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).

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SUPPLICATION

CHRISIAN

[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.]

MAN’S FOOLISHNESS ABOUT GOD’S WRATH

“…all human beings know GOD, but in guilt, with uncomfortable inklings of the judgment they cannot avoid” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1613, “Mankind’s Guilty Knowledge of God”).

The judgment is coming; everyone knows that. However, You, FATHER, took away the “uncomfortable inkling” in ____ when (he/she) experienced a great change of heart—the change from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh (Ezek 11:19). Now, with a heart able to grow into Christlikeness, FATHER, prompt (him/her) to utilize Your SPIRIT to adequately teach others the truth about man’s foolishness regarding the wrath to come.

“Men are ready to flatter themselves that they shall either outride or outlive the storms of Divine vengeance” Jonathan Edwards (ref#112, p567, [Jer 23:20]). Jonathan Edwards lends sobering words in his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” “Every one lays out matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation, and flatters himself…that his schemes will not fail” Jonathan Edwards (ref#139, point 9 in second set of beginning points). But, “…whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever prayers he makes,…God is under no matter of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction” (ref#139, point 10 in second set of points).

“…you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never…made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new…life are in the hands of an angry God. However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religions affections and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction” Jonathan Edwards (ref#139, 5th paragraph of “Application” section).

The crux of the matter is a changed heart, not just changed actions. What important truth that ____ needs to be speaking to (his/her) acquaintances! FATHER, tie such a burden on (his/her) heart that (he/she) regularly searches for the opportunity and means of conveying this serious message.

SABBATH

MOTIVES

“The reason that so many people feel it [the Sabbath] as a burden is partly that we have so much leisure, we don’t feel the need for the Sabbath rest; but more important…is the fact that not many people really enjoy what God intended us to enjoy on the Sabbath, namely, himself. Many professing Christians enjoy sports and television and secular books and magazines and recreation and hobbies and games far more than they enjoy direct interaction with God in his Word or in worship or in reading Christian books or in meditative strolls. Therefore, inevitably people whose hearts are set more on the pleasures of the world than on the enjoyment of God will feel the Sabbath command as a burden not a blessing” John Piper (ref#169).

“God hath made it our duty, by His institution, to set apart this day for a special seeking of His grace and blessing….God is ready on this day especially to bestow His blessing on them that keep it aright….a time wherein God especially loves to be sought and loves to be found” Jonathan Edwards (ref#186).

“God blessed the seventh day…as an expression of His own joyful remembrance of that day and of the rest and refreshment that He had on it….But how much more reason has Christ to bless the day of His resurrection, to delight to honor it, and to confer His grace and blessed gifts on His people on this day. It was a day whereon Christ rested and was refreshed in a literal sense. It was a day of deliverance from the chains of death, the day of His finishing that great and difficult work of redemption, which had been upon His heart from all eternity; the day of His [vindication] by the Father; the day of the beginning of His exaltation, and of the fulfillment of the promises of the Father; the day when He had eternal life, which He had purchased, put into His hands. On this day, Christ doth indeed delight to distribute gifts, blessings, joy, and happiness, and will delight to do the same to the end of the world” Jonathan Edwards (ref#186).

SABBATH

THE SIX DAYS BEFORE AND AFTER THE SABBATH

“In creation GOD rested from His work not because He was tired but because He was establishing a cycle of life—six days work, one day rest” Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: The Sabbath Sermon#:2096, “Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath,” July 11, 1999).

“He hath mercifully considered our state and our necessities here; and, as He hath consulted the good of our souls in appointing a seventh day for the immediate duties of religion, so He hath considered our outward necessities and hath allowed us six days for attendance on our outward affairs. What unworthy treatment therefore will it be of God, if we refuse to allow Him even the seventh day” Jonathan Edwards (ref#186)!

“The Sabbath is a covenant sign that represents a lifestyle of devotion to the Lord, for it requires the practical reorganization of every week around him (cf. Ex 31:12-17; Ezek 20:18-20)” The ESV Study Bible, (ref#125, p1342, [Isa 56:2]).

SABBATH

THE SABBATH – A WAY OF WITNESS AND BLESSING

“The purifying, uplifting effect of the Christian Sabbath is indispensable if the Christian witness is to be maintained” C. E. Hunter (ref#171).

“By a strict observance of the Sabbath, the face of religion is kept up in the world. If it were not for the Sabbath, there would be but little public and visible appearance of serving, worshipping, and reverencing the supreme and invisible Being” Jonathan Edwards (ref#186).

GOD is honored by our keeping the Sabbath (Isa 58:13). Therefore we should, above all things glorify our GOD and King in this way.

Since GOD has ordained we keep His Sabbath it makes sense that He pays particular attention to those who obey Him:

“He stands ready then especially to hear prayers, to accept of religious services, to meet His people, to manifest Himself to them, to give His Holy Spirit and blessing to those who diligently and conscientiously sanctify it” Jonathan Edwards (ref#186).

SABBATH

THE SABBATH – TO REVIVE THE SOUL

“The Sabbath is given as a gift to man (for…spiritual refreshment)” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1897 [Mark 2:27-28]). “’The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath’ (Mar 2:27). It was made for the profit and for the comfort of our souls” Jonathan Edwards (ref#186).

“…there must be a special day set apart; there must be a regularly recurring time for examining the state of our souls; there must be a day to test and prove us, whether we are prepared for an eternal heaven. Take away a man’s Sabbath, and his religion soon comes to nothing” Bishop J. C. Ryle (ref#167). “It is but a few steps from ‘no Sabbath’ to ‘no God’—J. C. Ryle” (ref#185).

“…our Lord only asks that this day be spent in hearing his Word, in offering common prayers, in confessing our faith, and in observing the sacraments…And when we have spent Sunday in praising and glorifying the name of God and in meditating on his works, then, throughout the rest of the week, we should show that we have benefited from it” John Calvin (ref#168).

God’s objective in commanding this day of rest is for the development of our spiritual nature. Therefore, it is a day set apart from even our words and thoughts about our worldly employments and recreations [Westminster Confession of Faith] Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993). Can you imagine speaking only about spiritual things before and after the church service?