ADORATION

CHRIST PROVIDES A WAY THEN CARRIES ME THROUGH IT

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 3.41.07 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.

 

 

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VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

NEVER ANTICIPATED

11/15/2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 1.04.16 PMCan’t divulge what sent me to the valley, but the means by which I found myself again on the mountaintop is worth recording:

Back home after church I changed clothes and ate but still was out of sorts—unnerved maybe would be a better word. Yes,—out of sorts and unnerved.

Sat down to read in an attempt to get over the morning—hoping to just move on. Opened the devotional at the bookmark where I last read and was drawn to the words I had underlined yesterday:

“Fear happens when I look at myself…and conclude that I do not have what it takes to do what God is calling me to do…To the degree that you forget who God is,…fear is your default emotion” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Aug 26th).

Then the next page provided these words:

“You were created by God to be dependent on him, but sin makes you rebellious….Sin makes you think you’re capable of what you cannot do” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, August 27th).

That was enough for the SPIRIT to convict. How many times did I pray about this morning’s assignment? And, in attempting that assignment, not once did I consciously depend on my FATHER.

No wonder I have come home shell-shocked. I walked into the enemy’s territory without any protection at all.

And, if Paul David Tripp’s words were not enough to sober me out of the poor-me valley, on the next page he writes:

“The agenda of grace is to transform you into a person who humbly recognizes your need for authority…” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Aug 28th).

And so it is, His grace has done its work. I am drawn to a familiar verse as I admit my need for Him:

“…’In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength’…” (Isa 30:15 NASB).

NOTE: GOD’s moves are always mysterious, engaging me in ways I do not expect. His coming can never be anticipated though sometimes I wait for Him. How shall He reveal Himself on upcoming Sabbaths?

SABBATH

THE SABBATH – AN EVERLASTING ORDINANCE

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 12.52.10 PM“…the observance of a Sabbath Day is part of the eternal Law of God. It is not a mere temporary Jewish ordinance. It is not a man-made institution of priestcraft. It is not an unauthorized imposition of the Church. It is one of the everlasting rules that God has revealed for the guidance of all mankind” J. C. Ryle (ref#178).

Before a single page of human history is chronicled, before a single act of Adam is described, the Holy Spirit places before us the institution of the Sabbath! Does not this signify, plainly, that the observance of the Sabbath—the sanctifying of a seventh day—is a primary duty” Arthur W. Pink (ref#177)!

“…the holy day should be one out of every seven….work six, rest one. Every seventh day should be a sabbath” John Piper (ref#169). “For six days He had put forth His might in creation, on this day He releases, as it were, into His own blessed fellowship the work of His hands and is pleased thus to lift man into His communion and the contemplation of His works. While we know that sin marred God’s work, and soiled the creature He had made in His image, we also know that God undertook another creative work, that of redemption, regeneration and restoration. And the completion of that work, too, is marked by a rest day in which man can once again enter into the rest of God, the Christian Sunday. That is appropriately now the Lord’s Day, the Day on which the Redeeming Lord entered into His rest,…” R. A. Finlayson (ref#188).

And, “…the Sabbath of the Old Testament and the Christian Sabbath of the New have a typical significance as pointing to the day when the Sabbath of grace is transformed to the Sabbath of glory, and the Lord’s Day of earth becomes the Day of the Lord in all its fullness of light and life and blessedness” R. A. Finlayson (ref#188).

 

SUPPLICATION

THE PRICE JESUS PAID

[We all have friends and family that do not want anything to do with Christianity so it is up to us to pray for their salvation.  Here’s an opportunity to pray for them.  Fill their name in the blanks.]

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 12.33.46 PM“God is not unfaithful to forget the price which His Son has paid. He will not suffer His substitution to be in any case an ineffectual, dead thing. Tens of thousands of redeemed ones are not regenerated yet, but regenerated they must be;…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Dec 4th AM).

CHRIST, Himself prays for the now ungodly who will someday believe. “Their names are on His breastplate, and ere long they must bow their stubborn knee, breathing the penitential sigh before the throne of grace” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Dec 4th AM).

FATHER, ____ is in rebellion against You. (He/She) does not stay in Your path and is not acquainted with Your ways (Job 24:13). (He/She) is not mindful of the wonders that You perform—not realizing that You are ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and therefore, will not forsake (him/her) (Neh 9:17).

____ is deceived by the arrogance of (his/her) own heart (Jer 49:16). Thus is defiant and rebellious, revolting and departing from You (Jer 5:23), spurning Your counsel (Ps 107:11).

But You, FATHER, will break that stubborn heart and lay low that lofty spirit. Make conscious (his/her) wound so it brings (him/her) into contact with You, the Healer (ref#61, Oct 26th). I pray (he/she) be “broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent” (Ps 51:17 AMP).

“Who would refuse to drink the wormwood and the gall, if along this path only he could reach the sunlit spot where the smiles of a sin-pardoning God fill the heart with joy and gladness” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, Oct 26th)?

THANKSGIVING

TURNING EVERYTHING TO GOOD

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 1.06.31 PM…FATHER, no matter how bad the day I can always go back to my foundation of joy—You. You have chosen me—chosen me since the foundations of the world—and, since it’s since the foundations of the world, it’s not as a result of what I have done or not done.

The enemy has no ground to condemn—accusing me of being a bad Christian because of the bad day. CHRIST died for me so He not only saves me but loves and helps me. He knows just how I feel on bad days.

He experiences the bad day with me. How great it is not to have to experience it alone. Recognizing His presence I can talk with Him and we can even come to the point of laughing about the situation. His presence makes the bad day endurable but also joyful as I pay attention to Him and not the bad day.

All that happens to me “is divinely planned, and each event comes as a new summons to trust, obey and rejoice, knowing that all is for one’s spiritual and eternal good” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p900, “Providence”). With gratitude my heart pours forth thanksgiving that all my providences, especially those days I deem “bad,” You turn to good (Rom 8:28).

CONFESSION

CONFESSION ONLY THE BEGINNING OF CONFESSION

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 12.11.55 PM…FATHER, without Your SPIRIT I have no sense of what sin is. My natural conscience tells me that such things as murder and theft are wrong actions (ref#18, [John 16:7-15]). If I only confess my wrong action, repent of it, believing with a hoping-its-true faith that CHRIST makes me righteous again, I will remain unchanged.

And, being unchanged I will automatically use my own efforts to try to not sin in that way again. But that will only produce a merry-go-round scenario since my own efforts will fail and I’ll have to confess again, and again, and again. This circling process showcases my unbelief in JESUS. I believe my job is to stop sinning without the help of CHRIST. When I, in my own strength, attempt to change my actions my heart remains unchanged.

But, the supernatural work of the SPIRIT convinces me that the true reason why sin continues to reign in me is because I am not by faith united to CHRIST (ref#18, [John 16:7-15]). FATHER, I want to be filled with a sense of my weakness not of my own strength to overcome. Lead me away from this “repenting and resolving to do better.”

Prevail upon me to rest in the presence of CHRIST. Delay me until the SPIRIT can instruct me as to what to do during my confession time.

Without the SPIRIT, I only “act” as if I love my neighbor (Gal 3:3). Without the help of the SPIRIT, ordinary impulses control me and in that unrighteousness I attempt to demonstrate outwardly what I don’t possess inwardly. Waiting in the presence of CHRIST the SPIRIT has the ability to illuminate my heart and reveal its attitude.  He may prove to me I am jealous or have a critical spirit toward my neighbor (ref#100, p94).

“As we rest as sinners in that low place, Jesus pours into our hearts His own love for that other person, a love that will sometimes send us to that person to put things right with him, and He gives us a forbearance toward him that was never there before” Roy and Revel Hession (ref#100, p94).

FATHER, reinforce all Your will for me in confession. It is not only a time to confess but a time to be humbled and a time to rest until, in the presence of CHRIST, I comprehend the entire scope of my sin. Guide me to hold out for Your “love, patience, and victory” that will change my heart (ref#100, p94).

ADORATION

CREATOR, SUSTAINER, and FATHER

 Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 1.22.35 PM…SOVEREIGN CREATOR, You do great things past finding out, yes, marvelous things without number (Job 9:10). You form the mountains and create the wind; You make the dawn out of darkness, and tread on the heights of the earth (Amos 4:13). You make lightning for the rain, and bring forth the wind from Your storehouses (Jer 10:13). You determine and count the number of the stars; You call them all by their names (Ps 147:4). And You declare to me what is my thought (Amos 4:13)!

You are known for the “marvelous order and beauty” of Your works (ref#56, p868, “God the Creator”), yet Your purpose is not just to create. You are SUSTAINER, “whose eternal plan covers all events and destinies without exception” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p868, “God the Creator”), yet Your purpose is not just to create and maintain what You create.   Even though You are CREATOR and SUSTAINER, which reflects Your magnificence, You are also FATHER—ABBA FATHER, One who has created me for fellowship (1 John 1:3)!

CARING FATHER, You give up Your most precious possession—Your Son, sending Him to earth as the Savior (1 John 4:14). By my trust in CHRIST’s actions alone You adopt me into Your family. You make me no longer a slave of sin but Your child (Gal 4:7). Therefore You are CREATOR and SUSTAINER of the universe and also my DADDY.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

HE MAKES A WAY

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 11.57.56 AMIt’s 4PM and I’ve failed at keeping the Sabbath:

  • Slide presentation was difficult this morning so worship was only thought of never implemented
  • After church I did speak to one person about spiritual things, but many others I did not
  • After lunch I started reading a good non-fiction Christian book, but fell asleep
  • Then, napped too long

Conclusion: to this point I’ve been in GOD’s presence maybe four seconds

*****

At breakfast I read in 1 John that a Christian should not find GOD’s commands burdensome. I immediately thought of His command to keep the Sabbath holy. This is a very sensitive subject for me since, through my blog, I’m about to showcase myself to the world attempting to keep this commandment.

To keep the Sabbath holy in theory is not burdensome to me. In fact, it is one of my greatest desires, but when thinking of actually doing it, I find no confidence at all. I can’t fathom succeeding. It looms as an impossible task. Keeping the entire day holy boggles my mind.

What faces me right now as the day dwindles is the fear of going into the next week drained of spiritual strength—strength that should come with proper Sabbath-keeping. I know GOD can energize in a nanosecond—propelling me from the valley to the mountaintop in the blink of an eye, but so far this day my human nature has trumped and I’m sitting here with the computer but no GOD.

So, what do I know? I know I have sinned. I could have stopped the frazzle-ment of the morning. And, this afternoon I could have not allowed myself to fall asleep. Yes, but the thought never occurred to me to do that. My sincerity remains intact. Am I excused? Possibly, but certainly GOD’s will is that I do better next Sunday.

I have definitely proved the point that I, within myself cannot be righteous; within myself I cannot keep the Sabbath. I stare at this computer screen sorry for my sins.

Suddenly though, I am able to think about GOD and not my sins. My heart is flabbergasted at all the rich, amazing thoughts my head is holding of His greatness, His never-ending work, His fullness, His coming to me…He has graced me with a nanosecond.

SABBATH

INTRODUCTION TO THE SABBATH

“The plain truth is, that the Sabbath-breaking of the present day is one among many proofs of the low state of vital religion” Bishop J. C. Ryle (ref#167).

As with all GOD’s commands there is great benefit in keeping them (Ps 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.

“The first thing that is essential before we can ever have and hold this joy is the absolute centrality of the Lord Jesus Christ” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Sept 17th).

CHRIST must be at the top of our priority list if we are to approach the subject of the Sabbath correctly. Then we must believe that keeping the commandment will provide joy. Then we must be blameless in keeping it.

Just a note before we move on to explain the “What” of the Sabbath next week: Theories exist that Sabbath-keeping has been done away with along with the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament when JESUS became the sacrifice for our sins. If you have ever heard this theology or don’t think the Sabbath is important to keep, see:

http://www.westminsterconfession.org/worship/the-lords-day.php

Archibald Alexander gives a very thought-out account of why it is still a command for us who live after the resurrection of JESUS.

“Unless we had a particular day set apart, by divine authority of the worship of God…public worship would, for the most part, fall into disuse” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).

SUPPLICATION

RECALLING PROMISES

[Below is a general prayer for Christians in tribulation.  We all can think of a sister or brother experiencing  so much affliction they may not be able to pray for themselves.  Here’s an opportunity to pray for them.  Fill in their name in the blanks.]

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 12.41.08 PMFATHER, because of Your Word ____ knows of Your promises. And, because of Your SPIRIT, (he/she) will have (his/her) belief strengthened as (he/she) experiences this frowning providence.

I thank You for Your Bible. Your words have supernatural influence, motivating and guiding ____. They correct thoughts and are able to change unbelief to belief (2 Tim 3:16). Lead (him/her) to Your Scriptures that will strengthen (his/her) belief.

You GOD, in Your steadfast love will meet (him/her) (Ps 59:10). You are faithful and will never let ____ be tempted beyond (his/her) ability to endure but, with the trial, You’ll provide a way so that (he/she) can endure it (1 Cor 10:13). You will make sure (he/she) can triumph over every enemy (Ps 59:10).

LORD, turn the darkness before (him/her) into light, making the rough places into level ground. Give (him/her) the understanding that You guide (him/her) and will never forsake (him/her) (Isa 42:16)—that You have plans for (him/her), plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give (him/her) a future and a hope (Jer 29:11).

Cause (him/her), FATHER, to tremble at Your Word, not tremble in fear at this calamity. Before You LORD, may (he/she) humble (himself/herself); O LORD, see (his/her) broken and wounded spirit. When (he/she) is ground to pieces, melted down to nothing before You, then look please, at (him/her) and regard (his/her) lowly state (Isa 66:2). Come to (his/her) rescue.

Give ____ rest now in Your perfect peace. You alone, O LORD, will make (him/her) to dwell in safety. Tonight, may (he/she) lie down and sleep knowing You will care for (him/her) (Ps 4:8).