MUTUAL INTERCHANGE OF KIND SERVICES
…FATHER, I thank You that I can see Your greatness and love in every flower I look at. But, by that relationship I only comprehend the distance between us—Your power and my inabilities.
But, with the riches of Your grace You have recovered me from a state of enmity to a state of mutual communion and fellowship. You have done this by uniting me together in a covenant of peace ratified by the blood of JESUS. By Your giving and my receiving we can fellowship with each other. Your covenant-giving and my affections toward You binds our wills together (ref#35, p94).
Out of Your vast ocean of love You continually pour out extravagant gifts. You offer such things as a wilderness with entire fields of flowers that bloom without any eye seeing. And You give extravagant gifts to me personally. These gifts make me long to continue to taste Your sweetness and excellencies looking to experience the fullness of Your provided salvation (ref #35, p94). Your kind service to me is Your gifts, my kind service to You is my offerings of praise.
“How precious…are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them,
they would be more in number than the sand;…” (Ps 139:17-18 NKJV).
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Ps 139:14 ESV).
“…I will celebrate your kindness…” (Ps 101:1 CEV).
“…Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Ps 139:14 ESV).
“I have seen your power and your glory…” (Ps 63:2 CEV).
THE WORK OF CONVICTION
…FATHER, the discovery of my sin is a part of the wisdom that is hid in CHRIST and made known to me through the SPIRIT (Col 2:2,3). If I am not attentive to the SPIRIT I only have a sense and knowledge of sin that is revealed by my conscience; it is the general knowledge of good and evil. But, it’s obscure so I notice my own faults only if they are very obvious or I sin in such a way that they are particularly embarrassing to me (ref#35, p200).
Familiarizing myself with the laws set down in the Old Testament helps me recognize more of my corruptions. But even laws do nothing to make me see my deep personal sin (ref#35, p202).
The work of conviction, from Your SPIRIT, gives me the best knowledge of sin. This knowledge is so useful that it reveals sins that I, on my own, do not have the ability to detect; these sins must be made real to me by Your SPIRIT—a source not connected with my native nature (ref#35, p202).
I thank You FATHER, for Your SPIRIT’s conviction. I am not offended when I recognize His voice, instead, I’m humbled. He has the ability to convince me of sin in such a way that I’m unable to deny His words and am ready to repent. I thank You, FATHER, that Your SPIRIT not only is able to point out my sins but has the ability to accomplish in me the sorrow for sin which leads me to the obedience You require. So, search me, O GOD, and see if there is any grievous way in me and then lead me in the right way (Ps 139:23-24).
REASONS FOR WAITING FOR GOD
…Because You plant eternity in my heart—a sense of purpose which nothing under the sun but You can satisfy (Eccl 3:11), I will wait for You.
Because my blood is costly in CHRIST’s sight and because He has pity on me (Ps 72:13-14), I will wait for You.
Because You confirm and make me steadfast and established and endue me with the gifts of the HOLY SPIRIT (2 Cor 1:21), I will wait for You.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life (Ps 63:3), I will wait for You.
FATHER, expand these four scriptures. Make me more than aware of the truth in them. Animate them so they engulf my being providing me the ability to be forever changed by them.
I desire to remain in meditation until these four truths bubble over and cause such a splendid experience that it becomes my irrepressible joy.
JOURNALING WITH AN EYE TO KEEPING THE SABBATH
So, I start this adventure of training myself to keep the Sabbath. And, it will be training for I have no thoughts of how to achieve it. It is not something I can feel my way into either, it must be an act of my will. “You do not wait until you feel…you make yourself” (ref#189, Nov 12th).
Presently my Sundays are composed of attending church in the morning, but I am so involved in the service (coffee table, soundboard, slide presentation, etc.) that I rarely find myself in GOD’s presence. Even after the service I have little time to encourage or admonish or confess my sins to my sisters and brothers because I am involved in packing up the equipment since we have church in a local school building. And, what’s worse is that in the little time I have after church I do not encourage, admonish or confess, but usually just do the surface conversation stuff.
The afternoon includes eating, napping, and activities with my husband. Evenings sometimes consist of visiting others but mostly sitting in front of the boob tube exhausted.
Usually in the afternoon I have a little time to read Christian non-fiction or Scripture. GOD, in His mercy, sometimes apprehends me powerfully, but mostly I read and simply enjoy the new knowledge gained. Now you know why I’m longing to explore the full benefit of the Sabbath observance.
TRUTH BE KNOWN
Truth be known, I find it life-saving to hear from GOD. Yet I find myself not interested in Him when life goes smoothly. It certainly is a knee-jerk reaction to handle life when I can handle it. However, when I perceive I need help I look to GOD.
Believing scripture when it says that GOD’s thoughts are not my thoughts (Isa 55:8), I must conclude that seeking GOD’s presence when I’m overwhelmed with a life situation may not be the only time I benefit from His presence. Indeed, it’s true all His commands are for my protection lest I injure myself living with only my thoughts.
I’ve concluded that I need GOD more often than I think I do. Yet, I forget that. So I am challenging myself this new year to explore His command of keeping the Sabbath. I have begun to examine scripture references and comments from SPIRIT-filled authors on the subject and conclude it is a VITAL part of spiritual growth.
“We may rest assured that national prosperity and personal growth in grace, are intimately bound up in the maintenance of a holy Sabbath” J. C. Ryle (ref#13, Vol. One, p42, [Mark 2:23-28]).
Therefore, I am ready to learn more. So I shall put myself to the task of obeying this command publicly through this blog. Sundays I will blog information about the command and Mondays I’ll post a journal entry dealing with the results experienced communing with GOD.
“The Sabbath command is in fact a command to experience joy” John Piper (ref#169).
“It is not enough to remember [who God is and what His promises are]; we must hear it again. Prayer is the act in which we hear it again. It is not enough to carry memory verses around with us; we need daily encounter with the resonant voice of God. Prayer is that encounter….We pray. We listen. God speaks his word again—the same word!—and we are restored and renewed in our commitment….Resolve is essential but not enough. In prayer God provides renewal. Prayer is not so much the place where we learn something new, but where God confirms anew the faith to which we are committed” Eugene Peterson (ref#144, loc 1298-1311).
Faith is the thing GOD renews in prayer. Sabbath faith is what He gives to prepare for the week ahead. We need to hear His promises again; we need to hear GOD jog our memory; we need encounters with GOD much more than we think we do. He commands us to keep the Sabbath for good reason:
“I need emancipation; I need to be lifted to another realm; I need a force and a strength and a power that I do not have myself. That is my need, and here is the answer: I am given faith—I am given an outlook and understanding—I am introduced to a source of power…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 7th).
January 1st is for starting again with resolutions. Mine is to be more diligent in keeping the Sabbath holy. Beginning Sunday I plan to address the Sabbath Day with Sunday and Monday posts.
May GOD show Himself pleased in all your spiritual resolutions this year.