Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. When I encounter the same message from different people at different times in different contexts, I pay attention. I expect that God is trying to tell me something. In recent weeks I’ve read a couple of articles about holiness and a related Scripture passage that had me thinking, “What is God saying to me?” The first encounter I had with the topic of holiness is an article by Cheryl Bridges Johns in the Church of God Evangel. Johns laments that many Christians today see no need for holiness, and that unfortunately, these “profane Christians . . . hinder the message that Jesus came to save, heal, and deliver all creation from the bondage of sin” (p. 13). While there is hope, it begins with the “death of self” and requires that we purge ourselves of self-seeking behaviors. Another discussion is found in the recent entry by Antipas Harris on Renewal Dynamics. Harris reminds us that although we live in this world we are not supposed to live like the world. In particular, “we must remain in tune with the enduring nature of God’s character — holiness to which all believers are called.” As I contemplated Harris’ blog and, in particular the readers’ comments, which seemed to suggest an uncertainty over what holiness is, I happened to read a passage in Col. 3:1-25, in which Paul refers to unholy versus holy behaviors and characteristics. In reflecting on the potential importance of these encounters, I recalled a song from the early 90s that says, “Lord, I hunger for holiness, and I thirst for the righteousness that’s yours.” The song reflects on the relationship of holiness, the desire for God, and the life and death battles (at least spiritually) we must fight in order to be victorious. I wonder, has anyone else been thinking about holiness lately?
Posts Tagged ‘prayer’
Tipping points are events that catalyze tremendous change. A tsunami-size tipping point has happened in the Middle East over the past six weeks, and we need to pray. The tipping point occurred in Tunisia last December 17, when police confiscated the fruits and vegetables of street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi, a 26-year old with a computer science degree, for not having a sales permit.
In retaliation for this injustice of legality trumping over economic hardship, Bouazizi doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire outside the Governor’s office. He passed away on January 4th, which ignited the protests leading to Tunisia’s president stepping down and fleeing the country.
The powder keg of discontent has been fanned across the Middle East in civil war, with anti-government forces in Egypt demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down in light of the escalating violence between anti- and pro- government supporters. The domino effects are rippling throughout the region, with Mubarak being in power for 31 years promising not to run for reelection and transitioning the country without chaos, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in power for 20 years promising not to run in 2013, King Abdullah II of Jordan firing his Cabinet promising reforms, and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir facing protests in Khartoum. Makes me think of Psalm 2:10: “Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.” Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, I was speaking to a friend (whom I shall call “Keith”). Now Keith is a man who’s been walking with God for over 40 years and is highly respected by many people within the church. During our conversation, he mentioned that he was quite displeased with the leadership of his church—and that he was considering leaving because his differences with the leadership are seemingly irreconcilable.
Keith’s reasons for potentially leaving the church seemed understandable to me. He then, however, proceeded to tell me something that I didn’t understand so well.
“I should know within the month whether I will leave the church or not,” he said.
“Why’s that?” I inquired.
Sighing, Keith answered, “I am doing what I always do. I put out a fleece for God to respond to. I told Him that I needed to see something specific happen. And if it happens, I’m leaving the church. If not, I’ll be staying put.”
For 69 days, , 33 Chilean miners survived the most harrowing experience of their lives. Trapped in a mine one-half mile beneath the earth’s surface for what seemed like eternity, these minors were rescued Wednesday and Thursday of this week. The world watched. We held our breath and experienced the relief and exhilaration of each of the minors making their debuts to the surface, cocooned in the safety of the man-made capsule. Read the rest of this entry »
Perhaps you have the same struggle as me. I am not in imminent danger of tossing away my salvation to adopt a life of wonton sin and pleasure. I have been married for 32 years and plan on staying that way. I have been “doing the ministry thing” for just about three decades now, so I am not plotting to reject my calling any time soon. I haven’t kicked the dog lately or called anyone bad names. So what do I struggle with? Dullness of heart. Not flaming hardness, just insidious dullness. That is my weekly struggle, and whatever else you struggle with, you probably have that one on your list. Just like an automobile, our spiritual life does not maintain itself, and requires regular maintenance to keep it running in tip-top shape. I determined a long time ago I was not interested in a spiritual life that runs like an old clunker – life is too short for that, and eternity too long. My priority each day is to chase away a dull spirit so I can live each day to its fullest.
The Scriptures record God’s ongoing frustration with people “. . . Who have eyes but do not see, Who have ear, but do not hear” (Jer. 5:21). It’s one thing to have a set of eyes and a pair of ears, but it’s another thing to use them. Human beings are notoriously effective at hearing what we want to hear. Our spiritual eyes and ears can become dull (Isa. 6:10) and that is a dangerous place to be. We listen and see selectively on our own terms, often when it is convenient and expected. Spiritual blindness and dullness of hearing can occur when we drift away from proper relationship with God…
The summer is here! My summer is very exciting; yet it is extremely busy. But each day I am committed to what I have called “prayer-ation” during this summer’s vacation and beyond. I would like to encourage each of you to do the same. Often, church attendance goes down during summertime as families take the time for much needed vacations.
Amidst the hustle and bustle, excitement and privileges of summer, let us remember to take the time to pray. There are so many things to consider in prayer– from personal concerns to national and international challenges. In this week’s Wednesday blog-posting, Diane Chandler calls our attention to the need to listen to God’s voice in light of the oil-spill catastrophe. Also, we remain paranoid amidst the spontaneous terror threats and the on-going war on terror. And the economy continues to take us on a roller-coaster ride. Who knows when it will level? There is always something to pray about! So, while we are vacating, let’s remember to never take a vacation from prayer– maybe we need to take vacations to pray. In Luke 6:12, amidst Jesus’ hectic schedule of teaching, preaching, healing and working miracles, he takes a vacation to pray. Read the rest of this entry »