SUPPLICATION

GENERAL TRIBULATION

[We all can think of a Christian sister or brother experiencing so much affliction they may not be able to pray for themselves. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]

CHRIST’S PITY

FATHER, because ____ is CHRIST’s, He takes more pains and gives more of His presence to (him/her) when (he/she) needs it (ref#35, p256). He pities (him/her) in (his/her) temptations and afflictions. ____ receives CHRIST’s increased love out of pity constantly (Heb 4:15). And, when temptations overcome (him/her), CHRIST, in His tenderness, relieves (him/her) with mercy and pardon lest (he/she) sink utterly under its burden (1 John 2:1,2).

In these things CHRIST has fellow-feelings with ____. He grieves with (him/her) as a friend but also graciously supplies all (his/her) needs (Isa 40:11). CHRIST, You identify with ____. In (his/her) affliction You are afflicted (Isa 63:9).

CHRIST intercedes with You, FATHER, for ____’s relief, not only for sin but also for sufferings so that when the work of (his/her) afflictions is accomplished, (he/she) shall have relief (Heb 7:25) (ref#35, p261).

FATHER, I pray ____ understand the great importance of CHRIST’s present ministry of intercession. Because of His great interest in (him/her) (he/she) is “at this day alive, undevoured, merely on the account of the intercession of the Lord Jesus”  John Owen (ref#35, p261). His compassion is the foundation of (his/her) deliverances.

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SUPPLICATION

GENERAL TRIBULATION

[We all can think of a Christian sister or brother experiencing so much affliction they may not be able to pray for themselves. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]

COMFORT OF THE SPIRIT IN AFFLICTION

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-2-11-17-pm…FATHER, as ____ goes through life the consolations of Your HOLY SPIRIT are useful and necessary to (him/her). The SPIRIT comforts (his/her) in afflictions. These afflictions are a provision that You have made for (him/her) (Heb 12:5,6) (ref#35, p405).

____’s natural spirit will struggle with afflictions. (He/She) will try to relieve (himself/herself) by any means. In a display of pride (he/she) will despise the chastising affliction or in dejectedness of spirit, (he/she) will sink under the weight of (his/her) troubles (ref#35, p406).

How easily ____ will look for second causes (causes other than You, FATHER) in (his/her) affliction. (He/She) will try to fix it (himself/herself). Keep (him/her) FATHER, from this for (he/she) will lose all the benefits and advantages of this affliction that You have bestowed upon (him/her) (ref#35, p406).

FATHER, keep (him/her) also from sinking under the trial. If You do not teach (him/her) to consider deeply Your chastisements and dealings with (him/her), (he/she) will find the season of afflictions many as (he/she) goes through life (ref#35, p406).

Only the SPIRIT can manage (his/her) soul in affliction so that You, FATHER, have the glory of it and (he/she) be benefited. Affliction gives (him/her) a chance to glory in (his/her) tribulations (Rom 5:3). Send the SPIRIT, FATHER, to ____.

“…there is no management nor improvement of any affliction, but merely and solely by the consolations of the Holy Ghost” John Owen (ref#35, p407).

CONFESSION

YOU GIVE, I ACCEPT WITH THANKS

screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-11-40-00-am…FATHER, I thank You that You have caused me to believe so I am united to CHRIST in You, by the SPIRIT. But, my heart is not content to let just our union be the extent of my involvement. My heart longs for fellowship—You and I giving and receiving affections, delight, satisfaction… I don’t want to merely be a recipient of Your gifts, I want to interact with You (ref#35, p21).

And, not only this, LORD, but I want to be personal and emotional with You in every essence of Your Person so that I find obedience to You an honor (ref#35, p22).

“Christian obedience was of utmost importance, but it was always understood to flow out of this union and never seen as the ground for it” John Owen (ref#35, p22).

O LORD, such a desire I have to revel in the work I do because it pleases You. I want to experience Your consenting presence continually. Send Your SPIRIT to me so He might make me sensitive to when I revert back to making decisions on my own. Yes, I want my obedience to flow out of our communion. Never do I want to perform tasks to get me into communion with You. Oh, to understand and walk according to Your unilateral giving so that I am never inclined to impress You.

“We pay no attention to our own lives or the new image which we bear,…it is only to serve as a mirror for the image of Christ on whom our gaze is fixed” Dietrich Bonhoeffer (ref#10, p304).

ADORATION

SWEET AND TOUGH LOVE

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-11-33-05-amI give thanks to You, CARING FATHER, for Your steadfast love endures forever (1 Chron 16:34). Let Your love come to me, for You have promised (Ps 119:41).

FATHER, You loved me before I loved You, but not only that, You showered love on me before I was born—before I took any action toward You one way or another (Rom 9:11). You have saved me not because I have done any good toward You, but You saved me because You are simply infinitely good. And, Your kindness stays true even when I am foolish and disobedient (ref#35, p119). You do not alter Your love for me no matter what I have done, are doing, or will do.

LORD, sometimes You rebuke me, chasten me, hide Your face from me, and smite me. You even will fill me with a sense of Your indignation, yet Your love does not change. These demonstrations proceed from Your love as much as what I call kindnesses from You (ref#35, p121).

I ask, dear FATHER, that You keep me remembering how Your love disciplines me. Has not Your disciplinary events sobered me, put me back in my place, reminded me that above all else, I want a loving relationship with You? Please keep me from falling back into self-love. I need Your love, even the love that doesn’t feel like love, if I’m ever to actually experience Your lovingkindness being better than life (Ps 63:3).

“If you comfort me,

I will bless You;

if You would have me afflicted,

I will bless You just as much” Thomas a’Kempis (ref#147, p154).

ADORATION

OBEDIENCE

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-3-52-15-pm“O Lord,

I stand very much in need

of greater grace,

if You want me to attain that

spiritual frame of mind

that allows no one to keep me from You” Thomas a ‘Kempis (ref#147, p185).

FATHER, You send Your HOLY SPIRIT to quicken me (John 6:63). For I am as one dead (John 5:25).

CHRIST, You work out Your righteousness in me. You make me realize its preciousness.   Your righteousness in obeying perfectly all the law is imputed to me (ref#35, p298).   So I am perfectly accepted by the FATHER (ref#35, p297).

The work of the HOLY SPIRIT is to prepare me for obedience; He enables me to be obedient and brings forth the fruits of obedience (ref#35, p305).

Everything the Triune GOD does for me is to make it possible to be obedient. My obedience to You gives You glory and honor. You give me everything and my only proper response is obedience (ref#35, p306). This is all I can give You. My every other interaction with You is all about receiving from You.

“…divine love…begins with the Father, is carried on by the Son, and then communicated by the Spirit; the Father designing, the Son purchasing, the Spirit effectually working” (ref#35, p302). I ascend “to the Father’s love through the work of the Spirit and blood of the Son” John Owen (ref#35, p302).

The SPIRIT is first, working in my heart giving me an interest in CHRIST’s blood. Then my interest is accepted by the FATHER.

TRIUNE GOD, I adore the labor-intense means You exert Yourself for me. I am triply blessed by Your means—blessed much more than if You would describe Yourself as just “the One GOD who saves me.” You are not a GOD who is far off (Jer 23:23).

THANKSGIVING

YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH ME; I AM ASTONISHED

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.44.16 PM…FATHER, love is “an affection of union and nearness…” John Owen (ref#35, p113). The result of our union raises my level of love to You—it increases my faith. Because of our union I observe Your kindness, tenderness, unchangeableness, etc, which brings rest to my soul, and rest is my most prized possession (ref#35, p114).

O LORD, I desire to search out continually Your beauty for I am always seeking rest for my soul. This rest is a quiet joy that fills me completely so I find no need to roam unsatisfied. To be a doorkeeper in Your house, to get as close as I can to You is my desire, for a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere (Ps 84:10) (ref#35, p113).

“The union…of likeness, is the cause of the love of another” John Owen (ref#35, p113).

You rejoice over me with joy and rest in silent satisfaction. You are held still by the very depth of Your love for me—resting with contentment. You are delighted when You think of me—with deep and tender yearning love You hold me to Yourself. Your love for me so engulfs You, You leap for joy; every inward and outward expression or token of love is heaped together to express Yourself. You sing—Your contentment is expressed in singing—I cause the jubilee in Your heart (Zeph 3:17).

Thus, Your love animates me; it makes me fully satisfied with You so I will not seek further for another to love. Your love is a joy past belief, past utterance, past thought. I am motionless as I experience Your love but then must exult in an outward demonstration of my delight. Singing and praise is the result of my great enjoyment and pleasure in You. Your love is so surprising I must leap for joy or cry or do something that would embarrass even Michal, King David’s wife (2 Sam 6:16). Michal would think, “This is not normal.”  It may not be normal but how thankful I am it is real.

THANKSGIVING

THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

“My beloved is mine, and I am his;…” (Song 2:16 ESV).

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 2.59.56 PMFATHER, CHRIST is mine, “I possess him, I have interest in him, as my head and my husband; and I am his, possessed of him, owned by him, given up unto him: and that as to my Beloved in a conjugal relation”  John Owen (ref#35, p153). CHRIST and I are far from equal—Him no sin, me sin—but I am part of His bride, the church, and will attend the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9).

CHRIST and I stand facing each other in mutual resignation. He takes me to be His, to love and care for me; I take Him to be mine giving myself up to be His in obedience (ref#35, p155).

He says, “…I know by experience those that are mine, and those that are mine know me by experience, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father” Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p238, [John 10:14-15]). And CHRIST, if I love You, then I am known by You (1 Cor 8:3).

CHRIST, You make rich provision for my needs, You pay all my debts and I can share in Your wealth and You even allow me to assume Your name (ref#34, July 22nd AM). My sin is covered by my Bridegroom. His puts on me His very own comeliness which makes me beautiful—even perfect (ref#35, p156).

And, on my part it is to consent to accept all He gives—to “receive, embrace, and submit unto the Lord Jesus, as…husband, Lord, and Savior—to abide with him…and be ruled by him forever” John Owen (ref#35, p157).

FATHER, I thank You that You have made me prefer CHRIST counting everything else as dung compared to Him. Thank You for my heart change so I am willing to give myself up to Him. I desire He see my face and hear my voice and count it as sweet and lovely (Song 2:14).

“He is…your Husband, never seeking a divorce; your Friend, sticking closer than a brother; your Shepherd, with you in death’s dark vale. He is your help and your deliverer; your castle and your high tower; the horn of your strength, your confidence, your joy, your all in all…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 19th PM).

SABBATH

SATURDAY PREP

NOTE: The below quotes seem out of touch with our modern world. Yet, the words of warning GOD Himself speaks concerning the Sabbath, causes me to pause. Since 9/11 falls on a Sunday this year, Eugene H. Peterson’s contemporary language of the Bible quote is something to be taken very seriously. It appears at the end of this days blog.

“Never leave work for Sunday that can be done on Saturday. The day does not belong to us, and should not be encroached upon with secular things which, by foresight and method, can be done on another day” George Rose (ref#174). “Let every thing then be so arranged in your household, beforehand, that there may be no interruption to religious duties, and to attendance on the means of grace” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).

“Strictly speaking, Saturday evening is not part of the Lord’s Day, but there are good reasons to use it for preparation….We are about to have special dealings with God on Sunday. Reverence requires special preparation for this…God does not love our rushing into His presence without the right attitude….It is not enough to show reverence with our bodies; we must gain a reverent frame of mind” John Owen (ref#176).

“Dwell on God’s majesty, holiness, and greatness. Remember Him as the Author of our sabbatical rest. Remember His work that brings about our celebration of His ordinances, especially redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ. Ponder the importance, the reasons, and the purposes of the Lord’s Day to follow. Reflect on its holy privileges, advantages, and duties” John Owen (ref#176).

“Prayer is the main way we express dependence upon God in Christ. Prayer is necessary for bringing our hearts to a sense of our own spiritual poverty and our desperate need of God’s grace. A season of prayer prior to the Lord’s Day is an indispensable means for the greatest blessing” John Owen (ref#176).

“Workdays can desensitize us to the things of God….We ought to rid our minds of secular, earthly business as much as we can each Saturday evening….Faithfulness on Saturday promotes blessing on Sunday” John Owen (ref#176).

“These are intended as helpful directions, not strict rules….If we are truly unable to do these things on a particular Saturday evening, we should not think we have sinned, but only that we have lost a good opportunity” John Owen (ref#176).

“‘This is God’s Message. Be careful, if you care about your lives, not to desecrate the Sabbath by turning it into just another workday…Don’t use the Sabbath to do business as usual. Keep the Sabbath day holy…” (Jer 17:21-23 MSG)

“‘But if you won’t listen to me, won’t keep the Sabbath holy, won’t quit using the Sabbath for doing your own work, busily going in and out of the city gates on your self-important business, then I’ll burn the gates down. In fact, I’ll burn the whole city down, palaces and all, with a fire nobody will be able to put out!’” (Jer 17:27 MSG)

SABBATH

PRIVATE LORD’S DAY ACTIVITIES

“The time for performance of individual and family religious duties is before or after church….Private Lord’s Day observance includes prayer, Bible reading, meditation, and follow-up teaching after church” John Owen (ref#176).

“The Sabbath must be a day of spiritual improvement—improvement which comes in…families having time around the Lord Jesus, His Word, and His purposes” Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

Spiritual improvement comes from religious reading. (It’s possible to read through the Bible in a year by reading approximately 18 Chapters each Sunday.) Improvement also comes from secret prayer and holy meditation. (ref#165, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

“Church history informs us that after their private devotions, the members of the family in primitive times met for united prayer, the reading of the Scriptures, the recital of doctrinal and practical sentiments and mutual edification generally. This indeed, to some extent, was done every day. Each day was also closed by similar devotions. But, the Lord’s Day abounded in them” William S. Plumer, (ref#183).

Another LORD’s Day suggestion would be praising God for His mercies. But, this and the ones above are only suggestions. Though our desire would be to have a list of steps to follow, there are many temptations present in simply checking off a list.

Trouble happens when we simply follow lists—no manner how good the list is. We can fall into the category of sacrificing instead of obeying—just acting and not feeling.

God’s Word binds us only to Him and to His Word. We are free in matters of faith and worship from every man-made list. CHRIST has purchased the right to be our only Master. (ref#165, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon#: 2097, “The Delight of the Sabbath” July 18, 1999).

So, we must ask Him directly. We should ask Him every Sabbath what our agenda should be for the day.

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.”