Destroying Your Life from Within

James 5:1-8
The Message (MSG)

"And a final word to you arrogant rich: Take some lessons in lament. You’ll need buckets for the tears when the crash comes upon you. Your money is corrupt and your fine clothes stink. Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying your life from within. You thought you were piling up wealth. What you’ve piled up is judgment.

All the workers you’ve exploited and cheated cry out for judgment. The groans of the workers you used and abused are a roar in the ears of the Master Avenger. You’ve looted the earth and lived it up. But all you’ll have to show for it is a fatter than usual corpse. In fact, what you’ve done is condemn and murder perfectly good persons, who stand there and take it.

Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time."

Revelation 6:12-17
King James Version (KJV)

"And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"

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What are we to do with this knowledge of Truth?


Let us remember in our hearts and do from our hearts, the Word of our Lord, as we wait patiently for His return. We are told that we will have the poor with us always (Matthew 26:11). And we have been given criteria for the coming judgement:

The King Will Judge All People

Matthew 25:31-46
New Century Version (NCV)

“The Son of Man will come again in his great glory, with all his angels. He will be King and sit on his great throne. All the nations of the world will be gathered before him, and he will separate them into two groups as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. The Son of Man will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to the people on his right, ‘Come, my Father has given you his blessing. Receive the kingdom God has prepared for you since the world was made. I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was alone and away from home, and you invited me into your house. I was without clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then the good people will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you alone and away from home and invite you into our house? When did we see you without clothes and give you something to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and care for you?’

“Then the King will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me.’

“Then the King will say to those on his left, ‘Go away from me. You will be punished. Go into the fire that burns forever that was prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. I was alone and away from home, and you did not invite me into your house. I was without clothes, and you gave me nothing to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you did not care for me.’

“Then those people will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or alone and away from home or without clothes or sick or in prison? When did we see these things and not help you?’

“Then the King will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, anything you refused to do for even the least of my people here, you refused to do for me.’

“These people will go off to be punished forever, but the good people will go to live forever.”

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Let us repent and receive the fullness of Christ in our hearts. Let Jesus go before us and direct our steps, forever guiding us in His Holy works. For only Christ can make us (or any of our deeds) righteous.  We have no money of our own anyway.  Everything is on loan from Christ.  For it is written: "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD of Heaven's Armies" (Haggai 2:8).

Our Return on His Investment is to pray, listen, and obey (1 Thessalonians 5:15-23, James 1:22-25).

Image credits:
Lament - Javier Kohen
Chinese Spark Plug Factory - abarndweller
Return of Christ - discerningthedays
God Has No Need - Jesus In Srilanka

Are We Marked For Death?

Inspired of God
Written by Sheryl D Miller

John 12:10-11 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus. This took place after Lazarus died & Jesus brought him back from the grave. 

     Talk about the ultimate second chance! Just by Lazarus being raised from death, brought people to salvation & following Jesus, but I believe that Lazarus became an Evangelist. The Bible doesn’t say that, but if Jesus raised me from the dead, I’d be telling everyone about Him. Hey, wait a minute; Jesus did raise me from spiritual death & eternity in Hell…

     The leading religious leaders of that day were ticked off, because people started leaving them & following the Truth. Guess the people were tired of all the ritualistic mumbo jumbo & the religious hoops they had to jump through; kinda like what some denominations are still like today. Anyway, the priest had a huge brain storm & decided to kill Lazarus along with Jesus. After all, that should have kept people from following Jesus & brought them back into religious bondage. Hellooooo, it’s been over 2000 years since Jesus’ death & people are still following Him.

     So, here’s my point – are we worthy of someone wanting to kill us to keep us quiet about Jesus? Are we marked for death by people who don’t want the Gospel spread? Do we walk through our daily lives with a death sentence from Satan? I hope that we do! That means we are doing our job telling others about Jesus’ saving grace. We are marked by the Devil as soon as we ask Jesus into our hearts. But, as soon as we get out there & really start talking & walking like followers of Jesus, Satan ups the ante. He will have opposition coming from all sides of us to discourage, dishearten, & divert our attention from Jesus to ourselves. But if we keep our focus centered on Jesus, Satan doesn’t stand a chance. Will we fall? Probably. Will we miss opportunities or open doors? Probably. Get up & go again!

     So, are we marked for death? Is there a price tag on our heads? Does the Devil get ticked off every time our feet hit the floor in the morning? Are we at the top of Satan’s hit list? I certainly hope so…

John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.”
Image by Søren Niedziella

Divine Knowledge

The following image and interpretation were produced by eleven year old Akiane Kramarik.


...Only from the deep coal tunnels White diamonds come. But only by the light They are recognized...

This is the painting about search for divine knowledge…

The young sculptor represents our civilization mostly ruled by the male. His youth shows that our civilization is still immature. The sculptor is chiseling a huge heap of coal in order to find the diamond representing divine knowledge.

The sculptor ignores the pain, strain, hardship and temptation of everything surrounding him. All he focuses on is on finding this particular diamond, and he knows that if he chisels long enough through the black coal layers, representing human knowledge, he will finally see the diamond of the Supreme Knowledge.

In the background of a cave the contrast of ice and hot rocks represent the world of contrasts we live in.

The melted ice that formed a narrow stream flowing through, symbolizes humanity's thirst for knowledge that can be quenched only by the light of love.

You achieve a finish line, but realize that each step and each stroke to get there was in error.

Any great power that cannot define its strength coming from the right source is not that great, mature or just.

Our human strength has also unlimited weaknesses.

The world has too much of its own knowledge to acknowledge divine wisdom, just like hues trying to escape the royalty of the colors.

To learn what is divinely forbidden stunts growth.

We require signs from wisdom but end up holding them ourselves.

Let us agree that eleven year old girls do not produce works like this without direct influence and inspiration of God. Akiane's works are a modern miracle.  May we continue to be blessed by the Holy Spirit of the Living God - Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Follow these links to learn more of the living miracle Akiane:

Akiane's first painting of Jesus Christ:
http://forthemessage.blogspot.com/2011/07/face-of-our-lord.html

Akiane's Gallery: http://www.akiane.com/store/

HOW TO THINK ABOUT THE SCRIPTURES

By Oswald Chambers

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

     "Why should I believe a thing because it is in the Bible?"  That is a perfectly legitimate question.  There is no reason why you should believe it; it is only when the Spirit of God applies the Scriptures to the inward consciousness that a person begins to understand their living efficacy.  If we try from the outside to fit the Bible to an external standard or to a theory of verbal inspiration or any other theory, we are wrong.  "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.  But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life" (John 5:39-40).

     There is another dangerous tendency, that of closing all questions by saying, "Let us get back to the external authority of the Bible."  That attitude lacks courage and the power of the Spirit of God; it is literalism that does not produce written epistles but persons who are more or less incarnate dictionaries; it produces not saints but fossils, people without life, with none of the living reality of the Lord Jesus.  There must be the Incarnate Word and the interpreting word, that is, people whose lives back up what they preach:  "You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men" (2 Corinthians 3:2).  Only when we receive the Holy Spirit and are lifted into a total readjustment to God do the words of God become "living and powerful" to us.  The only way the words of God can be understood is by contact with the Word of God.  The connection between our Lord Himself, who is the Word, and His spoken words is so close that to divorce them is fatal.  "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63).

     The Bible does not reveal all truth, we have to find out scientific truth and commonsense truth for ourselves, but knowledge of the Truth, our Lord Himself, is only possible through the reception of the Holy Spirit.  "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13).  The Holy Spirit alone makes the Word of God understandable.  The regenerating and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is to incorporate us into Christ until we are living witnesses to Him.  S.D. Gordon put it well when he said, "We have the Bible bound in Morocco, bound in all kinds of beautiful leather; what we need is the Bible bound in shoe leather."  That is exactly the teaching of our Lord.  After the disciples had received the Holy Spirit, they became witnesses to Jesus, their lives spoke more eloquently than their lips:  "They realized that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13).  The Holy Spirit being imparted to us and expressed through us is the manifested exhibition that God can do all that His word states He can.  It is those who have received the Holy Spirit who understand the will of God and "grow up in all things into Him."  When the Scriptures are made living and powerful by the Holy Spirit, they fit every need of life.  The only Interpreter of the Scriptures is the Holy Spirit, and when we have received the Holy Spirit, we learn the first golden lesson of spiritual life which is that God reveals His will according to the state of our characters (compare Psalm 18:25-26).

Source:  Oswald Chambers, "Biblical Ethics," pg. 153-155.

THE THORNY SOIL CHRISTIAN

"He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful," (Matthew 13:22).

Thorny soil is very deceptive in outward appearance. It looks very much like good rich soil -- on the surface! However, beneath the surface are roots of weeds that grow up and choke out the new plants (spiritual revelation) trying to grow from the Word of God deposited in the heart.

There are three pulls this world has that will cause the heart to become thorny soil: (1) the lust of the flesh -- that which leads to sexual immorality, (2) the lust of the eyes--that which leads to covetousness, greed and avarice, and (3) the pride of life--that which leads to selfishness, worry, anxiety and the hardness of heart, (see 1 John 2:16). These three pulls of the world give an opportunity for four weeds to grow in the heart: worry, anxiety, busyness and bitterness. The warning stands, those that partake of these worldly pulls will be unfruitful in experiencing the benefits of the Kingdom of God.

Weeds have the ability to grow anywhere and can flourish with very little soil to support them. Weeds have no value and are quite harmful to the plants that do have value. When the Word of God is spoken, its target is the heart, will, and affections of mankind. However, man has a responsible part in the process of sowing the Word. There must be a willingness to receive into the heart, will and affections the Spoken Word, and put what is received to work in the life.

Our solution to not allowing our hearts to become thorny ground is recorded in John 21:15 and Deuteronomy 6:5. In John 21:15, Jesus asked Simon Peter, "do you truly love me more than these?" This question must be answered in the affirmative if the soil of the heart is to remain good ground for the Spoken Word. The heart must love God more than it likes to worry, or become busy even with good works. We are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our heart--not a divided heart. Yes, worry, busyness and bitterness divide the affections of the heart leaving it without a healthy root system. A heart with an infectious root system will not allow healthy Christian growth. God wants us healthy, so take a look at the solution and apply it to the life. God bless you with abundant grace for wisdom and healthy growth.

Apostle Ednorleatha Long
Christian Growth Center Church
1200 N. 41st St.
East St. Louis, IL 62204

This teaching comes from the 50-page workbook "Healthy Christian Growth"
Image Credit:  Roberto Verzo

How Great Is Our God?



Psalm 147 Amplified Bible (AMP)

1 PRAISE THE LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God, for He is gracious and lovely; praise is becoming and appropriate.

2 The Lord is building up Jerusalem; He is gathering together the exiles of Israel.

3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows].(A)

4 He determines and counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names.

5 Great is our Lord and of great power; His understanding is inexhaustible and boundless.

6 The Lord lifts up the humble and downtrodden; He casts the wicked down to the ground.

7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praises with the harp or the lyre to our God!--

8 Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.

9 He gives to the beast his food, and to the young ravens that for which they cry.

10 He delights not in the strength of the horse, nor does He take pleasure in the legs of a man.

11 The Lord takes pleasure in those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy and loving-kindness.(B)

12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!

13 For He has strengthened and made hard the bars of your gates, and He has blessed your children within you.

14 He makes peace in your borders; He fills you with the finest of the wheat.

15 He sends forth His commandment to the earth; His word runs very swiftly.

16 He gives [to the earth] snow like [a blanket of] wool; He scatters the hoarfrost like ashes.

17 He casts forth His ice like crumbs; who can stand before His cold?

18 He sends out His word, and melts [ice and snow]; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow.

19 He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel.(C)

20 He has not dealt so with any [other] nation; they have not known (understood, appreciated, given heed to, and cherished) His ordinances. Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)(D)

Cross references:

A. Psalm 147:3 : Ps 34:18; Isa 57:15; 61:1; Luke 4:18
B. Psalm 147:11 : Ps 145:20
C. Psalm 147:19 : Mal 4:4
D. Psalm 147:20 : Ps 79:6; Jer 10:25

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. (John 3:30 NLT)

HOW IS YOUR HEARING?

"But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear and to be healed by him of their infirmities," (Luke 5:15).

HEARING what God has to say to His people is emphasized throughout the Scriptures--Old and New. When the Lord says, "let those who have ears hear," He means to receive into our belief system the divine truth that is spoken for the purpose of acting upon it. God's Words were never to be ignored, placed in a grave of unbelief,cast aside or taken lightly. In this passage of Scripture, the multitude HEARD and came to be HEALED. In other words, they received divine truth and acted upon it. In Mark 4:24, Jesus told the disciples to be CAREFUL what you are hearing. From the Amplified version of Mark 4, we understand that we have a responsible part in the process of hearing. It is our responsibility to apply thought and study to the truth we hear. God sends divine truth to bring us into His presence where we may experience His blessings. Those that purpose to HEAR are promised a continuous flow of virtue (power) and knowledge. Remember HEAR means to take divine truth into our belief system for the purpose of agreeing with it and acting upon it. The Word of God, when heard, will bring wholeness to whatever is broken.

So, how is your hearing? Do your ears need a good cleaning in order that you may clearly and distinctly HEAR and be HEALED? Be tremendously blessed!

Your Sis,

Apostle Ednorleatha Long

photo credit vagawi

Holy - God's Holiness

Holy -- exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness.



The Holiness of God

There is a danger of forgetting that the Bible reveals, not first the love of God, but the intense, blazing holiness of God, with his love as the center of that holiness. ~Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

It is not the constant thought of their sins, but the vision of the holiness of God that makes the saints aware of their own sinfulness. ~Archbishop Anthony Bloom (1914– )

Absolute Moral Purity

The holiness of God means His absolute moral purity: He can neither sin nor tolerate sin! The root meaning of holy is separated. God is separated from man, He is in heaven, and man is on earth (Ps 47:8). He is transcendent above all his creation or creatures He created. He is perfect, and Divine, but man is imperfect. God is separate from man in nature, and character. High and lifted up sitting upon His throne of holiness (Ps 47:8).

Transcendent means:
1) Surpassing others; preeminent or supreme.
2) Lying beyond the ordinary range of perception.
3) Being above and independent of the material universe.

Used of Deity. God is transcendent as high above His creation as an archangel is above a grasshopper. Even this illustration falls short. Holiness is an attribute that guards the distinction between God, and His creatures. It speaks not only of an attribute, but His divine nature.

Of old, God appointed singers in Israel "that they should praise for the beauty of holiness" (2Ch 20:21). "Power is God’s hand or arm, omniscience His eye, mercy His bowels, eternity His duration, but holiness is His beauty" (S. Charnock).

"God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (1Jo 1:5). In so much we read "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity" (Hab_1:13). Gods holiness is a sum total of all He is in perfection. God is love, God is just, God is wise, God is jealous, but when it says that God is holy its speaking of a perfection above all other descriptions. In the Bible we read of who God is and describing Him as holy more, and above all other names given. Before the Throne of Heaven, the seraphim crying, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts" (Isa_6:3).  God Himself singles out this perfection, "Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David" (Ps 89:35). God swears by His holiness because that is a fuller expression of Himself than anything else.

As it seems to challenge an excellency above all His other perfections, so it is the glory of all the rest; as it is the glory of the Godhead, so it is the glory of every perfection in the Godhead; as His power is the strength of them, so His holiness is the beauty of them; as all would be weak without almightiness to back them, so all would be uncomely or without holiness, real beauty or purity to adorn them. Should this be sullied, all the rest would lose their honor; as at the same instant the sun should lose its light, it would lose its heat, its strength, its generative and quickening virtue. His justice is a holy justice, His wisdom a holy wisdom, His arm of power a "holy arm" (Psa_98:1), His truth or promise a "holy promise" (Psa_105:42). His name, which signifies all His attributes in conjunction, "is holy," (Psa 103:1)(S. Charnock).

Approaching God

Our approach to God must be of utmost reverence. Only through the Blood of the Cross can we do so. The scripture says we have boldness to enter into the Holy place of God's throne room (Heb 10:19). In no way does this infer irreverence for the very Blood of his Son being spoken of demands reverence, and awe. The word in the Greek means confidence. We have full assurance through the Blood of Christ as to enter into the very presence of God. "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all about Him" (Psa_89:7). Then "Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool; He is holy" (Psa_99:5). Of Israel His demand was, "I will be sanctified in them that come nigh Me, and before all the people I will be glorified" (Lev_10:3).

(Lev 10:1-3) Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took there censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spoke, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.

To worship God acceptably is to worship Him in Spirit and truth. Without a godly fear, awe and reverence is to bring upon ourselves the wrath of God as in the days old. For God has not changed, and the Blood of His Son demands far more carefulness and reverence than the blood of bulls and goats (Heb 10:28-29). To sanctify God is to acknowledge His holiness, to acknowledge Him for who He is. We who draw nigh to God have been given a great privilege and must see it as such with utmost care, reverence, and watchfulness, as becomes the holiness of the God whom we serve. We must desire to be holy for He is holy is to truly sanctify Him in our hearts and lives (1 Pet 1:15,16).

Seen at the Cross

The holiness of God is seen at the Cross. The holiness of God is what condemns the human race. The wrath of God poured out upon His Son shows clearly the truth of Gods hatred toward sin. More than His sentence against the fallen angels held in chains or those who are in hell with them to this day. His holiness is expressed in what He does, because of who he is. Jesus and the Father are one their hatred of sin is equally mutual. We see not only the wrath of God poured out upon his Son, but the Son giving Himself in our stead for our sin. When Jesus cried in the garden sweating drops of blood let this cup pass from Me but not My will thine be done. He was not doing so because of the pain and suffering, but because he was holy undefiled without sin (Heb 7:26). Because on the Cross He was made sin that we might be made the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21). Who Christ is, is why He done what He did though He could have called a legion of angels, and they would have come with swords drawn to defend Him. Christ willingly laid down His life for you and me, despising the shame of the Cross.

Never was the beauty of God's holiness seen as when Christ cried out My God My God why has thou forsaken Me. He was forsaken that we might not be forsaken. He was marred more than any man the scriptures says (Isa 52:14). Meaning He did not even look human after being beaten scourged and finally crucified. But Isa also tells us that it pleased the Lord to bruise Him, putting Him to grief and made His soul an offering for sin (Isa 53:10). Jesus suffered not only the pains of a sin cursed world through out His life, but also for our sin on the Cross, and how. By the very hand of His father. Though He had done nothing amiss. Every pain every sorrow every hurt to the end even the Blood of the Cross came by way of God His father. There is no other way to the Father accept through the Son. There is no other way to approach God accept by the Blood of the Cross.

You can never make yourself holy by external acts, but, if you are holy, your external acts will be the natural expression of holiness.  ~Oswald Chambers "Run Today's Race" page 23

Seen in the Law

The holiness of God is seen in His law, for it shuts or stops every mouth (Rom 3:19). Meaning all have fallen short of the glory of God all have sinned, the whole world is now guilt before God who is holy. Because God is holy He hates sin. Sin must be punished. God hates sin insomuch that as a person gives themselves to it they can become an abomination unto the Lord (Pro 15:8,9 and 26). This does not negate the truth that God loves the sinner. But we must beware of the truth of God's holiness in that He will and has judged sin at the Cross, and whosoever spurns that love is in danger hells fire. There must be an acknowledgment, and repentance of it through Christ.

Arthur W. Pink speaks of the holiness of God as proof of the divine inspiration of the Bible -

The "god" which the vast majority of professing Christians "love," is looked upon very much like an indulgent old man, who himself has no relish for folly, but leniently winks at the "indiscretions" of youth. But the Word says, "Thou hatest all workers of iniquity "(Psa_5:5). And again, "God is angry with the wicked every day" (Psa_7:11). But men refuse to believe in this God, and gnash their teeth when His hatred of sin is faithfully pressed upon their attention. No, sinful man was no more likely to devise a holy God than to create the Lake of fire in which he will be tormented for ever and ever.
  ~Arthur W. Pink "The Attributes of God" page 55

No rules or regulations can make us holy -

Rom 8:3 -- For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], (Lev 7:37).

Rom 8:4 -- So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].

The holiness which God demands is impossible unless a man can be re-made from within, and that is what Jesus Christ has undertaken to do. Jesus Christ does not merely save people from hell: "thou shalt call His name JESUS; for it is He that shall save His people from their sins", i.e., make totally new moral men. Jesus Christ came from a holy God to enable men, by the sheer might of His Redemption, to become holy. "Ye shall be holy. for I the Lord your God am holy...  Holiness is the characteristic of the man after God's own heart.  ~Oswald Chambers "Biblical Ethics" page 16

Final Word

A.W. Tozer said that God Himself is our refuge from Himself. That even the heavens, and stars are unclean in his site. To preserve His creation He must destroy whatever destroys it. For God's moral condition for the universe is health. That every wrathful judgment in the history of the world has been a holy act of preservation. That the holiness of God, the wrath of God, and the health of all creation are inseparably united. Gods wrath is His utter intolerance of whatever degrades and destroys. He hates iniquity as a mother hates a disease that would take the life of her child.

As God revealed Himself to the prophets and the Apostles they were overwhelmed by there own sinfulness. Jesus actually appeared in the O.T. even before He came by way of the virgin birth. When Daniel saw a man whom the Bible describes as Jesus (Daniel 10:8) there remained no strength in him. Daniel 's strength was gone and all that was good in him turned into corruption. Also in Revelation chapter one when John saw Jesus in His resurrected glory he said: "I fell at his feet as dead (Rev 1:17)."

Only God is Holy and truly good. He is separate in nature, and in character. Any true holiness, and goodness comes from Him, through His Son. The scripture says for us to be holy for He is holy, it does not say be ye holy as He is holy (1 Pet 1:16). God only is absolute holiness! Although He has called us to, and gives us the ability to be holy or share in His holiness to some degree. The word holy in the English is derived from the Anglo-Saxon halig, hal, which means well or whole. And just as Jesus asked many in His earthly ministry wilt thou be made whole. The same question today goes out to us. Wilt thou be made whole? God has made a way through His Son not only for the forgiveness of sin, but also to be whole, complete, and holy.

Sources: 
True Bible Foundations in Christianity "The Holiness of God" by Rev David Collins
Webster's Dictionary
The Standard of God

Don’t Jump

Inspired of God, Written by Sheryl D Miller

Proverbs 19:2 Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.

I would like to focus in on the second part of this proverb – about haste making mistakes.  Let’s see just what haste means: swiftness; rapidity; eagerness or necessity to move swiftly; urgency; careless or headlong hurrying.

In the past, I have been very guilty of being hasty! I am getting better at sleeping on things, rather than jumping on them. I have made some horrible mistakes in my life because of my impatience and impulsiveness.

One of my best friends and golfing partners is Jo Ann. Jo Ann and I laugh about how long it takes her to purchase anything because she has to mull it over for days or weeks or even months. But you know - I don’t see her making to many mistakes on her decisions. She actually has great wisdom when it comes to decisions because she isn’t hasty.

I am learning that when I sleep on something, I sometimes find out that I really can live without it. I had often made my decisions without consulting God, and paid the price. I have spent thousands of dollars needlessly on stuff that I don’t even have anymore.

Sometimes when I need to make a decision to do something, I don’t. God will lay something on my heart to do, and I either don’t think it’s a good thing (like I know what I’m doing; go figure), or I don’t have the courage to do it; and I have paid the price for these things in the past, as well. The price we pay for these things is usually emotional or physical; sometimes it can be monetary, but I have found that it is usually one of the first two.

My new game plan for decision making is this – I consult God first. Now, I don’t consult God on everything – I believe He gave us wisdom and common sense to dress ourselves or to choose what to eat; not that He won’t tell us what to do in these areas of our lives (He has a whole dietary plan laid out for us in Deuteronomy 14:3-21). I wait for His answer. If I have peace about moving ahead, I do, and if I don’t have peace, I forget about what I wanted to do.

So, before we jump, we need to make sure the bungee cord is attached at the other end, and if it isn’t – don’t jump!

John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.”

Image by: Andrew Skudder

No Bad Days

by Joe White of Men at the Cross

Difficult days? Plenty – that’s inevitable. Challenging days? Countless – that‘s a factor. Laborious days? Limitless – that’s a condition. Bad days? Banished – that’s a choice.

On March 15th, 1999, every parent’s worst fear came true for Matt and Cindy Lipscomb. After spending a fun “girl’s weekend” shopping in Chicago at the American Doll Factory with her three young daughters, Rainey (11), Lacey (9), and Jesse (5), Cindy was just starting to drift off to sleep in a cozy Amtrak train sleeping car when her worst nightmare became a reality. She was awakened by a sudden jolt and the entire train started shaking uncontrollably. Remembering that she had let her oldest daughters, Rainey and Lacey, join their cousins for a sleepover party a few cars ahead, she jumped to her feet to find her precious girls. Even her wildest dreams couldn’t have prepared her for what she was going to see. Fire and smoke filled the air as the train’s cars had flipped in a terrible derailing accident.

Cindy’s husband, Matt, was awakened by his brother calling to inform him of this horrific accident. Not knowing any details other than the train that carried all the things in the world that Matt cared about most was in shambles, Matt jumped in a car and drove the four hours to get to his bride and his three young princesses. When he came upon the wreckage, grief and sorrow overcame him. His oldest daughters, Rainey and Lacey, had died instantly on impact.

I cannot imagine a greater tragedy or more heart wrenching loss. Matt and Cindy braced themselves for the difficult weeks ahead and the unanswerable questions that would loom in their minds. Instead of fighting God, they embraced God. Instead of pointing fingers at each other, they lifted their hands in submission. A mysterious peace prevailed in their hearts that began to eclipse the nightmare. Rainey and Lacey walk in peace with God today.

Cindy says today, “I do know there is no better place to be when tragedy strikes than in the center of the body of Christ.”

My dear friend and brother in Christ, Dr. Gary Oliver, is one of the finest Christian counselors in America. He has labored through five bouts of cancer of the mouth and tongue. The treatments have been lengthy and debilitating. Surviving each round miraculously, Gary continues to walk in his faithful, optimistic mind-set. Then in the midst of it all, the unthinkable occurred. His best hunting buddy, fishing buddy, and pal, his 20-year-old son was shot in a tragic hunting accident last spring. Two months later, his soul mate, lifetime lover, and wife Carrie died of breast cancer and a broken heart. A part of all of us who love Gary died that day. I drove to his home to sit by his side and listen. Tears of sadness flowed from his eyes like a heavy spring rain. He fought the monster of despair and depression and stood in solidarity of faith and resolved to see the sun rise like a mighty army. “How do you do it, Gary? How do you remain optimistic and peaceful?” I asked. In amazement, His reply was steady and determined. “I turn my grief into praise. I just turn my grief into praise.”

James says to “consider it all joy when various trials occur.” (James 1:2) It’s a great Bible lesson but tough to employ when inevitable tragedy strikes. For me, when leukemia and prostate cancer came out of nowhere like a rogue wind from a distant sea, I found peace like I’ve never known from 2 Corinthians 12: 9 & 10.

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

My weakness, His strength. My weakness, His power. I am painfully aware of my weakness. Now, I’m learning daily about His untapped storehouses of strength.

As Gary, Matt, Cindy and I dive into the endless well of faith and the sufficiency of Christ, we find sufficient truth in God’s sovereign hand as He “causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”

Bitter or better.
Pity or praise.
Revenge or resolve.

It’s a choice. Joy is a decision. Happiness is always just one giant step of faith away.

Old Testament Viewpoint
Psalms 119:153-154; Psalms 118:14; Job 19:7-9, 17, 19, 23-26

New Testament Viewpoint
James 1:2-4; Romans 5:2-5; Romans 8:28; Hebrews 5:8

This text is from session twenty of the Men at the Cross "One2Won - For Adults" discipleship handbook. The handbook is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD through the ministry of Men at the Cross. All praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Image by Dylan Luder

Blessings.