SABBATH

THE SABBATH, OUR JOY AND DELIGHT

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 11.00.53 AM“The LORD’s Day is supposed to be holy and honorable…need to protect the LORD’s Day from improper activities. Calls us to careful, thoughtful use of our time…not a day for idleness or simply doing as we please but neither is it to be a burden…because it is an exquisite delight…a day for reverential thoughtful use…coupled with genuine joy and the determining factor of our conduct…does this or that activity defile or honor the sanctity of the Day” Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon# 2098, “The Gift of the Sabbath” July 18, 1999).

“What is the chief end of man? It is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever” John Piper (ref#165, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon# 2098, “The Gift of the Sabbath” July 18, 1999).

Consider yourself, what are your feelings about observing the Sabbath? Does it make you happy that GOD commands your attention on His Day?

“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16 ESV).

If you are willing to obey the command but not happy about it, you need to consider if you are only acting like a Christian instead of being a real Christian. If you suspect that might be a little true or a lot true, GOD provides a way for you to find joy in Him. In the Scripture below He gives the means. Repentance is always accepted.

“…If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me….” (Jeremiah 15:19 ESV).

And, if you think lightly of the Sabbath command, you will want to read Jeremiah 17:19-27.

SUPPLICATION

Because we are Christians and live in the world we will always need prayer for our walk and for witnessing to others about CHRIST.  Here’s an opportunity to pray for others or even ourselves.  Fill their name or your name in the blanks.

WAITING FOR HIM

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 1.12.44 PM…FATHER, just over ____’s head are unseen creatures fighting for souls—(his/her) soul and (his/her) friend’s souls. Ground (him/her) in the true facts about Who controls everything.

Because You, FATHER, put all things under CHRIST’s feet and He is the supreme LORD over all things (Eph 1:22), I pray ____ will wait for Him in prayer. CHRIST rules above all heavenly rulers, authorities, powers, and lords (Eph 1:21). He also has a title superior to all titles of authority in this world and in the next (Eph 1:21).

Because every power and authority in the universe is subject to CHRIST (Col 2:10), I pray ____ will wait for Him in prayer. For CHRIST disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public display of them (Col 2:15).

CHRIST destroys the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), and gives ____ power to overcome by His blood (Rev 12:11), therefore, I pray ____ will wait for Him in prayer.

THANKSGIVING

CHRIST PROVIDES A WAY –

THEN CARRIES ME THROUGH IT

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 3.10.27 PM…FATHER, I am humbled before You that You sent CHRIST not to condemn my wrongs but to make me able to keep Your covenant that You set before me. You purpose that I walk with You in innocence and exact holiness. But, for me sin makes my part of the covenant so clogged with curses and wrath that I cannot take one step forward (ref#35, p 218). Every word that CHRIST spoke in His sermon on the mount (Matt 5-7), assures me I cannot live up to Your requirements. I must have a new way to walk if I’m to walk in holiness with You.

And CHRIST provides just that—a new and living way (John 14:6). But LORD even if CHRIST provides the way, I have no strength to enter the path, so it is not useful to me. Either I will give up on myself or sin will cast me down (ref#35, p218).

But CHRIST not only provides the path but sets me on it and walks with me. CHRIST sets me so firmly on the path that I cannot leave it unless I leave Him. Even if I am a fool, I shall not be able to stray (Isa 35:8). CHRIST will turn my darkness to light and make the rough places smooth enough that I can navigate them (Isa 42:16).

And with CHRIST I am more than a conqueror against my spiritual enemies.   Yes, even more than a conqueror! With Him, I experience more than simple victory, I do not just overcome and go on as before. I overcome plus I have my faith enlarged, my strength increased, and my love for CHRIST expanded (ref#16, [Rom 8:37]).

CHRIST enables me to enter Your path and walk triumphantly on it. I am able to do all things through Him (Phil 4:13). This is to the praise of Your glory.

CONFESSION

CONSECRATION

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.53.19 PM“And the chief priests and the men learned in the sacred scriptures heard. And they went to seeking how they might destroy Him, for they were fearing Him; for the entire multitude was struck with astonishment at His teaching” Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p108-109, [Mark 11:18]).

FATHER, You have put a very great desire in my heart to speak words similar to JESUS that strike fear in people or birth astonishment—one or the other. I am sick of being lukewarm (Rev 3:16).

So, LORD, why am I colorless? Guide me to back peddle from what comes out of my mouth (Matt 15:18) to why it comes out of my mouth.

Speech is only the result of what is controlling me. Help me make consecration strides—cleansing, so You can use me for Your divine service (ref#166, p126).

FATHER, I desire to be set apart to entirely devote and dedicate myself to You—to be “purified from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [Lev 11:44]).

  1. “We can be contaminated every time we immediately turn to medicine for solutions to our physical problems without first taking our needs to the Lord in prayer” Doug Newton (ref#166, p128). How many times have I popped a pill before consulting You, FATHER?
  2. Tithing—“Oh, no, I can’t afford to give that much!” can easily be my thinking without consulting You.
  3. I come in “direct contact with defiled and unclean objects” Doug Newton (ref#166, p129). What do I watch that is worldly on TV? Do I laugh at off color jokes from my friends? Do I tolerate sinful behaviors in my heroes?

I need to pay attention to my personal purity before I ever open my mouth to witness. How can a thorn tree produce fruit (Luke 6:44)? FATHER, You were constantly commanding the leaders of Your Israelite nation to consecrate themselves (Lev 11:44). What makes me think You do not demand that of Your people today?

ADORATION

BOUNDLESS AND LIMITLESS

“How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation” (Dan 4:3 ESV).

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.38.21 PMHow great are Your signs, O LORD (Dan 4:3).

They are inestimable—

they cannot be properly appreciated (ref#110, p690);

they are incredible (ref#110, p684).

 

LORD, how mighty are Your works (Dan 4:3).

They cannot be measured;

they are too great—

simply invaluable (ref#110, p690).

 

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom (Dan 4:3).

You are immanent—

present throughout the universe (ref#110, p674)—

boundless and limitless (ref#110, p1453).

 

Your dominion endures to all generations (Dan 4:3).

You love with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3);

You continue forever in faithfulness (Jer 31:3);

You are undefinable (ref#110, p1453).

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

HOW DO I SMELL?

10/26/2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.17.48 PMHave the computer in my prayer closet today because I need to confess a sin and learn from my failing. I am at the SPIRIT’s sway—knowing I need forgiveness—seeking His correction.

The incident took place yesterday after church. I was at the door as a family of visitors exited. Not having opportunity to speak with them yet I wanted to say something even as I knew they were already thinking of their next activity. So I simply said, “Enjoy this nice weather.”

Wrong thing to say; I had time to run after them and correct myself, but I didn’t. It would be strange; they wouldn’t understand. And so I watched them walk to their car.

This was a moment the SPIRIT communicated a boatload of understanding to me in a nanosecond.

Putting His wisdom in words, it went something like this: “This is not what you should be saying. Today on your blog site sits your entry about the Sabbath and how it should be observed. You didn’t blog ‘Enjoy this nice weather.’…”

I could have run after them and said something like, “Enjoy this nice weather as you renew your fellowship with CHRIST on this Sabbath Day.” I had time.

I know the SPIRIT would have chosen the perfect words to say. But I hesitated. I rationalized—too late. That would seem weird.

Indeed, that would seem weird and I would embarrass myself. But wait, who cares if I embarrass myself. I would probably never see them again since they were just visiting to support a family member who had a one-time part in the service.

I sit here now in this prayer closet with hindsight-thinking. The comment I made was typical—what they would expect to hear—so common that they would immediately forget it.

But, the comment the SPIRIT had for me to say would, quite possibly, have been strange to their ears. Thus it would have carried the opportunity to be remembered.

Standing in front of the backdrop of the world I am to be noticed, not blend into the backdrop. I can’t just smell like the backdrop, but must have a unique scent.

“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life….” (2 Cor 2:15-16 NKJV).

FATHER, today I am very saddened by my response to the church situation yesterday. I smelled like the world. But here with the SPIRIT today in my closet I am encouraged for not only do I know you have forgiven me but You promise to give me other chances and other activities to express the heart You gave me.

Set me apart for Your service by leading me in consecration so that I do not blend into the backdrop of the world.  See this Wednesday’s CONFESSION post (12/16). The subject will be “Consecration.”

SABBATH

APPLYING THE LORD’S DAY

…As with all GOD’s commands there is great benefit in keeping them (Psalm 19:11). But we, (I’m pretty sure that will include all of us) have strayed so far from keeping the Sabbath that we have not experienced most of the benefits.

GOD’s objective in commanding this day of rest is for the development of our spiritual nature. Therefore, it is a day set apart from even our words and thoughts about our worldly employments and recreations [Westminster Confession of Faith] (ref#164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993). Can you imagine speaking only about spiritual things before or after the church service?

“This Sabbath is kept holy…when men…are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy” [Westminster Confession of Faith] Alistair Begg (ref#164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

SUPPLICATION

We all have friends and family that sit in our churches but only act like they are Christians. It is up to us to pray for their salvation. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.

THE BOASTINGS OF THE FALLEN NATURE

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 12.33.30 PM…FATHER, ____ has heard of You by attending church; (he/she) has read (his/her) Bible, maybe even committed verses to memory, nonetheless Your Word does not produce fruit in (him/her) (Mark 4:19). Even Your truth residing in (his/her) mind is unable to affect (him/her).

It seems ____ is in the business, FATHER, of becoming holy and more holy in (his/her) own strength. Seems (he/she) is working with such intenseness that (he/she) passes over the good news about CHRIST. I think that (his/her) work is so gratifying that (he/she) imagines (he/she) is doing well and getting better and better. But…

“There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth” (Prov 30:12 ESV). “This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I have done no wrong’” (Prov 30:20 ESV).

“The majority of people have their morality well within their own grasp, they do not sense the need of the Gospel” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 17th).

FATHER, it seems ____ is pursuing You because (he/she) admires righteousness therefore (he/she) is trying hard to act righteously (ref#33, p110). (He/She) may not know that (his/her) natural flesh can perform good as well as produce sin (ref#33, p110). (He/She) may be confusing (his/her) natural fleshly work with Your HOLY SPIRIT’s work. And, the case is that (he/she) is then unable to be a Christian because it is impossible to receive anything unless it is given to (him/her) from heaven (James 1:17).

It is quite natural to fall into the pattern of searching the Scriptures for commands to keep (John 5:39). By keeping only the commands of (his/her) choosing (he/she) does not need a Savior; (he/she) is saving (himself/herself). FATHER, lead ____ to the understanding that whatever “does not issue from waiting upon God, from depending upon the HOLY SPIRIT, is unquestionably of the flesh” Watchman Nee (ref #33, p 114).

It seems that ____ is set in (his/her) own ways of righteousness, but I know, FATHER, that You can and will work in due season to call Your sons and daughters according to Your purpose (ref#13, Vol 1, p31 [Mark 2:14]). Please, FATHER, I want You to call ____.

THANKSGIVING

DESIRING TO COMMUNE WITH THE BEAUTY-MAKER

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 12.23.04 PM…“GOD OF ALL SOVEREIGNTY,

Thy greatness is unsearchable,

Thy name most excellent,

Thy glory above the heavens;…” The Valley of Vision (ref#76, p214).

ALL-PROVIDING FATHER, abundant and extravagant in giving, joy comes to my heart when I experience some aspect of Your creation I find attractive (ref#130, p102). But, there is a greater joy:

“We do not want merely to see beauty…We want…to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it” C.S.Lewis (ref#130, p119).

“O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all” Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (ref#130, p102).

Day by day, FATHER, capture me and turn me lose in the forest of words that describe You so all my senses can dance in Your greatness. Guide my desire toward becoming “bold and glad” in Your superior glory (ref#124, p80).

CONFESSION

STANDING BEFORE THE CROSS

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 12.02.08 PM“…the love which Christ has [for me] presses on me from all sides, holding me to one end and prohibiting me from considering any other, wrapping itself around me in tenderness, giving me an impelling motive,…” Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p424, [2 Cor 5:14]).

FATHER, this is how CHRIST’s love moves me—controls me. In words He is able to express His love for me. In words He draws me to Himself as I desire His closeness. Reviewing CHRIST at the Cross is a place where I am reminded again of His impelling love.

“What about the Son of Man…As we stand before the cross, we should feel as if we are standing upon a battlefield, the ground still wet with blood and pain. The screams, His cries of thirst, should still ring our ears” Michael Card (ref#137, p181).

In experiencing the strength of CHRIST’s love, it’s moving enough to dwell on His physical agony, but FATHER, paint a word-picture of His emotional agony that I may have a deeper concept of His willingness to offer me His love.

Jesus cried out, “Why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt 27:46). FATHER, You separated Yourself from Him because You were too holy to look upon sin. I see CHRIST’s tear-filled eyes looking for You (ref#137, p181)…