THANKSGIVING

THE HOLY SPIRIT BEARS WITNESS TO MY SPIRIT

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 12.07.25 PM…FATHER, may these words be like the pile of stones the people of Israel assembled on the other side of the Jordon River to forever remind them that Your hand is mighty (Josh 4:20,24).

The enemy is constantly waiting for opportunities to insinuate that I am not Your heir. Therefore, I offer up this thanksgiving because of the witness Your SPIRIT provides that I really am Yours and will be eternally.

FATHER, I thank You that Your SPIRIT puts in me the divine nature. According to Your mercy Your SPIRIT washes me clean by regeneration (Titus 3:5) and makes His home in me. He, Himself then is the foretaste of the complete possession of my inheritance (Eph 1:14). I am fully and comfortably assured of Your divine adoption because Your SPIRIT bears witness to my spirit that I am Your child (Rom 8:16).

And, LORD, I praise You that Your SPIRIT then makes my inheritance more sure by culturing and planting spiritual seeds in me so I produce the fruit of righteousness (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control) (Gal 5:22-23). How marvelous it is FATHER, that when I look at myself, I do discover some of these good effects of the SPIRIT’s activity. I look forward to producing more of His fruit.

I thank You, too, LORD that the SPIRIT speaks to me regarding my salvation by drawing me toward the desire to be holy. “The panting after divine conformity is the Spirit’s inspiration” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, Sept 14th), isn’t it? O FATHER, it’s true, I no longer have as my goal to serve myself.

“By…begetting in us the divine nature, by producing in us spiritual fruits, and by breathing in our souls a desire for holiness, the Spirit conducts us to the rational conclusion that we are born of God” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, Sept 14th).

 

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CONFESSION

BE DEPENDENT

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 11.56.40 AM“…the issue was whether Adam would let God determine what was good and bad, or would seek to decide that for himself, in disregard of what God had said” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p13, “The Fall”).

“The demanding of my own will is the singular force that smothers out joy—nothing else” Ann Voskamp (ref#130, p177). “Am I a pauper toward God? Do I know I cannot prevail in prayer;…I cannot alter my disposition; I cannot lift myself nearer to God” Oswald Chambers (ref#118, p16,17)?

FATHER, help me keep my arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of CHRIST. This is the unending life (Jude 21). Move me to relish all circumstances that drive me to depend on CHRIST. LORD, You can’t keep me if I don’t keep dependent on You. I desire to seek You LORD, and Your strength, to yearn for and seek Your face and to be in Your presence continually (1 Chron 16:11). Determine for me what is good and bad.

ADORATION

THE FATHER: THE SON

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 11.47.52 AM…FATHER, I am “…vulnerable, fragile and exposed” (Ezek 16:7, MSG). For no reason I can come up with, You pass by and see that I am unable to help myself and You have compassion on me. It’s as if I am the only one in the world and You, being all love, turn aside and made a marriage covenant with me. You care for and protect me; You take me for Yourself (Ezek 16:8).

You take me as Your bride and live as if everyday is Your wedding day. You dispose Yourself to rear me for my advantage. You delight in me, gaining much joy and pleasure. Amid Your exultation You rest and are complacent (Zeph 3:17), having no interest in seeking a greater joy.

CHRIST, You delight to make me a friend ( John 15:14,15)—telling me secrets that the FATHER had not revealed until You came as the Son of Man (ref#35, p231). You open Yourself to me so I can find out everything about You (ref#35, p232). I am able to see You as “altogether lovely.”

And, You allow me to make my heart known to You. However, in order that I might be intimate with You, You must assist me. You supply the SPIRIT (Rom 8:26,27). When I am inclined to hide myself You call for the SPIRIT to bring me back into communication with You (ref#35, p233). You provide the SPIRIT to keep me continuing in our relationship. So it is that You delight in my prosperity, which makes me delight in our give-and-take fellowship (ref#35, p245).

FATHER, so CHRIST has taken me into His care and rejoices in me (ref#35, p230). As You, Yourself love me, so also CHRIST (John 16:27).

 

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

LIFE IN THE PRAYER CLOSET

11/15/08

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 11.40.07 AMMy mind always defaults into looking for something to accomplish—to work toward a future goal. “Let’s see—I’ll sing over some hymns to exercise my voice in case I end up tomorrow playing and singing for company.”

I’m in the prayer closet, dummy. Why don’t I sing something to the LORD? Now, there’s a scoop.

My mind would focus on the sound of the music if I sang hymns. Would GOD be happy with that? No.

But, thinking about not having words in front of me to prompt a song…well, I just conclude it’ll quickly become very boring—repetitive and boring. Natural Bonnie has not enough experience to make words and music interesting. But, boy, is this all natural thinking.

I’ll storm heaven—beat on the door. Natural Bonnie may hate the LORD, but inner Bonnie wants to worship.

***

The minute I decided to storm heaven, the strength of natural Bonnie faded and left—there’s no longer a battle making me decide between my old or new nature.

Before I knock, the LORD answers. He leaves His throne, comes down to me outside the pearly gate. I perceive His desire is like the prodigal son’s father. Even though I don’t see Him run, I perceive His heart running—running to me as if He’d been waiting forever for my coming.

He restrains His love lest it consume me. Yet, it still consumes me. I can only collapse in sobs realizing how I’ve hurt Him by staying away—by thinking about just playing hymns. I’m aware of a portion of His glory and greatness and I cower in the dust at His feet.

Afraid to be repetitive?—who even thinks about that singing before Him.

I have to turn away; I can’t allow myself to be open completely to all the thoughts of His greatness—they would incinerate me. It takes a nanosecond for Him to refocus my mind and fill it with His greatness. He brands it on my mind so that I’m unable to think of anything else.

We’ve said nothing to each other but I’m full to capacity of His Person and content to return to this world. How is it just a nanosecond sense of Him can over power me?

I took one tiny step in His direction intending to knock at His door. Suddenly He’s present—with me—upon me as if He planned to answer my intended knock since the foundations of the world.

RESURRECTION SUNDAY

THEY HUNG AN INNOCENT MAN

(That the Scriptures Might Be Fulfilled)

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 2.21.31 PM

You and I first met on Bonnie’s blog Christmas Day 2015. At that encounter we established it is easy to say that Jesus was born to die because it’s true. “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 KJV). The wee baby in that manger bed on Christmas morning had a birth announcement like none other. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11 KJV). As the Lord God Almighty had foretold, the promised Messiah had come. Yes, Jesus was born to give his life a ransom for many! Jesus had come to die.

“A body hast thou prepared me [born on Christmas morn]. Then said I [Jesus], Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:5, 7 KJV [italics and brackets mine]). What “volume of the book” is He speaking of here? Why, in the volume of God’s Word, of course!

“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15 KJV [italics mine]). “Her seed” came through the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit—they called his name Jesus.

“Yet it was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand” (Isaiah 53:10 RSV [italics mine]).

“When he makes himself an offering for sin”—on the night he was betrayed Jesus initiated a new testament in His blood! We call it, the Lord’s Supper—The Communion of the saints. Baby Jesus born of a virgin, the seed of a woman had come according to plan and now some thirty-three years later He was about to turn the entire world right side up! “A ransom for many”, Paul describes it here for us:

“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26 KJV [italics mine]).

From the observance of the very first Communion service in the upper room, Christ and the disciples made their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was there Jesus prayed the following:

“Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt(Matthew 26:38-39 KJV [italics mine]).

Could it be “the cup” mentioned in the prayer above is that same “cup in my blood” we share in our Communion Service? The Sacrificial Lamb of God had come to do the Father’s will and He did it all the way to the finish line! Baby Jesus, now a man, would be, according to Scripture, the “body prepared” that would hang on a cross, in a cruel public spectacle until dead. But, wait for it! Resurrection Sunday Morning! He arose, just as he said he would! The tomb was empty! Jesus, in that same “prepared body” is alive and reigns today at the Father’s right hand! “Our Savior’s victory over death was obtained by dying, His triumph by rising again. He foiled our common enemy in his own territories, the grave” (Bates, 268). It is finished! The wages of sin’s penalty, which is death, has been paid in full! The serpent’s head has been crushed! The “stinger” has been removed from death’s tail as it were! All because He lives! Yes, they hung an innocent man, but it was not an accident nor mishap, it was and still is all according to plan. I like the way C. H. Spurgeon said it: “Where misery was concentrated weary souls find rest.”

Sing out with me will you!

God sent his son, they called him Jesus,

He came to love, heal and forgive.

He lived and died to buy my pardon

An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Because He lives I can face tomorrow

Because He lives all fear is gone

Because I know He holds the future

And life is worth the living

Just because He lives.

–Bill Gaither

 

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

***

In 1997 the LORD commissioned me to craft for Him and to speak for Him. I’ve been crafting and speaking ever since. I pray He has been pleased by what was said here…and that you have been encouraged.

Lorraine McWethy

SUPPLICATION

SICKNESS – LIFE THREATENING

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

SUFFERING IS NOT IN VAIN

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 11.08.51 AM…FATHER, not only does ____ need You during (his/her) suffering, but (he/she) needs hope in it. (He/She) needs to know all this is not in vain. There are many reasons (he/she) knows of for suffering and many (he/she) does not understand why, but the overall purpose of suffering is to overcome it.

To “overcome” describes a conqueror who gains victory (ref#16, [Rev 2:7]). I pray ____ be an overcomer—overcoming (his/her) trials of life (ref#16, [Rev 2:7]). For the one who overcomes, You, FATHER, will be (his/her) GOD and (he/she) will be Your (son/daughter) (Rev 21:7).

I pray ____ be an overcomer, for all things then will belong to (him/her). Things present and things to come will all be (his/hers) (1 Cor 3:21-22). Empower (him/her) to believe that You are (his/her) strength, (his/her) rock, (his/her) fortress, (his/her) deliverer, (his/her) shield, (his/her) horn of salvation, (his/her) stronghold (Ps 18:1-2).

What flies in (his/her) face now as injustices will lead to greater justice. CHRIST’s resurrection sees future restoration after death. Heaven is not just a consolation for the losses and pain of this life.

FATHER, give ____ the understanding that heaven is a restoration of the life (he/she) has always wanted (ref#132, p32). The world will be “re-created” (see Matt 19:28 MSG)—new, coming down from heaven (Rev 21:1-2). The “material world…will be purged of all decay and brokenness. All will be healed and all might-have-beens will be” (ref#132, p33).

“…every horrible thing that ever happened will not only be undone and repaired but will in some way make the eventual glory and joy even greater” C.S. Lewis (ref#132. p32). “Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even…agony into a glory” C.S. Lewis (ref#132, p34).

Awaken ____ to think about (his/her) loss and how greatly (he/she) will be able to rejoice when it is returned to (him/her) whole and beautiful. ____’s suffering is not in vain.

 

THANKSGIVING

THE OFFENSE OF THE CROSS

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 3.31.33 PM“The darkness that covered Him there on Golgotha wasn’t an atmospheric phenomenon as much as it was a spiritual reality. In one sense the darkness must have radiated from Jesus, not around Him. For…darkness is the visible manifestation of sin,…” Michael Card (ref#137, p181).

CHRIST became a curse for it is written, “…’Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’…“ (Gal 3:13 ESV). “The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God’s judgment on sin. Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, April 6th). “The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, April 6th). “…he was cut off out of the land of the living…” (Isa 53:8 ESV), being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of You, FATHER. He was taken by lawless hands, crucified, and put to death (Acts 2:23).

“HEAVENLY FATHER, Thou hast led me singing to the cross where I fling down all my burdens and see them vanish, where my mountains of guilt are leveled to a plain,…” The Valley of Vision (ref#76, p173).

CONFESSION

MY FLESH DIED WITH CHRIST

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 10.28.32 AM…FATHER, because I have died—that is my flesh has died—that is my selfish disposition, let me set my mind on things above (Col 3:2-3). Since I am dead to sin and the world (ref#16, [Col 3:5]), my life now is hidden with CHRIST in You, FATHER (Col 3:3). I am with CHRIST in the glories of His kingdom (ref#16, [Col 3:5]), therefore, remind me that my job is to keep everything that remains of my earthy life subdued (ref#16, [Col 3:5]), i.e. my selfish nature.

I must make a habit of becoming sensitive to flesh’s continual attempt at resurrection. I must be aware of my selfishness, and be ready to lock arms with CHRIST and confront the temptation, which is to do what I want to.

Remind me, LORD, to assess how powerful and desperate my old disposition is to rule me. Flesh desires to live forever just as satan does and satan is behind it’s power. Flesh is a formidable foe that I cannot come close to defeating with my own strength. In fact, my own strength doesn’t even want to defeat flesh.

A short time away from You and Your Word will make me think I alone, in the strength of my flesh, can handle temptation as well as represent You adequately. But, the power outflowing from CHRIST’s resurrection is more than enough to subdue any fleshly work, yet, let my mind drift away from You, and flesh is instantly able to go on a rampage, for it never takes no for an answer (ref#33, p101). Letting the SPIRIT lead out is of the utmost, for it is by the HOLY SPIRIT I am able to keep the deeds of my flesh dead (Rom 8:13).

With my desire to keep my flesh dead and the SPIRIT’s power to accomplish that, is how I can live a victorious life. O FATHER, remind me to be constantly vigilant. Flesh always serves the law of sin; it will never change (ref#33, p102).

SPIRIT, apply the finished work on the cross to me continually, for my flesh is dead only if I keep it subdued. My selfish nature is always ready to break forth to rule at any moment. I plead to be led by You, SPIRIT.

ADORATION

CHRIST’S INTERCESSION

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 3.38.15 PM“Immanuel, God with us…—in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Dec 25th AM).

FATHER, how thankful I am that CHRIST is not come to You as He left, but now comes to You not only as the “Son of GOD” but also as the “Son of Man.” Because He ascended as the “Son of Man,” I can follow Him straight into Your holy of holies.

“As the Son of Man Jesus Christ deliberately limited omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience in Himself. But since His ascension these qualities are His in absolute full power” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 17th). He has all power at Your throne. He is now King of kings and Lord of lords (ref#7, May 17th). And as King He does not just rest on His throne:

“…the essence of Christ’s intercession is intervention in our interests rather than supplication on our behalf…” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1505, “The Ascension of Jesus”).  “He sits at the Father’s right hand—not to rest, but to rule. The picture is not of inactivity but of authority” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1572, “Jesus’ Heavenly Reign”).

From His throne He sends the HOLY SPIRIT and equips me for service. I now have at my disposal all the benefits that His suffering won for me (ref#56, p 1505, “The Ascension of Jesus”).

“Jesus provides his righteousness for our sin, his strength for our weakness, and his relationship with the Father to replace our alienation (2 Cor 5:21)” Bryan Chapell (ref#66, p87).

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

SABBATHING-UP

12/20/2015

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 10.08.24 AMI have been stressing about how to think on the LORD all the hours of the Sabbath. My mind has been setting about cranking out options so I will have enough to do and not get bored. Boy, doesn’t that sound like legalistic, old nature thinking!

But, “JESUS is LORD of the Sabbath.” He takes me right out of my logic and does something new—something I don’t have the ability to think of on my own—I’ll label it Sabbathing-up.

I have experienced today a Sabbathing-up (that’s like praying-up). I’m familiar with reaching a point in public or private prayer where I know I am finished. I have nothing more that needs to be said to GOD. It’s like I’m so overwhelmed with our communication that I’m too full to handle more revelation from Him. Our fellowship is over because it is enough to last until next time.

I was worried about the long Sabbath hours just like one who is about to retire is fearful that they will be bored in retirement. I do not know one retiree whose life isn’t even fuller than before retirement. Sabbath living is the same. I will retire from the workweek and watch the LORD fill my Sabbath with purposeful activities that will give me great joy.

Why do I think He commanded the Sabbath? He knew in His presence is fullness of joy.