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Posts Tagged ‘Personal holiness’

Once again, I’m humbled by my lack of perceptiveness.

Here was my prayer just now:

“Thank you, God, for reminding me of why I must continue re-reading the Bible year after year. I have SO much to learn.”

I have read the book of Acts countless times and yet I never paid close enough attention to the first verse of Chapter 3.

I did today, however, and I am convicted of a change I need to make in how I approach prayer.

Here’s what I read there:

“Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service.”

The two apostles were used to praying at a designated time during the day. It was part of their spiritual discipline.

And when you read the rest of Acts 3, you’ll see how their devotion to prayer opened a huge door for ministry.

I like that sequence.

I want to experience the same depth of opportunity.

I believe as I become more structured in my prayer life, God will open more doors for ministry.

I’ve never designated a non-meal time during the day when I would stop for prayer other than my morning devotional time.

I need to make this change.

Perhaps you’ll do the same.

I need to have set-aside time with God.

Pray that I will find the discipline to get this change done. I have set my phone alarm for 3 p.m. daily in order to remind me.

I believe that more ministry opportunity — and power for ministry — will result.

I will pray the same for you.

Wouldn’t it be great if you and I could pledge to hold each other accountable for doing this?

If you’d like to join me in this, please let me know.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Psalm 105 is a description of how God delivered the Hebrews out of Egypt with divine protection and provision.

It’s a quick read that illustrates the power and purposes of God.

You can check out that passage and others in today’s One-Year Bible reading by clicking here.

The psalm provides a marvelous picture of God’s mercy and might.

So why did God do these things for the Hebrews?

Verse 45 has the answer:

“All this happened so they would follow His decrees and obey His instructions.”

Sometimes the Hebrews did what verse 45 described.

Life was good in the Promised Land at such times.

Many times, though, they ignored God’s Word and God’s will.

And despite repeated pleas made to the people through prophets inspired by God, the people recurringly ignored God’s Word and His will.

You know what happened as a result.

The fountain of blessings dried up and the tsunamis of torment took its place.

We’ve experienced the same to a lesser extent, I’m sure.

Life is always better when we learn and obey.

It’s no accident that God has blessed you with health, with relationships and with income.

Please be careful that your life of faithful obedience will be clear to all, including Him.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Let’s become more like God.

Here’s why I say this:

“But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

What relationship wouldn’t be stronger if we demonstrated these five characteristics more fully?

Be like God today.

Everybody in your home, your workplace, your school and your neighborhood will be glad you did.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Guard rails are not fences.

They’re not there to keep cars off the road but instead to keep cars on it.

Fences are to keep people out.

Guard rails are to keep people in.

Sometimes, we Christians lose sight of this when it comes to our faith.

The Bible and the beliefs it calls us to embrace are for the purpose of keeping us in His family, not for trying to keep people out.

Scripture really is, in effect, a God rail.

Here’s why I say this:

“Godliness guards the path of the blameless” Proverbs 13:6

Godliness is a guard rail.

It keeps us on the narrow path that leads to eternal life.

When we reject godliness — and we’ve all had moments or seasons of doing so — the guard rails disappear and we inevitably end up in a ditch — or worse.

Nobody likes running into a guard rail… or a God rail.

We get banged up and we have consequences to sort through, not the least of which is a bruised, convicted conscience.

I’m thankful for the God rails in my life that the Holy Spirit has used to get me back between the lines of godly living.

I pray that you’ll feel the same as you travel the narrow road.

As always, I love you
Martin

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If your job is going well, be careful.

If your health is good, be careful.

If your family relationships are strong and smooth, really be careful.

The fact is that we’ve all got to be very careful when our lives are going very well.

God said so.

For if we carelessly lose sight of the real reason why things are going so well, things just might turn south in a bad way.

“But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful!

“Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good.

“He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.”

These words from Deuteronomy 8:11-18 provide a potent reminder that what we have regarding abilities, opportunities or possessions has been given to us by God. To Him we are beholden. And for Him should our obedience be complete.

Tell everyone that our blessings and abilities are gifts from God.

They just might want to start thanking Him for their blessings and abilities as they recognize — as should we — that it’s only because of God that they even have life.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Psalm 25:3 gives us the pathway to living an honorable life respected by others.

This is not about being rich or famous or dominating.

This is about having a life that displays good character and the absence of shame.

You and I might never be wealthy financially or popular socially, but we can be a person who is well thought of by our circle of influence.

And that is a key element when it comes to influencing people toward the Lord whom we serve.

“No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.”

Let’s trust in God, not in a carnal ability to trick or manipulate others.

Life is better for everybody that way.

Eternally.

As always, I love you

Martin

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The last book of the Old Testament is rich with relevant counsel for Christians.

A couple of verses in chapter 2 of Malachi are of particular interest since they describe what I know God has called me to do.

And not just because I’m a pastor.

These are words that describe the ministry to which God as called every Christian:

The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from them, and they greatly revered Me and stood in awe of My name. They passed on to the people the truth of the instructions they received from Me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with Me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin.” (vv. 5-6)

Wow. What a wonderful legacy that the Levites had left as described by Malachi 2.

I want to live this kind of life.

I want to leave a legacy like this.

And so I need to live with reverence and worship with awe, passing onto others the truths of the Bible as I commit myself to righteous living.

It is then that I will be more effective in turning others’ lives from sin.

Please…. join with me in this call from God as we head into a new year.

So many need to experience His grace and peace and power as part of a new life.

As always, I love you
Martin

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