Tag Archives: holiness

June 11; A Look In The Mirror

I Kings 12-13; 2 Chronicles 10:1-9, 11:1-4, 13-17

Sometimes I read accounts like the one in today’s Scripture and I find myself shaking my head. The audacity of some to openly defy God, the in-your-face rejection of Him, astounds me. Jeroboam heard God’s Word, saw evidence that God was true, then turned around and did exactly what God had condemned.

This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall, and to its destruction from the face of the earth. (I Kings 13:34)

We can obviously make a connection to our own government. We can also see examples of this in the modern church. But, as always when I look into God’s Word, it’s like looking into a mirror. And sometimes I just don’t like what I see looking back at me. It hurts when God puts a finger on my heart.

I’d like to share what He is saying to me today. Number one, He has put His rules and expectations in writing. He has given clear instructions for living. He has proven Himself to be true over and over. I can make no mistake about it, God is holy and demands to be obeyed. Period.

Secondly, God hates sin. God punishes every sin. God cannot exist in harmony with sin. He makes it clear that our choice is either sin or Him. It can never be sin AND Him.

I know these things. Yet there have been times when I, and probably when you, have chosen sin over holiness, have neglected to do what He asks of me, and times when I knowingly, with an in-your-face attitude, have defied Him.

Like the foolish prophet, there have been times when someone who claims to have heard from God, says something that sounds right. Something inside of me questions whether or not it is truly Scriptural. But this someone says he’s a spokesman for God, and who am I to question that, right?

This morning as I look into the mirror of Scripture I am reminded that the only Truth is that which is written in the pages of the Bible. Anything, or anyone who adds to or contradicts what God inspired men to write down is straight from Satan.

And, if I believe that Scripture is true, I’d better be doing what it says. Because the Bible paints a holy, fearsome, powerful God who punishes every sin with death. It also clearly paints a picture of the cross. This harsh judge who has the power to condemn all of us, came to live with us in a human body, suffered and died on the cross, condemned Himself to the death we all deserve.

And He stands with open arms to receive any and all of us who go to Him.

Today, as I look in the mirror of Scripture I see a sinner saved by grace. I see a woman who was lost, now standing there wearing the holiness of the Savior. I see a woman who chooses Jesus.

April 18; Don’t Just Stand There

I Samuel 22:6-23:29; Psalms 52, 109

Do you remember when, earlier in Saul’s reign as King of Israel, he couldn’t bring himself to kill all the Amalekites, even though God told him to? We read about that in I Samuel 15. God had told Saul to destroy the Amalekites, let no one live including women and children. Saul killed many, but not all. And remember, the Amalekites were the enemy of Israel and of God. Who knows how many guilty people were allowed to live on?

Now we see Saul mad at a priest for helping David, who Saul considered his enemy. So Saul condemns the priest to death. Then, inconceivably, Saul ordered that all the priests be killed. Eighty-five men were to die that day – and they were no one’s enemy! In fact, these were men who served God.

It doesn’t stop there. Saul then ordered that the wives and children of these priests be killed. He gave the same order to his men that God had given him earlier. “Let no one live.” The King’s officials couldn’t bring themselves to do it. But they didn’t stop it when someone else stepped up and began to murder all those people, either. A whole city of innocents was put to the sword that day, by the order of Saul.

How could he let the ungodly Amalekites live, and then wipe out the people of God?

I wonder. If the Amalekites represent sin, and the priests represent holiness, can’t we ask the same thing of ourselves? Maybe we aren’t the ones who are preaching and teaching partial truths. Maybe we don’t agree with the contemporary definition of sin, the tolerance of sin in our churches, the blatant disregard for God’s law.

But are we, like the king’s officials, watching while holiness is being destroyed right in front of us? Do we shake our heads, maybe shed a tear, yet continue to stand there and do nothing to stop it?

What can one person do, you might ask? I’m sure most of us reading this post today don’t want to see evil continue to wield its sword. But most of us feel helpless to stop this avalanche.

And I don’t think God expects us to single-handedly. But I also don’t think he expects us to do nothing. Are you praying? Are you getting involved in civic affairs, volunteering in God-honoring work in your neighborhoods? Are you voting? Are you going to church, talking to people about Jesus, living your life in such a way that you stand out from the crowd? Are you holding your pastors and teachers accountable to speak only the Truth of Scripture?

I don’t know what God has laid on your heart about fighting His enemy. But I know for sure if you are His child through the blood of His Son Jesus, He is prompting you to do something. You can either stand there and watch as God is being attacked, or you can get involved in the battle.

You are going to make that choice today. Just know that just standing there and watching is making a choice against God.

Don’t just stand there.

 

 

April 1; Completely

Judges 1:1-3:36; 17:1-13

One thing that stands out to me as I read about Israel’s take-over of the Promised Land is how easily they gave up. God had promised to GIVE them the land. Yes, they’d have to do their part and go to battle with the inhabitants. But those inhabitants were enemies of God. And He wanted them gone. He would give the Jews victory.

God’s instruction was for them to rid the earth of the inhabitants of Canaan – completely, Don’t let any of the evil survive. He even warned Israel that if they left any of the enemy remain, they’d be asking for trouble.

I count 17 cities – plus surrounding territories – where the Jews failed to eliminate the enemy. Ungodly people were allowed to live with God’s people, which was a total act of disobedience on their part. And by 3:6 we see that the Jews had intermarried with the enemy, and even served the enemy’s gods.

Why hadn’t the Jews rid themselves of the evil like God told then to in the first place? Sure the ungodly people were determined to remain on their own land in their own homes. Who could blame them? Sure, they were strong warriors with state of the art battle gear. But did Israel think any of that was too strong for God?

Why didn’t they step out in faith and let God do His thing, eliminate the sin that so easily entangles? They gave up on God.

I don’t know what sin God is revealing in your life. But I know He wants it gone. Completely. And I know that He is able to help you do the impossible, defeat the evil in your life. I believe God will give you victory – if you let Him.

What’s stopping you? Have you fooled yourself into thinking that one sin is no big deal? That you can handle it and not let it take over your life? Do you think eliminating the evil is too hard because you are too far gone? Or do you think God is either too weak, or too uncaring to defeat this enemy?

I believe God not only wants to, but can give you the victory over whatever sin He wants you to eliminate. Understand that if you decide to live with that sin, you’re asking for trouble. Serious trouble.

We’re going to see the results of allowing sin to exist in the lives of God’s people here in the book of Judges. They were one generation away from not even knowing God. That is the result of tolerating sin, of living with it, of not eliminating it from our lives…

Completely,

March 26; It Ain’t Easy

Joshua 7-9

If you are a Christian, I’m sure you pray that God will reveal sin in your life. Those of us who love God want to please Him, and we know sin in any form does not please God. But I’ve found sometimes I pray that God will reveal sin, hoping He doesn’t. Because when God puts a finger on sin in my life, it requires me to do something about it.

There was sin in Israel, and what I see here in Joshua is that God pealed away this sin one layer at a time, until He got at the heart of the matter. Then the Israelites had a choice. Deal with it, or do the easy, humane, “loving” thing and allow the guilty to survive. I can’t think it was easy for any of them to remove the sin from among them.

If you ask God to reveal a sin, He will do it. That’s a prayer I’m sure God loves answering because that sin builds a wall between us and God that He wants removed for love of us. So don’t pray that prayer unless you are ready to address the sin. No matter the cost.

If you are a Christian, if you are interested in having your relationship with God be everything it can be, then ask Him to reveal sin in your life. Let Him peal away the layers, get rid of all your defenses until He gets at the heart of your sin. He will do it.

Then ask Him to forgive you. Be ready to change, to walk away, to stop doing that which God calls sin. Sometimes that’s not easy to do. But faced with the reality of your sin, and not repenting is a very serious thing.

The example in Joshua tells us they eliminated sin completely, didn’t hold on to any piece of it. And they were blessed because they did. It couldn’t have been easy. But it had to be done.

Let’s determine the same. It ain’t easy.

But it’s worth it.

March 18; Modern Day Mediums

Deuteronomy 15-18

From the title of this post you might think I’m going to talk about fashion. I just saw where a women’s size 14 is now considered plus size. So, no. I’m not going to talk about or even think about size medium. It’s too depressing.

But if you are up watching TV late enough at night, I imagine you’ve seen those advertisements for “the best psychic reading ever.” Are you ever tempted to try it – just once – out of curiosity. I mean, the people giving testimony say, “She told me things she couldn’t possibly know.” (which is probably the only true statement in the whole ad.) I can confidently say, after reading these chapters today that if you are tempted to make that call, don’t.

I knew a lady who lost her husband suddenly. She was desperate to speak to him again. It was a source of great pain not having said goodbye. So she went to someone who claimed to be able to speak to the dead. It took several visits and quite a bit of money, and people said what a touching expression of her deep love for him it was.

If you are a Christian, I hope you consider what God says about these things. He calls these practices detestable. He calls people who who do these things detestable. (18:12) As a Christian, I certainly don’t want to do or be anything close to “detestable” to the One who died for me.

I believe God would have us understand that speaking to a medium or spiritualist, dabbling in witchcraft, spells, potions, and the like are sin. Forgivable. But none the less sin. If you have called that number, or gone to see a medium, even for the fun of it, I would encourage you to pray about it. God will probably convict you, if you aren’t already convicted. Ask Him to forgive you. You know He will.

And, dear one, if you think you might have these detestable powers yourself, confess it as sin. Toss Satan out on his ear. God is not going to gift you with anything he considers detestable.

Moses reminds us in verses 13, “You must be blameless before the Lord you God.” He’s specifically talking about being or using people who consider themselves mediums or sorcerers. Don’t mess with the spirit world. It’s detestable.

February 17; Guilty By Accident

Leviticus 5-7

I’ve been sitting here thinking about accidental sins, after reading these chapters in Leviticus. God tells us He takes those sins seriously. I confess I not only don’t take them seriously, I don’t give them a thought. I might have to reconsider that position.

J. Vernon McGee, in his Commentary on Leviticus 1-14 says this on page 64:

“We can’t be out in the world without becoming unclean by seeing things and hearing things and thinking things. We are unclean. We may not even realize that we have come in contact with the unclean. It may be hidden from us so we are not even aware of it. But we are not to rush into God’s presence until we are cleansed.” (Thomas Nelson Publishers; Nashville, TN; 1991)

I was standing in the checkout line at the grocery and inadvertently read the cover of a magazine and saw the picture of a half -naked famous person. I didn’t pick it up to get a better look. I didn’t buy the magazine. In fact, I haven’t even thought about it until now.

The question I find myself asking is, can I be pure before my holy God with that picture in my mind? If I had gone on an internet site to purposefully view pictures like that I would have no problem identifying that as sin. But, God forgive me, I have that picture in my mind whether I meant to or not.

I John 1:9 tells us if we confess our sins God will be faithful to forgive our sins. But what if we don’t know we’ve sinned? Does God forgive sin even if we don’t confess? Are we guilty of sin when we sin, or when we know we’ve sinned?

Dear God, I am a sinner. I have pictures in my mind, thoughts going through my head, careless words coming out of my mouth, blowing off things I know I should do. I see things, hear things, think things that offend you. I sin. So, God, I ask you to forgive me the sins I commit without even knowing. Forgive anything that makes me impure. And if there are specific things you want me to deal with, please bring them to mind. I may sin accidentally, but I’m asking you to forgive me on purpose.

Isaiah 20-23; Polar Opposites

Scripture constantly reminds us that God’s ways are polar opposite of what the world thinks and does. There are so many examples in these chapters in Isaiah of this truth.

It seemed logical to the king to join forces with his neighbors against their mutual enemy. But those neighbors were idolators, unbelievers. The unequal yoking between God’s people and the ungodly neighbors resulted in more problems for Israel than just an invading army.

Shebna is an example of material wealth, political power, and pride that was lauded by the world. He had everything… except God. And his life of “self” ended badly for him. His riches and power, even those people who idolized him, could not stop God’s judgment on him.

Look at what Isaiah had to say about Tyre’s wealth, the intellect of its people, the glory of that city among nations. The city here is reduced to rubble because of their sin.

But Tyre gets a second chance. And so do we.

We’ve all sinned. None of us measure up to God’s standard. I love what Matthew Henry says:

“We must first give up ourselves to be the holiness to the Lord before what we do, or have, or get, can be so.” (p 859; Commentary in One Volume; Zondervan; 1961) (emphasis mine)

In other words, who we are before our Holy God is the catalyst for what we do, not the other way around. We must first give up our “selves,” recognize sin and accept the Savior Jesus as our own. Not a popular concept according to the world.

We can only become the holiness of God if we are wearing Jesus’ holiness, through the blood He shed on the cross. No amount of good works, sacrificial giving, compassion for the poor, even church-going can render us holy.

That’s not how the world looks at it. We hear them say (even from the pulpit of a royal wedding) that all we need is love. All we need is activism on behalf of the needy. All we need is ourselves, our determination to love one another. But is that God’s way?

Please don’t forget that Jesus went to the cross because of love. Jesus’ love dealt with your sin, not your love. The world would have us concentrate on love, and ignore sin because, of course we shouldn’t judge, right?

Dear one, your love is meaningless without the cross. Your love is a filthy rag in God’s sight unless you have first confessed your sin and accepted God’s grace.

Like I said, God’s ways are polar opposite of the ways of the world.