Viewing entries tagged
holiness

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praying alignment with God

Lord,

Let me lament for forgetting daily to come to you,

and cleanse me from the deceit of bringing my heart to a duty because the act pleased me or appealed to reason.

Grant that I may be salted with suffering with every enactment tempered to my soul,

every Rod excellently fitted to my back,

to chastise, humble, break me.

Let me not overlook the hand that holds the rod,

as you did not let me forget the rod that fell on Christ

and drew me to him.

 

May it be Lord. amen.

 (adapted from Valley of Vision, Christian Calling)

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1 Peter 4

12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,

what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”a

19So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

1 Peter 4

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The Son more radiant that the Sun!

  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. - Revelation 1:17-18 ESV

John was given a great vision of God and saw this exalted view of Christ our Lord, who when he spoke he described "as the roar of many waters", whose hair was white as snow and whose eyes were like flames of fire and from whose mouth protruded a double edged sword (illustrative of the Word of God) and whose face shinning like the sun in it's full strength! If you can imagine, this was John, the one described as closest to Jesus in his ministry yet when John sees our glorified Lord, just like Isaiah when he sees God glorified in his vision falls on his face in total fear before him... Jesus here is pictured as the "Ancient of Days", the one who stands in judgment over all the cosmos...whose voice was like the roar of a mighty waterfall. (I have stood next to the deafening roar of falling water torrents before.) Can you imagine? If you can, then even now you would fall on your face in total humility before God. He is infinitely awesome and powerful. Let us not forget this. In our diminished view of God in our lives we can at times forget how Great is our God. Yet here is the beautiful thing. When we do humble ourselves before him today by faith, on that great and glorious day when all mankind will be on our faces in his full radiant glory, those who he knows and has called by name, those who today surrender their hearts and lives to Jesus; they like John here and like Isaiah in his vision experience will feel the hand of Almighty God reach down and touch them and through the thundering yet tender voice of Christ hear these loving and tender words...

"Fear Not..I Am..."

My question for you is this... Are you...?

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Living like a slave to a perfect Master

When your natural flesh is pulling and tempting you to do what you know is wrong and that which goes against the Holiness of the Spirit of Christ living in you, how do you react?  The easy and broad road that leads to destruction is our natural path. We must look for the hard way; the narrow way; the way that brings life. We must bring our minds and bodies under submission to Christ and the Holy Spirit who will help us if we only try.   Praise be to God who will make us continuous overcomers if we just try! Go and make every moment dedicated to Jesus! He saved you and will continue to do so! It's not by your own power you overcome anyhow...It's by the Spirit alone. So let's stop taking "rest breaks" in this race for the holiness of Christ and buffet our bodies into submission to Jesus as our Lord and King!  In Christ we shall overcome! Press on soldiers... The victories are ours!

You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. So run to win! All those who compete in the games use self-control so they can win a crown. That crown is an earthly thing that lasts only a short time, but our crown will never be destroyed. So I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something—not just the air. I treat my body hard and make it my slave so that I myself will not be disqualified after I have preached to others. - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NCV

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Kept by God

Yahweh, Almighty God,You are the  Creator, Upholder, Owner of all things, I cannot escape your presence or control,    nor do I desire to do so. My privilege is to be under the rule of omnipotence, righteousness, wisdom, patience, mercy, grace. You are love with more than parental affection; I adore your heart,    admire your wisdom,    stand in awe if your power,    lower myself before your purity. It is the discover of your goodness alone that can    banish my fear,    allure me into your presence,    help me to cry over and confess my sins. When I review my past guilt     and am conscience of my present unworthiness, I tremble to come to you, I whose foundation is dust, I who have condemned your goodness,     defied your power,     trampled upon your love,     rendered myself worthy of eternal death.

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But my recovery cannot spring from any cause in me, I can destroy but cannot save myself. Yet you, O God, have laid help on One that is mighty,    for there is mercy with you,    and exceeding riches in your kindness through Jesus, your Son. May I always feel my need of him. Let your restored joy be my strength; May it      keep me from lusting after the world,      bear up my heart and mind in loss of comforts,      make me alive in the valley of death,      work in me the image of the heavenly,      and give me to enjoy the first fruits of your Spirit,          such as angels and departed saints know so well. May I dwell in your house forever my God. Amen.

My adaptation of 'Kept By God', The Valley Of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers.   May you be blessed as you humbly come before the majesty of King Jesus. He is the source of living water to all who thirst after God. 'Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.' - Matthew 23:12 ESV

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5 important truths

Here is the message we have heard from Christ and now announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. So if we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue living in darkness, we are liars and do not follow the truth. But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin. If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done. If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and we do not accept God’s teaching.-1 John 1:5-10 NCV

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Truth #1 God is perfect in every way. High and holy. He is compared here to pure light, with no speck of darkness. He is the standard of good; of righteousness; of justice; of perfection in every way.

Truth # 2 To know God and share in his glory, we must be willing to allow his light to penetrate every corner of our life. Only then can the blood of Jesus wash away all our dirt.

Truth # 3 To enjoy the joy of living in brotherly love with others who walk with God, we must walk with God in his exposing light. Those who live in sin; in darkness, not confessing them remain disconnected from God and his Body. Life is a dark evil deceptive lie for them, resulting in ultimate decay and death.

Truth # 4 The blood of Christ will continue to wash us clean as we confess our wrongs; every time... not because we are pure ourselves, but because God is faithful and keeps his word.

Truth #  5 Jesus makes us pure, even though we sin at times, but humbly fight to walk in the Light and believe God, that he always speaks absolute trustworthy truth.

application: Keep walking in the light. Every time you fail God, humbly confess, repent and accept his provision (you not accepting and allowing his forgiveness to wash over you is not of faith, but continued sin). Then  carry on and serve God and others in love. No dirt you have is too filthy for the everlasting blood payment of Christ to clean. It was the blood of God spilled for you!

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How to avoid sin. Where light exists darkness cannot.

So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin, in that he spends the rest of his time on earth concerned about the will of God and not human desires.  (1Pet 4:1-2 NET)

question for thought.   Are you concerned about the will of God? Really?

There are different interpretations as to exactly what the Spirit means for us in this passage. Some think it has to do with the believer having power over sin in Christ which certainly is true and partly what is being said; and others say more likely it is  when we endure suffering for Christ we show our purpose is to not live for self, but for God, which also is a truth this passage conveys.

Yet even beyond these I see an important even more practical message of God being taught here that some miss.

Peter says to arm yourselves with the same way of thinking as Christ who suffered in the flesh...and then tells us these things. He is giving us practical way to avoid sin and self-living. Instructions to a new way to think. (remember context is important to know the proper interpretations of what someone is saying)

He goes on to say that one who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. Is he saying once we suffer for Christ we become sinless? It seems to say that at first glance. But no.  He is speaking of practical theory here. He is telling us how to be like Christ and be a conquerer of sin in a practical way, a 'mindset' we should take on so we can be more holy in our living. He said take on this attitude. You see? He continues...  "so as to live our remaining life in this flesh not for human fleshly passions but for the will of God." Then in verses following he gives practical examples of what living for self looks like.... Sensuality, drunkenness, wild partying, lawless idolatry and such debauchery.  Peter is saying we must make our daily choices to live for the will of God and not for our natural desires, and in doing so we will not sin. This is taking the offense, not the defense against sin and the old flesh. The secret to an overcoming life like that of Christ, is to put God first in all things. Where light exists darkness cannot. Pray to him every moment in total dependence like Jesus did while on earth. Jesus is our human example in how to manage fleshly temptations to live for self. We must learn to deny self by filling our every moment with God and his will for our lives at the that moment. Yes this is the greatest suffering for Christ that we will ever do. Outward persecutions are easier to bear than those daily, gnawing, cravings of the old flesh from within to live in prideful self ruler-ship and to set submission to God aside. But Peter is telling us that denying self and pursing God in Christ will keep us in pure holy living, thus avoiding sin. Give no room for the flesh. This is wisdom. So while I am choosing to suffer purposely for Christ by denying self, sin is being put to death in my body. Here in is how the old American proverb is held true. "Idle hands are the devil's so workshop."

Purpose today to do more things solely in the Spirit's leading. Avoid idleness and look for ways to serve God by serving others in Jesus' name. Fill your days and life with the Light, and the darkness of sin will have no place to reside.

"How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord" (Ps 119:9-12a)

In essence God is telling us through Peter's words that seeking God with our whole heart is how we guard our hearts from sin. Listening to him and following him is our pathway to live holy and not sin against him. Will we fail at times? Yes, we are human. But in the grace of Christ with his ever cleansing blood, humbly we can continue on and do even better as though we are pure and holy before God... because in Jesus Christ, we are! Seek him and avoid sins of the flesh. That... is living in the Spirit.

May the Spirit of Emmanuel fill you this holiday season. They you will indeed have a Merry Christmas. God bless you.

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