PRAYER

DISCERNMENT

“For everyone whose sole diet is milk, is inexperienced in a message which is righteous in quality…solid food belongs to…mature, to those who on account of long usage have their powers of perception exercised to the point where they are able to discriminate between both that which is good in character and that which is evil” Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p521, [Heb 5:13-14]).

FATHER, Your Son warns me not to judge (Matt 7:1).  But Your SPIRIT will reveal what is wrong in others for the purpose of intercession (ref#118, p77).

I first ask that You, LORD, keep me from thinking rashly of others; I do not want my intention in prayer to be simply passing judgment—to be the product of my own jealously or ill nature (ref#18, [Matt 7:1-6]).

FATHER, in intercession I want to bear up the life of the one I pray for until You, put the person right.  May I so lay hold of You for them that You enable them to turn away from rebellion and come to You (ref#118, p77).

May I “…get to work and pray, and God will get His chance with other lives;…God has based the Christian life on Redemption, and as we pray on this basis God’s honour is at stake to answer prayer” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, Nov 19th).

Even though I cannot know the heart, I can be sensitive to Your SPIRIT.  It is possible for someone to imagine they are Christians when they are not—especially when they decide that being a Christian is desirable.

“Professing the Christian religion is of no avail whatever unless there is something more added to it…it is a change that is known…known by works of holiness” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, March 6th AM).

Give me a spirit of gentleness; give me a spirit of humbleness lest I be tempted in like manner as they (Gal 6:1).  Make me candid and charitable (ref#18, [Matt 7:1-6]).  And also give me discernment and the boldness to admonish them, (1 Thes 5:14) when they have a false notion that they are already Christians.

PRAYER

THE SPIRIT HELPS

“…the Spirit helps us in our weakness…” (Rom 8:26 ESV).

“[Maketh intercession]…it simply means that the Holy Spirit greatly assists or aids us: not by praying for us, but in our prayers and infirmities. [With groanings]… [Which cannot be uttered]…This does not mean that the Spirit produces these groanings; but that in these deep-felt emotions, when the soul is oppressed and overwhelmed, he lends us his assistance and sustains us…’The Spirit greatly aids or supports us in those deep emotions, those intense feelings, those inward sighs which cannot be expressed in language, but which he enables us to bear, and which are understood by Him that searcheth the hearts’” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Rom 8:26]).

“’The Spirit…helpeth our infirmities.’…the least that we can do is to seek His aid, to definitely ask Him to undertake for us” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p146).

“We must not sit still, and expect that the Spirit should do all; when the Spirit goes before us we must bestir ourselves.  We cannot without God, and he will not without us” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Rom 8:26-28]).

“He who prays, receives help from the Spirit of God; but he who prays not receives no such help.  Whatever our strength may be, we must put it forth, even while more implicitly depending on the strength of God himself” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [Rom 8:26]).

PRAYER

PRAYER AND FASTING

“Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly.  Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God and cry out to the LORD” (Joel 1:14 ESV).

“The faith that can overcome…stubborn resistance…is not possible except to men living in very close fellowship with God, and in very special separation from the world in prayer and fasting….faith needs a life of prayer in which to grow and keep strong…prayer needs fasting for its full and perfect development….Prayer is the one hand with which we grasp the invisible; fasting, the other, with which we let loose and cast away the visible” Andrew Murray (ref#19, THIRTEENTH LESSON).

“Fasting and prayer are proper means for the bringing down of Satan’s power against us, and the fetching in of divine power to our assistance.  Fasting is of use to put an edge upon prayer; it is an evidence and instance of humiliation which is necessary in prayer, and is a means of mortifying some corrupt habits, and of disposing the body to serve the soul in prayer…” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Matt 17:14-21]).

“…fasting helps to express, to deepen, and to confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, to sacrifice ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God” Andrew Murray (ref#19, THIRTEENTH LESSON).

HOLY SPIRIT

THE HOLY SPIRIT AS A GUIDE

“The Holy Spirit is our Guide, not only to show us the way, but to go with us by continued aids and influences.  To be led into a truth is more than barely to know it; it is not only to have the notion of it in our heads, but the relish, and savour, and power of it in our hearts” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [John 16:7-15]). 

“…the Helper, the Holy Spirit…will teach you all things…” (John 14:26 ESV).

“The abiding Indweller…the Spirit, is perpetually admonishing, leading, drawing, and constraining the soul…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 9th).

“It is the Holy Spirit who guides us into the right path for us to walk and convicts us of our sin if we stray from that path.  It is the Holy Spirit who reminds us of the truth of God’s Word and teaches us how to apply God’s Word to our daily lives.  It is the Holy Spirit who works in us to conform us to the image of Christ Jesus, and who works through us to minister the presence and power of Christ to others” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p ix).

“And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules”(Ezek 36:27 ESV).  “God does this by combining together invincible might and gentle inducements.  God works upon us morally, not physically, because He will preserve our nature…He does not force us against our wills, but sweetly draws us.  He presents weighty reasons, casting into the mind one after another, till the scales be turned and then all is made efficacious by His Spirit. Yet this is not a work which He does in the soul once and for all, but is often renewed and repeated; and that because the ‘flesh’ or sinful nature remains in us, unchanged, even after regeneration.  Therefore do we need to ask God to continueinclining our hearts toward Himself” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p120).

“…there are many…people who do that which is grossly dishonoring to God under the plea that they were ‘prompted by the Spirit’ so to act.  To be ‘led by the Spirit of God’ does not mean being influenced by unaccountable suggestions and uncontrollable impulses which result in conduct displeasing to God….There is a safe and sure criterion by which the Christian may gauge his inward impulses, and ascertain whether they proceed from his own restless spirit, an evil spirit, or the Spirit of God.  That criterion is the written Word of God, and by it all must be measured” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p121).

FATHER, I must ask daily for the SPIRIT not because I don’t have Him or He is elusive but I ask for Him to constrain me—to move me—to stretch me that I might, by experience, live in fellowship with CHRIST—that I might benefit from His presence—enjoy Him—revel in who He is.

HOLY SPIRIT

THE SPIRIT CALLS EVERYONE TO REPENTANCE

“…it is Christ’s blood, but the Spirit must apply it” A. W. Pink (ref#269, p90).  “All merit is in the Son…and all power is of the Spirit” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p197).  “The Holy Spirit is here to take the place…of an absent Christ…” A.W. Pink  (A.W. Pink’s Commentary on John and Hebrews, [John 16:1-11], www.studylight.org)

“It is by the Holy Spirit our eyes are opened to see and our hearts to feel the enormity of sin, and thus are we enabled to perceive our need of Christ’s blood” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p110).  It is only ‘through the Spirit’ we can, in any measure, successfully ‘mortify the deeds of the body’” A. W. Pink (ref#269, p113).  “…the soul…does not know its real weakness and deep necessity until taught it by the Holy Spirit.  This is even so after conversion” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 4th).

“The Spirit shall convince…of sin, not merely tell…of it.  The Spirit convinces of the fact of sin, of the fault of sin, of the folly of sin, of the filth of sin, that by it we are become hateful to God…” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [John 16:7-15]).

“The renewed heart is moved and melted when it contemplates the holy Savior having our iniquities imputed to Him…But how rarely is it considered that it is little less wonderful for the Holy Spiritto exercise Himself with oursins and hold them up to the eyes of our understanding….He rakes in our foul hearts and makes us conscious of what a stench they are in the nostrils of an infinitely pure God” A. W. Pink (ref#269, p87).

“…He does in some degree mortify and subdue the evils of the soul in which He resides….Though He kills not sin in believers, He subdues it—though He does not subdue the flesh as that it never troubles or defiles them any more, its dominion is taken away” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p101).

FATHER, the movements of the SPIRIT amaze me.  He constantly kills my pride by dropping facts of my sin in my head.  He so times His conviction that I have no words to debate Him.  I am found out before I myself find out.  Thank You for constantly proving that I am depraved and You are holy.

“…what an unspeakable mercy to have One who knows us completely, and who can acquaint us with ourselves” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 4th)!  “…forgiveness can only come through Christ’s work on Calvary, daily living for the Lord can only be done through the Spirit” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p159).

SABBATH

SABBATH BREAKING: WARNINGS FROM NEHEMIAH

The prophet, Nehemiah, was instructed by the LORD to warn the people. “He reasons the case with them… and shows them that Sabbath breaking was one of the sins for which God had brought judgments upon them, and that if they did not take warning, but returned to the same sins again, they had reason to expect further judgments…” Mathew Henry (ref#18, [Neh 13:15-22]).

“At the heart of Sabbath-breaking is idolatry, having other gods before the true God (Exodus 20:3). The basic…spiritual manifestation is…subtle and dangerous. It is putting anything above God: money, a job, a house, or even a spouse! If anything becomes more important than God, idolatry is committed. Thus, if in the weekly observance of the Sabbath we do anything that becomes more important to us than our relationship with God, we have broken the Sabbath and committed idolatry….We must make a very real distinction between the Sabbath and the other days. The Sabbath was ‘made for man,’ as Christ points out (Mark 2:27), but that does not mean mankind has the authority to use it for his own purposes—rather, God made it on man’s behalf, for his benefit. The seventh day still belongs to God, and He shares it with those whom He has called and sanctified. We have a key responsibility in esteeming the Sabbath in our conduct, in our conversations, in our attitudes, and even in our thoughts. By entering into this covenant with God, we have been entrusted with the knowledge and significance of this day, but we have also been warned, as stewards of God’s truth, to be very careful with it” David C. Grabbe (ref#201).

My youth was influenced by “blue laws”—no shopping, no eating out on Sundays. Our family’s church attendance was so regular that I remember with glee the one Sunday there was a miscommunication with the churchmen and the boiler was not stoked so church had to be called off. Dad never farmed on Sunday even if it was a perfect day to combine the wheat. All these Sunday-only events set the day apart making it perfect for remembering GOD.

“Blue laws, also known as Sunday laws, are designed to restrict or ban some or all Sunday activities for religious reasons, particularly to promote the observance of a day of worship or rest. Most blue laws have been repealed in the United States, although many states still ban the sale of alcoholic beverages or cars on Sundays” Wikipedia (ref#202).

Is there a modern-day prophet who will cry against the repealing of the blue laws?  “This breach of the Sabbath was that which let in upon them al the waters of God’s wrath” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [Jer 17:21]). Is there still time to save our nation, or will we succumb to GOD’s wrath as the Old Testament Jews?

ADORATION

POWERFUL IS YOUR ARM

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-2-37-48-pm “I…submit to Your unfathomable judgments, Lord;

You alone are truly great.

Immeasurable greatness!

Uncrossable sea” Thomas a ‘Kempis (ref#147, p149)!

Powerful is Your arm! Strong is Your hand! Your right hand is lifted high in glorious strength (Ps 89:13).

Not only is Your arm and hand mighty and strong to save Your people, but also to destroy Your enemies. None can resist the force of Your mighty hand. Not one of Your enemies shall flee away. Even if they climb up to heaven You will bring them down (Amos 9:2). Your lifted right hand is a signal of Your power. Your right hand does valiantly (Ps 118:15).

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants (Ps 89:14). Righteousness and judgment inhabit Your throne. Your rules of equity and wisdom never vary. Mercy and truth go before You. These are all Yours in perfection (ref#18, [Ps 89:14]).

Powerful is Your arm to save. “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me” (Ps 138:7 ESV).  I will meditate on Your strength.

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

HOLY SPIRIT – unholy spirit

5/27/2015

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-12-58-31-pmIdentified the problem that was making me feel miserable. But it wasn’t the current problem.

Each day I was moving further away from the SPIRIT who I beheld so clearly over the weekend. He was fading like the morning dew. And there was no way I could find to go back treading the wet grass with Him. The ground was dry.

I definitely feel like I’ve lost a best friend. I mourn—longing for the exhilaration of “knowing” I was beside GOD Himself and able to obey Him exuberantly. The joy of it was addicting. Who obeys exuberantly when we’re in the room with just ourselves?

My journal is full of mountaintops and valleys where GOD is close, and then gone. My life marches to those ebb and flows. So, the logical question is, “How can I get myself again close to the SPIRIT?”

But, as soon as I ask that, I must be cautious reminding myself that the SPIRIT is like the wind (Acts 2:2)—hard to capture. And, I’ve read enough about revival to know mankind gets in trouble seeking to keep the SPIRIT after He’s made Himself known in an extraordinary way.

So the answer does not have anything to do with what I can do to get him to stay or to return. And, does it do any good to make a conscious effort to wait for Him—just sit and wait until I feel Him once again? Well, I have done that and sometimes it has worked.

Indeed, I’m instructed to ask for Him (Luke 11:13), but “waiting”—sitting and waiting is risky. It’s the same as in the great revivals where people loved His appearing so much they forgot all about who’s Spirit He was and only concentrated on Him. But, the SPIRIT does not initiate anything. He is obedient to the FATHER and the SON. So, I cannot wait expecting something from the SPIRIT directly.

The enemy is the great imitator. He is quite able to act in all the ways man has enjoyed the HOLY SPIRIT. But, he is the unholy spirit acting without the FATHER’s or CHRIST’s authority.

So now the question becomes: “How can I distinguish the real SPIRIT and guard against following the devil?” The words, “Holy, Holy, Holy” begin to give me the answer.

The Godhead, three in One, is “holy, holy, holy.” And I am not; so because I’m sinful I will be unable to feel myself in the SPIRIT’s presence continually. My journal entries do not lie—ebb and flow is how life is.

I flail around in the valley and continue to do so until I act in faith. I get that opportunity to act when the LORD puts spiritual information in front of my face. By faith only am I transported to the mountaintop.

A true mountaintop is always achieved by operating in faith; it is never achieved by waiting to “feel” the SPIRIT move. True, I may be aware of the SPIRIT when I am on the mountaintop but faith provided the foundation for Him. Faith always forms the foundation for the SPIRIT. Faith is a spiritual act; it is never accomplished by my human fleshly nature. The below quote helps me distinguish between the HOLY SPIRIT and the unholy spirit:

“Carnal pleasure, worldly profit and honor, the things of sense and time, are the things of the flesh…The favor of God, the welfare of the soul, the concerns of eternity, are the things of the Spirit” Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Rom 8:5]).

SABBATH

A SONG FOR THE SABBATH DAY

“The proper work of the Sabbath is praising God” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Ps 92:1-6]). GOD has blessed the Sabbath and we keep it holy by blessing Him (ref#18, [Ex 31:1-11]).

Our GOD shows forth His lovingkindness and faithfulness. “Being convinced of his glorious attributes and perfections, we must show them forth, as those that are greatly affected with them ourselves…” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Ps 92:1-6]).

“We cannot comprehend the greatness of God’s works, and therefore must reverently and awfully wonder at them, and even stand amazed at the magnificence of them….From a joyful remembrance of what God has done for us we may raise a joyful prospect of what he will do, and triumph in the assurance of it…” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Ps 92:1-6]).

 

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord,

to sing praises to the Most High.

It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,

your faithfulness in the evening,

 

You thrill me, Lord,

with all you have done for me!

I sing for joy

because of what you have done” (Ps 92:1,2,4 NLT).

CONFESSION

PARDON IS NOT TO MAKE ME MORE ACCEPTABLE TO GOD

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.13.44 AM…LORD, as I approach Your throne, my natural reaction is to cry out like Isaiah, “I have unclean lips” (Isa 6:5), and so desire to spill out my confessions of sin before I come close to You.

In the prayer JESUS taught His disciples, the first half of it is words of worship and honor to You. Confession of sin is toward the end of the prayer and then takes up only ½ a sentence.

Remind me FATHER, You do not throw the robe of CHRIST upon me so You can tolerate looking at me. You do not demand I confess my sin before You let me approach You. You know my frame (Ps 103:14) and my sinfulness does not give You pause.

A woman may forget she is nursing a child, but You will never forget me. You engraved me on the palm of Your hands (Isa 49:15,16) before I did anything right or wrong (Rom 9:11).

You seek and solicit my love constantly. You love me at the expense of Your Son’s blood—at the expense of condescending to beseech me (ref#18, [1 John 4:18]). Have You not rend the heavens and come down to be constantly beside me (Isa 64:1)? You are willing to call me Your bride even when I am unfaithful to You (Hosea 3:1).

I have mistaken thoughts about confession! My natural thought is to dwell on Your assurance of pardon to convince myself that I am now good enough to come into Your presence. FATHER, remind me once again that I am good only because CHRIST has made me His own, not because I have confessed my sins and received Your pardon.

Isn’t this what Job was so upset about—justifying himself before You? Job wanted You to speak to him about his sin—or lack thereof. Did You do that? No, You instead overwhelmed Job with Your majesty (Job 38:1-41:34).

Astonish me like You did Job. I want to spend the majority of my time with You losing myself in Your love.

“…if the heart be…much taken up with…the eminency of the Father’s love, it cannot choose but be overpowered, conquered, and endeared unto him” John Owen (ref#35, p128).