Posts Tagged ‘holiness’

  

“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.” (Colossians‬ ‭3‬:‭5‬ NLT)

In the rural south, High School football is king! When the Friday Night Lights go on, many communities shut down and become ghost towns. For a brief period in the fall, a whole community gathers in the bonds of brotherhood and school pride, making memories that last a lifetime. But great teams are made on Monday morning, not Friday night. 

In the Bible, ‘Sanctification‘ simply means to be set apart for God’s use and glory. Oswald Chambers describes our struggle to be set apart this way: 

“Sanctification requires our coming to the place of death…There is always a tremendous battle before sanctification is realized—something within us pushing with resentment against the demands of Christ. When the Holy Spirit begins to show us what sanctification means, the struggle starts.”

Just as great High School football players are fashioned in the heat and struggle of practice, so too are spiritual warriors created through the heated battle in their own souls. Allow your old nature to be conquered and you will see a better You be raised up for others to follow! Let your own light shine by fighting the personal fight to be holy every morning! You are loved today! 

  

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.” (Proverbs‬ ‭22‬:‭1‬ NKJV)

In the northeast corner of Louisiana is a tiny town called Transylvania. Twice a year I pass through this little hamlet on my way to other places. With its boarded up school and a few run down buildings, it all adds to the spooky allure! I look forward to seeing it each time!

And yet the town wasn’t named after Dracula’s domain, but after Transylvania University in Kentucky. The man who founded the town, Dr. W. L. Richards, was an alumni who loved the school and named this town in its honor before the Civil War began. And yet, because of its later vampiric infamy, the goodness of the town’s origin and legacy of its beloved name is lost in the darkness of another’s. 

As you come to church today, consider your own name. It was given to you in the innocence of your beginning. What have you done with it since? Does your name, in other people’s ears, ring with images of the Master or with pictures of darker things? Let your name be so entwined with the Lord’s that they can never be separated but always thought of with honor! You are loved today! 

  

“Suddenly…the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified…” (Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭9‬ NLT)

In 1984, Ray Stevens used comic storytelling to frame what occurs when a young adolescent boy catches a squirrel (while visiting his grandmother in Pascagoula, Mississippi), brings it into church, where several self-righteous members – all with sinful secrets to hide – are prominent members … and the squirrel breaks loose from a box the boy has kept it in. As the squirrel wreaks havoc, several members admit to their fellow congregation members their faults, and by song’s end they all make a vow to change! A squirrel-inspired revival! (Watch the video on YouTube! Hilarious!)

I grew up in church. I learned God’s word and worshipped with His people. But then one day, while visiting another church as a teenager, I experienced something different: His presence! I never knew such a thing existed! I saw and heard things that I didn’t understand, making it a little frightening. But just as quickly, I had a realization: If this is God, then it’s okay and is probably something to desire for. And so I did, and it has made all the difference in me. 

God doesn’t need a squirrel to draw you into His presence! What He looks for is a hungry heart. When He finds it, He reaches out with something real and tangible, which should be in every church. Come today and feel His presence for yourself! It will make all the difference! You are loved! 

  

“In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭16‬ NLT)

Ahhh, the Bahamas. The coastal attraction of the masses. Thousands flock to its sanctuary every year to escape the doldrums of life. Where else can you see such beautiful beaches, pristine waters, swimming pigs…wait! What?! Pigs?!

Apparently out on Big Major Cay, an uninhabited island, a population of aquatic swine have made headlines. There are various theories on how the wild pigs first got to the island, but they certainly thrive there. They’ve come to associate humans with food and are rumored to be quite friendly. Upon spotting an incoming boat, the pigs leap into the water and paddle over, hoping for a snack.

Pigs in paradise is an oddity. But apparently so is being a person of godly, moral character. We are to be different for a reason! Let Christ shine in you so that people are drawn to the difference of how you live! You are loved today! 

  

“By justice a king gives a country stability, but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down.” (Proverbs‬ ‭29‬:‭4‬ NIV)

As I sat in a surgical waiting room yesterday, I was entranced by the chaos I saw breaking out on the television. Baltimore was being torn apart at the seams. With recent accusations of people dying because of police brutality, it has caused much tension and rioting in different parts of the nation. While I am a firm supporter of our Brothers in Blue, I do know that there are some loose guns and low morals in certain segments of authority, albeit a small number in my opinion. Yet, just one rotten apple can mess up things for the rest. 

When leadership is bad, it tends to corrupt whatever it touches. Yet when it is good, it seeks to uplift those it oversees. But if godly people aren’t voting or lifting up our nation in prayer, how can we expect right or righteous things to take place? Evil does certainly reign when good people do nothing, especially in places of authority!

Take time to lift up our nation’s tumult to God. Pray for your national, state, and civic leaders, as well as the community you are in. And ask God to intervene and shutdown the anger and rioting we are seeing. Bad things followed by bad things will never lead to good things. Lord, let your love be felt in our nation today! 

  

[It is] the little foxes that ruin the vineyards…” (Song of Solomon‬ ‭2‬:‭15‬ NIV)

During the Civil War, General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate army, handed down a plan of attack to his next in command, General A. P. Hill.  The latter wrapped the plan around a couple of cigars, and then mislaid them. They were found shortly afterwards in an abandoned Confederate Camp by a sergeant from the opposing Union Army, and passed on to his commander, General McClellan. As a result, the Union won a surprise victory at Antietam, which began to turn the tide in the war. Otherwise, the Confederate states would probably have won early and easily.

It is simple to blame our mistakes and sins upon the actions of others, the power of Satan, or the fallen state of this world. But every personal failure falls back to a small decision on our part, a careless setting aside of God and His words. Isn’t it amazing how devastating a small decision or action in the right place can be?! And yet in both wars and lives, the effect can be crushing. 

Be careful in the little areas of your life. A careless word, action, or thought can lead to devastation. Ask God today to lead your steps, to protect you from the failures of others and yourself, and to keep His Light burning bright in you. The world is watching! You are loved! 

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Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” (Matthew‬ ‭13‬:‭45-46‬ NLT)

As I stood in line at the pharmacy to get my kids’ flu medicine (yep, we got it), I wasn’t prepared for the “sticker shock” of good health. To get 2 prescriptions for 2 kids, the cost was almost $600! After much hyperventilating and head-scratching, I asked about my kids’ insurance; wasn’t it supposed to cover it?! After finding insurance proof, the total cost of childhood health was reduced to $20. Hmmmm, that makes for an interesting discussion for another day.

My kids are worth whatever price I have to pay. What’s $600 compared to life and death? The same must be argued about God, forgiveness, a home in Heaven, and blessings down here below. Is all of that worth the price of discipleship and right living? Can’t I be holy and have my cake too?!

There is no shortcut to being right with God. Priorities say that certain things are worth any price to us. Make sure that God fits into that category. A “generic” Jesus served only at convenient moments will leave you empty-handed when life lands on your head! Pay the price, it’s worth it! You are loved today!