Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 12.15.28 PMWhat do I do with my guilt? FATHER, I am to be perfect as You are perfect (Matt 5:48)! Since I was born in Your image (Gen 1:26) the deepest desire of my heart is to live with You, but I don’t do the things I know I should do (Rom 7:15). I disappoint and have no ability to clear my own name before You (Rom 3:23). I just can’t always do what I know is right—sometimes I can, but not all the time. And You demand that I be perfect… (Matt 5:48).

But, what I could not do, You did (Isa 52:10).   Since You require justice, You, Yourself, must be the justifier (Rom 3:26). And this You did, all on Your own, without any help from me. So, You are both just and the One who brings justice.

Even though I am a sinner (Rom 5:8), You confer—You reckon—You count me as righteous (Rom 4:22). You consider me righteous when I am a sinner. You pronounce sinners righteous! You don’t change me so I am righteous, but You “pronounce” me righteous.

FATHER, You give the free gift of a right standing before You because of what Your Son JESUS did. I am drawn into Your favor because You have accepted the blood of Your Son in His death to soothe Your anger for all my sins—past, present, and future (Rom 3:25).

CHRIST’s dying on the cross does not automatically defuse Your anger toward every sinner.   You confer righteousness only upon sinners who support Your way of reconciliation—who believe CHRIST provides the only way to make peace with You—in contrast to believing that any efforts on my part has any power at all for my justification (Rom 3:28).

“Sinful men and women can be changed into new creatures, not by their repentance or their belief, but by the marvelous work of God in Christ Jesus which is prior to all experience…I am not saved by believing; I realize I am saved by believing. It is not repentance that saves me, repentance is the sign that I realize what God has done in Christ Jesus. The danger is to put the emphasis on the effect instead of on the cause” (ref#7, Oct 28th).



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.



Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.43.24 AM“God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect” (Ps 18:32 NLT).

FATHER, I am only perfect because You have chosen to fill me with Your own love and image (ref#15, [Ps 37:37]).   I will never be faultless, but You do not demand that I be faultless.

What You command is that I live a blameless life (Ps 37:18). You ask me only to live up to my highest understanding of Your will revealed in Your Word. Then You will look with favor on me, calling me blameless, if I walk in Your way (Ps 101:6).

A blameless man describes “an upright man; a man of integrity. It does not necessarily imply that he is absolutely holy, or free from all sin, but that he is upright, consistent, honest:…” (ref#16, [Ps 101:6]).

FATHER, I lose my blamelessness by sinning presumptuously. These are sins that issue from my pride and self-confidence that leads me to rely on my own strength (ref#16, [Ps 19:13]). FATHER, I do not want to fall into a habit of sinning presumptuously for by such sins I will soon be hardened through their deceitfulness (ref#15, [Ps 19:13]).

GUIDING FATHER, keep me back from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me, and then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgressions (Ps 19:13).



Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 2.11.22 PM“For any one…who separates himself from me, taking his idols into his heart…I will set my face against that man; I will make him a sign and a byword…and you shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezek 14:7-8 ESV).

“…I will act in wrath. My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. And though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them’” (Ezek 8:18 ESV).

FATHER, these hard words You have recorded are a sobering punctuation of how important it is to daily evaluate myself. My ruin will be estrangement from You by deciding to move my dependence from You to someone else (ref#18, [Ezek 14:1-11]). (An idol is some creature, mainly myself, who I allow to set up rule in my heart that replaces You).

“…the only life that pleases God…is His life—never our life, no matter how hard we try. But inasmuch as our self-centered life is the exact opposite of His, we can never be filled with His life unless we are prepared for God to bring our life constantly to death” (ref#97, p25).

The sin of living by my born-with nature is loathsome to GOD. I am in the way of GOD’s wrath when I attempt to “satisfy a vain curiosity, to stop the mouth of a clamorous conscience, or to get or save a reputation among men, but without any desire to be acquainted with God or any design to be ruled by him” (ref#18, [Ezek 14:1-11]).

“…human nature was created by God, not by the devil; it is impaired, and enfeebled, but it is not sinful. The first creation retains the remnants of God’s handiwork; re-creation is the building of a spiritual habitation, ‘an habitation of God,’ and all our effort is to be spent in disciplining the natural life in obedience to the new creation wrought in us through the Spirit….Any attempt to build on the natural virtues will ultimately outrange the grace of God…” (ref#157, June 5th).



Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 2.30.03 PM…FATHER, out of my sin nature that wants only to act like JESUS comes pernicious reasonings and evil intentions (Matt 15:19). FATHER, point out my resistance toward You through the following questions:

  • Am I pleased or troubled about situations?       Does my countenance depend on my comfort in the situation or do I forget about assessing my feelings and simply obey CHRIST (ref#76, p89)?
  • Do I provide for myself instead of letting CHRIST supply my needs? Do I control, rule, serve and love myself and not turn to CHRIST for strength (ref#76, p91)?
  • Do I judge myself? Do I settle in despondency dwelling on my faults or believe I am doing well and become puffed up (ref#76, p85)?
  • Am I “an evangelical hypocrite who sins more safely because grace abounds, who tells his lusts that Christ’s blood cleanseth them, who reasons that God cannot cast him into hell, for he is saved, who loves evangelical preaching, churches, Christians, but lives unholily” (ref#76, p72)?

O FATHER, my “every sense, member, faculty, affection is a snare to me” “The Valley of Vision” (ref#76, p74). Sin is my downfall (Ezek 18:30) and “my greatest snare is myself” (ref#76, p74).

Thank You for revealing the rebellion lurking in my members. Thank You for cleansing me from these hidden faults as I admit to them. I don’t want sin to control me (Ps 19:12,13). Through this confession turn my face toward You once again so that I may express extravagant love to You.



Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 2.04.09 PM“Anger is always an attack on the brother’s life, for it refuses to let him live and aims at his destruction….Every idle word which we think so little of betrays our lack of respect for our neighbor, and shows that we place ourselves on a pinnacle above him and value our own lives higher than his. The angry word is a blow struck at our brother, a stab at his heart: it seeks to hit, to hurt and to destroy….When a man gets angry with his brother…when he…insults or slanders him, he is guilty of murder…He erects a barrier not only between himself and his brother, but also between himself and God. He no longer has access to him: his sacrifice, worship and prayer are not acceptable in his sight. For the Christian, worship cannot be divorced from the service of the brethren,…God will not be separated from our brother: he wants no honor for himself so long as our brother is dishonored….There is therefore only one way of following Jesus and of worshipping God, and that is to be reconciled with our brethren” Dietrich Bonhoeffer (ref#10, p127-129).

FATHER, Your love for everyone in Your creation is so great that You refuse to commune with me any further if I am the least bit critical of anyone. I cannot be as sweet water, worshipping You and, at the same time, bitter water and angry at my bother. If I’m not sweet to my brother, You will be bitter toward me. How greatly grieved You are when my words, even in jest, speak negatively of someone.

The Apostle Paul says, “…I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor 9:27 ESV). Paul knows how easy it is to put himself above others with angry or idle words. He knows he must subdue his corrupt tendencies and thus warns himself (and me). (ref#16, [1 Cor 9:27]).

So, today, FATHER, I ask that You make me aware of how I dishonor people. I surely desire to not lose Your presence because of saying and thinking unkindness toward someone.



Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 11.42.58 AM…FATHER, make me realize that my earthly wisdom only corrupts me. I can know the truth of Your justice, and what righteousness You require but my knowledge does nothing to save me or put me in communion with You. I can ponder Your patience, goodness, forbearance, and mercy but knowledge alone does not lead me to repentance (ref#35. p197).

Whatever discovery I have of truth, (without it coming from CHRIST’s mouth, through the SPIRIT), I hold captive under unrighteousness (Rom 1:18). O GOD, how guilty I am for engaging my mind in learning Christianity instead of humbling myself before CHRIST and waiting for Him to teach my heart. FATHER, impede me from thinking the Scriptures give me eternal life (John 5:39). I am like a “brute beast” if my wisdom corrupts me (ref#35, p197, [Jude 10]).

If there be anything that will do me good, CHRIST is interested in dispensing it to me. Until I desire to make Him captain of my salvation (Heb 2:10) I will be led by the futility of my own wisdom. FATHER, help me be satisfied with only knowing CHRIST and not just knowing about Him (ref#35, p199).

FAVOR DISPENSING GOD, it is amazing to consider that all my Scripture learning, my choices of what is doctrinally correct, and my efforts to abide by my good morals do not make me a genuine Christian. Help me recognize my own efforts toward spiritually and the way I use then for my glory instead of Yours.




Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 1.04.16 PMCan’t divulge what sent me to the valley, but the means by which I found myself again on the mountaintop is worth recording:

Back home after church I changed clothes and ate but still was out of sorts—unnerved maybe would be a better word. Yes,—out of sorts and unnerved.

Sat down to read in an attempt to get over the morning—hoping to just move on. Opened the devotional at the bookmark where I last read and was drawn to the words I had underlined yesterday:

“Fear happens when I look at myself…and conclude that I do not have what it takes to do what God is calling me to do…To the degree that you forget who God is,…fear is your default emotion” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Aug 26th).

Then the next page provided these words:

“You were created by God to be dependent on him, but sin makes you rebellious….Sin makes you think you’re capable of what you cannot do” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, August 27th).

That was enough for the SPIRIT to convict. How many times did I pray about this morning’s assignment? And, in attempting that assignment, not once did I consciously depend on my FATHER.

No wonder I have come home shell-shocked. I walked into the enemy’s territory without any protection at all.

And, if Paul David Tripp’s words were not enough to sober me out of the poor-me valley, on the next page he writes:

“The agenda of grace is to transform you into a person who humbly recognizes your need for authority…” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Aug 28th).

And so it is, His grace has done its work. I am drawn to a familiar verse as I admit my need for Him:

“…’In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength’…” (Isa 30:15 NASB).

NOTE: GOD’s moves are always mysterious, engaging me in ways I do not expect. His coming can never be anticipated though sometimes I wait for Him. How shall He reveal Himself on upcoming Sabbaths?



[We all have friends and family that do not want anything to do with Christianity so it is up to us to pray for their salvation.  Here’s an opportunity to pray for them.  Fill their name in the blanks.]

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 12.33.46 PM“God is not unfaithful to forget the price which His Son has paid. He will not suffer His substitution to be in any case an ineffectual, dead thing. Tens of thousands of redeemed ones are not regenerated yet, but regenerated they must be;…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Dec 4th AM).

CHRIST, Himself prays for the now ungodly who will someday believe. “Their names are on His breastplate, and ere long they must bow their stubborn knee, breathing the penitential sigh before the throne of grace” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Dec 4th AM).

FATHER, ____ is in rebellion against You. (He/She) does not stay in Your path and is not acquainted with Your ways (Job 24:13). (He/She) is not mindful of the wonders that You perform—not realizing that You are ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and therefore, will not forsake (him/her) (Neh 9:17).

____ is deceived by the arrogance of (his/her) own heart (Jer 49:16). Thus is defiant and rebellious, revolting and departing from You (Jer 5:23), spurning Your counsel (Ps 107:11).

But You, FATHER, will break that stubborn heart and lay low that lofty spirit. Make conscious (his/her) wound so it brings (him/her) into contact with You, the Healer (ref#61, Oct 26th). I pray (he/she) be “broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent” (Ps 51:17 AMP).

“Who would refuse to drink the wormwood and the gall, if along this path only he could reach the sunlit spot where the smiles of a sin-pardoning God fill the heart with joy and gladness” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, Oct 26th)?



Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 12.11.55 PM…FATHER, without Your SPIRIT I have no sense of what sin is. My natural conscience tells me that such things as murder and theft are wrong actions (ref#18, [John 16:7-15]). If I only confess my wrong action, repent of it, believing with a hoping-its-true faith that CHRIST makes me righteous again, I will remain unchanged.

And, being unchanged I will automatically use my own efforts to try to not sin in that way again. But that will only produce a merry-go-round scenario since my own efforts will fail and I’ll have to confess again, and again, and again. This circling process showcases my unbelief in JESUS. I believe my job is to stop sinning without the help of CHRIST. When I, in my own strength, attempt to change my actions my heart remains unchanged.

But, the supernatural work of the SPIRIT convinces me that the true reason why sin continues to reign in me is because I am not by faith united to CHRIST (ref#18, [John 16:7-15]). FATHER, I want to be filled with a sense of my weakness not of my own strength to overcome. Lead me away from this “repenting and resolving to do better.”

Prevail upon me to rest in the presence of CHRIST. Delay me until the SPIRIT can instruct me as to what to do during my confession time.

Without the SPIRIT, I only “act” as if I love my neighbor (Gal 3:3). Without the help of the SPIRIT, ordinary impulses control me and in that unrighteousness I attempt to demonstrate outwardly what I don’t possess inwardly. Waiting in the presence of CHRIST the SPIRIT has the ability to illuminate my heart and reveal its attitude.  He may prove to me I am jealous or have a critical spirit toward my neighbor (ref#100, p94).

“As we rest as sinners in that low place, Jesus pours into our hearts His own love for that other person, a love that will sometimes send us to that person to put things right with him, and He gives us a forbearance toward him that was never there before” Roy and Revel Hession (ref#100, p94).

FATHER, reinforce all Your will for me in confession. It is not only a time to confess but a time to be humbled and a time to rest until, in the presence of CHRIST, I comprehend the entire scope of my sin. Guide me to hold out for Your “love, patience, and victory” that will change my heart (ref#100, p94).