“…’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).
A HUNGER FOR GOD & HIS TRANSFORMING POWER
[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 the name in the blanks.]
“Jesus says to Simon Peter…do you have a love for me called out of your heart by my preciousness to you, a devotional love that impels you to sacrifice yourself for me? Do you consider me more precious and thus love me more than these [fish]?…” (ref#37, p266, [John 21:15]).
FATHER.ç “What Christ died for is not that we might help him, but that we might see and savor him as infinitely valuable” John Piper (ref#92, p83).
FATHER, I pray for ____, that (he/she) rest in CHRIST’s love. Remind (him/her) that the moment (he/she) was regenerated (he/she) automatically became “a holy temple fit for habitation of the Holy Spirit” Roy and Revel Hession (ref#101, p13). Hasten ____ to dwell on this truth as much as (his/her) new birth. “God has given a new life plus the indwelling of the very Person of the Holy Spirit” Roy and Revel Hession (ref#101, p14). It is through the SPIRIT that ____ will find CHRIST waiting for a relationship with (him/her). I pray ____ develop a hunger for fellowship and for CHRIST’s transforming power so that (he/she) may experience a vigorous and joyful life (ref#78, p25,26).
BURYING MY HEAD
Another week of care-giving mom has been to my benefit. Whether it is pure mercy from GOD or my striving to make a better habit, I rejoice in the outcome. Two notable situations I want to record.
The first: I found myself very often into my familiar scenario of how to best plan for mom’s future. Yet, my mind did not go far until I was aware of the old rut I was in. Once aware I threw myself on GOD and ceased planning. It amazed me how many times GOD’s words to me were, “Wait before you draw conclusions.”
This faith I was able to cling to encouraged me. I was able to stay trusting GOD’s counsel and reaping its benefits—that is until another precarious situation arose and I was back scenario planning about what I need to do if… But, I would hear again, “Wait before you draw conclusions.”
Second: early on I asked the FATHER that I might just bury my head in CHRIST’s breast. I admit I just wanted out of the approaching situation. I knew I was just coping out—trying to avoid my responsibility, but, hey, this was the desire of my heart. And, as it turned out, this was exactly what I needed.
The request turned into a vision in my mind and through the days I often went to dwell in the vision and bury my head in CHRIST’s chest. At the time little did I realize the vision made it possible for me to let situations go and let GOD handle them. I see now this was exactly His plan all along.
A few times a situation called for suggestions from me and decision-making from mom. Past experience proved such situations did not go well. I would get frustrated and mom would get mad.
But ignoring the past, I prayed and clung to CHRIST and suddenly found myself through the situation with an agreeable compromise between mom and me. I don’t quite know how to explain it but I know GOD did something miraculous.
FATHER, it’s now time again to go back home to continue with my own life. I rejoice that You have carried me through this time here and have convinced me through the ups and downs of the care giving that You have kept me sane and mom secure in Your hands.
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).
FATHER, Your love and patience toward each of us stretches over the entire expanse of our lives. I especially can’t fathom Your constant persistent efforts to pour out Your love on ____ who presently is resisting You.
The efforts You use to call ____ to respond to You, to name a few, are:
- The magnificence of Your creation
- Your providences of mercy (like providing food)
- (His/Her) natural conscience
- The Gospel You have explained in Your Bible (ref#61, Dec. 13th)
All these gestures toward ____ in love can be, day by day, always resisted. It saddens me to think of all Your many, constant, efforts to pursue ____and all (his/her) efforts to resist. This sadness drives me to pray. Unless You work “in people’s hearts to make the proclamation of the gospel effective, there will be no genuine saving response” (ref#63, p693).
Even though You have decided before we were born who will accept Your calling, Your called ones must voluntarily make a commitment to You. You will save no one “apart from their own willing response to the gospel” (ref#63, p693).
Thus my prayer becomes two-part. I pray for Your move, FATHER, and I pray that ____ take the responsibility to accept what You call (him/her) to.
You are GOD of gods and LORD of lords (Ps 8:1).
Incontestable—not to be contested,
unquestionable—not to be questioned,
You are sovereign (ref#110, p676).
You are in the heavens (Isa 29:14)—above others,
excelling and surpassing, having authority and power (ref#110, p1062).
You are effective in action (ref#110, p1056)—
potent and preeminent (ref#110, p1056, 1062).
You do as You please (Isa 29:14),
subsisting by and of Yourself,
without external agency.
You are self-existent (ref#110, p1218).
You are great and mighty—the awesome GOD (Ps 8:1).
You are imperial—
having supreme authority (ref#110, p676).
You cannot be compelled and are unconstrained (ref#110, p1453).
GOD of gods—
LORD of lords—
the great, the mighty—
the awesome GOD (Ps 8:1)!
“All people are naturally inclined to some form of religion, yet they fail to worship their Creator…” R.C. Sproul (ref#56, p1613, “Mankind’s Guilty Knowledge of God”).
FATHER, I fear ____ has decided on (his/her) own to follow You because (he/she) finds it convenient. It’s quite possible (he/she) has a belief like the crowd described in John 2:23 NASU: “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name…”
The crowd’s belief in JESUS was not a life-changing belief. They were quick only to acknowledge Him as a teacher, or a great prophet, or someone who could make their life better. The Amplified version sums it up, they …[identified themselves with His party]…. Surely they figured being close in proximity met He would save them from…whatever they wanted saved from.
FATHER, I fear ____ has found comfort in a faith that does not save. (He/She) may be content to know about JESUS, like Him, and conclude (he/she) identifies enough with Him that (he’ll/she’ll) go to heaven when (he/she) dies.
“To believe, for Paul, involves knowledge of the gospel’s content, mental assent to its testimony about Christ (Rom 10:14), and obedient trust and reliance on Him as Savior and Lord (Rom 1:5)” R.C. Sproul (ref#56, p1617, [Rom 3:22]).
I pray You give ____ ears to hear the Gospel. Convince (him/her) that (he/she) has no righteousness of (his/her) own and needs CHRIST’s righteousness. Be graphic about revealing (his/her) danger of perishing. LORD, give (him/her) a need to look for someone to save (him/her) from Your wrath. And then motivate (him/her) to make the effort to understand that CHRIST cannot save unless He becomes LORD of (his/her) life.
FATHER, give ____ opportunity to understand and grab hold of the faith that saves. By exercising (his/her) faith and by obeying, You will cause (him/her) to joyfully worship You. (He/She) does not need to be punished with everlasting destruction being forever away from Your presence and from the glory of Your power either in the rest of this life or in the life to come (2 Thes 1:9).
THE INERRANCY OF THE BIBLE
“…the word of the Lord remains forever…’” (1 Pet 1:25 ESV).
FATHER, Your Bible does not and cannot have errors: the sinless CHRIST cannot error. He says the Bible is Your Word, therefore the Bible cannot error (ref#95).
CHRIST, GOD INCARNATE, in Your earthly ministry You advocated what had been written of the FATHER previous to Your coming. Time after time You preface Your subject with the words, “it is written” (Matt 4:4,7,10). You did not come to abolish what had been written, but to fulfill what had been written (Matt 5:17-18).
You say Yourself that the Scriptures cannot be set aside or annulled (John 10:35). Even the hard-to-believe Scriptures You confessed as true. Jonah was indeed three days in the belly of a great fish (Matt 12:40). Your FATHER’s word is truth and without error (John 17:17).
“My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right” (Ps 119:172 ESV).
The Bible does not and cannot have errors: OMNIPOTENT, HOLY, PERFECT FATHER, You cannot error. You say the Bible is Your Word, therefore the Bible cannot error (ref#95).
The sum of Your Word is truth and every one of Your righteous rules endures forever (Ps 119:160). You never lie (Titus 1:2); it is impossible for You to lie (Heb 6:18).
You are true even if we are all liars (Rom 3:4)—even if we are faithless, You remain faithful for You cannot deny Yourself (2 Tim 2:13). Your Word is Truth (John 17:17). The audacity of Your creatures to accuse You of allowing an errant book to represent You!!
You revealed Yourself in words and resided over them as they were written in an earthly Book for all generations to read. The Bible is the prime testimony of Your compassion and caring.
…REFORMING MY FLESH OR KEEPING IT DEAD
…FATHER, I know that my natural disposition must be crucified with CHRIST (that is, my flesh must die). The word, “flesh” means my human nature which is “under the control of animal appetites” and is sensuous (ref#150, NT:4559). “Flesh” is defined as my earthly nature apart from divine influence (ref#150, NT:4561).
Flesh is the part of me I must inactivate—kill by neglect. But I am anchored so in it I naturally choose to reform it instead of kill it.
It is intuitive to me to want flesh tamed. Therefore I strive to educate my flesh—teach it to be righteous. I happily give myself over to rules and methods (ref#33, p92). Intensive church activity is a way of attempting to reform flesh. It is frightening to realize that my own flesh can produce acts that appear Christian (Matt 7:22-23) yet they are without the help or consent of You, FATHER (ref#63, p706).
While teaching my flesh to be righteous I concentrate on one sin or a file-folder of sins. I fall into using my flawed self to try to become more like CHRIST. By doing this, I am in the business of trying to conquer and refine my old-nature flesh. I try to get flesh and SPIRIT to cooperate!
But, I cannot, and You, FATHER, will not reform my flesh—even the priceless blood of JESUS can’t cleanse the flesh. The HOLY SPIRIT does nothing to improve flesh; in fact, He will not even dwell in the midst of sinful flesh. The SPIRIT will abide in me for only one reason and that is for warring against my flesh (ref#33, p94).
O LORD, continually bring me to understand the difference between operating by my flesh and working with the SPIRIT—the difference between reforming my flesh and killing it by neglect. It is only by faith and dependence on the SPIRIT that I can put to death the deeds of my flesh (Rom 8:13).
… “O the depth of the wealth and wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments, and how untraceable the paths He takes…” Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p372,373, [Rom 11:33]).
FATHER, the book of Nahum declares that You are slow to anger yet great in power (Nahum 1:3). How is it that You see Your enemies yet do not rouse Yourself to wrath but hold Your anger?
Remind me, that Your power is not a power that has to prove itself over and over. It is so great that no challenge comes close to overcoming You. It is Your greatness that brings me grace and goodness (ref#34, Feb 22nd PM).
“When Moses said, ‘I beseech thee, show me thy glory,’ God replied, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before thee’ (Exod 33:18-19). Not, ‘I will make all My power, My majesty, My holiness pass before thee’ but ’I will make all My goodness to the weak, the sinful, and the undeserving pass before thee’… His glory is His grace (Eph 1:6)” Roy and Revel Hession (ref#100, p32).
FATHER, I naturally desire You show Your power—how often have I prayed, “LORD, show everyone how great You are by miraculously healing so and so.” I always want You to exalt Yourself. But isn’t that so “I” can be proud of You? “You are ‘my’ GOD who has great power.” Thus “I” boast and in so doing “I” give myself glory.
“Glory in a man’s eyes is always that which exalts him…God’s glory consists in the very reverse—not so much in His ability to exalt Himself and humble man, but in His willingness to humble Himself for the sake of man; not so much in a mighty display of power that would break in pieces those that oppose Him, but rather in the hiding of that power and the showing of grace to the undeserving when they turn to Him in repentance” Roy and Revel Hession (ref#100, p31,32).
“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isa 57:15 ESV).
GREAT GOD, You are unsearchable in Your judgments and Your paths are untraceable. Yet You make Yourself approachable!