Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Personal holiness’ Category

We all know what it’s like to see another believer do or say something that erodes his or her Christian testimony and, therefore, his or her influence for Christ.

Sadly, we also know that we’ve done the same on more than one occasion.

We can’t undo the past.

But we can do better in the future.

Better lives are depending on us.

That’s why it’s important that we heed the Apostle Paul’s example as described in 2 Corinthians 6:3-4.

“We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God.”

God wants people’s souls to be saved into a life of serving Him and serving others.

The Devil wants people’s souls to be lost in a deteriorating life of serving self and influencing others to do the same.

“How will my choice influence another closer to God?” seemed to be at the top of Paul’s mind based on the passage above.

Let’s embrace the same guiding principle for how we live and make decisions.

In everything we do, let’s show that we are true ministers of God.

Help the needy.

Hug the hurting.

Listen to the lonely.

Flee temptations, especially that stumbling block sin that seems to follow you like a shadow.

Forgive. Even the repeat offenders.

And with every action, try to humbly explain the motive of doing for others what Christ has done for us.

As always, I love you
Martin

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I need to become more like King Josiah of the Old Testament.

You see, I have occasionally made wrong turns in life that weren’t clearly Kingdom-focused.

I can’t recall any defiant rejections of God’s path in my life. But I can’t say the same about random mixed-motive decisions.

You know what I’m talking about because you’ve likewise made mixed-motive decisions that were intended to benefit yourself and coincidentally benefit the Church.

Here are a few examples of how Christians have fallen short:

  • Single Christians sometimes invite opposite sex single Christians to church not just for Kingdom purposes but also in a desire to hook up in a relationship. If the dating possibility evaporates, so do the invitations to church.
  • Business owner Christians sometimes talk about faith and promote church attendance in order to build a business relationship, not just a Kingdom relationship.
  • Pastors sometimes fall into the trap of stretching out a counseling relationship with an emotionally fragile woman because of a desire to spend time with her when he should be referring her to a professional Christian counselor where she’ll get better help and he’ll avoid a trap that has claimed thousands of church leaders.
  • Husbands expect their wives to submit because it’s biblical but really he’s wanting the biblical principle to “bring her into line” instead of his being such a responsible, supportive, cherishing husband that the wife naturally wants to follow his leadership.

Josiah was a man who singly focused on the path of faith.

“He did not turn away from doing what was right.” (2 Kings 22:2)

Satan is constantly inviting us to step off the path of pure-hearted faith.

He dwells on what we’re missing by walking the straight and narrow.

Let’s make sure to focus on not missing out on the unfathomable riches and joy of heaven.

Let’s not try to walk two roads at once.

Let’s never turn away from doing what is right.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

Here’s a thought that can help you and me to do the godly thing more often:

“All glory to Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding His blood for us.” (Revelation 1:5)

Jesus loves us and freed us from the sentence of eternal, spiritual death when He went to the cross for us.

We can never thank Him enough but we can show our appreciation by giving Him all the worship and service we can.

Even if we praised and served Him with every waking breath and action, we still couldn’t match what He’s done for us by rescuing us from an unimaginably horrible forever.

Give Him glory in every part of your life, my friend.

Speak as He spoke.

Serve as He served.

Resist temptation as He resisted temptation.

Love all sorts of people as He loved all sorts of people.

Whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all for the glory of God, we’re told in Colossians 3:17.

He did SO much for us.

Let’s do more for Him at work, at home, at church, in the neighborhood or wherever.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

Fruit trees do better when they’re pruned.

Gardens do better when weeds are pulled.

And vehicles get better gas mileage when unneeded weight is removed.

You’re seeing a trend here, right?

Whatever gets in the way of productivity needs to go.

And so it is with our spiritual lives.

We don’t “get efficient” once and then we’re set for life.

And we don’t get spiritual once and then we’re set for eternity.

Far from it.

Fruit trees need pruned yearly.

Gardens need weeds pulled weekly.

Vehicles need dead weight removed daily.

You and I need pruning every so often in order to remain fruitful.

We need to pull weeds of sin and distraction in order to provide more bountiful service to the Lord.

And we all could probably benefit from getting rid of “dead weight” habits or hangups that, at best, slow us down and, at worst, leave us broken down on the side of life’s road.

The author of Hebrews gives us needed advice:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Every person has a stumbling block sin that keeps tripping up him or her.

I’m talking about that sin that we say we’re not going to repeat but then, guess what?

We repeat it.

Self-hatred is not the solution although it can be hard to avoid as illustrated by the Apostle Paul’s autobiographical cry, “What a wretched man I am!”

Determined vigilance and deep humility are vital in this struggle between flesh and spirit.

We must always remember that we avoid the ditch when we stay between the lines of God’s Word and will.

And that happens when we keep our noses pointed down the centerline of the “straight and narrow” rather than seeking after those things that we can pursue only if we let go of God’s hand.

Listen, if we never take the first step toward the ditch, we won’t fall into it.

Recall the steps that have led you into the stumbling block sin. And resist taking even the first one.

Paul told Timothy it’s not enough to consider and then abstain from youthful lusts.

The young man needed to flee youthful lusts.

We’ll each be better off as we run away from temptation rather than thinking we can manage it.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

Sometimes we humans are tricked by our human nature into seeing ungodly choices as if they were hidden eggs in a childhood Easter egg hunt.

We’re not quite sure where the godless eggs of “Get ’em good” revenge tactics or unjust riches or illicit sex are hiding, but we’re sure racing sometimes to find them before somebody else does.

It’s really sad when you think about how often this happens, even among Christians.

This should not be, of course.

For any of us.

And yet, we’ve all fallen and come short of the glory of God.

The specific failure varies from person to person, but the fact of sin is universal.

And it has been since the Garden of Eden, other than for our sinless Savior Jesus Christ.

God loves people and He wants them to follow a better, spiritually brighter path.

That’s why He calls certain people into Christian leadership — to help others step onto and stay on that path.

To succeed in that mission of avoiding the “godless egg” hunts, the leaders are to set the example of what God desires.

And that’s why the Apostle Paul wrote the following words to his ministry apprentice Timothy.

But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you.” (I Timothy 6:11-12)

The evil things to which Paul was referring included the chasing of riches, an unhealthy desire to debate over the definition of words and other foolish and harmful desires that “plunge” people into ruin and destruction.

Paul is not saying we have no need of income. He’s not saying we should ignore false teaching in the church. And he’s not saying it’s wrong to enjoy the privileges of married romance.

What he IS saying, instead, is to place the things of God listed above at the top of our priority list.

This is what people of God do as they are running away from those things that are such dangerous threats.

Yes, they are dangerous and can destroy us.

I would never walk up to a grizzly bear and ask to dance. If I saw one coming toward me, I’d run as fast as I could.

Listen, a grizzly is a teddy bear compared to Satan.

Let’s make sure we run from him and his schemes.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

There are a number of clear, artesian springs in North Central Florida where millions of gallons of pristine water gushes from the Florida aquifer each day.

Many of these have been turned into tourist attractions by the state government with others serving as the magnets for private tourism operations.

They are stunning to behold since most inland bodies of water are murky because of suspended sediment or because of pollution.

If you’ve ever visited one of these springs — Silver Springs in Ocala, Florida is perhaps the most famous — you’ve been astounded by the clarity and perhaps have even dove in for a swim in what seems to be “liquid air.”

Now imagine the disgust you would feel if you saw a garbage truck backing up to the water’s edge and then you watched it dump 50,000 pounds of decaying, stinky refuse into the crystal clear spring.

You’d be calling 911 before the truck back-up alarm stopped beeping.

That’s horrible!” you’d shout as you tried to get the driver to stop what he was doing.

As the filth filled the spring, thoughts of drinking from it would disappear. Thoughts of enjoying a refreshing swim would cease.

You’d feel sad, actually, that what was created by God with such beauty had been corrupted by a human choice.

Now, consider this verse from my devotional reading this morning:

“If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.” (Proverbs 25:26)

Please, my friends, don’t give in to the temptations Satan sends your way.

Don’t join in when others gossip.

Don’t think Happy Hour puts a smile on God’s face.

Don’t look at porn witht the same eyes that hope to see the Lord.

Don’t hold grudges in the same heart that has been saved by grace.

Jesus said that He came so that a fountain of Living Water could flow from all who accepted Him as Lord and Savior.

Let’s fill our lives with that which is clean so that whatever flows from our lives is clear and Christlike, refreshing all those in our lives.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

Nobody likes hearing about “dirty old men.”

It’s so much better to hear about godly old men.

That’s why it is so good when older men keep their hearts and minds — and eyes — focused on what is honorable, not shameful.

It’s bettter for everyone in their lives.

Including themselves.

Of course, this is true for men of all ages. Women, too.

The challenge for believers to remain chaste in their actions and thoughts is not an outgrowth of Internet porn’s explosive growth.

This challenge actually goes back to the time of Noah, it seems, when people were constantly thinking of ways to live for the flesh (Genesis 6:5) to the point that God was sorry that He had made mankind (Genesis 6:6).

Even 3,800 years ago, resisting sexual lust was a real challenge for the faithful, according to Job 31.

But it could be done.

And, thankfully, the godly man named Job did so.

“I made a covenant with my eyes 
not to look with lust at a young woman. For what has God above chosen for us?
 What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high?” (Job 31:1-2)

Job was in the midst of great pain and heartache and being married to a faithless wife. Yet he had done the spiritual math and had calculated that an eternity of peace and joy while gazing upon the Lord was a better deal than a collection of “eye candy” moments that prompted immoral fantasies outside of marriage.

This principle applies to all of us, not just the men.

Let’s make a covenant with our eyes to avoid those things that dishonor God and poison our loyalty to living a sanctified life.

Colossians 3:17 is a great compass for us.

“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all for the glory of God.”

Amen.

As always, I love you
Martin

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »