“…’Holy, holy , holy is the Lord of hosts;…” (Isa 6:3 ESV)!
“…what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15 ESV). FATHER, Your abhorrence for ungodly things sobers me when I think about it. I think about it too little, now free me to think about it. Let me review ways of behaving that You positively hate:
“For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man” (Ps 5:4-6 ESV).
“God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts” (Ps 7:11-13 ESV).
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Prov 6:16-19 ESV).
FATHER, sin is whirling dust—filthy grit in Your eyes. Holiness is what I long for; may I tremble at Your Word lest I offend You (ref#89, p101). Save me, O GOD, that I may give thanks to Your holy name and glory in Your praise (1 Chron 16:35).
“…You are holy, O You Who dwell in [the holy place…” (Ps 22:3 AMP).
Search me, O GOD, try me. See if there is any wicked way in me (Ps 139:23-24). SPIRIT, point out my misdeeds in the sentences below that I might own up to them, for “[Christ is compassionate] in [keeping] his institutions…—marrying his church to himself…” (ref#35, p266).
Do I love CHRIST enough to stay chaste? When I do not feel His presence, do I look for someone else to fellowship with or simply busy myself with activities (ref#35, p263)?
Do I trust any of my own righteous endeavors to commend myself to CHRIST—like, do I feel a twinge of self-satisfaction after I confess all the sins I know of (ref#35, p264)?
When my soul is in the wilderness will I sit still and wait until CHRIST comes or do I let my good intentions and activities satisfy my soul (ref#35, p264)?
Do I place my joy and comfort in other things besides being filled with joy in the HOLY SPIRIT (ref#35, p265)?
Do I consider it my daily work to get my heart crucified to the things of this world (ref#35, p266)?
Do I invent ways and certain times to worship You and not wait for Your appointment—do I plan my day without CHRIST’s input (ref#35, p266-267)?
Do I embrace everything that only CHRIST has appointed? Do I go to Him for directions and beg Him to lead me in the way that I have not known (Isa 48:6)?
BOUNDLESS AND LIMITLESS
“How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation” (Dan 4:3 ESV).
How great are Your signs, O LORD (Dan 4:3).
They are inestimable—
they cannot be properly appreciated (ref#110, p690);
they are incredible (ref#110, p684).
LORD, how mighty are Your works (Dan 4:3).
They cannot be measured;
they are too great—
simply invaluable (ref#110, p690).
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom (Dan 4:3).
You are immanent—
present throughout the universe (ref#110, p674)—
boundless and limitless (ref#110, p1453).
Your dominion endures to all generations (Dan 4:3).
You love with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3);
You continue forever in faithfulness (Jer 31:3);
You are undefinable (ref#110, p1453).
DESIRING TO COMMUNE WITH THE BEAUTY-MAKER
…“GOD OF ALL SOVEREIGNTY,
Thy greatness is unsearchable,
Thy name most excellent,
Thy glory above the heavens;…” The Valley of Vision (ref#76, p214).
ALL-PROVIDING FATHER, abundant and extravagant in giving, joy comes to my heart when I experience some aspect of Your creation I find attractive (ref#130, p102). But, there is a greater joy:
“We do not want merely to see beauty…We want…to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it” C.S.Lewis (ref#130, p119).
“O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all” Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (ref#130, p102).
Day by day, FATHER, capture me and turn me lose in the forest of words that describe You so all my senses can dance in Your greatness. Guide my desire toward becoming “bold and glad” in Your superior glory (ref#124, p80).
SIN DOES NO PERMANENT DAMAGE
…FATHER, I know sin has consequences, but it does no permanent damage. Sin has put me in shambles; I am like the rubble of a building but through my acceptance of CHRIST’s work on the cross the HOLY SPIRIT will purify and refine me back into a building gloriously enough for You to dwell in. No matter how horrific my sin or how horrific someone has sinned again me, You provide the way for my whole soul to be restored (ref#15, [Acts 9:31]).
Sin is a past issue with You. And, it may be too, with me, once I roll the situation over to You. To nullify sin’s damage, LORD, You require, by faith, I prove CHRIST conquered sin by putting the incident behind me, as You have put it behind You. Yes, I may deal with a consequence of sin everyday but it does not need to trigger a flash back to the original sin. I need to purposefully break the circle of returning to negative thoughts.
Direct me, FATHER, to fixing my eyes on JESUS (Heb 12:2), recalling His love for me that is stronger than death (Song 8:6), praying He bestow such love on me so that I’m able to bestow it on myself and the ones I have sinned against or the ones that have sinned against me. This becomes the entrance into restoration.
LORD, hand out enough faith to me that I know Your forgiveness heals the damage of sin; You will restore (Isa 57:14-19); this is Your promise! Be with me as I prove Your healing by letting You tear away habits of old hurtful thoughts and permitting You to replace them with new habits of thinking.
I must willingly let You work even though I, quite possibly, will not have any recognizable changed feelings. (Proper feelings may never come, but freedom will and the joy of following truth will easily override any lack of feelings I long for.)
To help me anchor the renewed mind You give me, FATHER, I ask for faith to perform the below commands:
- Never bring up the subject of the sin and its situation to the one who has wronged me or to the one I have wronged.
- Never again bring it up in conversations with other people.
- Never dwell on it again in my own mind.
When the temperature arrives at 32 degrees Fahrenheit it hesitates, failing to move smoothly on its upward or downward path because it is at the point of change—water must become liquid or solid. 32 degrees is a defining point.
Another defining point is when I stand between the physical and spiritual world. It requires work to get from one to the other—especially from the all-to-familiar physical world to the spiritual world.
Moving off the defining point cannot be done unconsciously, (particularly moving to the spiritual world). It requires knowledge of what’s happening and discipline on my part to move ahead. I must exert energy and consciously prepare. My favorite words for this is: “to be purposeful.” I must decide to move to the spiritual. GOD makes it possible but I must actually do it.
But there is even more involved. The moment I resolve to move I am immediately entangled in a war where I encounter resistance and must become a fighter.
“…the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion…” (Matt 11:12 AMP).
In every one of the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation JESUS calls them to be conquerors (Rev 2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 2:26; 3:5; 3:12; 3:21). So, this fight is not just a decision to move forward, it requires persevering—battling—“storming heaven.” That’s my part but… I CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT GOD.
So this Thanksgiving I am pleased to thank GOD for providing strength so I can conquer the resistance and move into the spiritual world.
- Thank You, FATHER, for aiding my resolve to throw back the warm covers in the morning and rise to commune with You.
- Thank You for giving me an accountability partner to ride with so that I’m less tempted to be lazy or fall off from attending prayer group on Thursday.
- Thank You for providing an opportunity to serve on Sunday mornings and the conviction to fulfill my obligations with excellence.
- Thank You, LORD, for the self-motivation You impart so I am able to sit long hours and write in Your presence.
- Thank You for the love of music so I can endure piano practice and find You in the song.
FATHER, when I will, You give me the power to overwhelmingly conquer (Rom 8:37). You make it possible for me to move off the defining point between the physical and spiritual world. I cannot fathom a “thanks” big enough to offer You for this.
KEEPING THE SABBATH
FATHER, I pray for ____ to guard (his/her) Sabbaths. Sometimes without knowing, the world, satan, and (his/her) own flesh succeed at turning everything gray. There is no way (he/she) can comprehend the dullness until (he/she) sits before You during (his/her) Sabbath.
FATHER, make ____ realize, as You commune with (him/her), how weak (he/she) has become living the last six days in the world, them pour into (him/her) the strength (he/she) will need for the next six days. Being in Your presence not only allows ____ to let go of the week prior but also energizes (him/her) for the next.
No one recognizes burnout until they are burned out. So alert ____ to (his/her) desperate need for more strength—strength needed to joyously obey You that can only be provided by the HOLY SPIRIT. Draw (him/her) into Your rest as (he/she) settles in to waiting in Your presence. Only in waiting before You can (he/she) compare (his/her) weak present condition with the joyous strength You are able to infuse in (him/her).
You are very serious about demanding Sabbath-keeping (Ex 31:14) for You know how harmful not keeping it is. On the Sabbath, FATHER, do not let ____ settle for just resting (his/her) body or satisfying (himself/herself) with a diversion from (his/her) work (Isa 58:13). Don’t let (him/her) even be content to learn more of You or worship You.
In Your presence is fullness of joy (Ps 16:11). Give ____ the knowing that (he/she) will have all (he/she) needs for the coming week so (he/she) may rejoice in Your provision. Draw (him/her), LORD, into keeping the Sabbath. For joy in You is (his/her) strength (Neh 8:10).
TRUSTING IN HOLY SPIRIT
“He breathes the mind and life of Christ in me, so that I live as He did, in and for the Father’s love” Andrew Murray (ref#19, SEVENTH LESSON).
“…I trust the Holy Spirit. He has begun to deliver me from my innate sins, and I trust Him to drive them all out. I trust Him to curb my temper, to subdue my will, to enlighten my understanding, to check my passions, to comfort my despondency, to help my weakness, to illuminate my darkness. I trust Him to dwell in me as my life; to reign in me as my King; to sanctify me wholly, spirit, soul, and body; and to take me up to dwell with the ‘saints in light’ (Col 1:12) forever” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Oct 7th PM).
FATHER, thank You that the SPIRIT abides with me forever—permanently—even though I may not be sensible to His presence—even though He may withhold His comfort or suspend His influence for a while when I am walking carelessly. He may even permit indwelling corruptions for a moment but even when He breaks my heart, He always binds it up. He may fill me with godly grief but then thanksgiving (ref#61, Aug 26th). SPIRIT, thank You; I rely on You.
APPLYING THE LORD’S DAY
…GOD set the day apart as the day of rest (Deuteronomy 5:14). But it is not simply a day of idleness or choosing some recreation. And, even though it doesn’t demand we spend the entire day in the presence of GOD only, we cannot satisfy the command by just attending church and doing what we want afterward.
With further investigation we find the day is not only for public and private exercises of worship but also permitted is duties of necessity and mercy [Westminster Confession of Faith] (ref# 164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).
“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 NASB). Contrary to the Mosaic Law, work can be done. JESUS teaches we will not break the command if we find it necessary to engage in:
- DUTIES OF NECESSITY (Matthew 12:3-4): Not only do I have to eat, etc., but in my case, I have responsibilities to the Worship team. So, if it’s imperative to do some essential labor, it’s okay.
- DUTIES OF MERCY (Matthew 12:11): JESUS instructs us not to neglect helping someone in immediate need. “…it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:12 NASB).
JESUS is LORD of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). We will not break the Sabbath law if we follow His example of behaving responsibly and compassionately.
PARDON IS NOT TO MAKE ME MORE ACCEPTABLE TO GOD
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).