VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

GOD’S WILL IN THE MIDST OF MY PRIDE

1/16/2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.05.33 AM“Sometimes God closes doors because it’s time to MOVE forward. He knows you won’t move unless your circumstances force you.” Tiffany Johnson

Because I have put so much pressure on myself with this learning how to keep the Sabbath holy and through blogging have the world as my accountability partner, I have been spending more time waiting before the LORD. And because of it GOD has been speaking much to me. The SPIRIT shows up more often and I am getting a fuller sense of the magnitude of the Person of CHRIST.

However, the reality is the troughs of pride have put me where I am. I want to do good in front of the whole world, therefore I’m in His presence more.

He arranges circumstances to make me commit. He backs me into a corner and I decide to be obedient to save face. The reason I pursue His will is never noble.

Left to myself I would not pursue anything spiritual. It’s a word picture of GOD dragging me backward by the hair and me digging in my heels. Yet, in this very position I accomplish His will. Does this example leave any doubt that I can do nothing spiritually and GOD must do it all?!

 

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SABBATH

SABBATH BECOMES THE LORD’S DAY

“…there is no commandment in the Ten Commandments that says the Israelites were to keep the seventh day of the week….What God really commanded through Moses was: ‘Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God’ “ (Exodus 20:9-10) R. A. Torrey (ref#30, p154).

first day of the week. A Jewish expression for Sunday, and similar to the phrase used in the Gospels to describe the day of the week on which Jesus rose from the dead (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). This shows that Christians gathered for worship on Sunday, not Saturday (cf Acts 20:7; Rev 1:10), in order to acknowledge the crucial importance of Christ’s resurrection” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2216, [1 Cor 16:2]).

“…the Jewish holy day was abolished; and as a thing necessary to retain decency, order, and peace in the church, another day was appointed for that purpose” John Calvin (ref#187).

“Christ having risen from the dead always met his disciples on this day. And afterwards, the apostles and the churches were accustomed to come together on this day, “to break bread,” that is to celebrate the Lord’s supper. And when the apostle wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians, it was already established as a custom, not only in the church of Corinth, but in the churches of Macedonia and Galatia, that their contributions for the poor, should be collected on this day. From the apostolical practice, we rightly infer the divine authority for this change. So generally was the first day of the week observed, in commemoration of Christ’s resurrection, and for the celebration of religious worship, that in the times of the apostles, it had obtained the significant denomination of the Lord’s Day” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).

So, to Christians the first day of the week, Sunday, is the official Lord’s Day.

SUPPLICATION

LACKING PROVISIONS

[We all know someone who is dealing with financial problems. Here is an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]

GOD GIVES DAILY ALL PROVISIONS

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 12.03.58 PMFATHER, I lift up ____ as (he/she) foresees (his/her) present supplies insufficient for (his/her) future daily needs. Grant (him/her) faith enough to believe You will never cease to sustain and uphold (him/her). You will not, You will not, You will not let (him/her) down (Heb 13:5). You obligate Yourself to supply (his/her) needs (ref#36, p388).

Empower ____ to ask You to take charge of (him/her). Provide for (him/her), FATHER, all that concerns (him/her) in this world—everything which (his/her) body requires. Aid ____ in acknowledging (his/her) “entire dependence upon You for life, and breath, and all things” Neil T. Anderson (ref#14, “Give us this day our daily bread”).

You graciously supply spiritual as well as physical needs. ____ requires a daily supply of grace, too. As with physical food, ____ needs a daily portion of spiritual food. Remind (him/her) that, in JESUS, all necessary things are laid up for (him/her). “In the Word, through the ministry, by meditation, in prayer, and in waiting” (he/she) will receive renewed strength (ref#34, Feb 14th AM).

THANKSGIVING

MY RESPONSIBILITY

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.51.27 AM…FATHER, even though Your work “of salvation is wholly sovereign and gracious…the reality of the human response in believing and receiving is never cancelled” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1509, [John 1:13]). Peter tells me I should be diligent to make my calling and election certain (2 Peter 1:10)—that is, certain to me.

“…simply to say that we are trusting in God instead of acting responsibly is sheer laziness…” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p335). FATHER, I am known by the fruits I produce as I labor (ref#56, p1630, “Election and Reprobation”). Paul observed spiritual fruits in the Thessalonians: “We give thanks to God always for…your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes 1:2-3 ESV).

In Your sovereign will, FATHER, You have designed me to be “a means You use to bring about the changes in the world” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p 334). Thank You for giving me this opportunity to be a part of Your activities.

 

CONFESSION

COMMANDED TO BE BLAMELESS, NOT FAULTLESS

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.43.24 AM“God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect” (Ps 18:32 NLT).

FATHER, I am only perfect because You have chosen to fill me with Your own love and image (ref#15, [Ps 37:37]).   I will never be faultless, but You do not demand that I be faultless.

What You command is that I live a blameless life (Ps 37:18). You ask me only to live up to my highest understanding of Your will revealed in Your Word. Then You will look with favor on me, calling me blameless, if I walk in Your way (Ps 101:6).

A blameless man describes “an upright man; a man of integrity. It does not necessarily imply that he is absolutely holy, or free from all sin, but that he is upright, consistent, honest:…” (ref#16, [Ps 101:6]).

FATHER, I lose my blamelessness by sinning presumptuously. These are sins that issue from my pride and self-confidence that leads me to rely on my own strength (ref#16, [Ps 19:13]). FATHER, I do not want to fall into a habit of sinning presumptuously for by such sins I will soon be hardened through their deceitfulness (ref#15, [Ps 19:13]).

GUIDING FATHER, keep me back from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me, and then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgressions (Ps 19:13).

ADORATION

SCRIPTURE – GOD’S SELF-DISCLOSURE

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.29.37 AMFATHER, my worship of You rests on You revealing Yourself to me. I would not know the truth about You or be able to relate to You in a personal way, had You not made Yourself known to me. The themes running throughout the Bible are about You, Your attributes, and godliness. It is “the record, interpretation, and expression of Your self-disclosure” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p141, “The Word of God: Scripture as Revelation”).

“Here I see thy greatness and thy grace, thy pity and thy rectitude, thy mercy and thy truth, thy being and men’s hearts; Through it thou hast magnified thy name, and favored mankind with the gospel” The Valley of Vision (ref#76, p192).

This Word of Yours is as true as Your own existence. You and Your Word do not change; everything You have spoken has and will happen (ref#34, July 27th, AM). “I do not need signs and wonders to believe, For thy Word is sure truth” The Valley of Vision (ref#76, p164).

The availability of the Bible makes ignorance no excuse for my actions. Draw me toward Your Holy Scriptures where I may find reason to adore You and live in honor to You, for recalling Your loving activities leads me into worship.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

CRYING AND SQUAWKING

6/2/10

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 3.35.10 PMI sit in the closet wanting the SPIRIT—to be led by Him, but don’t feel I have time to wait for Him. I have my day planned and I need to get to it, yet, I will wait for a bit even if it takes forfeiting breakfast and doing laundry.

I hope to sing praise to my LORD, but I do not want my flesh to have any part of it. SPIRIT, turn my heart to sing.

As I wait here my flesh suggests ways the SPIRIT may come. Thoughts flesh put through my mind are the way I “put GOD in a box.” Also the SPIRIT will not come while flesh is thinking thoughts like, “Come quickly SPIRIT, so I’ll have time for breakfast.” I have doubts; “Maybe this desire to wait is from satan trying to keep me from my day’s plans.”

I reject the thoughts and continue my vigil. How flesh wants to entertain itself; it tries everything to divert my attention. Can the SPIRIT work within me the same time flesh is bombarding my mind with such ramblings? No, I can’t experience both. The SPIRIT does not dwell with flesh. He conquers flesh. When He comes flesh shrivels like a piece of paper in a fire and is no more heard from.

Suddenly my heart comes alive as I sit doing nothing for it perceives it has time to go around Your altar, O LORD, and proclaim thanksgiving aloud and tell of all Your wonderful deeds (Ps 26:7).

When I give my heart opportunity to express itself the SPIRIT gives it utterance! So, it has worked—this waiting. The Ps 26:7 Scripture was the bridge the SPIRIT and my heart walked over in order to express themselves in my actions. The desire of my heart was to sing praise to GOD. And, my heart sang!

(I surprised myself for all my voice could do was squeak. It was a confirmation that flesh had no part in this.) Flesh was burning like paper in the fire.

My thoughts overwhelmed me when I came to thinking about the FATHER giving me CHRIST. What I heard in the world was a guitar playing and me squawking and crying. Then I had the sense that CHRIST was near. I judged my feelings as like Isaiah in his Isaiah chapter six writings.

I have to laugh. When I first thought of praising GOD in song, I decided on a certain portion of Scripture to sing. That was my flesh deciding. When the SPIRIT took over I forgot completely about that portion of Scripture.

That portion of Scripture is beautiful—an excellent piece to offer in praise, but it would have offended GOD if I had sung it to Him. Lingering in the closet this morning has given me one situation where I KNOW I have walked step by step with GOD’s SPIRIT and not let my enemy direct me. Thank You, FATHER, for answering my prayer as I waited.

SABBATH

THE SABBATH – A UNIVERSAL OBLIGATION

“The law of the Sabbath was constituted a memorial of creation: and hence, the reason…must be considered as demonstrating its universal obligation. It is not a reason applicable to any one age, or to one class of men more than to another” JFB Commentary (ref#17, [Exod 20:8-11]).

Keeping the Sabbath is not just a Jewish law; Exod 20:10 mentions that even sojourners who are staying with a Jewish family are expected to participate in Sabbath activities. Therefore it is a “universal institution…given to Adam, the father of all mankind” JFB Commentary (ref#17, [Exod 20:8-11]).

As time moved on and GOD unfolded more and more of His redemption plans we find the Apostle Paul defining a new seventh-day Sabbath experience:

“The apostle Paul explicitly taught that a Christian should not allow himself to be judged in regard to the Jewish Sabbath, and that the Jewish Sabbath belongs with other Jewish observances concerning meat, and drink, holy days, new moons, and so forth (Colossians 2:16). These were the “shadow of things to come,” but the substance is in Christ (v. 17)” (ref#30, p155).

“…the Jewish Sabbath was not changed to the Lord’s Day. While both the Jewish Sabbath and the Lord’s Day are a literal keeping of the fourth commandment, they are not the same day, and they do not stand for the same idea. One belongs to the old creation, the other to the new. (See 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Hebrews 9:11.)” (ref#30, pa55).

“…the observance of the Sabbath is…the hem and hedge of the whole law” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Exod 31:12-18]).

SUPPLICATION

GENERAL SICKNESS

[The majority of our prayers concern physical health. We all know someone who is dealing with the pain of sickness. Here is an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]

A SPIRITUAL DANCE

 Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.39.44 PM…FATHER, You invite me to knock and urge me to keep on knocking and if I keep on reverently knocking You will open to me (Matt 7:7). I am knocking for ____ for (he/she) is presently ill; I offer up this sacrifice of prayer for (him/her).

I thank You that You include in Your Bible stories that reveal the interaction You desire from ____. You have a man-shaped blank in Your heart (ref#100, p25) where only (he/she) will fit. Your Scriptures reveal Your desire for relationship.

Matthew, in his gospel, tells the story of a Canaanite woman who entreats JESUS relentlessly because she wants help for her daughter who is possessed by a demon (Matt 15:22). JESUS listens to her but does nothing even when His disciples beg Him to send her away.

FATHER, instead of healing immediately, JESUS delays by giving this woman reason why He is not obligated to heal her daughter, He says, …”I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt 15:24 ESV).  However, this does not deter the woman. She overlooks His words and repeats her request with more boldness because she now knows He is paying attention to her.

His response is yet another delay: “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs” (Matt 15:26 ESV).  She ignores His discouraging words and continues pleading, adding logic to her request, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table” (Matt 15:27 ESV).

Because JESUS waited to heal, it brought out the creative, feisty spirit of the woman as well as the level of desire for her request to be answered (ref.#62, p189-190). This spiritual dance between JESUS and the woman deepened their relationship.

And relationship is the ultimate objective. JESUS, talking of eternal life in Matthew seven, declares to people He does not know, “Depart from me” (Matt 7:23).

FATHER, I again make my request to You for ____’s healing. Use this prayer to answer my request while, at the same time, deepening my own relationship with You. And lead ____ into an interaction with You, too. Healing and praying for healing has no value if fellowship is not obtained or strengthened.

THANKSGIVING

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LOVE ME

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.21.41 PM…FATHER, I desire to spend time collecting my thoughts on Your everlasting tenderness and compassion. Please help me focus.

Even though in Yourself You are all-sufficient, yet from eternity You laid in Your bosom a design for my happiness. You love me because You “will” to love me—freely, without any obligation. Because of Your great love, You have seated me with CHRIST in order to show Your immeasurable riches and kindness toward me (Eph 2:7).

How is it You love me when You don’t have to? When I look at Your heavens and the work of Your fingers, who am I that You care for me (Ps 8:3-4)? I do not know why You pass by millions of people who do not differ from my nature (Eph 2:3) and choose me to love (Isa 43:4).

You promise to forever dwell with me for You have desired it (Ps 132:14). I am Your resting place forever. You cannot leave me for You are captivated by my beauty. You are in love with all my charms—the charms that You continually provide for me in CHRIST (Gal 5:22-23). You love me so You literally bind Yourself to me. Because of what You give me, my head flows with locks of purple and You are bound in my tresses (ref#35, p126 [Song 7:5-6]).

Mine is the joy to meditate on Your everlasting tenderness and compassion. As I recognize Your charms in me my gratitude to You increases.