ADORATION

CLOTHED WITH THE GARMENTS OF SALVATION

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 4.44.08 PM“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,…” (Isa 61:10 ESV).

FATHER, I will rejoice with holy joy, to Your honor. For the beauty of Your grace has clothed me with a durable covering. You have provided this garment for protection and ornamentation. It is the image of the church—how You defend it and make it beautiful (ref#16, [Isa 61:10]). 

“For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown…to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations” (Isa 61:11 ESV).

May I be pleasing to You with the righteousness and salvation that JESUS CHRIST clothes me. I rejoice to think of the fathomless blessings that shall spring forth for future ages and spread to distant regions—from generation to generation. How great is Your salvation that shall be published and proclaimed to all the world and the ends of the earth shall see it (ref#18, [Isa 61:10-11]).

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

SABBATHING-UP

4/10/2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 4.38.31 PMGOD does as He pleases but until I see His obvious moves, I go along day by day, or I should say, Sabbath by Sabbath following His prompting on my heart. Lately my mind has been selecting activity options to fill these Sabbaths. 24-hours is a lengthy period to have to fill with spiritual activity living in a physical world.

Lists prepared for Sabbath pursuit sound a bit legalistic—law centered, instead of faith centered. And GOD has given me an experience on this Sabbath that proves list making is a mistake.

As I was at a time of private reading this LORD’s Day, He caused the words in the book to penetrate my heart and fill it to almost bursting. It was a similar experience D. L Moody had as he sought the fullness of the HOLY SPIRIT:

“…one day, walking down a street in New York…suddenly God overwhelmed him with this mighty blessing. It was so mighty that Moody felt he would be killed by it, and he held up his hand and said, ‘Stop, God’” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#194, November 20th)!

I can identify with “Stop, God!” I’ve had enough of His spiritual truth to certainly last me until next Sabbath just in my private reading today.

I am familiar with reaching a point in public or private prayer where I know I am finished. There is nothing more my heart wishes to say to the LORD. I have a friend that calls such a phenomenon, “praying up.”

GOD has just caused me to experience, “Sabbathing up.” Even though there are hours left before Sabbath’s end, I have taken in all that I can assimilate today.

I have to smile, I am like those who are fearful about impeding retirement wondering if they’ll be able to find satisfying activity to replace the job hours. Most surprise themselves by finding their days fuller than before. Sabbath living is the same.

Leaving the workweek behind, I’ll watch the LORD fill my Sabbaths with purposeful activities that will give me great spiritual joy and strength whether it take 24 hours or one. He knows my needs and desires.

SABBATH

HELPS FOR OBSERVING THE SABBATH

“Let the whole day be consecrated to the service of God, especially in acts of worship, public and private. This weekly recess from worldly cares and avocations, affords a precious opportunity for the study of God’s word, and for the examination of our own hearts” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).

Use physical refreshments so we can feel strong and well in our worship. God does not require fasting and weight loss on this day….Always practice self-control so that you do not even begin to sin, and so that you do not lose alertness from a full belly.

Work very hard to make this day spiritually beneficial….Naps are not a religious part of the Lord’s Day except as they help us to attend to its duties….All pains and labors on the Lord’s Day are lawful if they help us keep it as we should.

Do works of love and necessity. Visit the sick. Revive the poor. Help the distressed. Rescue perishing people or even animals.

Be careful about sports and recreations. Good sense about these on Sunday is found in ancient legislation of emperors and nations. We can summarize the best sentiments by reminding you that the Lord’s Day is supposed to be full of joy in Him that He might be praised and glorified” John Owen (ref#176).

“…a people truly flourish when religion flourished among them. And this is the effect of Sabbath-sanctification; when that branch of religion is kept up other instances of it are kept up likewise; but when that is lost, devotion is lost either in superstition or in profaneness. It is a true observation, which some have made, that the streams of all religion run either deep or shallow according as the banks of the Sabbath are kept up or neglected” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Jer 17:19-27]).

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.]

NOW GLORIFY GOD IN PASSIVE SERVICE

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 3.27.14 PM…FATHER, aid ____ now in glorifying You passively rather than in an active consecration to Your service. Cause (him/her) to flourish in the graces that were perhaps dormant until now. Develop and exercise these spiritual gifts to their utmost capacity. “Patience is to be cultivated, resignation is to be exhibited, faith is to be exercised, love is to be tried, and example is to be set” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, Aug 12th).

Help ____, for in helplessness (he/she) lies. Show Your presence, FATHER, when (his/her) conscience accuses (him/her) of sin, when (his/her) mind is harassed by foreboding thoughts, when (his/her) eyes are held awake by personal anxieties (ref#76, p165). You alone, LORD, will make (him/her) dwell in safety; You alone will give (him/her) peace to lie down and to sleep (Ps 4:8). You have “a balm for every wound, a solace for all anguish, a remedy for every pain, a peace for all disquietude” The Valley of Vision (ref#76, p165).

FATHER, I pray that ____ approach Your throne of grace with confidence, so that (he/she) may receive mercy and find grace to help in (his/her) time of need (Heb 4:16), for prayer will open (his/her) eyes to see Your hand in trouble. It will not interpret Your providences, but prayer will see justice in them and recognize You in them. Prayer is the window that (he/she) will be able to see Your wise ends in trouble. Prayer drives away unbelief, saves from doubt and delivers from vain and foolish questionings (ref#64, p54). FATHER, teach ____ to glorify You now passively.

THANKSGIVING

GOD’S WORD IN NATURE-CHANGING

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 3.17.40 PM…FATHER, I thank You for Your Scriptures. And I thank You for providing the SPIRIT who guides me as I read.

I can easily fall back into reading with the mind of my flesh, using my natural “sense and reasons without the Holy Spirit…” (Rom 8:6 AMP). But by reading this way I’m only looking for information to help me. Without the SPIRIT to help, Your Word is external. It does not change me inside. It only gives me advice to act independently of You.

“God’s word,…is still living; it is instinct with energy; it is keener than any two-edged sword: that can but pierce flesh, but this finds its way to the dividing line between the animal life and the immortal spirit: it pierces the deepest recesses of our nature; it analyses the very emotions and purposes of the inmost heart” Arthur S. Way (ref#38, p229, [Heb 4:12]).

I praise You that Your Word “is a sifter of the reflections and conceptions of the heart” Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p519, [Heb 4:12]). Its energy seeks to get into and stay with me. It has the ability to stir me and work in me to a degree that I can’t get away from it (ref#28, p83).

All thanks to You, FATHER, that Your Scriptures are able to instruct, reproof, and train me in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). Thank You that Your Word will never pass away (Matt 24:35). The HOLY SPIRIT brings life to me through the Word which grants life to me both now and forever (Rom 8:6). Thank You. AMEN!

CONFESSION

BELIEF MORE THAN BEHAVIOR

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 3.10.35 PM…FATHER, I desire to be more concerned about my beliefs than my behavior. The enemy would lead me to focus on my behavior—my poor behavior. He is forever reminding me of my sins—trying to convince me that I am “unworthy, unacceptable, sin-sick” who will never amount to anything in Your eyes (ref#14, p 57). Yet, at the same time, he encourages me to work harder at being better.

Your intention is that I confess, forsake the sin, and quickly move on with You. But, I have trouble moving on with You when my attention is on changing sinful behavior. Help me, LORD to dwell on my beliefs and not my behavior.

“I have been justified—completely forgiven and made righteous (Rom 5:1)” Neil Anderson (ref#14, p57). Because of CHRIST’s work sin no longer has dominion over me (Rom 6:14). I have passed out of sin as truly as the dead man has passed out of life (Rom 6:2). I have been placed into CHRIST by Your doing, FATHER (1 Cor 1:30). “…The life I am now living is Christ’s life (Gal 2:20)” (ref#14, p58). “…I am sanctified and am one with the Sanctifier, He is not ashamed to call me brother (Heb 2:11)” (ref#14, p59).

Admittedly, the below is also true:

  • I, along with everyone else, do not understand or seek You (Ps 53:2).
  • I, along with everyone else, corrupt my own way (Gen 6:12).
  • I, along with everyone else, have fallen away and am dishonest (Ps 53:3).
  • I, along with everyone else, do not do good (Ps 53:3).
  • I, along with everyone else, have a heart filled with destruction and do not speak truth (Ps 5:9).

FATHER, continually aid me to always perceive the truth about my perpetual sinful condition then turn immediately to rest with CHRIST on His accomplishments. He is the upright One who instructs and teaches me (Ps 25:8-9). I walk in His faithfulness, not in my faithfulness (Ps 26:3). May I seek joy in CHRIST alone, not in any good feelings I may get by improving my behavior.

ADORATION

HOLINESS

           “…’Holy, holy , holy is the Lord of hosts;…” (Isa 6:3 ESV)!

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 3.03.06 PM“…what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15 ESV). FATHER, Your abhorrence for ungodly things sobers me when I think about it. I think about it too little, now free me to think about it. Let me review ways of behaving that You positively hate:

“For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man” (Ps 5:4-6 ESV).

“God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.  If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts” (Ps 7:11-13 ESV).

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Prov 6:16-19 ESV).

FATHER, sin is whirling dust—filthy grit in Your eyes. Holiness is what I long for; may I tremble at Your Word lest I offend You (ref#89, p101). Save me, O GOD, that I may give thanks to Your holy name and glory in Your praise (1 Chron 16:35).

“…You are holy, O You Who dwell in [the holy place…” (Ps 22:3 AMP).

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

WANTING TO BE WISE

11/15/08

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 2.59.28 PMYour display of love is enough—a nanosecond is enough to satisfy all my present needs. Your love—it soundly silences natural Bonnie. I am of one mind—able to think toward one direction—toward You.

This is what makes the presence of the SPIRIT so crisp and refreshing—the ability to think in one direction. It’s not having to say, “should I do this or that?” I have only one desire and that’s to run with CHRIST. When the SPIRIT is present there’s no other choice.

The boldness that I long for and need to defend JESUS will come as You allow me more and more to comprehend Your love. I see the progression in our relationship. Your love is too strong to be grasped all at once. You have made me too weak to grasp it. In order for me to gain strength enough for the purpose You have set me apart for, I must over and over storm heaven and desire You come to me.

And I must come without natural Bonnie. Because I so easily revel in Christian pride, natural Bonnie wants to right now run up and bang on Your door again. Natural Bonnie would love to have You reveal Yourself to her more than just a nanosecond.

She loves it so she’d permit the enemy to mimic GOD. What more could natural Bonnie desire than to be able to speak wisely about GOD? It’d be the ultimate in Christian circles—to be a leader in wisdom.

“Give me boldness now. I want to be superior now.” As I write this I see so much of what I’ve written in the past is Christian pride. I thought it was a true desire to know GOD. But it wasn’t. It was only natural Bonnie wanting to be a superior Christian. My exuberance was wanting to learn something new—gather more knowledge for myself.

All my life I’ve wanted to know God because it pleased me to get to know Him. I was attempting to draw close to Him for my benefit. Now, He’s opening a way for me to really know Him and be known by Him. And, it takes my breath away.

SABBATH

WORK ON THE SABBATH

“Our Lord’s reply…’Though my Father rested on the seventh day from His work of creation, He has never rested for a moment from His providential government of the world, and from His merciful work of supplying the daily wants of all His creatures….I do not break the fourth commandment when I heal the sick, anymore than my Father breaks it when He causes the sun to rise and the grass to grow on the Sabbath’” J.C. Ryle (ref#13, Vol. Three, p277, [John 5:16-23]).

“…the Sabbath was not meant to be a day of total idleness, and of entire cessation from all kinds and sorts of work. ‘The Sabbath was made for man,’ for his benefit, comfort, and advantage” J.C. Ryle (ref#13, Vol. Three, p280, [John 5:17]).

“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” Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

“Works of piety are to be performed on the Lord’s Day, yea, on this day especially, as being the proper works of the day. And such are not only those that consist in the internal operations of the soul, as heavenly meditations and spiritual affections; but such also as consist in the external actions of the body, as oral prayer, reading of the Scriptures, and preaching of the Word” Ezekiel Hopkins (ref#184).

“Not only works of piety, but works of necessity—and of great convenience—may also be done on the Lord’s Day. And [these] are such without which we cannot subsist or not well subsist. Therefore, we may quench a raging fire; prevent any great and notable damage that would happen either to our persons or estates…without being guilty of the violation of this day…And not only those works that are of absolute necessity, but those likewise that are of great convenience may lawfully be done on the Lord’s Day: such as kindling of fire, preparing of [food], and many other particulars too numerous to be mentioned” Ezekiel Hopkins (ref#184).

“Another sort of works that may and ought to be done on the Lord’s Day are the works of charity and mercy….God prefers mercy before sacrifice….Works of mercy, therefore, are to be done even to beasts themselves, whatsoever labor may be required to the doing of them. How much more, then, [should we do] works of charity to men like ourselves! [This] charity is to be shown either to their souls or their bodies, for both many times are extremely miserable” Ezekiel Hopkins (ref#184).

JESUS is LORD of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). We will not break the Sabbath law if we follow His example of acting responsibly and compassionately.

SUPPLICATION

CHRISTIAN

[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.]

THE OBEDIENCE OF JESUS

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 2.42.24 PM…FATHER, illuminate CHRIST as ____’s example of how to live by obedience to You. Keep (him/her) from thinking just because (he/she) loves You and has walked many years with You that (he/she) knows what You want and proceeds without consulting You day by day. Your Son sums up His way of life on earth in one verse. Aid ____ to fashion (his/her) life after His.

“I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord — but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me” (John 5:30 AMP).