Communion Journal

What follows is a portion of my prayer journal. I make it public for two reasons. First, that others may see here an evidence of the reality of conversion: that day by day God takes from me my fearful doubting heart and replaces it with a heart that trusts him. Second, so that others would remember to pray for me. As evidenced in these entries, I greatly need all the help I can get. Please remember me as you find your soul near to God.

Reading Psalm 100. My heart is fairly hard this morning. Every psalm I read ought be able to lift my heart up to glory. I fear my heart is hard. Yet I look forward to God breaking thought to it in some unexpected way. He promises to do so, He will not fail.

Repented of my pride of thinking God owed me communion with Him as a result of my getting up early to seek Him.

Oh, to have a heart that loves Christ. A heart that weeps over his death instead of feeling ambivalence. Do I serve Him with His own mind and heart, or do I only offer up my own?

Was raised up to believe that God will do good in all of this. He will transform me. Even through this humble journaling. Blessed be the name of the Lord, for His service is light: His way is easy and comforting to those that walk it. Surely my Father will condescend to make me a worshiper of His Son, for this is what He wants.

Reading Psalm 101 … The Lord will cast off the wicked. Oh, that He would cast off the old wicked man in me. Is this not a promise from this psalm: that God will circumcise my heart and cast off what is evil morning by morning (Psalm 101:8)?

Arose this morning to find Ellie already up and reading scriptures. What a wonderful thing to have a wife who loves Jesus and His testimonies: that one room away, His Holy Spirit is moving in her, giving her communion. Perhaps, I am soft already this morning just from that thought?

Alas, reading the word for myself proved it not so. How can I be soft yet have hardness towards His testimonies? I prayed, “holy, holy, Lord God almighty,” endeavoring to think of other men who have called and do call God holy. My mind settled on John Paton in his tree on Tanna. What a kind and gracious God, to give Paton peace in all his troubles. He walked with God, may not I? Will God not be as kind to me? He will! and I may! How shall we not here abide. Taste and see oh ye nations—the Lord is good to those that taste of Him. Prom Psa. 101:2, He answered me, this morning, speedily when I called.
For reference, Paton describes his tree:

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My thought this morning is that I’m ok, I’m good enough; I need not seek God especially. My heart would deceive itself so as to avoid closeness with God. I would almost rather wake up disliking God or hating him—it is easier to be broken and contrite over a direct rebellion than it is over a feeling that I have enough of God. Will I be content with a thimble-full when an ocean is offered? Father in heaven, may I not be content but as I resemble you! For your own namesake, for the sake of those around me, and for my own sake, lift me out of this apathy. As often, the word of God is what proves to me my hardness. I have a general respect and a warm regard perhaps; but it is not life to my soul … yet. Perhaps soon.

Lord, let me be desperate for you.

Lord, help me to fear you more than anything else. My life proves that I fear other things more than you.

Testify to me of your greatness.

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, for He crowns me with steadfast love and mercy (Psa. 101:4).

Thank you God that you mean me good and that you mean your Church good in my struggle to find you this morning. Let my struggles be a help and an encouragement to others.

From Psa. 104, oh my soul, look at all God has made and be glad. Rejoice! for all of nature has been created to honor God and to build up His Church. The mountains, seas, beasts, and rains exist for your sake. Will you not herein rejoice, my soul?

I feel like God’s glory has been at the cusp of breaking in several times. I think the thought that holds me back, more than anything else, is the thought that God is near, I need not be happy in Him—it is enough to know He is near. Oh, that I may rebuke that thought. That it might hold no more sway over me or over God’s churches. Instead, may I REJOICE that God is near! And may I not rest until I do. I have work to do this day.

My heart was finally lifted up—if not to outright rejoicing—then to contrition and brokenness. In this spirit I was able to offer up Godly prayers for myself and those around me. Thank you, oh God, for this ability to pray this morning. May I walk in brokenness before Him this day. For this He will not despise, a broken and contrite heart (Psa. 51:17 ). May I refuse contentment until I find it in Him (Psa. 77:2).

Lord, help me to offer up my best to you today—for what else will you accept as a fragrant offering if we withhold the choicest sacrifice? Will you accept instead a blemished lamb? As you offered to me your best sacrifice, help me to offer to you my best. I realize that my best is still as filthy rags, but in your Son’s blood, see it as perfect. And as short of glory as my best is, it is still something I am unable to offer without your help. For sinful man that I am, I desire to throw my best time, talent, treasure, and thoughts to vanities. I, on my own, am much more like the man of Psa 2:1, than like the man of Psa. 1:2. But in you, I can give my best. This you will accept as a worthy sacrifice.

Let those who seek God rejoice: for He shepherds His people perfectly. His people lacked for nothing as they wandered the wilderness. He allowed none to oppress them. He rebuked kings on their account. For their good and not for their harm, He sent them famine. He sold them as slaves. Their feet were hurt with fetters, their necks put in collars of iron. So worship Him! To you, will He deny no good thing as you walk uprightly before Him. Lord, grant us such, and as we do, let us not doubt your goodness to us in ALL things. Then, in feast and in famine, will we praise your goodness to your people.

My mind wants to be anywhere but on God. If I open my eyes, my mind goes to the things around me, and if I close my eyes, it goes to imaginings about what the future might look like. My problem isn’t self-control and discipline—it is delight and vision. If I could see God as He is, how could I look away? Lord, let me see you this morning. For the sake of your Son and His kingdom, and let me behold His glory.

I think that one of the deceitful tricks of my heart is dwelling on what I might do for God instead of dwelling on God Himself. It is good to know my enemy, so I can better fight Him. Reveal to me, oh God, my heart’s hidden ways and sins that I might be at the work of putting them to death.

Lord, forgive my pride in thinking that I deserve more of you because I am seeking you better than others. I fear that such a thought will yield as a consequence long hours and days where I cannot find you. Let me humble myself instead of requiring chastisement. Help me not to “pay you back” so that you wont return the payment back on my head swiftly (Joel 3:4). Grant me contrition and humility. May I serve you with hand to mouth and mouth to dust.
Thank you God for the example I have in those that have gone before. For Jesus’ sake you granted them humility. For His sake, you will do the same for me. Such faith you have given me.
Return not my deeds on my head, for they are evil in your sight (Oba. 1:15).

I had the thought this morning; “why bother getting out of bed, I’m not going to be able to find God anyway.” I think the fear of that despairing thought is what did get me up. Now I am comforted by the thought that despair often turns into gladness. Oh my soul, give up on thy works. You cannot buy God. Learn to rest in Him instead. Trust that Christ purchased communion for you.

I already feel some measure of contentment in the Lord this morning. He will come in His own good time—I will be content with that timing. I hope that this is contentment and not apathy. How am I to know the difference?

Now that I think about it, there is some apathy there. I must be discontent until I conform to his image—yet, I must rest in him to be so conformed. Lord, give me such contented strivings as you would have in me.

Where is my Lord? Why does he not come by. Lord, those who trust in you will not be put to shame. Let not my enemy rejoice over me. For your glory, show him how you rescue the poor and needy—and what soul is more in need of you than one who is as sinful as I?

Apparently, there is a treasure-trove of apathy in me this morning. What else but an apathetic heart can read of such glorious things as Psa. 104:8-9 and not rejoice? Repent, oh my soul, of thy hardness. Lord, grant me distress for my state before you, so that you might deliver me from it.

Lord, I have nothing to offer you. I have nothing to offer my family, nor the people you are sending me to. What shall I do oh Lord? Let not my feet slip. Give me something that I might give. If I sell all I own and give it away, what have I given to you? Grant my your love, without which all my striving to serve is but sounding gong. Give me your Holy Spirit that I might give true worship to you.

Father, you will not deny Him who suffered. You will lift me up for his sake. For you have sworn and will not change your mind. Nothing in my hand I bring, only to thy cross I cling. Be transforming me through these morning quests for you Lord. I can already see provision through them.

I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy (Psa. 116:1).

Yearning for communion with God, that is what I’m seeking in these morning pursuits. Oh my soul, cease being content with right interpretation and long to taste God. Lord, let me taste of your goodness this morning.

Thank you Father, that you not only hear my prayer, but you delight in it.

Forgive your people and your churches Lord. They don’t walk with you. Often they even put off people from walking with you. Save us Lord. For your Son’s sake, don’t let things remain such. At any cost, do not let us go. Send revival. Awaken the sleeper. Make her beautiful. Make her your delight. Forgive me for not fighting for her, for being put off the pursuit with vanity and pride. Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let her not care about such things as the failing economy. She has you.

Thank you from my depth oh my God, for sending me your Spirit this morning—that I might offer up effectual, faithful prayers to you for your Church. Thank you Savior—you this morning have saved and redeemed me from apathy and pride, and have brought me to contrition, faith, hope, love. You’ve brought me to your banqueting table, here I will be content. Let me go out now and seek to bring others to this table, as well as seek others who can help keep me here. Oh, for the communion of the saints. Deny it not from us for long. Deny it not from your Son for long. Look to the price he paid. Will you not give him what he purchased? My heart breaks that this is denied him. Give to him a pure spotless bride. His wounds pour effectual prayers for her wholeness. Herein my God—hear oh ye skeptics—herein, my God shall not fail. My God’s love for his Son shall never lack, never falter. Look, and be amazed. Be in wonder of his great love. Look to the cross and see that same love towards you. Will you remain apathetic towards such love? Will you contrive to pull his bride asunder for the sake of your thoughts and ideas? Repent oh Israel. He loves her, and will set himself against those who set themselves against his bride.

As a post-script, I feel as if this is one of the sweetest times of communion I have ever had with God. I have not been able to capture the hundredth part of it in paper, but I did get some. I just told Ellie that I feel like I took a sledge-hammer and ran at what has been a solid oaken door to swing with all my might, that God might grant me entrance. Yet this morning, the door was tissue and my zeal, met with unexpected ease, carried me, off-balance and a-kilter, into the loving arms of my savior. There, I have persisted for the last hour and still do persist. Surely, I can see God’s love to me in making it so hard to find him these last few days. If for nothing else (and there is much else), it gave me sweeter communion this morning and that is worth it 100 times over. If you are reading this and know God, rejoice to him for his goodness to me the morning. If not, be persuaded by my story. The kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power! See in my words then, not the words themselves, but the underlying power of God.

I’m tired this morning from staying up late. Oh to be like David who said, “at midnight I rise to praise you, because of your righteous rules.” Awaken my soul oh Lord, that I may worship you with gladness.

Finding joy has been difficult this morning. I am in Psa. 119. Can I say as David that I delight in God’s law? I think I can at least say that I delight in the idea that God is making me into a keeper of his law. Who am I, that I get to obey God’s statues? That I get to conform to his likeness. This is a blessed thought, he will not let me stagnate, but I will soon—today even—follow his laws better than I ever have. Make it true oh Lord.

I think perhaps, I am weary from looking at the cross. Such glory and grandeur are there, and I don’t know if I can handle glory and grandeur right now. I want a quiet peaceful morning. Give me my $3 worth of God and I will be fine.

Lord, let me be a God besotted man. Let my trust be in you, then I will not be moved. It is not the old who are wise, but it is the breath of the Almighty that makes him understand. Let not my labors be counted as vanity. Unless you work, mine is for naught.
Lord, grant me contrition, not apathy; sight, not blindness; wisdom, not arrogance. When I see you as you are, I will praise you like I ought.
For the sake of your Son, leave me not alone. Give me your Spirit, that I may proclaim redemption. Let the nations see that the kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power. Let them see your salvation and rejoice.

I long to do all as “constrained by love.” What a wonderful place to abide. Here there is little questioning and doubt. Here there is no room for pride and vanity. All in service. All in love. This is safe ground. This makes the lowest valleys look like mountaintops. Truly the peaks of what self-motivated man can gain can not even attain to the valley of the shadow of death when love constrains us to be there. Lord, let me here abide. Make me not a visitor to your ways and Spirit, but let me make my home here. Do this for your Son’s sake.

What does it mean to seek God? Lord, teach me how to commune with you in the morning. Teach me how to seek in a way that honors you. Teach me to be meek and lowly. Teach me contrition and humility. Teach me to avoid presumption while maintaining faith in your promises and the eager expectancy of your arrival. Teach me the urgency of this quest that so many would put me off of. Reveal yourself to me Lord. My fight is a fight to see. My blind eyes know you only little, for if I saw your glories; I would be full of fear, awe, wonderment, joy, longing, and praise. I seek not those things themselves. I seek you. Show yourself to me.

Why do I not pray more strongly for God’s presence? Is it because I do not want to find him? Is it fear that he will ignore my best efforts? Is it failure or success my sinful, doubting soul fears more? Arise my soul! cast off your guilty fears. Though my best efforts deserve to be ignored, he will not ignore the intercession of his Son. Though he is a terror, it is a delight to fear him. Lift me up Lord, oh that I might seek with my whole heart. Let me not offer up my weak, ineffectual search and call it holy or think I merit your favor for it. My soul is full of vice and pride this morning. Thank you for revealing these sins to me. Now help me to cast them off.
Have mercy on me Father. I don’t have all the means I typically have to search after you, but they are only means. It is your mercy and kindness alone that allows me to commune with you. Break through my sins, for they are too strong for me. Deliver me, that I might praise your name.

Is there some hidden pride in me in finding you? Must I then despair of finding before you will lift me up? Do you mean your Church and myself good in my failures? Then may I walk in contrition until you reveal yourself to me.

Awesome are your deeds among the children of men oh Lord. And awesome are your deeds in my heart. You have made me—even me—a servant of you. You have taken my cold, dead heart and replaced it with a heart of flesh. You are with us, who can stand against? You bless, who can curse? What can man do to the one whom the Lord delights to honor? Let the world see, though my blessedness, how great is our God!

My soul seems perturbed and frustrated that I have to seek God again. Can’t I have a day off? Don’t I get a break from pursuing him? As a compromise, I want to offer up good service and conversation. I’ll read, pray, or do anything rather than the soul rending work of being content with nothing less than God himself. Lord, lift me out of this attitude. Let me know the sinfulness of it, so that I might repent.

Psa. 145. Lord, let me dwell with you, there I will find true peace. Let me find meaning in extolling you and blessing your name. Help me to meditate on your wonderous works. Help me to be good to all as you are. Use me to make known your mighty deeds. Help me to rest in your gospel and not in my might.

My prayers this morning have been week and ineffectual. My mind has been wandering; I long to stop. I have little hope for success in finding God. My faith is abysmal. I do not want to be journaling about this. And yet I do so for this reason: I will rise. Perhaps in five minutes, perhaps in five days, but it will happen. My lord will lift me up. So I do him honor by highlighting the depths of my faithlessness now, so that the light might shine forth all the brighter when it comes. Lord, let my trials of faith serve the good of your saints and your namesake.

Do I desire God like Asaph and Heman? Will I be content with less and go my way? If God does not come, will I still be here searching hours from now, late into the night even? Lord, make me into such a man. Let me not set the standard by what those around me accomplish, but by what your scriptures declare as truth. Thank you for that standard, that I might not be tossed to and fro but may learn to steadily seek after you. Thank you that you will subvert this whole universe towards your will in this, that I might be a searcher of you.

You will not let the nations say of me, “where is his God,” for you will lift me up. Thank you oh Lord, the work has already been done, the sacrifice made, the propitiation laid up. Now my heart can rest in you. You will never fail me. You will guide me down the right paths. Naught but good will ever betide me. You see, oh my enemy? Rejoice not when I stumble, for my God is YHVH and he will not let me fall. Rejoice oh ye saints, for God is our God. How happy, that I get to seek the Lord every day. Some days will be easy, some hard: both are a blessing from his hand.

Lord, work your will in me this morning. Let me find you with ease or with difficulty according to your good pleasure.

Your word says; “The righteous gives and does not hold back” (Prov. 21:26). Make me into such a man. Let me follow your example of extravagant love towards those that don’t deserve it. Let your gospel shine forth in this. Thank you that I can depend on you to fill me up as I give away that which I needed and wanted. Lord, you are a rock and a hight tower. Be my assurance of success. As I depend on you alone, men will see that it is not in vain to trust in the Lord. Moreover, my own soul will grow to trust you. Let me hear your voice Lord. If the standard is; “My sheep know my voice,” then I am a poor sheep indeed. Teach me to hear, for I know not how to go about learning other than in prayer and in reading your word.

Will I always be so hard towards God in the mornings? Lord, I am in special need of you today. Let me cast off this aroma of death. Let me be salt and light. Conform me to thy image.

Lord, my mind is continually wandering. Is this not a result of a failure to see your holiness, beauty, worthiness, glories, and love. All of these things are so transfixing that they ought capture my imagination. Capture me in this way. Let me be caught up.

Prov. 22:4 makes me hope that God is in the process of pushing me down in the dirt and humbling me. Let it be so. Let me there abide. Pride is too hard of a task-master for me. Make me humble so that you might lift me up. In humility, give me a new fear of your name that I might not sin against you. Keep your testimonies continually in my heart, so that I might walk according towards your statutes and not by my own whims and fancies. All of this, you will do in me day by day. Thank you for your guidance to me. Who am I, that I get to be guided by the Almighty? I, who do not deserve the least understudy gets the Master himself. Oh my soul, will you not look to these things and rejoice? Will you not do your all to walk in a manner worthy of God’s graces towards you? He that is so kind towards you, would you give dishonor in return? Lord, cast this evil man away from me. How long will you bear with his iniquities? Cast him far off so that my cares would not be money, sleep, family, ease, and the applause of man; but that my end might be you. In this also, you will not fail. You will cleanse me of my enemy.

This is the day that the Lord has made. The Lord has made this very day to further me in his causes. May I remember that and act appropriately, may I rejoice and be glad in it. Lord, let my rest today not be a vanity, but let me rest unto your glory. Let me cast off every hint of hopelessness. Let me instead meditate on your goodness and mercy which follow me every moment. How can a Christian loose hope when we have such a great God? a God who is continually acting powerfully for us in ways we cannot see.

I took the last two days off of rising early. Two days ago as I was feeling an on-coming sickness and was about to travel, and yesterday as to recover from the flight and time-change. I praise God that he allowed me to rise early this morning despite my time off. It is often a concern and fear that I will turn any break or respite into a life-long pattern of laziness. My only reliance to stave this off is to throw myself at the feet of God, that he would not allow such a thing to occur.
We decided, a few days ago, to return to SLO to attempt to minister there. There is much to pray for concerning the move, but before all of that, I must pray to walk with God. If I am walking with him, he will guide me though all my trials perfectly; and if I am not, what does it matter my location? As always, my deepest need is God.

Surely Lord, as you provided everything that was good and needful for Adam, so too, will you provide for your Church and even for me. Thank you for your provision and care. Oh my soul, rise up to believe that this care is real, then you will overflow with joy.

In writing this up for the internet later in the day, I was lifted up to joy in the thought that surely, in Christ, God loves us more than Adam. We do not serve a stingy God, but one who delights to show us love abounding. His saints are his jewels. He will deny them no good thing. If recreating an entire cosmos would serve me this moment, surely he would do it. What then will stand between God and his beloved?

Used rising early as an opportunity to brag again last night. What a body of death. Allow me to cast off such ways as these oh Lord and to gloat only in your cross. If I need recommendation, you are almighty and will commend me as I have need. Thank you my savior that sins like these do not stop me from coming to the foot of the cross. Use occasions such as these instead to highlight my great need of you and thus bring me close to you.
You see, oh my enemy? You cannot use this as an occasion to gloat over me, for my God is the Lord of Hosts. He will use even this to bring me good and himself glory.

Every time I get in a discussion with someone regarding communion with God where the other party denies it as an essential part of our walk, the next morning I have a hard time feeling my need of God. Oh, my soul, can you not see how far from God you are? You ought be desperate for him!

I can’t really say I know where I communion with God this morning. It certainly wasn’t through a good search by me. Praise the Lord that he has filled me anyway. My heart is undeserving of the state it is in—yet I would still have more. Fill me up this day Lord, that I might overflow into your elect.

I’m reminded once again in talking to Ellie, who typically has a much easier time of finding God than I, that perhaps God has granted me a special dispensation of coldness that I might better help other find God.

Jesus, for the joy set before him, endured the cross. Why did I get out of bed this morning? Was it for the joy set before me? Or was it merely out of a sense of duty? Faith acts for the joy set before it. In faith, if I believe I can, through Jesus’ blood, find communion with God, then I will arise to find the joy of that fellowship. That is how I wish to live my life: for the joy set before me.

Lord help me to enjoy your fellowship. Help me to stop introspecting, that I might fix my eyes on you instead of on myself. True delight is only found with an eye transfixed on you. Sen me your Spirit this morning, that he might guide my thoughts into your throne room.

Lord, I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do. I’ve woken early. I’ve spent time in prayer and in your word. All of this is nothing before you. It will bless neither you or me unless your Spirit moves in the activity and makes it holy. Now I am tired and want to stop. I long to go entertain myself with some kind of distraction. Forbid it Lord. Let me fly to you, my one comfort and satisfaction.

I feel like yesterday was mostly a waste of a day. I got focused on a needless task to a degree where I forgot about God. Lord, allow me to walk more with you today than I did yesterday.
I slept in this morning, and when I finally got up, it was out of duty and not out of delight. Lord forgive my legalism.

Lord, thank you for making me into such a person as can show your gospel to the world. Now let me be that person. Let that reality emerge from this reality of death. Even my marriage is a perishing reality. So says your word. Yet, in my being a husband, I can demonstrate to the world what kind of husband you are, and that will never perish. That demonstration will be written in your eternal book of remembrance. Forgive me, that I so often exchange your glorious gospel for the yoke of the perishing law. Grow my faith, that I might do better. In this way, I would glorify you. It is for this, in part, that your Son died. You will not deny him, but will give me more faith for his sake. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

My faith has developed in some extraordinary ways over the last two years. I can now believe that God can and will do extraordinary things for the sake of his people, which has allowed me to live in the extraordinary manner of this past two years. Now, I long for a seasonedness to my faith. I want to be able to wake up in the morning and be able to believe that God loves me, to feel that love, and to love him in return. Perhaps I act too much like a newlywed instead of a man who has developed consistency over many days of living.
Lord, as your love for me has never wavered, so let my love for you never waver. Thank you that my heart is warmer now than when I awoke. Yet I long for a further softening. Send me contrition. Send me joy. Without your Spirit moving in me, I am less than a worm. Yet in you, I am an heir to the kingdom. What contrition and joy I ought have continually.

Thank you Lord for the great men of faith. Men who felt their way into the unknown darkness of Christianity led only by you. Abraham had few of the benefits I enjoy: no word, no sacrament, no church, no history. Yet he had you, and you were more than enough for him. May I learn from these stories of your care and provision. Oh my soul, put your whole trust in the Lord. He alone is worthy of such trust. What a benefit you will have when you trust him. Even now, God is working in thousands of situations for my good, while I feebly strive to find him. What a wonder is our God.

The last several days, I have not been able to write when I finally dawned upon glory. How do I write when I would rather be enjoying my God? Today it swept over me as I was listening to Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. This song to me right now is like how God is composing all of history to his glory and our good. Every note lovingly placed and ordained to make his masterpiece. What a God we serve.

It is fairly easy to ask God for things. If those things come to pass, it is likewise easy to praise God and thank him for the answered prayer. Yet faith is the believing before the prayer is answered. While we still have no indication or reason to hope in an answer save the promise of God, we must believe then. Where does that come from? How do I get that? Lord, send me faith. Let me, in faith even, ask you for more faith, believing that I already have it; so that it will be by faith and for faith. Let me read your word likewise by faith and for faith so that it will spring up continually in me like living waters.

Found myself avoiding things that I thought would lift me up into a sweetness of communion. My fallen humanity would avoid certain prayers, certain music, and certain thoughts precisely because I don’t want to experience God just right now. Lord, save me from this body of wickedness and thank you for showing to me that which needs to be repented of.

I found myself avoiding and dreading reading the bible, so I’m writing this and then going to read.

Have been enabled more so today than of late to fight after the things of God. My excuse for not doing so has been that I have been sick, but that is a poor excuse for not walking with God or being filled to overflowing from his goodness to me.

Was reviewing some Owen and was suddenly lifted up into God’s presence. See how gracious he is, oh my soul? Seldom do you ever look for him when you do not find. Seek and ye shall find.

More so than of late, I was enabled to wake up in a spirit of worship and trust this morning. Praise the Lord for his goodness to me in this. Yesterday, I was finally able to let go of the sale of our trailer and entrust it to his sovereign and good plan. May he let me continue on in this approval of his will.

Again, woke up in a good frame this morning. Had these words in my head; “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.” What a good reminder that it is not my good frames that save, only Christ. This trust in Christ then is what puts me into a good frame, not the other way around.

Read the following in Brainerd, “I saw my sinfulness in this, that when God had withdrawn himself, then, instead of living and dying in pursuit of him, I …” When God is far, let us pursue him with all our might.

We have felt lately that God would provide for all the necessary steps to get us to where he wants us to minister. One of those steps has been selling our trailer. It just sold. What a God we serve. He provides for us in all things great and small. Even as I write this out he is raising up livestock and produce that I will someday eat. He is preparing ministers to speak life into my life. He is preparing souls for me to minister unto. He does all of this with all the care and attentiveness of a lover preparing a gift for the beloved.
The last step of the sale required a public notary. I had arranged for one prior, but she did not show up. We went to several other locations, all of which were supposed to have notaries, but none of them did. Some emergency or other prevented all of them from being available to us. It finally occurred to me to pray. I prayed something to the effect of, “Lord, I believe this sale is of you and for the purpose of furthering the work of your kingdom. Apparently, we need a notary to complete this sale, so please send us one in your good timing.” Within a minute, we had found a notary. This is a story I have heard many times before. Mueller, after he had finished the work on his first orphanage could not open it because he forgot to pray for children. We near the end of a journey and forget that we need God’s help for the final paces of the race. Thank you Lord, for the gentle reminder.

Today was a day filled with good prayer and hard work. Spent some time with another believer this morning praying in a chapel. Felt enabled to pray honestly and openly to my God which is a miracle of sorts especially while with another person. Yesterday, I was inspired to communion with God by this same man telling his story and how his life is ten times more full than he ever thought it would be. This is how God blesses his beloved, by giving them far more than they ask or imagine. Praise be to God. How could we ever doubt his goodness?

Found myself bored. What a sign against my communion with God. How can I be bored if I am in love with God? Lord, give me a sense of my need for you. Replace my apathy with desperation.

Had some good prayer, reading, and studying this morning and early afternoon. Had some good hope in finding communion. Into the evening, found myself being frustrated at nothing again and again. Made some use of means against this and had some success, yet my sin would continue to manifest itself. Lord, descend on me, that I might cast off this body of death. Conform me to your image. Let me walk in your ways.

What wonderful truths are opened to us. What an easy way he provided for us. Lord, let me abide herein. Was able to pray in Spirit for another man’s communion and was able to see my prayers answered within moments of praying. What sweet things the Lord has for us in prayer.

Yesterday, I fest such ready access to God’s throne room. Where did that go?

Yesterday morning had a good time of prayer and yet afterward struggled with smugness as doing all my duty before God by my life and prayer.
Kill it in me Lord.
Thus, for today, I have been in a way of confusion. Is God calling me to do this thing or that thing? Perhaps this is God’s voice, perhaps my own conscience, perhaps my wandering mind, perhaps some demon.
Lord, give me a steadiness of walk. I do know your voice, I believe, buy my doubts and faithlessness cause me to look for your voice where it is not. Lord, let me find you today for this is my highest good. If I cannot find you, let me seek after you with my whole strength for this is my highest duty. If I can not thus seek, let me be full of contrition and morning—for I am the most miserable of men without you nor means to you. If I cannot be full of contrition—then woe is me. I show myself as a Laodicean.

God was big to me today. Showed me once again the beauty of a willingness of fighting all of God’s foes, both internal and external. The former from Owen and the latter from Bunyan. Spent the last hour(s) showing all of this to Ellie but do not think I have the strength to write it all down. God be praised for his goodness to me.

Sinfully stayed up late engaging in vanities last night so that I was tired and lethargic this morning. Did not want to seek after God. Joy of joys I was enabled to believe that God’s grace would shine through the brighter in my sin. Later I was enabled to pray with some degree of fervency for my own sake and for the sake of churches who are not dwelling with God and pastors who do not plead with people to commune with God.

Praise the Lord, oh my soul, for he is worthy to be praised. He has loved you with an everlasting love. Yet you doubt this and don’t believe. Save me from this wretched unbelief my God. Let me look to the cross and feel more than warm regard. You did not die that I might have warm regard, but that I might be broken and remade. This brokenness you will not despise

Yesterday, felt full of the Spirit and enabled to speak his words (to some extent). Today, I wonder if I am seeking that filling and that experience more than I am seeking God. SO far today, my mind has wondered during prayer—but soon, God will loft me up. He does not tarry but arrives at the appointed time. I will wait for him.

Again, yesterday had a sweet day with the Lord. I don’t think I’ve ever had a day where God was so accessible for the entirety of the day. And yet today I again wake up a creature of doubt, ingratitude, pride, and sin such that I don’t feel him near. What a wretch I am. Yet, what a God I serve. He will yet forgive me and send me his Spirit. Must I walk with God always? Must I seek him every day? This is the thought of the soul who knows God little but only duty. I am a whitewashed tomb unit I find what I seek.

If I do stop loving God between going down and rising—why don’t I pray for faith to be preserved during the night? Tonight I will do this and I wait in eager expectation for tomorrow.

Felt some degree of heart brokenness for God’s servants who minister unto God with broken and fleshly bodies. Remembered a diagram I saw of how a confessor would try to extract a confession from a saint by sawing them in two. They would hang the man upside down by his ankles tied to two separate posts, then, using a two-man hand-saw, they would begin at the groin and work their way towards the head. This posture would retain as much blood to the brain as possible to prolong the agony. Would I serve the gospel willingly in this way? Would I give my children over to suffer such if I could stop it by denying Christ?

My good, oh Lord, is to dwell with you right now. How can I ask or want other blessing before I seek this blessing? And how shall I not seek your presence with full assurance when that is what your word commands. Conform me to your will in this oh Lord—I need and crave your mercy to me in this—else this day, though blessed in 1000 other ways, will be to me a waste.

Feel like yesterday was a waste of a day: full of despair, doubt, lukewarmness, joyless service, and worst of all maybe, is that I lifted all this up to God as if it were holiness. Yet , in today, yesterday is sanctified in that it reminds me of my low estate before God. What can Satan do to me? If he drags me down into despair—I will have all the more joy when God lifts me out of it—he will be shown glorious to the world in how he redeems his own. If Satan leaves me to myself, than I am free of his encumbrances and walk the more freely with my God. Therefore despair of your works,/ oh lord of lies. There is nothing that you can do but that which will be a help and comfort to me and bring glory to my Lord.

The trial the Lord has us in seems to progressively deepen. As always, he still shows his kindness to us in a myriad of ways, and yet he has not allowed us to have any particular success in any ministry. It is an odd sort of trial. God gives us grace to care more for the success of his Church and Kingdom than for our own prosperity; yet the more we are enabled to care, the less we are enabled to accomplish.

My failures in this trial are such:

  1. I’m sometimes filled with jealousy for men who have some great ministry. This is especially severe when I perceive them as having less advantage in sanctification than God has given to me. What a travesty this is. I should rejoice that God chooses the weak things of this world to give himself more glory. Moreover, I should not compare myself to other Christians but to see my own miserable condition before the Lord and call myself the least of the Christians and the chief of sinners. Lastly, I should give thanks to the Lord for this trial especially when the fruit of it is a perceptibly growing dependence on him in all things.
  2. I lust after recognition and accolades. I think to myself that if I can get to know the right people, or if I can get some particular understanding that others lack, than I can show myself deserving of some post or position in ministry. This can turn to triumphal spitefulness, when I attain some of these accolades, as I imagine I can hold them over the heads of my detractors.

This latter sin, I was struggling with just yesterday, which is what prompts me to write this.

Thank the Lord that he gives us strength to see this trail through to the other side. We will wait upon the Lord for his deliverance and his victory. He will show himself our mighty go’el, we will have victory from him or we will have none.

What brought me to communion this morning, along with other things, was the thought that God is a God to my wife. I love my wife. I want good things for her that I am utterly unable to give her. Yet my father is a father to her and will deny no good thing from her. How wonderful to trust God for all things.

Yesterday, I had a small yet wonderful revelation in prayer. I have been influenced by Owen and Bunyan towards praying almost exclusively the promises of scripture. I have also been inspired by Lawrence and Laubach to pray for everyone I see at least a small prayer. A combination of these two yields a very sweet prayer. Why? Practicing this yesterday slowly built up a joy in my subconscious until it finally pushed to the front of my brain. Almost everyone I’ve seen, I’ve prayed a prayer that absolutely will be answered! God will not forsake his own word nor my prayers that are in accord with them. In some mysterious way, I’ve helped and loved—to some small but very real extent—almost everyone I’ve seen today. This eventually dawned on me and lifted me up to praise my Lord. One, because they are helped and he therein is shown to be a good God towards them. Two, because I am continually taught faith by praying prayers that are not doubting but assured. Three, because he could leave me without this grace, but he has not. He continually shows his favor to me. What new revelation of his love and goodness will I get today? I do not know specifically, but I do know that my God will never fail to reveal himself, in ever increasing ways, to his beloved.

Today was a constant fight. I’d find God, then soon after I’d be frustrated at some little nothing. What a wonderful thing that God allows us to fight for his presence. I feel like I am more sanctified right now than I was this morning. Still, I wish it had been a day full of walking with God, but this must be the next best thing.
At one point, I was frustrated with a project that I was working on. I needed 2′ long 2×4 to lower a piece of material and I realized that I threw all of the spare lumber away a few weeks ago in preparation for moving. I hate needing things that I just threw away. This particular lack was especially easy to hate because God was supposed to get us out of here by now: I wasn’t supposed to have to work on this project at all. What a wretched sinner I am.
Yet I was enabled by God’s good grace to turn to him with all of my cares. I asked unashamedly for a solution to my problem. I asked strongly knowing how dumb a thing it was to pray for, but still believing that my Father wanted to hear about it. Very quickly he lifted up my spirits to commune with him. At that point, the rest of the world fell away. I didn’t care about the project anymore, yet I felt I had an answer to my request. I walked over to where I was working to see what the answer would be, and before I had even gotten there, my eye fell on a 2×6 that was just long enough for the job. It is a silly thing, but sometimes that is just where our doubts hit the strongest. We believe God will send his Son to die for us, but that he wont provide a 2′ long scrap of wood.

Caught a glimpse of God’s glory this morning out of Rev. 1:16. How is it that we ever see glory in anything else after we have seen it in Jesus? It seemed preposterous to me in that moment that I could have my eyes drawn away from him by anything of this world. To persist in moments like this is a great goal. Yet, for now, sin lives on.

Several remarkable things happened yesterday

  1. We were up in the blowing rock area yesterday looking for a swimming hole that I had been to before, but did not know how to get back to. We prayed that God would help us find it. As we were having lunch, we happened to run into someone we knew from town who also happened to be up in the mountains that day. He told us there were some swimming holes in a particular direction out of Boone. The short of the story, is we eventually happened upon the exact spot I had remembered. Truly he denies us no good thing, no matter how trivial.
  2. As we were coming home from swimming, we nearly got side swiped. The truck would have run right into Ellie had we not swerved away. Yet there was a car just a few feet to my left as well that preventing me from swerving very far. By the grace of God, somehow, we threaded that needle and escaped unscathed. Yet, my nerves were shot from the adrenaline and so we pulled over and spent some time in a Christian bookstore that we happened to be close by.
  3. I had, what I think, was an angioma, on my neck, which is a cluster of raised blood vessels. It was about the size of a pea. The dermatologist said it would take up to $600 to remove it. I prayed about it the night before, and yesterday, in a Christian bookstore, Selah grabbed it and ripped it off. There was a good bit of blood involved. After a good bit of pressure, it finally stopped bleeding and now it appears to be gone.
  4. When we got home, we found out some information that might cause us to leave for San Luis Obispo without selling our house.

Had trouble believing this morning that God was good enough and powerful enough to save certain people who are close to me. My faith was weak in this regard. God is good and mighty in all he does. Surely I can trust him with the fates of these people. Was lifted up to believing this in Rev. 6:10 where the saints show trust in God’s sovereign goodness. I do not know how to pray, in faith, that God will save specific people. What promise of God do I claim unto that sake?

Was looking at rentals online today in preparation of arriving in the SLO area tomorrow. It seems like every time I look at a big list of possibilities for housing or for a job I get a bit overwhelmed. I think perhaps, it is more conducive to my communion with God to let him take care of this one through some other means than me looking online.

Today was our first day back at Trinity and God showed himself wonderful and merciful to us. Especially in the communion we had with him and with each other. God also allowed me to speak to several people briefly about God’s care for his children. They seemed encouraged by it. Also, spent some time today doubting if God exists and if he rewards those that seek him. How he bears with me in all of my doubts. I’m hoping that the only reason these doubts are surfacing is to be purged out. Work wonders in me oh Lord. Thankfully, I have been enabled thus far to take these thoughts captive quickly. Part of me wonders if I should take some time and explore all of my doubts more thoroughly so that I can wage war on them more completely. If so, I don’t think today is the day for that particular battle.

Had almost no sight of God this morning. Finally after prayer, reading, and meditation, was able to call out to God for pity and mercy. Was grateful to have a sense of the depths of my sins before the Almighty. Now, later in the day, I feel like have walked with the Lord to some small extent. Yet, looking back over my own words that I have written from days before I feel very different from the man who is glorifying God in many of those posts.

Had a breakthrough of sorts today. It seems that our character and our story has been questioned a lot since we have been here. Perhaps this is by no intention of those we talk to but only by our own insecurities. Whether or not it is intentional is not the point. The point is that we have felt attacked by the enemy in various ways since we have come here and one particular way is by feeling doubtful whether God really sent us. Glory be God, today we finally realized that we need not defend ourselves from these attacks. Instead we can join with our enemy’s accusations and call ourselves the scum of the earth. Our hope is not in ourselves. Our great hope is that we have died and it is no longer us that lives but Christ. Satan, what will you accuse me of? Would you bring me down to the dust, to the very place of God’s blessing? God, and God alone, will be our mighty defender. In our weakness, he will show himself strong. He is our Go’el: our redeemer kinsman/avenger of blood.

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." This was proved true to me again yesterday. It seemed that all things were against me. Yet the very things that seemed against me were God’s gracious means to bring me to repentance and to cause lowness of heart. Then quickly, when I was humbled in his sight, he lifted me up. Will I ever learn this lesson? I seem to be learning it over and over again.

I have the thought that I am using earthly wealth to gain a heavenly friend. I am not very shrewd at it. But is he not sufficient to give me help even in this way? It is thus no argument against our lifestyle that we are not very successful or competent at it. That we are so unskilled is all the more reason to do it: that we might thereby improve. Instead of trying to talk us out of it, pray for us, that we might become better at it. It is not our heart to waste, but to use money skillfully towards the kingdom of God.

We must fully entrust our all to Christ. It is hard to entrust our time, our money, our dreams and our hopes to God. The hardest test of this for us has been what we call giving God our “nothing.” If God would call us to give all of our money to the poor, that we could do. If he called me to talk to all my neighbors about him, that would be hard, but still doable. How do we obey in the absence of a direct command? How do we react when we entrust all of our hopes and dreams to God, all of our time and money, and we get nothing? It is much easier to trust God with something than with nothing. It is easier to feel his presence when we are about some great spiritual task than when we have no great thing to be doing. I know that I’m not communicating this well. I think what may be going on is this: that God wants me to dwell with him in these idle moments. He refuses to allow me comfort in doing, but only in resting.

Felt today as if I’m carrying myself along by my own power, and then periodically tricking myself into thinking I am a son of God to give myself enough pep to get through the next interval of life.

Sunday, had a blessed day. At one point, was praying over someone and saw a flash of light as though someone had taken a flash picture of us praying. Ellie was right there and didn’t see it. I’m not claiming it was the Holy Spirit but it might have been. Whatever it was, it served as a reminder that every prayer offered in faith is a miracle regardless to signs and wonders. I walked in the light of the Lord the rest of the day knowing that my prayers for that man were already answered. What a privilege it is to be a son of righteousness.

Yesterday, I felt the same sort of depression that I had several days ago now. When I tried to pray, my mind wandered. After some time of vainly searching for the Lord, I tried reading out of my daily reading in Leviticus which again availed me nothing. After some more seemingly vain prayers (are our prayers for help and mercy ever really vain?) I turned to Psalms 31, "In you, O LORD, do I take refuge." That one line broke into my Spirit and I was enabled to feel God’s truth sink into my soul. God is my refuge. I need nothing else today. I am loved by Almighty God. My deliverer is coming.

Had a particularly low time yesterday evening after considering some of the things that have happened at church. I was spending time in prayer later that night asking where the power of God was and if our story made any sense. You see, there are many false teachers of Christ in this world, how am I to know I am not one of them? One of the primary means we are given to judge false prophets by is the fruit that they produce. I was praying to God, "where is our fruit?" and "if there is no fruit, how am I to know that I am doing your will?"

In the middle of pleading to God for some indication that we are to continue on in this path, I received a phone call from someone who said that they had been touched by my writing. What an easy master we serve. When his service is too hard for us, he shoulders the load for awhile.

This morning, I remember having a particularly worshipful time with God while pondering that he gives us his Holy Spirit by whom we can have eyes that see and ears that hear. If someone was brought up without a sense of taste or smell, he might have learnt through other faculties that honey was sweet and that old milk was bad. Yet, he would not really know for himself the truth of those things. So are we who are brought up under the law: we are told one thing is good and another bad, yet when Christ breaks into our lives, we receive a new perception in the Holy Spirit that we might taste the honey for ourselves. "Taste and see that the Lord is good," he tells us.

I wish I could encourage all professors of Christ to taste him. He is so sweet to those he draws near to himself.

Woke early this morning with plans to find joy in the Lord, and then to go out and do whatever work he would bless me with. Had high hopes of accomplishing this as I usually find joy quickly when I wake up early and seek it and God promises good work for his saints in Ephesians.

It didn’t work out the way I had planned.

For some reason yet unknown to me, I could not find joy in any of the great things of God. I could go over many glorious things in my mind that I knew were glorious and that ought lift me to communion with my God. Yet they did not touch my heart.

Observe,

  1. I woke up early to find him for the sole reasons, I trust, of finding him and working unto him.
  2. I started with the best prayers I knew to pray, dedicating my time to him and pleading with him, for the sake of his Son and his kingdom to allow me to find joy and give me work to do.
  3. I read and meditated on some Psalms, which from past experience, is the best book to lift me to joy.
  4. I refused comfort in other things (though I did take some breakfast) not wanting to take satisfaction in anything before satisfaction was found in God.

    Yet in all of this, I could not find God. An hour or so after I had started my pursuit, I still had no satisfaction in divine things.

Then, I listened to Piper’s biography on Brainerd. How encouraging it can be to see other men who failed more spectacularly that I do, yet who God used in exceedingly spectacular ways. While thus enabled to worship God, I took a bike ride while still listening to the biography and was able to meditate and pray on several divine subjects while thus engaged.

Oh my soul, if you read this again later, note how you now rejoice that you did not find God at first attempt. It is never in vain that the saints call out to God and seek him. If he is hard to find, it is for some particular blessing that will more than make up for the immediate lack. This will always be the way with God. Do not despair, though he appears to tarry, his coming awaits the appointed, and thus perfect, time.

Devoted today to fasting and praying. So far it has gone much like yesterday morning: I am able to perform unto duties and means fairly well, but do not have a freedom and enjoyment in them. My heart goes out to the multitudes whose existence is defined but such: multiplication of duty with no delight in those duties. I believe that my deliverer is coming, I believe I shall soon have such freedom to delight in him as makes all of this searching worthwhile. Yet I do not believe those things rightly or I would rejoice therein. For now, I hope, expect, and look forward to his coming.

Just found glory and freedom in praising God and was enabled to magnify his name with freedom and delight. How wonderful he is to help us in our time of need. More wonderful still, he allows us to bear his image and so resemble his glory. In this way, all our magnification of him comes back upon us.

Today I have spent less energy finding God than I have lately. Yet God is bigger and more glorious to me than he has been for awhile. I think perhaps God does things like this to prove that it is not by human will or exertion that recommends us to him, but by free grace alone we are loved by God.

Today was the first time we prayed for money since the last time when our prayers were answered within a few hours of us praying. Well, once again, we prayed and God answered us quickly. I wish I knew of a way to write this that didn’t make it sound like the power was in the prayer. It was not. It was just a simple prayer for money. God delighted in us. He offered us free and unmerited grace. I know that many will read that as further evidence that my humility merits the reward and that is why it was given. I know this because that is how I used to read things like this.

Our hearts crave security. Right now, we want for nothing. As far as blessings go, we have just about everything that our hearts desire … except security in those things. Is not God secure enough for us? Owning little and having no job, we get to see how secure we are when we trust in God. Yet, even now—perhaps I should say especially now—we see how little we actually feel secure in the Lords arms. I know I would feel much more secure if we owned a house and I had a steady job that used my talents. I know the reality is that I would not be more secure, but apparently I don’t really know it, or my heart would follow suit.

Had a day today where I felt very little need to self-justify. Felt a good degree of contentment in the Lord, but lacked being overjoyed in him until we had an especially good time of prayer in the evening with a friend. What can’t saints accomplish in prayer? If I could excel in any act of faith, I think it would be prayer … even before evangelism.

On Tuesday of this week, and on Monday of last week, I took a day off of all labor. I especially rested from doubting our way of life. What a relief that was to go a day without constantly questioning. I think I question more than I should. I do this for the sake of the many people around us who don’t think what we are doing is right. Placating the “many counselors” is a constant drain on my emotional energy.* Thank God for Sabbath. I’m not sure if it is right for me to take it on a day other than Sunday—especially since I’m not a preacher—but Saturday and Sunday are often the days where I spend the most energy.

*Regarding counselors: I’m reminded of a Chambers’ quote, where referencing Gal. 1:16, he says; “Never ask the advice of another about anything God makes you decide before Him. If you ask advice, you will nearly always side with Satan.” Elsewhere Chambers says; “We show how little we love God by preferring to listen to His servants only. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we do not desire that God Himself should speak to us. Why are we so terrified lest God should speak to us? Because we know that if God does speak, either the thing must be done or we must tell God we will not obey Him.” These are confusing concepts. Nonetheless, I think they are true.

Oh my soul; why do you not care for God more than you do? How long will you bring him ineffectual, half-hearted pleas? Will God accept your warm regard or your cold service? Why do you insist on standing before him on your own merit when you have such a sacrifice in Christ as to assuage all of your guilt? Do you not see what an aggravation this is? Why do you insist on pining after fame, riches, and ease when your Lord sought and had none of these things in his life? Would you be greater than your master?

Lord Jesus Christ, redeemer of my soul and cover of all my shortcomings; plead my cause to our Father, for my cause is just and desperate. Change this heart oh God. Leave me not alone until it is conformed to a pattern of Godliness. Give me your own power to do this. I have non of my own.

Thank you that all these prayers were provided for long ago at the cross.

Feel like faith has been a holding on rather than an excelling recently. Perhaps this is a good thing in that God is stretching me. Not too long ago, I was passionately pleading for others to walk always with the Lord. Now I am waiting and struggling more to walk myself.

Lord, stretch me as thin as you want to stretch me. Only give me delight in your presence during the process. Help me in this way to show that you are altogether lovely—that your presence is worth the loss of all other things. You are our shield, our stability. The joy of our hearts, the boast of our tongue. Teach me to walk by faith. Teach me to wait on you, to look to you for deliverance. Give aid to my striving after you this day. Psalm 53:6, “Oh that salvation would come out of Zion.” This is our desire: that salvation would come out of God’s churches. We would see them strong in the Lord. God desires this more than we do. I forget that we don’t have to convince God to love and support his churches.

Have felt trapped lately. I can’t go back. This is the only type of life I desire. I can’t seem to find much success moving forward either. I had thought that we would meet with much success quickly after we left Hickory—so far that hasn’t seemed to have happened. My devotionals lately have been a mirror of this.

God can’t be bought. He can’t be found by the earnestness of the seeker. Yet he delights to reveal himself to those who seek. Seeking is a futile exercise on our part, yet God loves to bless it. This seems a hard thing right now. It seems often that I must seek until I despair of finding, despair of all my efforts and labors—and then God lifts me up. This process of getting to the point of despair day after day is a hard one.

Oh my soul, shout for joy to God. How can you be anything but exultant? Sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!” My gracious God, I cannot comply with these things on my own. I cannot raise my own soul to worship you. I need your help today. Have mercy on this fragmented heart. Incline it towards your testimonies and unite it in joy therein. I delight that provision has already been made to answer this prayer. Christ’s blood has already been shed and he—even your own Son—now pleads that same blood on my behalf. Why, oh Lord, do men put their hope in anything else? Why do I—who knows of the greatness of your salvation—trust in anything else? Forgive me my God, for my transgressions are great. I ought be crushed because of them. Yet I am not crushed—indeed I am the very righteousness of God because my savior bled for this very cause. For the sake of my half-heartedness this morning he died.

Why oh Lord am I forced through this process every morning? Why must I seek you with lifelessness again and again? Put an end to it. Break through that I might worship you.

Yesterday, I entered into a great confusion. All decisions—from great to small—seemed impossible to make. This drove me to a sort of despair in prayer to God. The confusion was such that I could not determine whether the despair was of a godly sort(as it yielded desperate prayer)or of a doubting sort(have I not commanded you be strong and courageous)? The confusion seemed of the same nature as Paul’s in Phi. 1:21. Should he live or die? “Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two.” In the end the great good he could do the Church prompts him to choose life. Though my doubt is not between life and death, I have the same type of confusion over choices that should be clear. Yet in the absurdity of God’s upside-down kingdom they become muddied. Paul cleared his confusion not with a remembrance of God’s goodness but by remembering his own fruitfulness in God’s vineyard. I do not have such fruit in God’s Church, how then shall I make such decisions?

Whether this confusion was Godly or not I cannot say, but by the end of the day, I was very glad for it as it produced several sweet fruits, the greatest of which was a groaning of my spirit for the salvation of souls. I felt it a great sign of my heart’s softening that it could reach such despair over my own lack of fruit in that area.

Towards the goal of evangelism, I purchased a Bible and began compiling a list of verses that seem useful in evangelical conversations.

On another note, several days ago I decided to stop striving so hard to find faith and delight in what God is going to do for me today and to focus more in finding joy and delight in what he has already accomplished. I wonder if yesterday’s confusion was a consequence of that decision.

Talked with a stranger while downtown today. I told him from Numbers 22:20 to make his ways right before God and God himself would be his defender. Else, God would stand opposed to him as his adversary. Forgot to say that only in Christ and by Christ’s death can we be right before God. When do I ever get it right? Thankfully, God is the great searcher for lost sheep, not I. The man seemed to be quite interested—perhaps even comforted—in what I said though. Perhaps that is what he needed to hear.

Woke up this morning praying that God would break my heart for my sins. This was a great refreshment to my soul, which has felt lukewarm these last few days. I do not understand Christian life without a continual breaking of heart.

Sat down to relax after a long drive home and instead of browsing around on the computer (which is what I really wanted to do), I read from the book of Judges. I got so much refreshment from seeing a loving and faithful God dealing with his people. God himself is the fountainhead of living waters and his holy word is his communication to us of those waters. In vain do we look for refreshment elsewhere.

Lord will you sup with me? Even now in the midst of crowds can I commune with you? Surely nothing can keep us from you. Nothing can prevent us in entering into your presence, for Christ pleads on behalf of our audience. Lord, Father, break me. Give me a destitute heart for my sin. I know of nothing that will force me to run naked to you more than such a desolate contrition, and you is what I want. If I knew a surer way into your presence I would go that way. Perhaps others know better how to commune with you more easily. As for me, I go by way of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

Had the thought today: would I feel any worse for my sins should Christ kill one of my children because of them. Obviously, I would feel much worse. My heart would break much more than it does now. Christ died for my sins. Why should I care less about his death?

Read today about a woman who was executed in North Korea for distributing Bibles. Lord, why do things like this affect my heart so little. Is not her blood precious for declaring your gospel? Why do I immediately treat her case with scorn and skepticism? Fill me with your spirit towards your martyrs. Please also be faithful towards her children who are now motherless and in prison as a result. Do I trust you to provide for such as these? Your word declares that you will but it is hard to believe when we see them like sheep to the slaughter—not in harms way because of their own decisions but as a result of their mom’s attempts to stumble after you. Will such be the fate of my children if I run hard after you? Protect them Lord. And protect me from faithlessness in this regard. Help me to trust—to earnestly believe—that you are the best Father to my children and to the children of your martyrs. Oh for faith that runs. Mine seems barely able, at times, to move. Conform me to your image oh God. Then these nagging doubts will no longer be a concern.

Have felt empowered by the Holy Spirit to wage war on my flesh today. This warfare is not as many think it is. It is not at all a matter of willpower. Willpower is striving to do something that you don’t want to do, but you know is really the best for you. Willpower is no fun at all. There is no true victory in willpower. Faith fights differently. By faith, I see that I no longer crave sin. It is the old man that lusts, not I. I am then free to mock and deride that old man. Do you really want that? I ask him. What a sad, miserable creature you are. What a slave to such silly things. Poor sad man, you shall soon be dead. You are just the last spasms of a dying creature, desperately lashing out for any thing in its grasp. You want money, sex, power, and fame; but you shall have none of those. Death is your only end.

I don’t try to pretend these things are true. I try to remember that these things are real. My only struggle then is to grasp reality. As I do, sin melts away. As I forget, sin fights back. This battle goes back and forth. Yet it goes back and forth in a much more enjoyable and victorious way than the battles of willpower.

Adonai, remember that I am but dust. I am made up of flesh, hormones, chemical reactions and fluids. Conform these things to a pattern of godliness. If not, they will worship this world instead of their creator.

I sometimes wonder if I should go get a job.

I feel like I’m not living up to what God would have for me.

I think about getting a job to be more productive towards the Lord

I reason that if I’m going to get a job, I’d rather be doing some ministry work

If I’m going to be in ministry, I would like to go to seminary and be a pastor

Between becoming another American pastor and going over sees where I can feed spiritually and physically starving children, I would much rather go over sees.

Between doing that, and what I feel called by God to do here in America, I believe God would have me stay here to accomplish in us what he is planning.

I do not know what he is planning in us, and while we are waiting for it to be made plain,

I sometimes wonder if I should go get a job

There is a justifying work that the blood of Christ works in our life. This affect is universal and has no degrees but is accomplished to perfection on all who are called by his name.

There is also a sanctifying work that the blood of Christ works in our life. This sanctifying effect is what allows us to offer pleasing service to our Lord. Yet not all we do is sanctified. Not everything is made holy. Some things Christians do are a stench in his nostrils. Praise be that the justifying work of the blood is universal or we would be condemned for such things. A question of much importance then is which types of actions the blood of Christ sanctifies. As a very brief introduction to an answer to that question is that he sanctifies our best, not our worst. This is a most useful conclusion to come to.

Yesterday, I was enabled to share the gospel with someone. It was received well yet probably not savingly. Who knows, perhaps God will yet use it towards her salvation. Today, I tried to share Christ and failed. I failed for about four hours worth of trying. Its not that people didn’t listen but that I never talked.

Is God disappointed? In a way he should be. How could I try to share Christ for the better part of the day and not even pass out one tract or mention one word about God’s goodness. Yet I believe that today, I was enabled by his good grace, to offer him my best service. He knows that I am but dust. He knows my best is terrible. Yet he is pleased by it. How gracious is he.

If you are reading this later and have offered up your best to God today. Praise him for it. Do not be discouraged that your best is not very good. Contrarily, be of great courage and hope that his might is shown great in our weakness. Yet if today you did not offer up your best—poor as it is—God has not, sanctified your actions this day. Repent. God is just to forgive. Do better tomorrow. His favor will shine on you as you offer up acceptable worship to him.

Some verses to meditate on.

Father, thank you that I know your love and can sing your praise. Yet there are many things I would rather do right now than dwell with you. This is evil Lord. It is a nefarious evil because we don’t see it as evil. Lord there are multitudes that believe that fragmented hearts are able to offer acceptable praise. Redeem us oh Lord. Save this very heart of mine from listless affection. Convict me of the sins of preferring sleep, distractions, vain day-dreaming, and the like to dwelling with you in prayer and supping with you from your word. Thank you for the change being wrought in my heart even as I write these words. Holy and powerful are you. New are your mercies each morning. Leave me not to my own ways Lord. Be gracious. Change my heart. You Lord are faithful to do it.

Carey said, “expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” My great thing for right now is to change my heart into one that delights to daily tell of the greatness of God to all. That would lake the hand of God, for it is far from me.

I see this morning—through prayer—that God is forming my heart into his creation. My heart for doing his will, seeking the lost, growing his kingdom are growing while my heart for my own pleasure and distraction, finding security in things other than him are shrinking. What grace abounds to us. What is more is that it is the very things that mold me in this way that I doubt God for the sake of. How merciful that he bears with me through those doubts. Yet help me lord to cast them off.

Worshipfulness was a struggle yesterday. I was enabled to pray for a few minutes in desperate plea. This morning I’m feeling dry and devoid of spiritual vigor. How can my heart be so far from my God when he is so good to me?

Today is the second day that I played worship songs at the mission. Lord, bless it. I was more nervous and cold-hearted toward God today than yesterday. Yet through his grace I’ve received much comfort and strength and I hope to receive much more. Oh that I might commune with God while declaring his greatness for all to hear. I pray that God would bring people to hear who need to be ministered to—either in song, word, or prayer.

Yesterday, after the mission I hiked Bishop’s and attempted to tell people about Christ. I could not open my mouth. Not one time did I say a word about him. When I came home my faith felt weak, I felt far from God, and I had a heavy heart. I was expecting to have the same heart when I woke up, yet my heart is much lighter and I can glory in the things of God much easier than I expected. How wonderfully gracious.

It has been a hard day. The feeling of it is something like this:

Everyone believes their religious beliefs are the exclusively correct ones and have a series of supposed proofs as to why they are right and everyone else is wrong. If they would but look honestly though, they would see that all their supposed proofs take no more power than what nature can afford. With very few exceptions, I have seen very little of what God alone can do. The scriptures are replete with stories of when man trusts in God, God acts strongly for man in a way that demonstrates his power. If there was no God, the last couple of years is pretty much what we would expect. Of course a few people are excited by what we are doing. We are extreme and extremism excites. If I tattooed a butterfly on my forehead, a few people would be excited by it. Of course my affections have been moved. Again, the extremism can answer for that. Yet where is the work that God alone can do?

I know how many would answer this quandary. That I must be content with little and not look for signs and wonders. I may be in sin (actually I’m sure I am), but my sin is not to be found in expecting great things from God. He is God. He performs wonders and acts powerfully to save those he loves.

I have been able to lift my soul to worship several times today by use of various means. Yet I soon slide back into an apathetic disposition. I look to God. He alone can lift my spirits from such a melancholy.

Feel like the last couple of weeks I have been praying to try to get something out of God. I think, by God’s grace I have seen my folly and given up on my own will. I throw my plight upon God. May he do what seems good to him. I trust him more than my own ways and means. What a harsh slavery selfishness is. How much lighter to follow after God. Walking with God is not so much getting God to help us with our needs, but to make Christ our all and trusting God to remove all obstacles to that great goal.

Have approached God often lately with the attitude of, “I’ve done my part, now you do yours.” What arrogance. Do I not know that it is God who works in me to will and to do (Php 2:12) Does any mother run to her child faster than God does to his little ones who cry out for help (Isa 49:15)?

Why does my soul rail against my God’s will? No Matter how much we perceive the church might be mistreating us—we can never be so mistreated by it as he was. I think myself better than my master when I think I deserve better treatment than he received.

Today, so far, has felt like a series of unfortunate events. My communion with God has definitely been weakened by the exasperation of such. Yet I have been enabled to fight and to cling, to not give up and call the situation hopeless, to not feel sorry for myself or say “woe is me.” I feel instead the might of my sin—knowing that I’m denied no good thing—but wickedly unable to happily praise my savior in delight. Praise God for the ability to wage war and fight in the midst of sin like mine. Praise him more that the fight is not ours, but his—and he is faithful.

I woke up today ready to get to work, but I reminded myself to spend a few minutes reading and praying. These few minutes turned into several hours of writing prayerfully.

I have been experiencing doubt as a result of so much of the church disagreeing with us about the Christian life. Today, I was refreshed in talking with a man who probably knows almost no reformed doctrine, yet he knew about and worshiped God for almost everything I said. Walking with God is not a foreign concept to people who know him regardless of religious training. If experiencing God is foreign to a church it is not my place to change God’s way of salvation for their sake.

Came to some degree of fervency in prayer this morning. As our situation comes to be less desperate, I tend to pray with less passion. I’m not sure the best way to combat this. This is all the more reason to rejoice that I’ve been able to pray with some freedom this morning.

Had a few moments of freedom in prayer this morning and glimpses of God’s glory. Yet prayer and seeking has been more characterized by lifelessness. In a way this coldness (or at least the awareness of it) is a small victory. It has been a long time since I’ve fought for God hard enough to feel the weight of failure therein.

Have been struggling after God most of the day today with only small glimpses of success. Monday, I had a day that was extremely filled with sweetness in communion with God, yet I didn’t write anything down from the time. Yesterday as well, found some communion in the book of Job. Yet today is much harder. The reason I’m making sure to write about it is so that I can laugh at my accuser later when God uses this day to my benefit and the benefit of his kingdom. Though my efforts are nothing, God is mighty and faithful to make sure that they are put to good use.

Yesterday, was able to reflect on recent events with a joy-filled heart. It often seems that much of our time is spent in a state of murmuring (which God calls rebellion) rather than in contentment with what he is doing. It is hard to see the extent of this but by looking back while in communion with God.

Wrestled hard today for communion with God. Yet in all my wrestling I was also denying using the proper means unto that communion. I woke up early, I prayed, I read scripture, I meditated on songs and stories of grace. Yet in all of this I did not attend unto the Spirit of grace who alone can lift our heads to see our Savior. Owen says of this:

These things ought to be explicitly attended unto by us, if we intend our faith, and love, and duties of obedience should be evangelical. … It is, therefore, of the highest importance unto us to inquire into and secure unto ourselves the promised workings of the Holy Spirit; for by them alone are the love of the Father and the fruits of the mediation of the Son communicated unto us, without which we have no interest in them, and by them alone are we enabled to make any acceptable returns of obedience unto God. It is sottish ignorance and infidelity to suppose that, under the gospel, there is no communication between God and us but what is, on his part, in laws, commands, and promises; and on ours, by obedience performed in our strength, and upon our convictions unto them. To exclude hence the real internal operations of the Holy Ghost, is to destroy the gospel.

Now I have been enabled to approve of and delight in God’s means of saving sinners. Whereas before I was feeling sorry for myself that my own patience and efforts in trying to appropriate Christ’s blood we not availing me. Now I am glad that such were denied for in doing so, I would make a mockery of God’s way of salvation and supplant it with my own way.

Had eyes to see God’s holiness to a large degree this morning. This led to repentance and wonder that it is God’s very holiness that he communicates to us. This realization led to more repentance: God gives us his own holiness for free, and yet we continue to live our lives in our own strength and power. We could have God’s own love, God’s own spirit of forgiveness and longsuffering communicated to us. Yet we choose to try to build our own.

Have been fairly sick today. Yet even in the midst of retching, I have been enabled to cry out to God for holiness. If this sickness aids my putting off of the old man then it is exactly what I want. Lord, make me as sick as is necessary to turn my heart towards you.

Yesterday joy was elusive. Fought with some degree of persistence and found joy but would quickly loose it to return to a pensive, doubting, fearful frame.

Yesterday evening was enabled to enjoy a sweet, trusting frame and to share that hope with friends.

Today is also one of striving but with more success. Was enabled with some fervency to dedicate all to God. Once again felt faced with an offer from God that he would give us the ministry we want or that we could continue to follow him down a more hidden road. Joyously, was able once again to trust unto God our path.

Today was another uphill battle to find joy. Yet my head broke through the clouds on several occasions. Was able to meet with some men tonight and had much freedom in prayer to plead with God, to see his smiling face, and to confess my sinfulness before him. What a joy is our God. He blesses us with all blessings and more besides. What a bliss it will be to cast of the husk of flesh that hates God all day long—to enter into the freedom of eternal and unhindered worship. That will be a great day.