CONFESSION

DEFINING THE “FLESH”

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 6.29.39 AM“Much of our distress as Christians comes not because of sin, but because we are ignorant of the laws of our own nature” Oswald Chambers  (ref#7, March 22nd).

The Bible terms our born-with natural nature, “flesh” (Rom 8:8). “Flesh” denotes “sinful propensities and passions” of my entire nature Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [John 3:6]).

This “flesh” urges me to carry out its “sinful passions.” I am the host this sinful nature works through. But as a Christian, You, FATHER have implanted another nature in me—Your nature, Your SPIRIT. He not only overpowers my sinful nature but also allows me to be the host of You accomplishing Your will through me.

CHRIST’s activity on the cross has given me the ability to render useless my fleshly nature, not simply the sins of my flesh. But I am too often concerned with the sins. I’m “occupied with today’s anger, tomorrow’s jealousy, or the day after tomorrow’s strife” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p96).

FATHER, please sensitize me to focus on, not individual sins but denying the urgings of my fleshly nature. It’s a given that my sin and lust keep me away from You, but also remind me that this fleshly nature is a totally selfish nature. Anything I do for my profit, or to make me look righteous, and anything I do out of what I deem my duty to You—all these actions are sin also (ref#35, p255).

Attempting to follow You without denying the flesh is the foundation of failure (ref#33, p116). Whenever I lack trust that is flesh in action (ref#33, p114). Flesh is impatient. It will resist waiting on You, FATHER. It also will not have faith enough to trust the SPIRIT. Flesh will make its own plans never having “the sense of utter dependency” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).

FATHER, I ask You give me strength to upstage my flesh so I may sit before You experiencing my dependence upon You. I praise You for the grace You have given me to put into practice the death of my fleshly nature. My most concern is always to recognize and render useless this “flesh.”

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ADORATION

CHRIST – MY HIGH PRIEST

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 6.17.01 AM…“O SAVIOUR OF SINNERS, Thy name is excellent, thy glory high, thy compassions unfailing, thy condescension wonderful, thy mercy tender” The Valley of Vision (ref#76, p58). FATHER thank You for Your Son.

“The work of our Lord as Priest was two-fold—atonement and intercession. The one He accomplished upon the cross, the other He now transacts upon the throne” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, July 14th).

“There is one…way human beings can reach God. That way is through Christ Jesus, who is himself human” (1 Tim 2:5 NCV). “God sent him to buy freedom for us…so that he could adopt us as his very own children” (Gal 4:5 NLT). “…our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand” (Heb 10:12 NLT).

“…He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb 9:26 NKJV). “…He offered himself…as a perfect sacrifice to God. His blood will make our consciences pure from useless acts so we may serve the living God” (Heb 9:14 NCV). “…he set us free from sin forever” (Heb 9:12 NCV).

“Christ…went into heaven…and is there now before God to help us” (Heb 9:24 NCV). “For this reason Jesus had to be made like his brothers in every way so he could be their merciful and faithful high priest…Then Jesus could bring forgiveness for their sins” (Heb 2:17 NCV). “Jesus is the kind of high priest we need. He is holy, sinless, pure, not influenced by sinners, and he is raised above the heavens” (Heb 7:26 NCV). “And now he can help those who are tempted, because he himself suffered and was tempted” (Heb 2:18 NCV). “For our high priest is able to understand our weaknesses. When he lived on earth, he was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin” (Heb 4:15 NCV). “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25 NKJV).

“Christ…is our go-between with God. His obedience and suffering were so perfect that God will not turn him away. Therefore, if we go to God through him, God will not turn us away either” John Piper (ref#92, p72).

“Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our…faith in Him]” (Heb 4:14 AMP).

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

 EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANT ANSWERS TO PRAYERS

4/19/2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 6.11.33 AMGet a little nervous and I don’t crave sweets anymore; get a little nervous and I don’t depend on myself anymore. Stress here and there in life is good.

The most recent stress that rose like an insurmountable wall was so immense it seemed like there would be no life beyond it. I never thought of finding myself on the other side. I never thought of what I’d do if I survived. But, here I am—still breathing, body suffering the adrenalin-withdrawal repercussions, but given time I will become myself again.

The wall represented a 4-day encounter with a special friend that I had recently learned was in mental anguish. I couldn’t stay away from planning all the “what ifs” in order to help her. My GOD-given gift of mercy caused misery for me as I thought on her misery.

This entry, first off, is to proclaim GOD and how He answers prayer. The more anxious I got preparing the more prayer-warrior friends I asked to pray for me. And did GOD ever answer the desires of my heart! No, He went way beyond that.

GOD does not let His children in the lurch. He shows His Fatherly help plainly to ones who need such a display of His benevolence. This wall experience will go down in my personal history as one of the more obvious displays of GOD’s compassion specifically given to me.

“Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…to Him be the glory…” (Eph 3:20-21 NASB).

This is how GOD answered my prayer and the prayers of my prayer warriors: I used none of my previous “what-ifs”. (When will I ever learn to not fall into the “what if” thing.) By the time it came for our meeting GOD had done a work in her and she was no longer in anguish. Yet, I still helped indirectly through conversations with others in her hearing and even made comments to TV programs we watched.

The entire wall experience was one happy time—for both of us. But, GOD made it more than a happy time. It enabled us to draw closer in relationship. And that relationship will be the foundation for an even closer relationship in the future.

I prayed for the situation to go well. GOD provided, and then set the stage for future relationships to go well. GOD answers prayer more exceedingly abundantly than I can ever imagine!

SABBATH

CORPORATE ACTIVITIES

“…there should be a stated day on which they should assemble to hear the Law, and perform religious rites, or which, at least, they should specially employ in meditating on his works, and be thereby trained to piety” John Calvin (ref#187).

“Worship with reverence, seriousness, order, diligence, and attention. These inner traits of true worship are very important…” John Owen (ref#176).

“We cannot be devotional unless our minds are fixed upon the object of our worship; we cannot attend to God when gazing about the congregation” George Rose (ref#174). “Beware of indulging yourself in any practice which may have the effect of leading others to disregard the rest and sanctity of the Sabbath” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).

“…public duties that are necessary to the right sanctifying of the Lord’s Day are these:

  1. Affectionate prayer…
  2. Our reverent and attentive hearing of the Word of God, either read or preached…
  3. Singing of the Psalms…
  4. …administration of the [ordinances], especially that of the Lord’s Supper” Ezekiel Hopkins (ref#182).

“When as we make God’s command our ground, we make God’s glory our [goal]) Thomas Case (ref#185).

SUPPLICATION

NON CHRISTIAN Resisters

[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.]

SIN NOT LEADING TO DEATH

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 5.32.48 AM“There may be those…in sin that there may seem to be…almost no ground of hope. They may have cast off all the restraints of religion, of morality, of decency;…they may have been professors of religion, and now may have renounced the faith of the gospel altogether, but still, while there is life it is our duty to pray for them,…” Barne’s Notes (ref#16, [1 John 5:16])

FATHER, I am thinking about ____. Your Apostle John says, at the end of his first epistle, there is sin that leads to death and sin that does not lead to death (1 John 5:16). I do not know where ____ is in (his/her) spiritual life, because I only see the outward signs, but, I pray for (him/her) with a “hope and expectation of success” Matthew Poole (ref#21, p941, [1 John 5:16]).

You say, You will give me what I ask for in 1 John 5:15. And follow it with: “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life…” (1 John 5:16 ESV).

Oh FATHER, how I want to believe that ____ is sinning in a way that does not lead to death so that You will give (him/her) life. I pray ____’s sin is not an obstinate sin, thus incurable (ref#21, p941, [1 John 5:16]). I pray ____ is not refusing Your diagnosis of (his/her) need and Your offer of forgiveness (ref#56, p1828, [1 John 1:10]). I pray ____ is not chronically disobedient to Your commands (ref#125, p2437, [1 John 5:16]) for continuing in such a state leads to permanent death.

Sin that does not lead “to death is sin for which forgiveness is possible because (1) forgiveness is sought” and (2) You, FATHER, are “willing to grant it” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2437, [1 John 5:16]).

Turn ____ from (his/her) wandering, evil course; save (him/her) from death (James 5:20). FATHER, nothing is impossible with You (Luke 1:37). Grant ____, repentance that (he/she) may escape from the snare of the devil, for (he/she) now is captured by him to do his will (2 Tim 2:25-26).

THANKSGIVING

THANKS FOR THE LITTLE THINGS

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 5.27.07 AM…FATHER, I thank You that not only do You draw me, but You draw close to me. You do not send another; You attend to me Yourself. It’s the tiny things You do that shows Your willingness to be amazingly intimate. You know every detail of my life (ref#7, June 3rd).

You look on the earth and it quakes; You touch the mountains and they smoke (Ps 104:32); You speak and the heavens tremble. The whole earth shudders at Your presence (Ps 114:7).

Yet You know what I’m thinking and I’m never out of Your sight (Ps 139:2-3). You even know everything I’m going to say before I say it (Ps 139:4).

You are constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to You. You are constantly searching me in order to strengthen my heart. You show Yourself strong on my behalf (2 Chron 16:9).

When I take a deep breath it moves Your heart; my whisper can turn Your head toward me; You respond when You hear my prayer (ref#34, Sept 28th AM). Thank You for Your attentiveness to little things. May You rejoice in Your works; may Your glory endure forever (Ps 104:31).

CONFESSION

I SIN KNOWINGLY BUT NOT WILLFULLY

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 5.19.25 AM…FATHER, I grieve especially over the sins I commit knowing full well I’m disobeying You. Can You forgive me for such in-Your-face, blatant, rebellion?

The book of Leviticus describes sacrifices for sins. But the sacrifices are only for unintentional sins (Lev 4:2). The writer of Hebrews says: “…if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” (Heb 10:26 NKJV).

Yet, I, as well as other Christians, knowingly sin—even King David prayed that You keep him back from “…presumptuous sins…(Ps 19:13 NASB). FATHER, help me understand that I may sin knowingly, as King David did but that does not mean I sin willfully. Sinning willfully means sinning willingly. Sinning willingly means I sin out of my own glad choice with no intention of repenting. Adam Clarke’s Commentary brings meaning to Hebrews 10:26:

“A man may be overtaken in a fault, or he may deliberately go into sin, and yet neither renounce the Gospel, nor deny the Lord that bought him.” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [Heb 10:26]). But, “if we sin willfully] If we deliberately…renounce the profession of the Gospel and the Author of that Gospel,…the…case must be utterly without remedy.” (ref#15, [Heb 10:26]).

When I do sin deliberately, my “case is dreary and dangerous but it is not hopeless; no case is hopeless but that of the deliberate apostate who rejects the whole Gospel system,…” (ref#15, [Heb 10:26]). And, all thanks to You, FATHER, that You have cemented in my heart never to reject the Gospel.

How I thank You, FATHER, that You give me the grace of confession. Yes, You have put in my heart the desire to repent. You have closed the gate behind me. Because You have made me Yours, I will never again sin willfully.

Though FATHER, drive me to fear sinning against You deliberately. Such actions remove me from Your presence. My iniquities always make a separation between You and me. My sins hide Your face so that You do not hear me (Isa 59:2).

LORD, I take hold of Your grace of repentance and use it to bring myself back into Your presence. And, FATHER, during this activity of repentance, sober me into remembering that even though I will never sin willfully, sinning knowingly is dreary and dangerous.

ADORATION

REGENERATION AND SANCTIFICATION

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 5.09.20 AM…FATHER, I desire to understand the mechanics of Your salvation (as much as You permit me to know)—how You have redeemed me and what the stipulations are of Your covenant with me.

You began by drawing me (John 6:44); I never sought You on my own—for I was unable (Rom 3:10,11). “Regeneration is a momentary act, bringing a person from spiritual death to life. It is exclusively God’s work” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1650).

“Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man…is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself…” (The Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. IX:3).

FATHER, through Your drawing I realized my sins were a roadblock between You and me (Isa 59:2) and so I repented of them (Isa 59:20), believing CHRIST’s shed blood saved me from Your wrath (Rom 3:25).

I became a brand new person inside. My new life began (2 Cor 5:17)—a life fashioned after You, renewed from the inside and able to work itself into my conduct as You accurately reproduced Your character in me (Eph 4:24). This metamorphosis is called, “sanctification” and it will continue until the day I die (Phil 2:12).

“According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q. 35), sanctification is ‘the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness’” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1650).

From now on I have a choice to sin or not to sin since regeneration releases me from the bondage of continual sin (2 Cor 7:1). But, as I go through sanctification I have two contrary urgings (Rom 8:6-7): (1), urgings from the SPIRIT, and, (2), urgings from my depraved nature.

The SPIRIT sustains my new life but my original fallen instinct (the sin of my flesh) still has the ability to rise to obstruct my Christlike desires (Rom 7:18,19).

“Sanctification is…dependent on God’s continuing action in the believer, and consisting of the believer’s continuous struggle against sin….Sanctification is…human effort dependent on GodThe Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p 1650) (underlining mine).

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

READING MY OWN WRITING

4/13/2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 5.01.25 AMI was succeeding in keeping myself from thinking about an upcoming event because it required a great deal of unfamiliar organizing that might as well not be done until closer to the time of it. I had volunteered for something I know I’m not good at but was feeling pretty proud of myself for refusing to maul the “what ifs” over and over in my mind.

Less than a week ago I found out a few things that will make the situation harder for me. No, actually impossible for me. So I’ve spent most of the last few days hollering “help” to my FATHER.

And, GOD has answered. My FATHER has brought to my mind helpful ideas and I’m making a point to remember them. Yes, I was keeping away the cloud that so wanted to settle over my head. Until I lost something that I deemed essential for success.

Seems the still yet shaky foundation I, with GOD, was building collapsed.   It was enough to make me cry whenever I thought about the fast approaching situation. And I thought and cried back and forth all afternoon. I knew GOD would not leave me alone in the venue but the erosion had started.

I began to turn away from clinging to my FATHER to become more concerned about myself. This took the form of accepting thoughts about how miserable I was feeling. So I began to cling to ideas that would comfort me in the situation. I was engaging in the “poor me” thing and not even realizing it. Until…

I was interrupted by an email alert on my phone. It was a reminder that someone had commented on my today’s post. I would have to moderate it (accept it) before it would show up on my blog site.

Since I wrote the post years ago and scheduled it on my blog site months ago, I had no idea what was posted for today. I would have to read my own post to understand the comment.

The post was titled, Discipline, but it might as well have been called, Bonnie, Your Drifting, Let Me Call You Back to the Truth. Below is a portion of the post:

FATHER, I will praise You because You discipline me in just measure (Jer 30:11). You promise I can always endure whatever circumstances You put me in (1 Cor 10:13). You are with me to save me (Jer 30:11). You give me power to keep myself calm in the days of adversity (Ps 94:13). Enduring the disciplinary trial proves my faith and produces perseverance and steadfastness and patience (James 1:3).

FATHER, commit to my understanding the fact that You issue discipline because You love me (Heb 12:6). When I go astray You call me back to You with discipline. Your steadfast love will not depart from me (2 Sam 7:14-15). You will not be false to Your faithfulness, nor violate Your covenant or alter the word that goes forth from Your lips (Ps 89:33-34). You chasten and scourge me because You cherish me (Heb 12:6).

Needless to say, I have stopped crying.

SABBATH

FINDING GOD’S PRESENCE

“It is man’s sinful nature which makes the Sabbath and its proper observance so hateful to him. The Sabbath calls upon us to discipline our lives” C. E. Hunter (ref#171).

GOD sometimes helps us get into His presence but we have to look for Him. Bishop J. C. Ryle suggests, “Arrange your time on Sunday so that you may have leisure for quiet, sober meditation on eternal things. Avoid the company that would lead you to talk only of this world” (ref#167).

It helps immensely to remind ourselves of how truly in desperate need of GOD’s help we are. All during each day we can pray without ceasing, knowing He is there to help us fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants, but Sunday affords opportunity to evaluate our last week’s activities.

There are weekly activities that cause barriers between our FATHER and us. It is our first Sabbath duty to crash through these obstacles.

“…there are certain things that will stand between us and the fellowship that in turn leads to joy. First of all, there is sin—unrighteousness….If we recognize and confess sin, then there is the blood that cleanses, and God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:7,9). The second hindrance that John talks about in 1 John 2:3 is lack of love for the brethren….You lose contact with the brethren, and you lose contact with God…The third hindrance is a love of the world,…You cannot mix light and darkness. The last thing that interrupts fellowship with God, he tells us at the end of 1 John 2, is false teaching about the person of Jesus Christ. Obviously if the only way to God is through Christ, if I am in any way wrong about my teaching or doctrine concerning Him, then automatically I sever the communion, and again I lose my joy” Marytn Lloyd-Jones, (ref#189, Sept 18th).