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Showing posts with the label Holiness

999.99 isn't 100%

  If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—simply come clean about them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God. (I John 1:8-10) There are a whole lot of ways I show off my 'ignorance', but I don't want one of them to be that I think I am without sin - I am a sinner, yet redeemed from my sin! Admitting our sin is the only way to be free from it. If we admit our sinfulness, does that make us no longer sinners? We all have a human nature - there is always going to be a 'pull toward' sin in our lives as long as we are walking on this earth. Do we have to 'give into' that pull? No, because we have been given a new life in Christ Jesus - the desire might be

A living testimony

As we have studied scripture before, I have often reminded of the importance of the simple words such as "and" or "but".  Today's passage has one of those "buts" in it - the thing which has been proposed or said ahead of this simple little word makes a huge difference.  So, we cannot skip over the simple words if we are to get the entirety of the meat from the passage.  To set the stage, we see Peter writing this letter to believers - it wasn't written to those who had no faith in Christ, but rather those who had embraced the finished work of Christ on their behalf.  As he begins the letter, he challenges believers to begin to live a life of holiness - set apart from their former ways of doing things (especially as it applies to their past religious performance).  There will be tough times - of this he assures us - BUT these tough times don't need to destroy or defeat us - we should allow them to define us.  As the chosen ones of God, we are d

The Circle of Quiet

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12-15  How blessed the man you train,  God ,  the woman you instruct in your Word, p roviding a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil,   while a jail is being built for the wicked.   God will never walk away from his people,   never desert his precious people.    Rest assured that justice is on its way   and every good heart put right.   (Psalm 94:12-15 The Message) How blessed the man you train!  How blessed the woman you instruct in your Word!  Awesome words, huh?  Did you know that there are other words for "blessed" in our English vocabulary?  Namely, they are:  Consecrated, Sacred, Holy, Sanctified, Supremely Favored, and Blissfully Happy!  Wow!  Now that says a lot, doesn't it?  The one trained or instructed by God is really a pretty privileged individual! As I sat in English class during my high school days, one of my most favorite things I learned to do was "diagram" a sentence.  My teacher would remind me that there is always a subject of the se

Cookies for the King

1-2  So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1-2 The Message) Consecration goes beyond the surface - in fact, it embraces all of our being when it is operational in our lives.  Consecration is simply the act of setting something apart for a specific use.  When we say that the chocolate chip cookies are just for daddy because they are his favorite cookies, we have the ex

Salvation 101 - Part I - Why is grace needed?

16-18 "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him." (John 3:16-18) This past week someone asked me the question that seems to come up at one time or another whenever groups get together in an attempt to understand their faith just a little bit better.  That question was:  Is the "once saved, always saved" term biblical?  Tough question and I know parties that will weigh-in on both sides of this equation, bu

No more patches!

16   “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.   17   “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:16-17) Have you ever tried patching your favorite pair of jeans?  Those well-worn jeans develop what I will call "stress-tears" at the most inappropriate and most difficult points to patch!  Try as we might, we can attempt to bring the frayed edges of the tear together without the "stress-tear" being noticed, but it is almost impossible.  Fabrics don't match and if we simply join the two sides of the "stress-tear" together again, the surrounding fabric is also weakened, so that patch is not going to last long either. We experience these same kind of "stress-tears"

Inflow determines outflow

14-15 "Listen now, all of you— take this to heart. It's not what you swallow that pollutes your life; it's what you vomit—that's the real pollution."   20-23 "It's what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution." (Mark 7:14-15; 20-23) With today's incessant emphasis on diets, new and improved probiotic-infused foods, and custom-designed daily vitamins, it is a wonder that we know what matters anymore.  So many times we focus more on what "goes into" the body and completely miss the importance of what it is that "comes out" of that same man or woman in the form of action, attitude, and exemplified values.  Jesus is speaking to that very thing in this passage.  He and his disciples have just been criticized for not "

Branding - A "product" others want

"Set yourselves apart for a holy life. Live a holy life, because I am  God , your God. Do what I tell you; live the way I tell you. I am the  God  who makes you holy. (Leviticus 20:7-8) There is a concept in business today called "branding" - it carries the idea of the techniques utilized to ensure that the public knows your name, recognizes you as a leader in your industry, etc.  Companies invest big money into making sure that they are recognizable in the community they serve by the "brand" they have invested time, talent, and energies into creating.  It is kind of like what God said through Moses so many years ago - "Set yourselves apart..."  God was telling us to be known by our "branding" - that which makes us uniquely different from those around us and makes people want what it is that we possess. Although the concepts of "branding" are primarily a marketing technique in the business realm, I think we can draw some parallel

Prepared for Future Growth

13-16 So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, "I am holy; you be holy." (I Peter 1:13-16) In our passage this morning, we will explore the attitude of heart that we need to have in order to pursue God's holiness.  Our writer reminds us that it is not a pie-in-the-sky, happy-go-lucky existence we have once we come to Christ.  As a matter of fact, there is no room for laziness in our daily walk. Peter opens this chapter with the words:   God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus.  He has his eye on us - an a