CONFESSION

PLACING MYSELF ABOVE OTHERS

“Anger is always an attack on the brother’s life, for it refuses to let him live and aims at his destruction….Every idle word which we think so little of betrays our lack of respect for our neighbour, and shows that we place ourselves on a pinnacle above him and value our own lives higher than his. The angry word is a blow struck at our brother, a stab at his heart: it seeks to hit, to hurt and to destroy….When a man gets angry with his brother…when he…insults or slanders him, he is guilty of murder…He erects a barrier not only between himself and his brother, but also between himself and God. He no longer has access to him: his sacrifice, worship and prayer are not acceptable in his sight. For the Christian, worship cannot be divorced from the service of the brethren,…God will not be separated from our brother: he wants no honour for himself so long as our brother is dishonoured….There is therefore only one way of following Jesus and of worshipping God, and that is to be reconciled with our brethren” Dietrich Bonhoeffer (ref#10, p127-129).

FATHER, Your love for everyone in Your creation is so great that You refuse to commune with me any further if I am the least bit critical of anyone. I cannot be as sweet water, worshipping You and, at the same time, bitter water and angry at my bother. If I’m not sweet to my brother, You will be bitter toward me. How greatly grieved You are when my words, even in jest, speak negatively of someone.

The Apostle Paul says, “…I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor 9:27 ESV). Paul knows how easy it is to put himself above others with angry or idle words. He knows he must subdue his corrupt tendencies and thus warns himself (and me). (ref#16, [1 Cor 9:27]).

So, today, FATHER, I ask that You make me aware of how I dishonor people. I surely desire to not lose Your presence because of saying and thinking unkindness toward someone.

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CONFESSION

ASSURANCES OF SALVATION

“If a sinner, upon being convicted of his sin and hearing the gospel of God’s grace, is willing to accept the gospel and by faith take it, he will see how the precious blood of the Lord Jesus answers all the accusations of his conscience. Doubtless there is sin, but the blood of the Lord Jesus has been shed. What ground is left for accusation since sin’s penalty has been fully paid? The blood of the Lord has atoned for all the sins of a believer; hence   there is no more condemnation in the conscience….Our salvation is confirmed by the fact that the precious blood has quieted this voice of condemnation” Watchman Nee (ref#101, p108).

“When the spiritual life is in ascendancy the believer is most glad; when the flesh gains the upper hand he cannot but grieve. Experience of this kind confirms that such ones have been regenerated” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p81).

FATHER, clue me by this entry that it is my responsibility to seek evidences that prove Your disposition is working in me. Dance with me so I have no trouble displaying Your disposition through my actions.

CONFESSION

BACK TO BASICS

…FATHER, my human self-worth is tied up in my accomplishments so my tendency is to always think about accomplishments in spiritual life.

“…instead of stressing holiness in order to see God, the emphasis is on service for God…Techniques and methods, by which we hope to make God’s message known, have become the important thing” Roy and Revel Hession (ref#100, p16).

Instead of longing for You, I gravitate toward longing for power to better serve You (ref#100, p16). Let me make some notes to myself that they might recalibrate my thinking.

“…thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev 4:11 KJV). “…what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him,…” (Deut 10:12 KJV). “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:…” (Mark 12:30 KJV).

FATHER, let the above Scriptures remind me that I have been created only to delight You. It should be my joy continually to submit to Your will and desires (ref#100, p17).

“The divines who…produced the Westminster Confession of Faith answered the question ‘What is the chief end of man?’ with the words, ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever’” Roy and Revel Hession (ref#100, p14).

The missionary, David Brainerd records some sobering words in his diary. It makes me question whether I’m interested in Your glory or simply getting from You what I think best:

 “I saw it was self interest had led me to pray and that I had never once prayed from any respect to the glory of God….I saw there was no…connection between my prayers and the bestowment of divine mercy; that they laid not the least obligation upon God to bestow His grace upon me…because they were not performed from any love or regard to God” Jonathan Edwards (ref#88, p68).

FATHER, I confess the ease by which I trade my joy of being with You for the satisfaction of doing something I think You would appreciate. Call to my attention swiftly the subtleness by which I move from submitting to You to deciding for myself.   Truly, I want to see You. I want to possess a hunger for You. I want to satisfy Your heart. I want to be back into a relationship of submission to You (ref#100, p25).

CONFESSION

A NEW DISPOSITION

…FATHER, Your Son walked the earth in meekness and was lowly in heart (Matt 11:29). He always surrendered His own will to You (John 6:38). “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten…” (1 Peter 2:23 ESV). He never stood up for His own rights, never returned wrong for a wrong, never resented, never complained.

“Self-energy…in service is sin. Self-pity in…difficulties, self-seeking in business or Christian work, self-indulgence in one’s spare time,…self-defense when we are hurt…by others, self-consciousness…” Oswald Chambers (ref#97, p28,29) are all sin.

“Let every mention of the Blood call to mind the deep humility and self-surrender of the Lamb, for it is this disposition that gives the Blood its wonderful power with God” Roy Hession (ref#97, p94). “We may be partakers of His disposition, for it has been made transferable to us by His death” Roy Hession (ref#97, p95,96). And this disposition is what you look for in me. By having this disposition I will know power in my own life.

“The natural life is neither moral nor immoral. I make it moral or immoral by my ruling disposition. Jesus teaches that the natural life is meant for sacrifice. We can give it as a gift to God, which is the only way to make it spiritual (see Rom 12:1-2)” Oswald Chambers (ref#118, p36).

CONFESSION

REFORMING MY FLESH OR KEEPING IT DEAD

…FATHER, I know that my natural disposition must be crucified with CHRIST (that is, my flesh must die). The word, “flesh” means my human nature which is “under the control of animal appetites” and is sensuous (ref#150, NT:4559). “Flesh” is defined as my earthly nature apart from divine influence (ref#150, NT:4561).

Flesh is the part of me I must inactivate—kill by neglect. But I am anchored so in it I naturally choose to reform it instead of kill it.

It is intuitive to me to want flesh tamed. Therefore I strive to educate my flesh—teach it to be righteous. I happily give myself over to rules and methods (ref#33, p92). Intensive church activity is a way of attempting to reform flesh. It is frightening to realize that my own flesh can produce acts that appear Christian (Matt 7:22-23) yet they are without the help or consent of You, FATHER (ref#63, p706).

While teaching my flesh to be righteous I concentrate on one sin or a file-folder of sins. I fall into using my flawed self to try to become more like CHRIST. By doing this, I am in the business of trying to conquer and refine my old-nature flesh. I try to get flesh and SPIRIT to cooperate!

But, I cannot, and You, FATHER, will not reform my flesh—even the priceless blood of JESUS can’t cleanse the flesh. The HOLY SPIRIT does nothing to improve flesh; in fact, He will not even dwell in the midst of sinful flesh. The SPIRIT will abide in me for only one reason and that is for warring against my flesh (ref#33, p94).

O LORD, continually bring me to understand the difference between operating by my flesh and working with the SPIRIT—the difference between reforming my flesh and killing it by neglect. It is only by faith and dependence on the SPIRIT that I can put to death the deeds of my flesh (Rom 8:13).

CONFESSION

THINKING OF JESUS, NOT MYSELF

The SPIRIT reminds me that I am nothing, and that CHRIST is all. How can I even pretend I might be something worthwhile. Even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in Your eyes, LORD, much less man who is a maggot and a worm (Job 25:4-6).

You, FATHER, put all things under the feet of CHRIST and give Him as head over all. You seated Him at Your right hand far above all rule and authority and power and dominion. He is above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. He fills all in all (Eph 1:20-23).

CHRIST is altogether superior yet my default thinking centers on myself that spurs constant judging. “I don’t have enough faith; I don’t repent enough; I’ll never be able to make it to the end.” And when I think about myself, the introspection spurs constant planning—“I need to pray more; I need to do more; I need to feel more.”

“…it is not your hold of Christ that saves you; it is Christ. It is not your joy in Christ that saves you; it is Christ. It is not even your faith in Christ, though that is the instrument, but it is Christ’s blood and His merits that save you; therefore, do not look as much to your hand, with which you are grasping Christ, as to Christ” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, June 28th AM).

FATHER, I want my thoughts to rest on CHRIST—“His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, and His intercession…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, June 28th AM). SPIRIT, satisfy the desire of my heart; let the action of my thoughts turning inward remind me to stop, refocus, and think on CHRIST.

CONFESSION

REJECTING PLAUSIBLE ARGUMENTS

…FATHER, I become deluded with plausible arguments (Col 2:4) if I don’t believe that in CHRIST are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3).

Plausible arguments come mainly from my own logical head. They convince me to look for an easy walk through the day. My heady thoughts are loud and anxious to engage me in self-satisfying work. These thoughts are not at all insightful into Your ways and purposes or rich in enlightenment. They make sense to me but disregard CHRIST’s experience altogether so they are evil even when the outcome results in good deeds. They may please me and my peers but not You, FATHER.

The Apostle Paul’s witness convinces me that what he’s doing is Your will, FATHER, and not his own:

“I want you to know how glad I am that it’s me sitting here in this jail and not you. There’s a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world — the kind of suffering Christ takes on. I welcome the chance to take my share in the church’s part of that suffering” (Col 1:24 MSG).  “…I am making up whatever…remains to be completed…of Christ’s afflictions…” (Col 1:24 AMP).

“I have still some afflictions to pass through before my race of glory be finished; afflictions which fall on me on account of the Gospel; such as Christ bore from…persecuting people” (ref#15, [Col 1:24]). As CHRIST and the Apostle Paul, my witness must be so opposed to worldliness that I elicit anger from non-Christians.

FATHER, if my activity is not met with anger from non-Christians drive me to reconsider my decision-making. Am I engaged in my choices or Your choices?

CONFESSION

THE NOTION OF DIVINE CONTROL

…FATHER. “The Bible declares that an infinitely good God is in the middle of our most painful experiences…” Paul David Tripp (ref#5, p143).

“…how astonished we would be to find that in the bitterest draught that ever touched our lips, the principal ingredient was love! That love saw the discipline needful, love selected the chastisement sent, love appointed the instrument by which it should come, love arranged the circumstances by which it should take place, love fixed the time when it should transpire, and love heard the sigh, and saw the tear, and marked the anguish, and never for one moment withdrew its beaming eye from the sufferer” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, Oct 7th).

FATHER, I long to stay in Your presence. How easy it is when the tribulations come to lean on my own resources. At the sign of tribulation my notion is to take action using my strength to remove myself from its grip as speedily as possible. I derive help from myself and from others forgetting You, FATHER; I not only forget Your strength to provide for me but also I never consider Your good purposes for the trial.

Aid me quickly so I gain a notion of Your divine control. When perplexities press make the realization come naturally: “God is my Father, He loves me, I shall never think of anything He will forget, why should I worry” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, July 16th)? Allow me, FATHER, to rest in perfect confidence in You (ref#7, July 16th).

CONFESSION

SOLOMON’S PRAYER

…FATHER, there is no GOD like You in heaven above or on the earth beneath keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart (1 Kings 8:23). I pray Your eyes be open day and night looking toward me to listen to my cry (2 Chron 6:19-20).

You have promised relief for me from the hardships caused by my sin if I turn to You in humility and prayer (ref#56, p606, [2 Chron 7:14]). So, act and judge me, condemn me if I am guilty by bringing my conduct on my own head; but vindicate me if I’m righteous by rewarding me according to my righteousness (1 Kings 8:32).

If I pray and acknowledge Your name and turn from my sin when You afflict me, then hear in heaven and forgive my sin (1 Kings 8:35-36). Listen to my pleas and when You hear, forgive (1 Kings 8:30).

Whatever plague, whatever sickness, whatever prayer, whatever plea I make, knowing the affliction of my own heart, hear in heaven and forgive and act and render to me according to all my ways. (1 Kings 8:37-39). Act on my behalf, so I might fear You all the days I live (1 Kings 8:40).

When I sin against You and You are angry and give me to an enemy, remember to maintain my cause and forgive me when I turn my heart and repent saying, “I have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly” (1 Kings 8:45-47).

Forgive all my transgressions that I have committed against You; grant me compassion in the sight of my enemies, that they may have pity and be merciful to me (I Kings 8:50).

Let Your eyes be open to my pleas giving ear to them whenever I call to You, for You have separated me from the peoples of the earth to be Your heir (1 Kings 8:52-53).

Do not leave me or forsake me that I might incline my heart to You, to walk in all Your ways and to keep Your commandments—Your statutes—Your rules (1 Kings 8:57-58). Maintain my cause as each day requires that the whole earth may know that You are the LORD GOD and there is no other (1 Kings 8:59-60). And so, let my heart therefore be wholly true to You (1 Kings 8:61).

CONFESSION

DISCIPLESHIP

…ALL-WISE FATHER, I do not need to know how to disciple others. I only need to know how to be a disciple myself. My life lived out teaches others of what it is to be a disciple.

“Our Lord makes a disciple His own possession, He becomes responsible for him….The spirit that comes in is not that of doing anything for Jesus, but of being a perfect delight to Him” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Sept 4th).

“…the only men and women He will use…are those who love Him personally, passionately and devotedly beyond any of the closest ties on earth” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 7th).

FATHER, forgive me for not taking seriously enough Your constraint on me as CHRIST’s disciple. Let me put my energies toward exclusively becoming personally, passionately and devotedly yielded to CHRIST. May I desire not to rejoice in successful service, but rejoice that I’m rightly related to CHRIST (ref#7, Oct 27th).

JESUS said, “…’All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go…and make disciples…” (Matt 28:18-19 ESV). Do I believe that when I “go” JESUS does the work of making disciples? This is my challenge. If I believe “that people are difficult to get saved, that backsliders are difficult to reclaim,…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Oct 27th) it is because I have commissioned myself with my natural talents to make disciples.

Making a relationship with You, LORD, is my work. And, relationship-making is difficult work. Because I desire such a relationship, satan may no longer tempt me to simply do wrong things.

Instead, his temptations will be along the same line that he tempted JESUS. His temptations will be crafted toward separating You from me. He hopes to discourage me so I give up on all the grace You have put into me (ref#7, Sept 18th). Satan attempts to keep me from being obedient to You. He wants me to cease being Your disciple (ref#7, Sept 18th). Therefore, FATHER, enlarge my desire to muse on CHRIST and enjoy His presence above all.