Others May But I Cannot??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #521

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #521   Others May But I Cannot???

 

I read a tract many years ago, in fact I still have it, that impacted me and brought conviction and a comfort– that what God asks me to do, He may not ask you to do; or vice-versa! While we are all saved “by grace…through faith” we are not called to the same work of ministry, the same convictions, or the same responsibilities! God calls us all to bear the “fruit of the Spirit” in our personal ministry, but he also calls some to places of responsibility, burdens, convictions and trials that He doesn’t ask of others.

But the fruit of the Spirit is

love,

joy,

peace,

longsuffering,

gentleness,

goodness,

faith,

23 Meekness,

temperance:

against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ’s

have crucified the flesh

with the affections

and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit,

let us also walk in the Spirit.”   Galatians 5:22-25

And when we walk in The Spirit, it is a walk of faith and obedience—even when others don’t understand the constraints that God has placed upon us personally. I have learned through the years that when God calls me to something, or even away from something, I must obey even, in fact especially, when others don’t understand. And sometimes it causes hurt, because people will think that we are hard-hearted or unfeeling, but the call to obey God is our prime objective. Oswald Chambers says it best in his amazing book “My Utmost For His Highest”—that is our goal (and if you’ve never read this book I encourage you to get it and read it through this year, it is one of my ‘go to’ books that I’ve read through on many occasions!). Just as Ezekiel was called to be a ‘watchmen’ to his people, yet he wasn’t very popular, but he did what God asked him to do—even strange and seemingly crazy things, he obeyed. So must we come before God with that kind of heart?

Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel:

therefore hear the word at my mouth,

and give them warning

from me.

18 When I say unto the wicked,

Thou shalt surely die;

and thou givest him not warning,

nor speakest to warn

the wicked

from his wicked way,

to save his life;

the same wicked man shall die

in his iniquity;

but his blood

will I require at thine hand.

19 Yet if thou warn the wicked,

and he turn not

from his wickedness,

nor from his wicked way,

he shall die in his iniquity;

but thou hast delivered thy soul.”   Ezekiel 3:17-19

There are lots of “fluff” preachers and teachers today, but those who are calling people to repent of sin, and turn to Jesus in faith are not the ones being lauded today! But it’s the message that God has delivered throughout HIS Word and throughout history! Who’s listening to the watchman? Not many! But when God gives a call, a conviction, a ministry, an understanding of truth, then we must “stay by the stuff” regardless of the responses of others! I/You must seek to obey Him no matter the response of others. Our kindest attempts can and will often be met with disregard or even rejection, but we must do that which HE calls us to do! Even as Job endured!

So thou, O son of man,

I have set thee a watchman

unto the house of Israel;

therefore thou shalt hear the word

at my mouth,

and warn them

from me.” Ezekiel 33:7

Though he slay me,

yet will I trust in him:

but I will maintain

mine own ways before him.” Job 13:15

And Job and Ezekiel could do what they did because their confidence was in their GOD not their circumstances—Ezekiel was captive in a foreign land, Job was tested in ways that he couldn’t understand, yet they stood fast in their call and their GOD for they knew He would deliver and their reward wasn’t necessarily in this life!

For I know that my redeemer liveth,

and that he shall stand

at the latter day

upon the earth:” Job 19:25 Amen!

Our call is to faithful trust and obedience, and when we draw near to our God He will always prove Himself faithful, even when we face obstacles of misunderstanding, rejection or even as Job proclaimed—“yet will I trust him”! You see it isn’t dependent on our popularity, or the acceptance or rejection of others, our spiritual ‘success’ is dependent on our God, who will “supply all your need…by Christ Jesus”! Oh what glory!

May we continue to deliver the message, fulfill the ministry, follow the call, or, as Oswald Chambers calls it, continue in the ‘mundane’ that God sets before us! It’s all about HIM, and our objective is calling others from the broken cisterns of their lives to the “living water” that IS Jesus! Jeremiah gives a vivid picture that parallels the message of Jesus!

Hath a nation changed their gods,

which are yet no gods?

but my people have changed their glory

for that which doth not profit.

12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this,

and be horribly afraid,

be ye very desolate,

saith the LORD.

13 For my people have committed two evils;

they have forsaken me

the fountain of living waters,

and hewed them out cisterns,

broken cisterns,

that can hold no water.”   Jeremiah 2:11-13

But whosoever drinketh of the water

that I shall give him

shall never thirst;

but the water that I shall give him

shall be in him a well of water springing up

into everlasting life.” John 4:14

Amen and Amen—go forward in your Lord’s call, regardless!

‘How We’ve Overcome’??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No. 21

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No.21 ‘How We’ve Overcome’???

 

My title comes from an old hymn written by Charles Albert Tindley, “We’ll Understand It Better By And By”, a beautiful song that I have played and sung many times, but there was one particular time that will ever stand out in my mind, and that’s what I want us to share today. We were part of a small church start many years ago and I had a friend who came to that church—a precious, godly, woman who loved Jesus and made no pretense in her living for Him. I noticed during one service where we were singing and I was playing and could see her in her spot and I noticed that she wasn’t singing this particular song and thought it strange, as she always sang from her heart. After the service I asked her if there was a reason that she wasn’t singing this song, she answered that she couldn’t sing about “overcoming” when she had not “overcome” in so many ways, and so she couldn’t “tell the story how we’ve overcome” for she had nothing to tell.

Well, I smiled and shared with her how I could sing that song with confidence and joy—because “how we’ve overcome” is only through the blood of JESUS, just like her! Our ‘story’ is in relating how HE is the only reason that “we’ve overcome in any way, yet in that day when we stand before Him and with Him for all eternity, “we’ll understand it better by and by”, for we’ll see HIS hand in all that we’ve been through! It’s all about Jesus—not me!

O the depth of the riches

both of the wisdom

and knowledge

of God!

how unsearchable

are his judgments,

and his ways

past finding out!

34 For who

hath known the mind

of the Lord?

or who hath been

his counsellor?

35 Or who hath first

given to him,

and it shall be recompensed

unto him again?

36 For of him,                      (Jesus)

and through him        (Jesus)

and to him,           (Jesus)

are all things:

to whom be glory for ever. (Jesus)

Amen.” Romans 11:33-36

The smile that spread across my friends face said it all. I never saw her ‘not’ sing this song again—for now she could truly sing it of and to her Lord! So how do we ‘overcome’? By knowing The Lord Jesus in saving faith, receiving His Spirit, His presence and His power as enough to make us overcomers.

Being confident of this very thing,

that he which hath begun

a good work

in you

will perform it

until the day of Jesus Christ:”    Philippians 1:6

It is the blood that Jesus shed at Calvary that bought our salvation, and makes us overcomers in HIM!

Neither pray I for these alone,

but for them also which shall believe

on me

through their word;

21 That they all may be one;

as thou, Father,

art in me,

and I

in thee,

that they also may be one

in us:

that the world may believe

that thou hast sent me.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me

I have given them;

that they may be one,

even as we are one:

23 I in them,

and thou in me,

that they may be made perfect

in one;

and that the world may know

that thou hast sent me,

and hast loved them,

as thou hast loved me.

24 Father, I will that they also,

whom thou hast given me,

be with me

where I am;

that they may behold my glory,

which thou hast given me:

for thou lovedst me

before the foundation

of the world.

25 O righteous Father,

the world hath not known thee:

but I have known thee,

and these have known

that thou hast sent me.”   John 17:20-25

We are made One in Jesus (see verses 21 & 23 above) because HE paid our sin debt at the cross, making us accepted before God IN Him!

To the praise of the glory

of his grace,

wherein he hath made us

accepted in the beloved.”   Ephesians 1:6

Sin made us enemies of God, but IN Jesus we are restored to fellowship with God, peace from God, as well as the peace ‘of’ God!

Therefore being justified

by faith,

we have peace

with God

through our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 By whom also we have access

by faith into this grace

wherein we stand,

and rejoice in hope

of the glory of God.

3 And not only so,

but we glory in tribulations also:

knowing that tribulation

worketh patience;

4 And patience,

experience;

and experience,

hope:

5 And hope

maketh not ashamed;

because the love of God

is shed abroad

in our hearts

by the Holy Ghost

which is given unto us.

6 For when we were yet

without strength,

in due time

Christ died for the ungodly.

7 For scarcely for a righteous man

will one die:

yet peradventure for a good man

some would even dare to die.

8 But God commendeth his love

toward us,

in that,

while we were yet sinners,

Christ died for us.”   Romans 5:1-8

When Jesus saves us, we are “translated” into His kingdom, and into Himself by His Spirit!

Giving thanks unto the Father,

which hath made us meet to be partakers

of the inheritance of the saints in light:

13 Who hath delivered us

from the power of darkness,

and hath translated us

into the kingdom of his dear Son:

14 In whom we have redemption

through his blood,

even the forgiveness of sins:”   Colossians 1:12-14

9 Much more then,

being now justified

by his blood,

we shall be saved from wrath

through him.

10 For if,

when we were enemies,

we were reconciled to God

by the death of his Son,

much more,

being reconciled,

we shall be saved by his life.”    Romans 5:9-11

We are reconciled by Jesus’ sacrifice, receiving overcoming grace through HIS finished work on Calvary!

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven,

Now is come salvation,

and strength,

and the kingdom

of our God,

and the power

of his Christ:

for the accuser of our brethren

is cast down,

which accused them before our God

day and night.

11 And they overcame him

by the blood of the Lamb,

and by the word of their testimony;

and they loved not their lives

unto the death.” Revelation 12:10-11

Even though contextually, this is referring to those who will be alive in the last days, it’s as true for us as for them, even as the song talks about “how we’ve overcome”; and the power of our overcoming is the “blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony”! For our testimony is:

We love him,

because he first

loved us.” 1 John 4:19

HE “first loved us”, can we do less than gratefully give our all to/for HIM — “they loved not their lives unto the death”, because they loved HIM more!!! His love goes beyond earthly death!

Jesus said unto her,

I am the resurrection,

and the life:

he that believeth in me,

though he were dead,

yet shall he live:

26 And whosoever liveth

and believeth in me

shall never die.

Believest thou this?” John 11:25-26

We receive eternal life from the creator—who IS life Himself– and by His power recreates us “in Christ” by being born again!

Therefore if any man be in Christ,

he is a new creature:

old things are passed away;

behold, all things are become new.”   2 Corinthians 5:17

God sent Him to die for us, for His death, burial and resurrection make us new, receiving HIS righteousness through which we truly ‘overcome’!

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,

as though God did beseech you

by us:

we pray you in Christ’s stead,

be ye reconciled

to God.

21 For he hath made him

to be sin for us,

who knew no sin;

that we might be made

the righteousness of God

in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

Once again, we find that powerful little phrase “in Him” (Jesus). I often encourage people, as the New Year begins, to take a notebook and record each time you read that little phrase. You will be amazed at all that you will learn about Jesus! He truly is our ‘all in all’!

And have put on the new man,

which is renewed in knowledge

after the image of him

that created him:

11 Where there is neither

Greek nor Jew,

circumcision nor uncircumcision,

Barbarian, Scythian,

bond nor free:

but Christ is all,

and in all.

12 Put on therefore,

as the elect of God,

holy and beloved,

bowels of mercies,

kindness,

humbleness of mind,

meekness,

longsuffering;

13 Forbearing one another,

and forgiving one another,

if any man have a quarrel against any:

even as Christ

forgave you,

so also do ye.” Colossians 3:10-13

Jesus truly ishow we’ve overcome”, for receiving HIS Spirit enables us to truly “walk in the Spirit”! Paul speaking of Jesus reminds us of what we have in HIM!

In whom ye also trusted,

after that ye heard the word of truth,

the gospel of your salvation:

in whom also

after that ye believed,

ye were sealed

with that holy Spirit

of promise,

14 Which is the earnest

of our inheritance

until the redemption

of the purchased possession,

unto the praise

of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14

So in closing, I hope that you will spend some time this week (and on into the year) thinking on all that you have, all that you are, and all that you can be/do because Jesus is our “hope of glory”, when HE is IN us, and we are IN Him!

To whom God would make known

what is the riches

of the glory of this mystery

among the Gentiles;

which is Christ in you,

the hope of glory:” Colossians 1:27

May we truly seek the face and the will of the ONE who is “in you, the hope of glory”!

I can do

all things

through Christ

which strengtheneth me.”   Philippians 4:13

Amen and Amen!!!   Even so Lord Jesus!

Brides And Heaven??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #520

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #520   Brides And Heaven???

 

When we think of winter, we don’t think much about weddings; we think of weddings in the spring and summer, but the thing I’d like us to consider this morning is the fact that in our culture we have come to consider “Brides” and “weddings” without any consideration for the “marriage”! It came to my mind this morning as I pondered on this article that we think much the same way about heaven, as an old song goes, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die!” (As best as I can determine, written by Loretta Lynn [not the modern version]). We have reduced the Gospel to a ticket to heaven with no relationship to God through His Son Jesus, no dealing with sin, and no bowing before the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved and “transformed” by His sacrifice and His Spirit!

Giving thanks unto the Father,

which hath made us meet

to be partakers of the inheritance

of the saints

in light:

13 Who hath delivered us

from the power of darkness,

and hath translated us

into the kingdom of his dear Son:

14 In whom we have redemption

through his blood,

even the forgiveness

of sins:” Colossians 1:12-14

You see, we must understand that just as a wedding ought to have a good marriage as its end, a salvation that takes one to heaven must encompass the changing of a heart and life by the power of the blood of Jesus, because SIN IS the issue, and only Jesus can change a sinner into a saint.

Therefore if any man be

in Christ,

he is a new creature:

old things

are passed away;

behold,

all things

are become new.

18 And all things

are of God,

who hath reconciled us

to himself

by Jesus Christ,

and hath given to us

the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit,

that God was in Christ,

reconciling the world

unto himself,

not imputing their trespasses

unto them;

and hath committed unto us

the word of reconciliation.”  2 Corinthians 5:17-19

Jesus saves, reconciles and delivers men, women, boys and girls from sin! It’s what HE came to do!

And she shall bring forth a son,

and thou shalt call his name JESUS:

for he shall save his people

from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Jesus imparts to us HIS righteousness in exchange for our sin, then we are to share the Good News in power and truth!

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,

as though God did beseech you

by us:

we pray you in Christ’s stead,

be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him

to be sin for us,

who knew no sin;

that we might be made

the righteousness of God

in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

Jesus paid a debt HE didn’t owe, so that we could have life in Him, and also be empowered to walk in the righteousness “of God”, but only “in him”–JESUS! All this because God “made him to be sin for us”! HE paid my debt, and gives me HIS life! HE is the only way to heaven for you or me!

Jesus saith unto him,

I am the way,

the truth,

and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father,

but by me.” John 14:6

No matter how much “everybody” wants to “go” to heaven, JESUS is still the only way—no matter how much the world waters down the truth of the Gospel. Be sure and read Matthew 7, and see what Jesus Himself has to say about those who simply “say” “Lord, Lord”, and don’t truly know Him in repentance and faith, receiving HIS “transforming” salvation! But what does that have to do with “Brides”? A lot really, for the same God, who sent Jesus, gave us marriage, and HE gave it to us as a true and holy picture of His desire to make us “one” with Him. Yet, we have become a culture that has made “weddings” the prime focus—with lots of money spent, extravaganzas put on, yet little or no attention given to the relationship of “one man” and “one woman” until death do us part! That is God’s plan and no matter what the world says, or how much we have drifted from the truth, God will hold us (especially the church who has compromised this issue beyond measure!) accountable for what we have done with The truth.

Now I’m not throwing rocks, for I also bought the lies for many years, messing up my own life and the lives of my children, as well as others around me who warned of the danger that I was taking on in rejecting God’s plan for my own “happiness” my own “way”! What about you? Have you compromised God’s truth because it is so rampant around us? Have you traded God’s truth for cultural “sensitivity”? God’s plan, His Word and His purpose for us has never changed—He loves us and has called us to walk His way, not our own. And we can only do that through the power of Jesus’ blood and His Holy Spirit, who is given to every one who comes to Him in repentance and faith!

Be not thou therefore ashamed

of the testimony of our Lord,

nor of me his prisoner:

but be thou partaker of the afflictions

of the gospel

according to the power of God;

9 Who hath saved us,

and called us

with an holy calling,

not according to our works,

but according to his own

purpose and grace,

which was given us

in Christ Jesus

before the world began,

10 But is now made manifest

by the appearing of our

Saviour Jesus Christ,

who hath abolished death,

and hath brought life and immortality

to light through the gospel:”   2 Timothy 1:8-10

The rules haven’t changed for ‘brides’ or ‘heaven’.

Marriage is honourable in all,

and the bed undefiled:

but whoremongers

and adulterers

God will judge.

5 Let your conversation

be without covetousness;

and be content

with such things as ye have:

for he hath said,

I will never leave thee,

nor forsake thee.

6 So that we may boldly say,

The Lord

is my helper,

and I will not fear

what man shall do unto me.”   Hebrews 13:4-6

I pray that we will get back to The Truth, and spread the Good News by our lives, our words and our actions!!! It’s what God has called us to do! May we walk in HIS Spirit not our flesh!

This I say then,

Walk in the Spirit,

and ye shall not fulfil the lust

of the flesh……..

25 If we live in the Spirit,

let us also walk in the Spirit.”   Galatians 5:16 & 25

Amen and Amen!!!

Spending Time With Jesus??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #519

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #519  Spending Time With Jesus???

 

When we come to salvation in Jesus, we receive the privilege of spending time with HIM, yet we are often so busy spending our time (and we all receive the same 24 hours each and every day—how wisely we use them is up to us!) on unimportant things (that seem important at the moment) that we neglect the most important relationship in our life—or the world, for that matter!

So let’s spend just a bit of time this morning looking at the privilege of fellowship with our master—who calls us His friend.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:

if any man hear my voice,

and open the door,

I will come in to him,

and will sup with him,

and he with me.”   Revelation 3:20 

We don’t serve an image made by man, but the living Lord Jesus Christ—God incarnate—who came and took on flesh and blood that He could go to the cross at Calvary and pay for our sin, and have a relationship with us, and draw us near to Himself. Not like other ‘religions’ of the world that call people to work their way into some acceptance or approval of some unknown ‘god’; but we serve a God who loves us, who paid for our salvation with HIS own blood, and wants to have a love relationship with us in the sweet relationship of love and obedience to the Sovereign God of the universe!

Henceforth

I call you not servants;

for the servant knoweth not

what his lord doeth:

but I have called you

friends;

for all things that I have heard of my Father

I have made known

unto you.” John 15:15

And the beauty of the relationship of love and obedience is so beautifully painted in John 15, yet there is something that we must understand—we are not on our own, but we walk with our Lord and Savior in total dependence upon His grace, love and wisdom in all things! Without Him we will wind up spinning our wheels in frustration and confusion. Jesus is the answer in all things!

Abide in me,

and I in you.

As the branch cannot bear fruit

of itself,

except it abide

in the vine;

no more can ye,

except ye abide

in me.

5 I am the vine,

ye are the branches:

He that abideth in me,

and I in him,

the same bringeth forth

much fruit:

for without me

ye can do nothing.”   John 15:4-5

Jesus gave HIS all for us, what less can we do for Him; especially when our “All” is totally JESUS!

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, 

that is passed into the heavens, 

Jesus the Son of God, 

let us hold fast our profession. 

15 For we have not an high priest 

which cannot be touched 

with the feeling of our infirmities; 

but was in all points 

tempted like as we are, 

yet without sin. 

16 Let us therefore come boldly 

unto the throne of grace

that we may obtain mercy

and find grace to help 

in time of need.”   Hebrews 4:16-17 

We have the privilege to “sup” with Him, and He with us, and also to “come boldly unto the throne of grace” that we “may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”! Not coming to our Lord in arrogance or dictating to Him our every whim and craving, but laying heart and mind open to Him to show us the way to go day by day, in trail or success, in confusion and uncertainty, in pain and sorrow, in joy or sadness!!! We serve The Risen Lord of all! And we have but to listen to His Spirit and we will hear and recognize HIS voice speaking peace and comfort to our souls.

My sheep hear my voice,

and I know them,

and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them

eternal life;

and they shall never perish,

neither shall any man

pluck them out of my hand.

29 My Father,

which gave them me,

is greater than all;

and no man is able

to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

30 I and my Father are one.” John 10:27-30 Amen!

So, let us start off this New Year, and continue each day of it, spending time praising the Lover of our Soul—Jesus!

Make a joyful noise

unto the LORD,

all ye lands.

2 Serve the LORD

with gladness:

come before his presence

with singing.

3 Know ye

that the LORD

he is God:

it is he that hath made us,

and not we ourselves;

we are his people,

and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter into his gates

with thanksgiving,

and into his courts

with praise:

be thankful unto him,

and bless his name.

5 For the LORD

is good;

his mercy

is everlasting;

and his truth

endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5

So I invite you to join me in seeking the face of our Lord—in the morning, in the noontime, in the evening time—spending time in HIS presence. After all it’s not HIS ‘presents’ that should thrill us as much as HIS “presence”!

Amen and Amen!!!

A Holy Or A Holey New Year??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No. 20

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No.20 A Holy or A Holey New Year??

 

And make straight paths for your feet,

lest that which is lame

be turned out of the way;

but let it rather be healed.

14 Follow peace with all men,

and holiness,

without which

no man shall see the Lord:”   Hebrews 12:13-14

I love Swiss cheese, and one of its qualities is the large holes that are in the cheese. I can remember as a child thinking that was a rip off—why pay for cheese when it has holes in it, so it’s not all there? But as I grew and matured I learned that the holes in Swiss cheese are part of what gives it its flavor. The holes are caused when elements interact between the lactic acid in the milk and certain bacteria and organisms; the creation of carbon dioxide creates pockets of air that result in the mature cheese having holes. In fact agro-scientists have even figured out how to control the size of the holes by controlling the amounts of certain things that can be added to the milk.

Well, believers in Jesus are called to the “holy” not “holey”! In fact you could say that we are called to be “wholly holy” not affected by the things of the world, but maintaining a “wholly holy” walk before our God and the world that He has called us to be a testimony to! And David was a great testimony of the power of God in the life of someone devoted to God. Even though David had his faults, when he sinned he knew how to repent, return to God and restore his fellowship with God. David records one of the greatest pictures of this from his experience (as well as inspiration) in Psalm 51.

Behold, thou desirest truth

in the inward parts:

and in the hidden part

thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop,

and I shall be clean:

wash me,

and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Make me to hear joy and gladness;

that the bones which thou hast broken

may rejoice.

9 Hide thy face from my sins,

and blot out all mine iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart,

O God;

and renew a right spirit

within me.

11 Cast me not away

from thy presence;

and take not thy holy spirit

from me.

12 Restore unto me

the joy of thy salvation;

and uphold me

with thy free spirit.

13 Then will I teach transgressors

thy ways;

and sinners shall be converted

unto thee.

14 Deliver me

from bloodguiltiness,

O God,

thou God

of my salvation:

and my tongue shall sing aloud

of thy righteousness.

15 O Lord, open thou my lips;

and my mouth shall shew forth

thy praise.

16 For thou desirest not sacrifice;

else would I give it:

thou delightest not in burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are

a broken spirit:

a broken and a contrite heart,

O God,

thou wilt not despise.”   Psalm 51:6-17

While we must keep this in the context in which it was written, (the personal, permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit had not yet been accomplished) the message that David imparts to us, if we will be see it and receive it, is that even when we are in pain due to our own sin and failure returning to the throne of God, and seeking HIS face in repentance, brings His healing, and the restorative work of forgiveness, and bringing us back into intimate fellowship with Him. But He will also restore us to a place of usefulness in HIS kingdom. I love that David’s reveals the progression of God’s restorative work in us, to forgive us when we seek Him, desiring the restoration of our intimate fellowship with God, and the sense of HIS presence in our daily living. It’s almost the same message that the Apostle John gives us in his first letter.

If we say that we have

fellowship with him,

and walk in darkness,

we lie,

and do not the truth:

7 But if we walk in the light,

as he is in the light,

we have fellowship

one with another,

and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son

cleanseth us from all sin.

8 If we say that we have no sin,

we deceive

ourselves,

and the truth

is not in us.

9 If we confess

our sins,

he is faithful

and just

to forgive us

our sins,

and to cleanse us

from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:6-9

John reminds us that while Christians aren’t perfect, we do have an “advocate with the Father” when we sin! We have One who can and will forgive us when we confess (agree with God that we have sinned, and not try to rename it, clean it up or agree with the world that it’s ok to sin), and He not only forgives but also cleanse us “from all unrighteousness”! God will restore our fellowship with Him, and also our opportunities of service to HIM. We must understand that when we choose to sin, and walk “in the dark” there are consequences that will affect our lives; and while not all things can be wholly restored when they are broken (especially human relationships and reputations!). Yet the point I want us to see, is that when we strive for ‘holiness’ rather than settling “holeyness”, we will avoid many of the pitfalls of this world; for even genuine believers must understand that while we are free to make our own choices, we are not free to choose the consequences. And as I’ve heard it said before: “Sin will take you farther that you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and will cost you more that you wanted to pay”, and that is a true principle of God.

Be not deceived;

God is not mocked:

for whatsoever a man soweth,,

that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7

So as we strive for holiness in all our ways, I would simply like to share a few passages that will point us in the right direction as we enter a new year. I encourage you to check your Bible concordance and search for the places where God calls us to “be holy”! It can be a great eye-opening exercise.

I beseech you therefore, brethren,

by the mercies of God,

that ye present your bodies

a living sacrifice,

holy,

acceptable unto God,

which is your reasonable service.

2 And be not conformed

to this world:

but be ye transformed

by the renewing

of your mind,

that ye may prove

what is that good,

and acceptable,

and perfect,

will of God.”   Romans 12:1-2

Did you notice that we are to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy” before our God, and that is “acceptable unto God”, what does that make “holey”? God Himself calls us to holiness!

As obedient children,

not fashioning yourselves

according to the former lusts

in your ignorance:

15 But as he

which hath called you

is holy,

so be ye

holy

in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written,

Be ye holy;

for I am holy.”   1 Peter 1:14-16

And where is it “written”?

And ye shall

be holy unto me:

for I the LORD am holy,

and have severed you

from other people,

that ye should be mine.”    Leviticus 20:26

God hasn’t changed the rules—but HE has given us Jesus, who IS the way to have His laws written in our hearts, rather than on tables of stone—HIS name is JESUS, and He imparts His Holy Spirit to those who are born again!!! And as His own Spirit-filled people we are called to live His Way!

But the day of the Lord will come

as a thief in the night;

in the which the heavens shall pass away

with a great noise,

and the elements shall melt

with fervent heat,

the earth also

and the works that are therein

shall be burned up.

11 Seeing then

that all these things shall be dissolved,

what manner of persons

ought ye to be

in all holy conversation

and godliness,

12 Looking for and hasting

unto the coming of the day of God,

wherein the heavens being on fire

shall be dissolved,

and the elements

shall melt with fervent heat?

13 Nevertheless we,

according to his promise,

look for new heavens

and a new earth,

wherein dwelleth righteousness.

14 Wherefore, beloved,

seeing that ye look for such things,

be diligent that ye may be found

of him

in peace,

without spot,

and blameless.” 1 Peter 3:10-14

Since God has done so much for us, how can we do less than pursue His “holiness”, that He may be glorified and others may see Him in us? And as I close for today, I’d like to offer a challenge to each of us, especially those who participate in social media—watch what you write, what you share, what the comments on your feed say, and ask how YOU are reflecting Jesus? If you claim to belong to Jesus, why do the same ugly words appear on your feed as appear on the pages of the ungodly? If your share things, have you checked out the source? There are a lot of “cutesy”, seemingly nice, even ‘godly’ sounding posts that are coming from sites that are lurking to trip people up and trap them into ‘new age’ bunk that, as scripture says, “even denying the Lord who bought them”? And on a more personal note, are there words coming out of your mouth that shouldn’t be in a “holy” persons vocabulary? Are there actions or gestures that you use that don’t belong in the life of someone pursuing “holiness”? Do you watch and listen to things that blaspheme the Savior that you claim to love? It’s time (and a good New Year’s project) to examine our own lives and ask God to help us draw nearer to HIM and not the world. Whose altar are you really worshipping at? May we be found faithful when He comes—and that may be sooner than we think!!! It’s your choice, but remember there is a test at the end!

Judge me, O LORD;

for I have walked in

mine integrity:

I have trusted also

in the LORD;

therefore I shall not slide.

2 Examine me, O LORD,

and prove me;

try my reins

and my heart.

3 For thy lovingkindness

is before mine eyes:

and I have walked

in thy truth.” Psalm 26:1-3

Prove all things;

hold fast that which is good.

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;

and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body

be preserved blameless

unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Faithful is he that calleth you,

who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-24

‘Nuff said! Amen and Amen!!!