the proclamation of the gospel effective, there will be no genuine saving response” (ref#63, p693).

Even though You have decided before we were born who will accept Your calling, Your called ones must voluntarily make a commitment to You. You will save no one “apart from their own willing response to the gospel” (ref#63, p693).

Thus my prayer becomes two-part. I pray for Your move, FATHER, and I pray that ____ take the responsibility to accept what You call (him/her) to.

THANKSGIVING

FEAR OF THE LORD

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 4.27.09 PMFATHER, Your Son delighted in the fear of You (Isa 11:3) and Isaiah the prophet predicted it will be Zion’s treasure (Isa 33:6). It is my delight as well. This day give me the ability to recognize some aspect of You that will produce fear.

Understanding the fear of You is to receive Your words and treasure Your commands seeking them intently (Prov 2:1,4,5). You say, the fear of You is the beginning of wisdom—it is insight and understanding (Prov 9:10).

There are two kinds of fear—paralyzing fear and energizing fear. Paralyzing fear comes to people who have no relationship with You when they recognize Your authority over them.

Your presence produces energizing fear though, for a Christian. Fear becomes an excitement waiting for what You will do next.

FATHER, I ask that energizing fear pull me out of my obsession with myself and into Your world of Your surprises (ref#58, p17). With such fear I will easily understand I’m not the center of my existence; (ref#58, p28) nor want to be.

Without some comprehension of You and Your awesome activities, FATHER, everything I do is a self-help project. When You and I are not close I become comfortable with myself and go about my daily business of setting goals and evaluating myself. But energizing fear makes me cast aside my predetermined plans and make an all-out effort to stay close to You (ref#58, p30).

No wonder CHRIST’s delight was the “fear of the LORD” (Isa 11:3). As Son of Man, He needed You, FATHER, minute by minute; His energized fear kept Him receiving miracle after miracle that filled Him with joy as well as moved Him through His earthly life accomplishing all Your will. Energizing fear, obedience, and joy come bundled together.

May I be like the first century church: …in possession of unbroken tranquility, being constantly built up and proceeding on its way in the fear of the Lord… Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p295, [Acts 9:31]).

 

CONFESSION

DISCIPLINE

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 4.14.34 PM…FATHER, lead me to the correct understanding of discipline so I may not only appreciate it but joy in it. My first thought when You present me with a painful, difficult, situation is that You are punishing me because You think I should know better.

I am quite aware that I commit many and varied sins, but I don’t need discipline because I’m a sinner, I need to be disciplined because I’m human (ref#5, p40). It is my prideful humanity You are attempting to root out of me; You are not attempting to discourage me from a particular sin.

Keep reminding me Your reproof is an indication that You care enough to teach me (Job 5:17). Certainly at the moment all discipline is painful rather than pleasant but it yields the fruit of righteousness (Heb 12:11).

FATHER, I will praise You because You discipline me in just measure (Jer 30:11). You promise I can always endure whatever circumstances You put me in (1 Cor 10:13). You are with me to save me (Jer 30:11). You give me power to keep myself calm in the days of adversity (Ps 94:13). Enduring the disciplinary trial proves my faith and produces perseverance and steadfastness and patience (James 1:3).

FATHER, commit to my understanding the fact that You issue discipline because You love me (Heb 12:6). When I go astray You call me back to You with discipline. Your steadfast love will not depart from me (2 Sam 7:14-15). You will not be false to Your faithfulness, nor violate Your covenant or alter the word that goes forth from Your lips (Ps 89:33-34). You chasten and scourge me because You cherish me (Heb 12:6).

“Divine love chastens because it sees the necessity for the correction. The Lord’s love is not blind affection….It is our mercy to know that love marks our iniquity, and that love and not justice, grace and not vengeance, holds the rod and administers the correction….those stripes of His rod are as much…the expression of His love as are the ‘kisses of His mouth’…” (ref#61, Jan 16th).

Submitting to Your discipline is good for me so I may share in Your holiness (Heb 12:10). I desire to be trained by it because it yields peaceful righteousness for me (Heb 12:11). Thank You for Your discipline.

ADORATION

WORSHIP

“…sing to the Lord a new song,… Make a joyful noise to the Lord,…break forth into joyous song and sing praises” (Ps 98:1,4 ESV)!

YOUR NAME ENDURES FOREVER

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 3.58.39 PM“It is good…to declare your steadfast love in the morning,

and your faithfulness by night,” (Ps 92:1-2 ESV).

“For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,

your faithfulness to the clouds” (Ps 57:10 ESV).

 

“Your righteousness is like the mountains…

your judgments are like the great deep;…” (Ps 36:6 ESV).

“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

and your dominion endures throughout all generations…” (Ps 145:13 ESV).

 

“…’Great and amazing are your deeds,

O Lord God the Almighty!

Just and true are your ways,

O King of the nations” (Rev 15:3 ESV)!

 

“Who will not fear, O Lord,

and glorify your name?

For you alone are holy.

…for your righteous acts have been revealed.’” (Rev 15:4 ESV).

 

“Your name, O Lord, endures forever,

your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages” (Ps 135:13 ESV).

“How great are your works, O LORD,

how profound your thoughts” (Ps 92:5 NIV)!

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

DISHWASHER FAILURE

2/9/10

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 4.47.20 PMThere was nothing left to do but throw a tantrum. I had done my out-loud yelling at myself to no avail. In my exhausted state, heart beating in my ears and eyes crossing, I had only one more task to complete before I could fall into bed. Starting the dishwasher would finish my care-giving obligations and I’d be going home tomorrow. But the dishwasher didn’t start.

“Just let me finish this one thing. The least I can do is work. Seems I’ve failed at everything else. But, no. So I threw myself into bed and slapped the covers over my head.

I had come to Ohio praying desperately to keep my mind on CHRIST. I had never succeeded keeping my mind on CHRIST while care giving. So, through the years, that had become my Ohio-bound goal.

But, there breathing the stale air under the covers, I admitted to myself this time that I had been more of a failure than ever before.

So, instead of enjoying a step toward Christlikeness, I fell on my face with failure—again. But, it was not just another failure. There was finality about it. In my honesty, I conceded I would never be able to move forward in CHRIST—certainly not in a care-giving situation.

I grew up in the church; therefore I don’t have a memory of a precise time of my salvation. Did I ever really accept CHRIST or have I been all these years just pretending I’m a Christian?

2/10/10

Well, I did get my face out of the covers and am home now. So, let me type in some notes I took during the weeks of care-giving:

“Does not GOD keep the drowning waters just below our noses? Is there anyone who can cling to victory more than fleeting moments? How often did King David break out in praise to His GOD? Yes, the Psalms are full of His praises, but what was his life like between the times he took up his pen to write?”

At my desk now, a little more under control, I recall King David’s life history recorded in I Chronicles and I and II Samuel. He went through similar circumstances as my care giving. He failed in many situations but this is what You, LORD say of David:

“…I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart,…” (Acts 13:22 ESV).

Oh…!

This is me, too! You love me, FATHER, and my heart loves You!!

Don’t I wish I had read that yesterday? I would have identified with King David—in his failures—in his praises.

FATHER, please, I don’t want to ever be so dejected as yesterday. Thank You for placing in Your Word a few of David’s Psalms that starts with his struggles and end in his praise to You. You do keep the drowning-water just below our noses so we can cast off our efforts and cling to You.

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

 “Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

 “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:1-6, ESV).

SABBATH

SABBATH

“The believer…keeps the law of God, not believing by keeping it we gain acceptance or approval with God, but rather we keep God’s law as a declaration of our grateful response to His love” Alistair Begg (ref#164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1692, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part One, Oct 31, 1993).

THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8 NASB).

We must have an internal conviction about keeping this commandment. And the convincing reason is the joy we gain in the LORD’s fellowship (ref#164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1692, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part One, Oct 31, 1993).

Remember an experience with someone where the interaction with him or her eclipsed all thought of your personal work or leisure. Recall the fellowship, love and joy of the occasion.

This is why GOD established the Sabbath—to give us a holiday to be together with Him. Enjoy this holiday.