ADORATION

CLOTHED WITH THE GARMENTS OF SALVATION

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 4.44.08 PM“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,…” (Isa 61:10 ESV).

FATHER, I will rejoice with holy joy, to Your honor. For the beauty of Your grace has clothed me with a durable covering. You have provided this garment for protection and ornamentation. It is the image of the church—how You defend it and make it beautiful (ref#16, [Isa 61:10]). 

“For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown…to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations” (Isa 61:11 ESV).

May I be pleasing to You with the righteousness and salvation that JESUS CHRIST clothes me. I rejoice to think of the fathomless blessings that shall spring forth for future ages and spread to distant regions—from generation to generation. How great is Your salvation that shall be published and proclaimed to all the world and the ends of the earth shall see it (ref#18, [Isa 61:10-11]).

SABBATH

HELPS FOR OBSERVING THE SABBATH

“Let the whole day be consecrated to the service of God, especially in acts of worship, public and private. This weekly recess from worldly cares and avocations, affords a precious opportunity for the study of God’s word, and for the examination of our own hearts” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).

Use physical refreshments so we can feel strong and well in our worship. God does not require fasting and weight loss on this day….Always practice self-control so that you do not even begin to sin, and so that you do not lose alertness from a full belly.

Work very hard to make this day spiritually beneficial….Naps are not a religious part of the Lord’s Day except as they help us to attend to its duties….All pains and labors on the Lord’s Day are lawful if they help us keep it as we should.

Do works of love and necessity. Visit the sick. Revive the poor. Help the distressed. Rescue perishing people or even animals.

Be careful about sports and recreations. Good sense about these on Sunday is found in ancient legislation of emperors and nations. We can summarize the best sentiments by reminding you that the Lord’s Day is supposed to be full of joy in Him that He might be praised and glorified” John Owen (ref#176).

“…a people truly flourish when religion flourished among them. And this is the effect of Sabbath-sanctification; when that branch of religion is kept up other instances of it are kept up likewise; but when that is lost, devotion is lost either in superstition or in profaneness. It is a true observation, which some have made, that the streams of all religion run either deep or shallow according as the banks of the Sabbath are kept up or neglected” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Jer 17:19-27]).

SABBATH

ACTIONS TO IMPROVE KEEPING THE SABBATH

“The offence of Sabbath-breaking was one for which there could be no excuse….Transgression of it was therefore a presumptuous sin, and was punished accordingly” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Numbers 15:32]).

In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day.  People from Tyre who lived in Jerusalem were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath to the people of Judah. I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, ‘What is this wicked thing you are doing—desecrating the Sabbath day?  Didn’t your ancestors do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity on us and on this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath’” (Nehemiah 13:15-18 NIV).

“The desecration of the Sabbath is first brought into prominence among the sins of the Jewish people by Jeremiah (Jer 17:21-27). It could not but have gained ground during the captivity, when foreign masters would not have allowed the cessation of labor for one day in seven. On the return from the captivity, the sabbatical rest appears to have been one of the institutions most difficult to re-establish” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Neh 13:15]).

“When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day.  Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem.  But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you.” From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath. Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy….” (Neh 13:19-22 NIV).

Nehemiah “not only expressed his own dislike of it, but endeavored to convince them that it was a great sin….Those that are jealous for the honor of God cannot bear to see his Sabbath profaned” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Neh 13:15-22]).

“If reformers will but put on resolution, more may be done towards the breaking of bad customs than they can imagine” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Neh 13:15-22]). Are we willing to be reformers? Will we vow to not buy or sell on the Sabbath? Can we convince our local church to make that vow? Other churches? Our government representatives?

ADORATION

YOUR STEADFAST LOVE EXTENDS TO THE HEAVENS

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 2.27.08 PMYour steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the clouds (Ps 36:5). It is “so high that it does not change with the weather…” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Ps 36:5-12]). Your mercy is so exalted it is more extensive than I can conceive—above all visible space—to the eternal regions (ref#15, [Ps 36:5]). Your mercy and loving-kindness is infinite, Your loyalty astronomic.

Constant and unfailing is Your love. Indeed, Your faithfulness binds You to fulfill the promises and covenants made by Your mercy and love.

Your righteousness is like the mountains; Your judgments are like the great deep (Ps 36:6). Your justice, O GOD, is as fixed as the everlasting hills—sure and immovable. Your judicial dealings are immeasurable and vast—beyond comprehension as the ocean (ref#16, [Ps 36:6]). You are “a God of unsearchable wisdom and design” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Ps 36:5-12]).

With You is the fountain of life (Ps 36:9). You give life-giving streams of providential goodness—that living water (ref#15, [Ps 36:9]). It includes “the fullness of happiness” because no foes can take away life and blessedness that comes from You, FATHER, the “Fountain” JFB Commentary (ref#17, [Ps 36:9]).

So, let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away (Ps 36:11). Reveal to me the preciousness of Your mercy; teach me to value it beyond all treasures; I want to know how to prize it (ref#68, [Ps 36:5-9]). Forever bless me with Your steadfast love O LORD, my righteousness.

SABBATH

MY REST

The Sabbath rest is to remind myself that GOD rested after He ceased the work of creation, and JESUS rested after He ceased the work of redemption. These two facts should be the subjects I attend to on Sundays. But the “rest” the Hebrew’s writer speaks of is a daily rest.

“For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His” (Heb 4:10 NASB).

Since I believe CHRIST JESUS has given what GOD requires from me, I enter into rest (ref#15, [Heb 4:10]). My experience of rest is ceasing from my own works of righteousness, and from the burdensome works of the law (ref#18, [Heb 4:10]).

Since CHRIST impresses the FATHER I don’t have to impress the FATHER. Resting in CHRIST is a state of happiness. My salvation does not depend on my continuing work of being righteous!

“Externally, that meant ceasing from his ordinary tasks in order to meet with God. Internally, it involved ceasing from all self-sufficiency in order to rest in God’s grace” Sinclair Ferguson (ref#193).

Yet, I need to keep myself abreast of situations that threaten my rest. Situations continually rise to steal what GOD freely gives me through CHRIST. Happiness disappears when I lose fellowship with my LORD and default back to trying in my own strength to be righteous.

Impress upon me that if I don’t rehearse the Gospel I will fall back into burdensome works and be void of rest. I know preaching the gospel to myself each day will equip me with more boldness to believe what GOD says. I’ll recognize and benefit more from His grace and be more willing to embrace His commands (ref#60, p52). By reveling in CHRIST I retain my fellowship with GOD and find my rest! As I rehearse the Gospel, “give me that rest without rest, the rest of ceaseless praise” The Valley of Vision (ref#76, p172).

“…we must praise God – in the morning and every night, not only on Sabbath days, but every day; it is that which the duty of every day requires. We must praise God, not only in public assemblies, but in secret, and in our families, showing forth, to ourselves and those about us, his lovingkindness and faithfulness” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Ps 92:1-6]).

THANKSGIVING

CHRIST’S VICTORY OVER SATAN

 Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 12.22.50 PM…FATHER, satan began his spiritual war with mankind by deceiving Eve, but his beginning was his end. As soon as the devil revealed himself, You, FATHER, prophesied his demise.

“I will make you and the woman enemies to each other. Your descendants and her descendants will be enemies. One of her descendants will crush your head, and you will bite his heel” (Gen 3:15 NCV).

“Christ baffled Satan’s temptations, rescued souls out of his hands, cast him out of the bodies of people…by his death, he gave a fatal and incurable blow to the devil’s kingdom, a wound to the head of this beast, that can never be healed” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Gen 3:14-15]).

You, FATHER, established a perpetual overthrow of the devil and will shortly cast him into the lake of fire where he will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Rev 20:10). Praise to You, FATHER, for overwhelmingly assuring me that You were, are, and always will be in complete control of my arch enemy.

CONFESSION

TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.30.40 AM…FATHER, a blade of grass fulfills its created purpose—it is a praise to Your glory. You intend Your “grace and power and other perfections should…become conspicuous and illustrious” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Eph 1:3-14]). And Your intention is that I magnify You (ref #18, [Eph 1:3-14]).

Praise is ascribed to You for the salvation You have granted to me (ref#16, [Eph 1:12]). When I let You work through me, You get the praise. All I have to do is follow You where You place me. FATHER, prevent me from placing myself (ref#83, p51).

I am tempted to ask You to help me be like CHRIST thinking others will see the goodness of You in me and praise You. But this is just a prideful request from my self-exalting nature. Another prideful request is for You to help me become more passionate for souls, but concentrating on saving souls is just religious commercialism (ref#83, p51).

Again, all I have to do is to follow You where You place me. When I am following You it will be a matter of indifference whether You put me in the spotlight or back stage. As long as I’m following You I can be unfairly accused or even be proven a failure without any irritation on my part (ref#83, p51).

CHRIST was a praise to Your glory. But, He was not obedient to His needs or the needs of men but obedient to Your will. Because of it, He was a ‘stone of stumbling’ to many people and I will be a ‘stone of stumbling’ by following Him (ref#83, p50-51).

Move me to realize that You have to be followed, I cannot clutch visions of grandeur that I become a beautiful specimen in Your showcase. I will reflect honor to You when I follow You in the mundane circumstances of life. (ref#83, p 53).

How difficult is following? FATHER, help me keep it simple. When I begin to question which way to go, sin has complicated my walk. Sin urges me to involve myself in activities that go beyond Your wishes and my abilities. The sin in me desires to do great spiritual things—things that will wear me out and make me frustrated and sad. Urge me to keep it simple and just walk behind You for the praise of Your glory.

SABBATH

THE SABBATH – A UNIVERSAL OBLIGATION

“The law of the Sabbath was constituted a memorial of creation: and hence, the reason…must be considered as demonstrating its universal obligation. It is not a reason applicable to any one age, or to one class of men more than to another” JFB Commentary (ref#17, [Exod 20:8-11]).

Keeping the Sabbath is not just a Jewish law; Exod 20:10 mentions that even sojourners who are staying with a Jewish family are expected to participate in Sabbath activities. Therefore it is a “universal institution…given to Adam, the father of all mankind” JFB Commentary (ref#17, [Exod 20:8-11]).

As time moved on and GOD unfolded more and more of His redemption plans we find the Apostle Paul defining a new seventh-day Sabbath experience:

“The apostle Paul explicitly taught that a Christian should not allow himself to be judged in regard to the Jewish Sabbath, and that the Jewish Sabbath belongs with other Jewish observances concerning meat, and drink, holy days, new moons, and so forth (Colossians 2:16). These were the “shadow of things to come,” but the substance is in Christ (v. 17)” (ref#30, p155).

“…the Jewish Sabbath was not changed to the Lord’s Day. While both the Jewish Sabbath and the Lord’s Day are a literal keeping of the fourth commandment, they are not the same day, and they do not stand for the same idea. One belongs to the old creation, the other to the new. (See 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Hebrews 9:11.)” (ref#30, pa55).

“…the observance of the Sabbath is…the hem and hedge of the whole law” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Exod 31:12-18]).

CONFESSION

REVELATION IN MY INTUITION

 Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.33.36 AM“His timing is perfect, His will is our hiding place. Lord Jesus keep me in Your will. Don’t let me go mad by poking about outside it” Corrie TenBoom (ref#84, p218).

FATHER, being obedient to You sounds simple enough, but how do I know it is You giving the orders instead of my flesh desiring to be spiritual? Can I not hear the same words from both You and my flesh?

No prerequisite is required for fleshly desires to enter my head. They are stand-alone commands rising from my depraved nature. They masquerade as important spiritual ideas appealing to my sense of logic. They beg to be put into action.

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

FATHER, draw me into submission. Make me wait on You to receive Your revelation in my intuition otherwise my flesh will assert itself (ref#101, p43). If I sense I’m being the boss over any spiritual project, I can be sure it is my flesh directing me. You FATHER, do not delegate authority over the control of Your work (ref#101, p42).

“Despite a great revival in Samaria, Philip was not responsible for the follow-up labor of strengthening. He must leave immediately for the desert in order that a “heathen” eunuch might be saved….All acts are in the hands of the Spirit; believers simply obey. Had it been left to human thoughts and wishes, many places which ought to be visited would not have been, and many others would have been visited which ought not to be. These experiences from Acts inescapably tell us that we too must follow the guidance of God’s Spirit in our intuition and not follow our thoughts, reasons or wishes” Watchman Nee (ref#101, p 42-43).

“Jesus takes us over for His enterprises, His building schemes entirely, and no soul has any right to claim where he shall be put” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 7th).

CONFESSION

JUST MUNDANE CIRCUMSTANCES

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 1.03.49 PM…FATHER, a blade of grass fulfills its created purpose—it is a praise to Your glory. You intend Your “grace and power and other perfections should…become conspicuous and illustrious” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Eph 1:3-14]). And Your intention is that I magnify You (ref#18, [Eph 1:3-14]).

Praise is ascribed to You for the salvation You have granted to me (ref#16, [Eph 1:12]). When I let You work through me, You get the praise. All I have to do is follow You where You place me. FATHER, prevent me from placing myself  Oswald Chambers (ref#83, p51).

I am tempted to ask You to help me be like CHRIST thinking others will see the goodness of You in me and praise You. But this is just a prideful request from my self-exalting nature. Another prideful request is for You to help me become more passionate for souls, but concentrating on saving souls is just religious commercialism (ref#83, p51).

Again, all I have to do is to follow You where You place me. When I am following You it will be a matter of indifference whether You put me in the spotlight or back stage. As long as I’m following You I can be unfairly accused or even be proven a failure without any irritation on my part (ref#83, p51).

CHRIST was a praise to Your glory. But, He was not obedient to His needs or the needs of men but obedient to Your will. Because of it, He was a ‘stone of stumbling’ to many people and I will be a ‘stone of stumbling’ by following Him (ref#83, p50-51).

Move me to realize that You have to be followed, I cannot clutch visions of grandeur that I become a beautiful specimen in Your showcase. I will reflect honor to You when I follow You in the mundane circumstances of life. (ref#83, p53).

How difficult is following? FATHER, help me keep it simple. When I begin to question which way to go, sin has complicated my walk. Sin urges me to involve myself in activities that go beyond Your wishes and my abilities. The sin in me desires to do great spiritual things—things that will wear me out and make me frustrated and sad. Urge me to keep it simple and just walk behind You for the praise of Your glory.