Devotionals

I Thessalonians 4:7

For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 


Thinness, hollow-eyed gauntness, sandals, long robes, stone cells, no jokes, frequent cold baths, fasting, getting up at 4 a.m., clean fingernails, stained glass, self-humiliation and religious sounding chants… these are the images of many when they think of holiness. Things reserved for the realm of austere monks and mystics. But nothing could be further from the truth.

I appreciate the more accurate thoughts of the following concerning the Biblical significance of holiness for all of us who know our Lord—

“Holiness does not consist in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervors, or uncommanded austerities; it consists in thinking as God thinks and willing as God wills.”

-John Brown

“Holiness is the everyday business of every Christian. It evidences itself in the decisions we make and things we do, hour by hour, day by day.”

-Chuck Colson

“Resolved, never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.”

-Jonathan Edwards

“Holiness is not inability to sin, but ability not to sin.”

-G. Campbell Morgan

“Holiness is the visible side of salvation.”

-C. H. Spurgeon

“Jesus Christ’s holiness has to do with human life as it is. It is not a mystical, aesthetic thing that cannot work in the ordinary things of life; it is a holiness which ‘can be achieved with an ordinary diet and a wife and five children.’”

-Oswald Chambers

Romans 5:17-18 reveals we are either “in Adam” or “in Christ.” If in Adam we are controlled by the Fall— obeying the instincts of our ruined nature of sin. If in Christ, we are to be controlled by the Call— obeying a redeemed, new nature. A life governed and guided toward holiness empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Uncleanness is what we inherit by reason of our natural birth, but when we are born again we operate by holiness if we choose to submit to our Lord and Savior Jesus. We are no longer the natural man who loves darkness and delights in vileness, but rather a new man who delights in virtue and light.

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”

-Heb. 12:14

Maranatha!

When God Wants to Drill a Man

You are good, and do good.

Psalm 119:68

——–

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—

…the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

  II Corinthians 4:7-8, 16-18


Our dear brother Noah, Rosie and their family received challenging news this week. It was a delight, though not understanding, that Noah has solid confidence in the ever-goodness of God… even though we may not understand until Heaven. He requested that this poem (When God wants to drill a man… author unknown), significant in his own life, be shared with the church family—

When God wants to drill a man, and thrill a man, and skill a man
When God want to mold a man… to play the noblest part;

When He yearns with all His heart, to create so great and bold a man
That all the world should be amazed… watch His methods… watch His ways!

How He ruthlessly perfects, whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him… and with mighty blows converts him.

Into trial shapes of clay which only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying, and he lifts beseeching hands!

How He bends but never breaks, when his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,

And which every purpose fuses him… by every act induces him
To try His splendor out—God knows what He’s about.

Maranatha!

I Thessalonians 2:13

… when you received the word of God which you heard from us,
you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth the word of God,
which also effectively works in you who believe. 


Concerning Himself, Jesus quotes from Psalm 40:7 in Hebrews 10:7—

“Behold I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—to do Your will, O God.”

The Word of God and the Living Word—Jesus are closely bound… actually inseparable. Both are Truth (John 14:6 & 17:17)… Light (John 8:12 & Psalm 119:105) and Bread (John 6:35 & Matthew 4:4).

Truly He would and could say: “In the volume of the book it is written of Me.”

Therefore, it is crucial that as a church we study the Bible specifically. Choosing to avoid trends of studying books about the Word, film clips or other activities of current interest even though they be good and even moral. It is the study, and time in the Bible itself coupled with seeing Jesus in the Bible which has the value. Even if the time in study itself seems to be over-one’s-head, seemingly not relative, or forgotten. You might even think “What’s the use? I can’t even recall the last Bible Study subject or verses.” This might shock you, but even if such thoughts describes you, the Word still has its incomparable benefit.

Isaiah 55:11 reveals that the Word “shall not return to Me void (empty), it shall accomplish what I please…” The “I” is not me, rather God! I can’t recall the last Jem 100 Tillamook Cheeseburger I ate, but I do know the nutrients it contained all had their effect. I departed full and ready for the rest of the afternoon.

When my lovely wife, makes a wonderful meatloaf dinner and apple pie dessert, I don’t say “I’ve had this before, I already know how this taste so tonight I’ll pass.” Quite the contrary, I am very contented to enjoy it again… anticipating the taste I am wonderfully familiar with, and it indeed delights me again…and again!

Peter, in his second epistle, states our need to be reminded often of the truths of the Word. He makes no apology. Instead he instructs us that such repetition is even needful, that we be firmly established. When will such establishing finally occur? Heaven! Peter quotes earlier from Psalm 40— “All flesh is as grass. And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers. And its flower falls away. But the word of the LORD endures forever.”

William Barclay wrote “The only way to get our values right is to see, not the beginning, but the end of the way, to see things, not in the light of time, but in the light of eternity.” It is God’s word which is crucial to our preparation for eternity.

“Your word, O LORD is eternal; it stands firm in heaven.” Psalm 119:89

May we be students of Jesus in the Word, growing in grace and knowledge of our Savior, Jesus.

Maranatha!