Category: God is jealous for you

Change of Season

When the beautiful leaves of fall begin to flood the ground—my heart twinges—it’ll soon be winter. Of all the season changes this one causes me—the born and raised southern California girl, to have to mentally prepare.

My heart and life are experiencing an even vaster season change. Just the term used to describe it sounds wrong. Empty nest.

Truly, it’s not the fact that the kids grew up that aches my heart—it’s the rending—the separation—the change of season it self.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m over being sad, excited for the next season and I am gladly letting go of last season, ready to move forward—I just didn’t realize the ache would be so deep.

Two weeks ago today we packed up our youngest child and moved him to California, where he will begin fulfilling his God designed destiny. Before we left I went into his room to make sure nothing was forgotten—just the sight of the emptiness brought tears. I said oh God—I’m in trouble—it’s not even 6 AM on the first day of the trip and I’m crying! Ten minutes later with tears in his eyes my husband asks if I’ll be okay—more tears—this only lasted a few hours—thankfully our son was in a different car than us!

The day before the trip I sat at mid-day, amongst the chaos of preparations, in my chair needing my Father to hold me. In His faithfulness and this is the gist of what I want to share with you, He showed me that my heart is securely in His hand and He is massaging it. He knows the ache, He understands the season change and He’s put my heart in his tender care.

How faithful is God that He would accept the gift of our heart and take charge of it? I’m so grateful to be in a relationship with the One who knows and understands the smallest to the largest of heartache. He knew this time would come—this ache—and He knew just what to do.

This was an anticipated season change—every parent knows its coming, at times we even long for it. We prepare our children for adulthood—we teach them to walk, talk, feed themselves, use the potty,  get dressed on their own, read and write, take chances, speak out, be who God created them to be—that’s what we do as parents—every step of the way teaching them to be independent of us. By the grace of God we teach them to be excellent, strong, mature, loving, kindhearted, God filled—world changers.

Why then are we so taken off guard when those taught excellence, walk in excellence?

Because we have dared to love.

Dared to take God’s charge of carrying, giving birth to, training and finally releasing—yet again into God’s loving hands.

Letting go—always letting go—such is life.

The night before we said goodbye we were at his new church where he will start an internship, I looked over at my man-child—so handsome and so grown. He was worshiping the Lord—just as I taught him to do—giving God his all. As I wiped my tears the Lord softly said “He also is in my Hand.”

Everyone—everything—every season—always in His faithful hand.

Life—but a vapor is always bursting with season changes—no need to fear, be encouraged in knowing—your heart is being held by the heartbeat of heaven Himself.

Isaiah 43:13 Indeed before the day was, I am He And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand, I work, and who will reverse it?”

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

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Suddenly Moments

What do you do when you are having a bad day? Do you ever just worship God? Give thanks, glory or praise? Understandably being the humans that we are—this is not always our default reaction.

But I want to challenge you to step out of your normal default box and into the realm of suddenly moments—that result in God shaking our life to its very core and bringing about change.

I heard an amazing message—totally worth repeating—on Acts 16. Follow along with me as I reiterate what was happening and how God—our Knight in shining armor suddenly comes to save the day.

Paul and Silas, in the will of God—directed by Him—went to Macedonia. As they were lingering in Philippi, they met a God-fearing woman named Lydia who on hearing the Word of the Lord believed with all her heart, as a result she and her household were baptized and insisted the men stay at their home. At this point all is going well, Paul’s preaching—God’s moving and they are invited to stay and be cared for, in a rather nice place. Acts 16:6-15

One day on the way to prayer a demon possessed psychic, slave girl, started following them around, drawing attention to them by yelling out “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!”

Paul, not wanting to be in agreement with her or to be identified as being with her, ignored her for a few days then finally when too annoyed he cast the demon out of her. The slave girl was suddenly free and her owners very upset—their lucrative little business had come to an end. Consequently, Paul and Silas were dragged into the market place—they were lied about and accused, causing the crowd to turn into an angry gang. Their clothes were torn off and they were ordered to be severely beaten and thrown into prison, under high security wearing leg irons.  Acts 16:16-24

Paul and Silas—bloody and beaten, sit chained in prison. Would you say they were having a bad day? Absolutely!

What did they do? Did they accuse God of unfaithfulness by whining and complaining?

No—just the opposite! Paul and Silas were found praying and worshipping.

What would you do?

I love how Paul and Silas handled the situation! Their default heart and soul reaction was to pray and worship God—in doing so they were giving thanks.

I pray our default heart reaction would be to silence the mouth of the accuser and give thanks by worshipping God.

How? Why? Because the truth is—He is always good. We must train our heart and soul to worship and give thanks according to truth—not circumstance.

This is when the suddenly moments of God’s faithfulness rule our life.

What happens next in Acts 16:25-26 is the cry of our heart.

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake! Paul and Silas’ worship caused God to shake the very foundations and set the prisoners free—the scripture says immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

Not just our own freedom from the prisons we find ourselves inoccurs when we worship, but freedom for others as well.

I don’t know about you but I need and want God to suddenly shake the foundation of various situations in my life and in the life of those I love and care about.

This Word from the book of Acts has brought fresh understanding to the scripture in 2 Thessalonians 5:18

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Please be encouraged to grab ahold of and own this concept. Worship God, giving Him thanks in every situation—lifting our eyes from life and circumstances to the God of the impossible—the One who can suddenly shake any situation and change the landscape of impossible surroundings.

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The Truth About Relinquishment

If ever there was a word or concept that can set a person on edge its relinquishment! Living a life of relinquishment, is not necessarily, a popular subject. Nonetheless, God calls us to surrender to it.

Following is a combination of three blogs written last year which elaborate on the art of living a relinquished lifestyle. Beginning with a quote from: My Utmost for His Highest (a collection of writings taken from messages preached in the 1800’s, by Oswald Chambers.) Enjoy!

The Relinquished Life by Oswald Chambers

“I am crucified with Christ.” Galatians 2:20

“No one is ever united with Jesus Christ until he is willing to relinquish not sin only, but his whole way of looking at things. To be born from above of the Spirit of God means that we must let go before we lay hold, and in the first stages it is the relinquishing of all pretence. What Our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavour, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give in exchange for our sin? Real solid righteousness. But we must relinquish all pretence of being any thing, all claim of being worthy of God’s consideration.

Then the Spirit of God will show us what further there is to relinquish. There will have to be the relinquishing of my claim to my right to myself in every phase. Am I willing to relinquish my hold on all I possess, my hold on my affections, and on everything, and to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?

There is always a sharp painful disillusionment to go through before we do relinquish. When a man really sees himself as the Lord sees him, it is not the abominable sins of the flesh that shock him, but the awful nature of the pride of his own heart against Jesus Christ. When he sees himself in the light of the Lord, the shame and the horror and the desperate conviction come home.

If you are up against the question of relinquishing, go through the crisis, relinquish all, and God will make you fit for all that He requires of you.”

The Power of Relinquishment

Have you ever held on to something for dear life? Afraid to let it go, dreading your worst fears would come to life? Holding on so tight for fear you won’t get want you really want or think you deserve?

Not letting something go, does not necessarily guarantee you won’t get hurt or that you’ll get what you want. Truthfully, faith in God should override the “holding on” mentality or lifestyle.

One of the stumbling blocks to having true faith in God is that we no longer can be in control. This is where relinquishment makes an entrance.

The dictionary definition of relinquishment: to renounce or surrender a possession or right. To give up; put aside or desist from: to relinquish a plan. To let go; release: to relinquish one’s hold.

Relinquishment is so powerful because it is an absolute act of faith. It is how we let God know we explicitly trust Him. Faith may seem complex, but in its simplest form genuine faith basically means to actively trust God. To relinquish the reigns of our life and let God be in charge.

The first step in relinquishment is to surrender our own self-will: what we want, what we will do, what we think and feel. God gives us self-will and He will not override it. Self-will has to be handed over—let go of—relinquished to God, it really is the only thing He can’t change in us unless it is given over to Him.

The power of relinquishment is fluid in our life through humble faith. Jesus had to relinquish His self-will to the Father. If precious Jesus exchanged His will for God’s will, then why would we entertain ideas that our self-will is something we are master over?

John 5:30 says this about Jesus’ self-will,

“I do not seek or consult My own will (I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose) but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.”

Self-will can be problematic and persuasive, if not surrendered, that’s why God wants it. Not because He is this huge task Master, wanting all the control for His own benefit, but because He loves us—is jealous for us. God knows our life from beginning to end and He is the only One who can ultimately give us what’s best.

Relinquishing is a trust issue. Do we trust God enough to let go of our heart and life—of our self-will and let God have His way in our life?

I once felt very powerless to pray for people in my life who suffer from un-relinquished self will issues. I asked the Lord, how do I pray for my loved ones who clearly live their life in throws of selfish self-will? He told me, only love can break an obstinate self-will. I now pray that the sledge hammer of God’s love would crush stubborn self will in the lives of those I love. That they would get a revelation of the depth of God’s love for them.

God’s love changes everything. If we know that we know, that He loves us then relinquishing will not be a problem.

I love the way Oswald Chambers, says to deal with the difficulty of relinquishment. It’s worth repeating!

“If you are up against the question of relinquishing, go through the crisis, relinquish all, and God will make you fit for all that He requires of you.”

Be encouraged to go through the crisis of relinquishing your will—the God of infinite wisdom loves you and wants to make an exchange with you—your will—for His. In the exchange, the power of relinquishment will be released in your life.

The Prayer of Relinquishment

Letting go is rarely easy or desirable. However life is made up of numerous “letting go” sessions. I use the word sessions because the act of letting go usually requires more than just a simple release. The release typically comes at the end of a wrestling session.

Similarly, the prayer of relinquishment can be likened to a wrestling match. A match of the will, God’s will vs. our will.

Sometimes when we pray and ask God for something, we will give Him all the reasons why He should answer our prayer in the manner we want Him to. This is a sort of genie mentality. I rub the lamp and He gives me my heart’s desire—no questions asked. Prayer should be birthed out of relationship with God; if it’s not then we are in genie status.

As stated earlier, surrendering self-will is the first step in relinquishment. Self-will has to be exchanged; our will for God’s will. Surrendering requires trust, therefore relinquishing kicks us out of genie status and moves us into relationship status with God. Ultimately God desires that we know Him personally, and not just know about Him. He is interested in our heart—in its devotion to Him. He uses life situations to turn a divided heart to Him. If relinquishment is a trust issue, then guaranteed when the subject of relinquishment arises, the true colors of our heart’s devotion to Him will emerge.

Once again grasp the truth of Galatians 2:20,

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

At the cross we relinquish our rights—exchange our will, just as Jesus did. The words “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live” translate to “my life is no longer identified as mine—I give up my rights.” That’s the premise to the Christian life and to living in relationship status; the promise is “Christ lives in me.” Remember we can’t have the promise without the premise.

This brings us to the wrestling match, otherwise known as the prayer of relinquishment.

The foundation for the prayer of relinquishment is trust and love. We give up our hold, no matter the reason for our prayer. This is where the wrestling takes place, we wrestle to give up what we want or what we think is best. Human reasoning grapples with our faith in God and His Word. Then we relinquish.

Why relinquish? Because we understand and know God will answer our prayer from His all-knowing, all-loving stance of wisdom and care for us. Principally we trust Him to do His best for us.

Another very crucial point to the prayer of relinquishment is—do we want the answer to the prayer more than we want God? If so then we are in danger of idolatry.

The essence of the relinquishment prayer, must be we want God more than anything else. If it’s healing we are praying for, do we want the healing more than we want God? If it’s a wayward child, is our desire for our child more than our desire for God? If it’s for a broken heart, do want to be pain free more than go through the process of finding God for our relief? If it’s for financial breakthrough, relationships, peace or a myriad of other reasons—what is our real heart’s desire? God? Or whatever will make us feel whole? The truth is, God is the only one who can complete us, so we must start there. If we don’t, even when the prayer is answered, we will be left wanting.

I have heard of bed ridden people praying for healing, years upon years, that finally relinquish. Changing their prayer to, “God I want you more than I want healing and I’m tired of the wrestle” Healing came after they gave up their will. In essence getting their way was held in higher esteem than God.

A huge component to the prayer of relinquishment is when we relinquish our will to God, we settle with the truth of His sovereignty and live in peace, allowing the outcome of our circumstance to be well with our soul.

Please be encouraged to learn the lifestyle and prayer of relinquishment. In doing so you will move into deeper relationship with God; where love, peace and rest will be your portion!

Avoiding Relationship Failure

Relationships come in many shapes and sizes. From intensely deep to causal. No matter the relationship—the concept of preferring one another always applies.

This morning as I was preparing a word for a friend whose marring later today, the Lord dropped the word preference into my heart, along with Romans 12:10,

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Following is a re-post of a blog written about this time last year. This concept is timeless. Pleaseenjoy and apply!

Just the other day, I had a great conversation with a young bride to be. I was reminded of an amazing concept the Lord deposited in my heart years ago regarding relationships.

This approach to relationships is especially ideal when it comes to marriage.

Before I share this amazing secret with you, let me ask you a question. What do you think is the leading cause of any relationship malfunction and divorce?

Granted, I’m no expert but what God has shown me, is that selfishness and pride are the number one culprits of relationship failure.

I call it, “The Me factor.”

The secret  to relationships is “Preference.” Defined as: to value more highly, to hold before or above; and to give priority to.

Our example is found in Jesus. At the cross He preferred you and me. He knew it would be a brutal endeavor to go through, yet He chose God’s will over His. (Luke 22:42)

The concept unfolds as this—if each person in the relationship/marriage prefers and thinks more highly of the other, caring for the needs of the other person over their own needs, then all needs will be met.

Living a life of preference takes the focus off of our self; what I want—what I need and puts the emphasis on the other person in the relationship. We move out of the selfishness of concentrating on our own wants, needs and desires and tune into what will bless the other person.

Is this an easy way to live? No.

Why? Because in order to be like Jesus we must die daily—we must decrease so He can increase.

The fear to this lifestyle is; what if the other person in the relationship doesn’t want to live a preferring life style? What about Me? How will my needs be met?

Valid concern. The answer—Jesus.

Since He really is, the only one who should or could, complete, fulfill or meet our needs—then He is the answer.

This was a difficult concept to grasp, mainly because it opposed my flesh. But once I submitted to the Lord in thisit changed my life, not to mention all my relationships!

In my marriage I stopped choking the life out of my husband trying to get him to meet my every need. Essentially I discovered that Jesus really is enough for me.

This concept brings freedom. It frees you to go deeper in relationship with God, making Him all you need. It frees you to love others, love your spouse, parents, children and siblings without putting the heavy burden of meeting your needs on them. Basically you are free to love without unreasonable expectations on either party.

I have found such joy and depth in my relationship with God since He asked me to live life in this manner of preference.

I invite you to go deeper. To relinquish your wants, needs and desires to God and let Him be “The One” to complete you. You seriously won’t be sorry—just free. Free to love and be loved!

Submission as a Lifestyle

The S word—submission—kind of has a bad rep, but truthfully, grasping the concept of submission and living it—is a very fulfilling lifestyle.

It may seem ominous and understandably there will be questions. In this blog I hope to ease your heart and answer the most popular of questions regarding submission as a lifestyle.

What does a lifestyle of submission mean?
A lifestyle of submission translates to freedom. Freedom from the devil, the world and our flesh—freedom from addictions—freedom from self-absorption. This kind of freedom allows us to draw near to God—to know and love Him as the scripture in Matthew 22:37 says we should.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

What does a lifestyle of submission look like?

Submission as a lifestyle needs to have its foundation in three truths.

  • It’s about the heart—check and realign your heart attitude to embrace submission
  •  It’s about trust—trusting God is good, and only has good for you
  • It’s about all—loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength

Living this lifestyle entails the giving over (and not taking it back) of our heart, soul and life to God daily—allowing Him to be Lord over every detail of our life. Giving Him the controls.

Why should we willingly live this lifestyle?
We must first settle, in our self, to know that a life of submission is not a choice. Why? Because when we give our life to God and ask Him to be Lord—we now live in a kingdom—where God is King—He’s the ruler.

We choose this lifestyle because of love. He loves us—went to the cross—because of love. And because He loves us, just as an earthly father should love and care for his children—God, our Father has our best interest in His heart—He will never steer us in the wrong direction. God is always for us—constantly faithful. Submitting our life to His kingship signifies our love for Him. (For more on the subject of God’s faithfulness: click here to read) God’s Faithfulness is Not On Trial 

How do we live a lifestyle of submission?
We decide to trust God—giving Him everything—all the time.
Trust is a choice—be willing to make it!

In the last blog The S Word (click here to read) we learned a lifestyle of submission first starts with surrender. It’s when we’ve tried all these different ways to live our life and be in control, but yet being our own lord is not working—something’s missing—so we surrender.

Most all of our problems can stem from an un-submitted heart, soul and life. A submitted lifestyle brings the freedom and fulfillment of rest, peace and joy to life.

Please be encouraged to love God with all your heart, soul and life—thus submitting!

Romans 10:3
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

The S Word

What comes to your mind when you hear the words submission and surrender?

Do they sound like curse words—not setting well in your vocabulary or lifestyle?

What about the concept of these words? Does it make you uneasy? Does it interfere with your idea of freedom?

If you are anything like me these words are foreign—well, they used to be foreign—until I realized how much freedom and love were actually attached to them.

When we view submission from the right perspective it leaves no room for us to be bitter or offended at God for the concept. No, instead it just makes sense—God Loves me, Jesus gave His life for me—He wants His best for me—I trust Him, therefore I will willingly come under His mission (sub-mission) for my heart, soul and life.

Surrender is what should happen prior to learning to live a lifestyle of submission. Quite often the words and concept of surrender and submission are interchanged. Although surrender and submission start with the same letter they are not exactly the same concept.

  • Surrender signifies: to give up
  • Submission translates:  to give over

To best depict the two I like to use these simple illustrations:
Surrender:  At the end of a long, exasperating battle, with no hope of success on their own, an army raises the white flag in surrender. We try ninety-nine different ways to fix our life. Then, when it’s apparent we need help, as a last resort—we surrender to God. Although this illustration resembles most of us, it does not necessarily have to be this way. We do not surrender because we are losers with no other hope. No, we surrender because Jesus has won the victory and has invited us to partake with Him.

Submission:  A child willingly takes a parent’s hand, not out of fear, but out of love. The child may not want to be led but knows by giving control over to his parent he is at peace and can safely rest under his parent’s authority. He knows he is loved and even when he cannot see it, he knows his parent always has his best interest in mind and will do what is best for him.

Submission is to be rooted in the inner most part of our heart and then is displayed through our obedience. When it comes to our relationship with God it resembles us willingly giving God our life—trusting Him enough to hand everything, both big and small, over to Him and allowing Him to be Lord. It is very difficult to submit when the love of God is in question, therefore this question should be dealt with immediately.

Daily submission starts and ends with Humility, please understand humility does not mean humiliated, God is not out to humiliate us—remember God is good. Submission and humility set the atmosphere for God’s presence.
Let’s look at James 4:6-8.

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Vs. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

According to the scripture, humility and grace give us the capacity to submit. As we submit to God and resist the devil, the devil has to flee, this opens the door for us to draw near to God and (I love this part) He promises to draw near to us. Furthermore in this drawn near place we are positioned to give our heart and soul to God to be cleansed and purified.

One of the best ways to start our day is to first pray James 4:6-8 and submit to God. Basically it’s getting our heart, spirit, body and soul into alignment with God and His will.

Please be encouraged to live  Submission as a Lifestyle—finding the very heart of freedom and love—finding God!

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. Romans 10:3

For more on submission as a lifestyle please read the blog Submission as a Lifestyle—it will change your life!

 

Divine Rearrangement

cs lewis

I was recently reminded of a time in my life where the landscape of my heart and soul were rearranged. Prior to this divine rearrangement I was unsatisfied with my life and my simple Christianity, I knew there had to be more.

In my thirst I cried out to the Lord asking for His rain, fire, wind and flood. I did this with an unpretentious understanding that He would come and bring something fresh. What I didn’t realize was that it would rearrange my entire life.

When we think of the rain of God—we picture Him showering us with His love, the fire of God is pictured as His intense presence, the wind—His Spirit flowing through us, the flood—an abundance of refreshing.

That’s very poetic, but in all reality when those four elements arrived they overwhelmed everything I knew, and when they left I was rearranged. Rearranged for the better of course—and in the end that’s all that really mattered.

I was reflecting on hurricanes and tsunamis, or storms of any kind—after their initial devastation the landscape, to say the least, is rearranged.

Most times we don’t understand why hardships are allowed to interrupt our life—but what I do know is—God is constantly good, and always has a beautiful purpose for divine rearrangement.

Even the simplest most sought after situations bring rearrangement. Take marriage for example—the young couple so excited to finally live together, embark on their new life and suddenly reality hits—they have to learn to live their life in a whole new manner. It’s no longer about one person, but about selflessly giving your whole self to the person who just invaded your space! Now life is rearranged.

Or how about having a new baby? The couple has hoped and prayed and imagined how wonderful this new precious life will be. And yes, this baby is the most perfect gift. But truth be told—this tiny, adorable child has many needs! And life as you know it is divinely rearranged!

In all situations it’s our heart that matters. We must keep a soft, pliable heart towards God. Embracing the good and the bad—seeking His divine, sovereign purpose—even in rearrangement.

Please be encouraged knowing that if God be for you who can be against you!

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:2-3

What is Significant to God?

In what does God’s heart delight? We can be sure of this—what thrills God’s heart is in stark contrast to what our culture finds significant. The world typically glories in three standards: wisdom, power, and wealth. Likewise, success is widely measured by these gauges. But what is significant to God?

Jeremiah 9:23-24, beautifully relays God’s heart in this matter,

Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the LORD.

Is God against intellect, strength or wealth? No, not all; He created them for us. The basis here is this: If we are going to find significance in anything, let it not be in our accomplishments but let it be in the fact we understand and know God.

Those who know God and understand He is the Lord, the One who exercises lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness—these are the ones that He delights in; these thrill God’s heart.

Paul writes, Philippians 3:7-10

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with Him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead.

Paul lived life to its fullest, yet concluded that nothing mattered but knowing God. In verse 12 of chapter 3 he says,

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

Christ has laid hold of us so we can live, breathe and have our being in Him—essentially—to know Him and make Him known.

Paul’s desire to know God emanated from nothing less than to know Him—not for gain, but out of love. He didn’t seek His hand, just His face. God’s heart is delighted by those such as Paul, who glory in just knowing Him.

Please be encouraged not to find your significance in intellect, might or money, and certainly not in being a Christian or in doing Christian works. Instead let us find our significance in God and in knowing Him. May we be found as His delight.

Hosea 6:3

Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.

Is Holiness Out-of-Style?

What do you think? Looking at the church today, would you say that holiness is out-of-style or out dated? What do you think of when you hear the words—Be holy? Do these words sound as if they are something from the Old Testament?—something not for today?

Holiness is not a overly worn, out-of-style outfit—that has lost its value. Neither is it something we outgrow. Just the opposite—the longer we are Christians—we move deeper and further into holiness.

For the sake of clarity, let’s define holy, its definition is: set apart, sacred, endowed with purity, devout, godly, virtuous and consecrated.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross sanctifies us and makes us holy—set apart for God. We all love this fact and rightly so—we gladly embrace this form of holiness. Who wouldn’t want to be forgiven of their sin? Where holiness is seen as outdated is when we realize we are to live a holy lifestyle—on a daily basis. The reason being—it opposes our flesh.

The word holy scares some people. Holy is not a bad four letter word! Holiness has a bad connotation because it’s immediately thought of as no fun and/or religious. Instead of by its truth—set apart.

You may ask—set apart for what?

Set apart for relationship with a most holy God, His Son and the Holy Spirit. Both in the Old and New Testament, scripture says, “Be holy, for I am holy.” The Strong’s Concordance describes this kind of holy as “Likeness of nature with the Lord, different from the world.”

Likeness of nature with the Lord…different from the world—what it does not mean is a list of dos and don’ts. Yes, there are things we should not do because they are not of the nature of God. But as  Christians these behaviors should not be our desire, our desire should be to follow Godly principles, thus be of the same nature with God.

We can’t live a holy life if we regretfully hold ourselves to a list of conducts not to follow. If we are to be of the same nature of God, then we will follow Him and be in relationship with Him, because He loves us and we love Him. This love and this relationship cause us to be holy and to live in right standing with God and vice-versa. The reason we don’t participate in sin, is because it is not pleasing to God and separates us from Him. Our heart is to love and please Him—be with Him and be like Him.

God’s Word is clear we cannot partake in a sinful manner of living, understandably some behavior can be disputed—seeming grey and not really sin…but maybe. This is where holiness gets sticky—when questionable behavior has to be scrutinized, categorized or defended—it’s a no brainer—if it’s questionable—don’t defend it—live without it—starve your flesh and be holy!

We should be glad, not disappointed that we are called to be holy and that we don’t indulge in sinful conduct. We should see it as a safety net—protecting us from a empty lifestyle that never stops craving after its self—a lifestyle that finds pleasure in self-indulgence, not God indulgence.

Religion says “I can’t do this or that because I’m a Christian”—relationship says “I don’t do this or that because I love God.”

God is jealous for us to live holy lives not because He loves rules, but because holiness sets us apart for Him and causes us to draw near to Him—which then causes Him to draw nearer to us.

Holiness is about relationship—not rules. Holiness is only out-of-style if we want to please our sinful nature.

A lot of Christians are stubborn towards holiness. I challenge you to be stubborn in your holiness, not allowing the devil, the world and the flesh to manipulate your life. 

Selfishness is easier and more pleasing to human nature, but this is what sets us apart—we do not live according to human nature but God’s nature. The Church—The Bride of Christ, should be set apart—we should be different. Different, but not weird and religious!

How will we make a difference in this world if we represent rules and not Christ? What will we have to offer that’s different?

 If we love our life so much that we outdate holiness—how will we make a difference—a difference that saves lives?

It is not difficult to be holy nor is it a lofty unattainable lifestyle. God never asks us to do anything or be anyone that He will not equip us to be. He gives grace to the humble—grace is a resource—grace fills in the gaps—it is available to us—for holiness. We just have to want to be holy.

Some Christians use grace as an excuse not to be holy—grace is not an excuse, but an endless supply of assistance and support to live a godly lifestyle.

In a holy lifestyle we do not live overly cautious of our sin, instead we live mindful and in honor of God’s presence and of our relationship with Him. 

I’m not perfect, but I am submitted and really passionate to be in closer relationship with God—I’m passionate for the Church to be in closer relationship with God—therefore I’m passionate about pursuing holiness.

I’m bringing holy back! What about you?

Please be encouraged to BE holy as He is Holy!

Ephesians 5:1-6 “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Don’t allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed. Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect. You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.”

1 Peter 1:13-16  “So brace up your minds; be sober (circumspect, morally alert); set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace (divine favor) that is coming to you when Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is revealed. [Live] as children of obedience [to God]; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires [that governed you] in your former ignorance [when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel].But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living.For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.”