“God’s grace forgives! God’s grace redeems! God’s grace restores” Bob Kauflin (ref#199, p134).

“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).

“Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry, I struck him; I hid my face and was angry, but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart. I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,’ says the LORD, and I will heal him” (Isa 57:17-19 ESV).

“He hates your sins, and He will follow your wanderings with His chastising rod; but He loves you, beholding you in the Beloved, fully and freely accepted in the glorious righteousness of Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 19th).

“Whenever God punishes the sins of true believers, he does so with wholesome moderation. God has nothing else in view than to correct the vices of his children so that, having thoroughly purged them of sin, he may restore them anew to his favor and friendship” John Calvin (ref#164, Mar 5th).

“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift” (2 Cor 9:15 ESV)!

“He who can go to Gethsemane and Calvary and come away with slight views of the evil nature of sin must be blind indeed” William S. Plumer (ref#358, p4).


“When we do something wrong, we all tend to point outside ourselves for the cause: ‘This traffic makes me so angry’, ‘She gets me so upset’; or ‘My boss pulls the worst out of me.’” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Mar 7th).

“It is hard for us to accept that our words and behavior are not caused by what’s outside us, but by what’s inside us” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Aug 11th).

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit” (Luke 6:43 ESV).

“[T]he Scriptures are clear that every wrong you and I do flows out of the thoughts and desires of our hearts. It is only when you admit and confess this that you begin to feel the need for and get excited about God’s grace. It you have convinced yourself that you’re not your problem, but people and situations are, you are not excited about God’s provision of powerful forgiving and transforming grace, because, frankly, you don’t think you need it. For many of us, subtle patterns of blaming God are in the way of receiving the grace that we need at the very moment we are working to convince ourselves that we don’t need it” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Aug 11th).

“An act may be very praiseworthy; but if it displeases God, nothing can excuse its commission” William S. Plumer (ref#358, p3).

“The best thing we ever did independent of the merit of Jesus only swelled the number of our sins. For even when we have been purest in our own sight, we have not been pure in God’s sight” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Oct 27th PM).

“A hundred preachers are unable to make an unregenerate person realize the dreadful nature of sin, or show him that he has been a lifelong rebel against God, or change his heart so that he now hates himself and longs to please God and serve Christ. Only the Spirit can bring man to the place where he is willing to forsake every idol” A.W. Pink (ref#360, p20).

“I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O LORD” (Jer 10:23-24 ESV).

“By nature we are not only ignorant of God’s way, but reluctant to walk therein even when it is shown us. [W]e never seek unto God till we are Divinely drawn. This humbling truth was well understood by David of old. First, he prayed, ‘Teach me, O LORD, the way of Thy statutes. Give me understanding’ (Psa. 119:33,34). But second, he realized that something more than Divine illumination was needed by him: therefore did he add, ‘Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p 118).


“He who sees no sin in himself will feel no need of a Savior” William S. Plumer (ref#358, p2).

“Our problem is that we do not take some sin seriously. We have mentally categorized sins into that which is unacceptable and that which may be tolerated a bit” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p18).

“Many of us are careful to maintain an outwardly upright life, but are we just as diligent to cultivate holiness in our thoughts? Since we are unable to do that on our own, are we not in desperate need of a Savior” John Calvin (ref#164, Jan 16th)?

“Christians taking in the teaching of the Bible can be deceived about their own sins. We somehow feel that consent to the teaching of Scripture is equivalent to obedience” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p72).

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22 ESV).

“[A]s human beings, we’re all glory junkies. One bite of chocolate glory is not enough for us. The beautiful watch, the cool car, the best taco, the well-designed golf course, the perfectly appointed kitchen, and the stunning piece of music all get our attention and leave us wanting more.  But these glories were created and placed in our lives for a purpose. All of the glories of the physical created world serve this one purpose—to remind us of and point us to the glory of God. The physical world is wonderfully glorious, but it was never meant to be our stopping point any more than the sign that points to something is meant to be the end of the journey” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, May 31st).

“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity” (1 John 2:15-17 MSG).




screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-2-32-11-pmI’m certainly proving that I can do nothing without the LORD. I survived the last three weeks of daily socializing by looking forward to these next two weeks of setting at my desk researching, organizing and writing in the LORD’s presence.

Today I start. I will spend it alone—totally with Him but I am quickly realizing I’m not prepared. I’m lonely; I’m out of practice using my mind. I’m remembering that desk work is work, and the work is overwhelming with papers from the last three weeks piled high.

And then there is music. I’m pursuing songwriting yet have no desire to play and sing anything. My body is in pain, my mind so very sluggish, and I have no desire to pursue what GOD is calling me to. Looking forward to this day for the last three weeks has kept me going but it has arrived and I’m disappointed. How much this situation screams that I can do nothing without GOD.

Thus I chuck my plans and go to the prayer closet to sit. Though I feel it not, I know there is unending joy for me embedded in the privilege of His attention. And I have proof in my memory that His covenant promises to me will never be broken. Just the promise of eternal life with Him—someday being free of these earthly struggles… These things are enough to find the needed strength to face this day with energy.

Suddenly I’m on the mountaintop. I don’t necessarily feel it but these thoughts have given me enough gumption to begin. I can walk out of this prayer closet—put one foot in front of the other with anticipation. Here I go, and the first step is toward the piano.

As I approach I am thinking two thoughts about the piano: (1) all I see behind and ahead of me is failure: no progression in talent, no opportunity to preform. I feel I should give it up and concentrate my expression of worship with just words and not song.

The other thought is just the opposite: (2) I should continue with songwriting and piano, remembering how GOD, periodically over 30 years, has encouraged me at the piano. Yet…

30 years He has strung me along. My flesh wants to quit. I, with pleasure, will admit defeat instead of taking more embarrassment, but my heart cries with just the thought of ending. I’m in the valley with my mind’s logic to quit yet my heart refuses to listen to common sense.

Before I arrived at the piano I picked up the guitar and sang with a three-week, out-of-practice voice. My ears heard something unpleasant but the LORD heard not my voice but my heart. I had forgotten this songwriting desire was for the pleasure of GOD not that I might get good and please others or myself.

All my writing has been to help me draw close to GOD even though it is available to the public. And so my music should also be to help me draw close to GOD. Is there anything better than to be close enough to sing Him praise?

I do love to express my love for GOD in music. I love to please Him in song—magnifying Him. Song is certainly a higher way to magnify Him than words.

Seeing that my spiritual gift is encouragement, it makes sense that it should spill over into my interaction with the LORD through song.

“…the great object of…worship is to please God…” William S. Plumer (ref#183). From GOD’s perspective: He waits for me to bring Him joy. He created me that I might bring Him pleasure (Rev 4:11).  Now I’m really on a mountaintop!



“The time for performance of individual and family religious duties is before or after church….Private Lord’s Day observance includes prayer, Bible reading, meditation, and follow-up teaching after church” John Owen (ref#176).

“The Sabbath must be a day of spiritual improvement—improvement which comes in…families having time around the Lord Jesus, His Word, and His purposes” Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

Spiritual improvement comes from religious reading. (It’s possible to read through the Bible in a year by reading approximately 18 Chapters each Sunday.) Improvement also comes from secret prayer and holy meditation. (ref#165, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

“Church history informs us that after their private devotions, the members of the family in primitive times met for united prayer, the reading of the Scriptures, the recital of doctrinal and practical sentiments and mutual edification generally. This indeed, to some extent, was done every day. Each day was also closed by similar devotions. But, the Lord’s Day abounded in them” William S. Plumer, (ref#183).

Another LORD’s Day suggestion would be praising God for His mercies. But, this and the ones above are only suggestions. Though our desire would be to have a list of steps to follow, there are many temptations present in simply checking off a list.

Trouble happens when we simply follow lists—no manner how good the list is. We can fall into the category of sacrificing instead of obeying—just acting and not feeling.

God’s Word binds us only to Him and to His Word. We are free in matters of faith and worship from every man-made list. CHRIST has purchased the right to be our only Master. (ref#165, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon#: 2097, “The Delight of the Sabbath” July 18, 1999).

So, we must ask Him directly. We should ask Him every Sabbath what our agenda should be for the day.



“…the Sabbath was God’s first act after the earth had been made fit for human habitation,…This day, from the beginning, was a holy day…for the purpose of teaching man that whilst he might lawfully spend six days in worldly employments, he must rest on the seventh day” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).

“The Sabbath is a sign. It points to a truth that we are never to forget. The truth is that God (and not we ourselves) has sanctified us. He has chosen us and set us apart and worked to make us distinct among the peoples of the earth” John Piper (ref#169).

“…the Sabbath is a gift of love to meet man’s need, not an oppressive burden to make him miserable or proud….It should not be governed rigidly by narrow definitions of what is work and what is not. It is a day to focus on the Lord. And now Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath…so it is a day to focus on Jesus. And it is impossible that a day focused on Jesus should be a burden to the believing heart…” John Piper (ref#169).

“As the great object of all religious instruction and worship is to please God and secure His blessing, so let great care be taken that whatever is done be sincere, humble, and fervent” William S. Plumer (ref#183).