Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pursuing Holiness



This topic was prompted by an article from ODB on Mar 8, 2015 by the author David McCasland. He was basing his article on (Heb 12:14) which reads in the NLT version "Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord". One Bible dictionary defines holiness as "Separation to God and conduct fitting to those separated". I would think that is a pretty well all inclusive definition that caught my eye. A generation ago there were certain denominations that emphasized "sanctification" leading to "holiness", but unfortunately such is not the case in the present generation. We hear little or no preaching on these subjects from our pulpits today, for various reasons I suppose. Author Frederick Buechner said while writing about a person's character "nothing is harder to make real than holiness". Then he adds "holiness is not a human quality at all, like virtue. Holiness is---not something that people do, but something that God does in them".


The apostle Paul writes in (Rom 6:4) a rather stunning statement about the gift God gives to us. In the NLT version it reads "For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives". Water baptism is the confirming act of salvation and should follow as closely after a person receives Jesus as Lord and Savior as possible, in my opinion. Remember we have an enemy that hates God and will do everything in his power to discourage a new convert to avoid water baptism, because he knows that act of being buried in water and then raised up in newness of life disconnects that person from his kingdom of darkness. The pursuit of holiness occurs daily as we yield ourselves in obedience to the Lord instead of following our old ways of self-gratification. Paul finishes up chapter 6 in the NLT version with "But now you are free from the power of sin and have now become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord", (Rom 6:22-23). Now we can ask ourselves "are we becoming more holy?" By God's grace and power the answer can be a resounding YES!! More and more each day, PTL!! Actually the choice to pursue holiness is a matter of life or death!!

Sincerely submitted.

Dave Jamer                                                                                                                        14/03/15

Thursday, March 12, 2015

His Choice



These words were the title of the devotional article by Joe Stowell in the ODB for Feb 25, 2015. He told about his daughter Libby when she was 4 years old, often when he prayed for her he would tell her that if all the 4 year old girls in the world were lined up in a row, he would go down the whole row until he found her, and choose her because she was "special". He said this always brought a smile to her face. And I can only imagine that the people from the church in Thessalonica had a smile on their faces when they read this letter from Paul, (2 Thess 2:13) "As for us we can't help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth. He called you to salvation when he told you the good news; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ". (NLT) From before the beginning of time God chose us to be part of His eternal family without any merit or worthiness of our own, but simply because we were chosen by Him.


This is pure "Grace" on our part as Paul explains in (Eph 2:4-10), and we can't boast about it. It is all because of His great love for all of His created beings that He arranged salvation to be available for us through the death of Jesus on the Cross on Mount Calvary. This is available for any sinner by simply choosing to believe that what Jesus did on the cross was for me personally, and receive Jesus as my own personal Lord and Savior. If you haven't done that yet: what is stopping you from doing it now? God's Word says in (2 Cor 6:1-2) in the NLT version "As God's partners, we beg of you not to accept this marvelous gift of God's kindness and then ignore it. For God says, at just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation I helped you. Indeed, the 'right time' is now. Today is the day of salvation". I don't think the truth of salvation can be explained much clearer any where in scripture than in this passage by the Apostle Paul who was a great church planter, and wrote many letters to the early churches. If you are not a devoted follower of Jesus at the present time, I would suggest you consider closely the scriptures I mentioned in this article. You have much more to gain than lose in my opinion, if you chose to follow Jesus as Lord today. Joe finished his article with these closing words "It's God's choice to love you and to make you part of His family"!!

Sincerely submitted.

Dave Jamer                                                                                                                         28/02/15   

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Deadly Weapon



Sometimes a discouraging remark can be "a deadly weapon", for Biblical examples we can take Nehemiah (Neh 4:1-10), and young David when he met the giant Goliath in (1 Sam 17:41-44) for details of what these 2 men had to face. Sometimes all of us have received comments, even from friends that can be quite damaging to our relationships. Perhaps it is just a casual remark that was not meant to offend, but was spoken in hast and was received as an offence. In the case of the passages mentioned from Nehemiah these men were real enemies who were trying to prevent the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem that had been destroyed. We read that Sanballat and Tobiah, along with other friends really didn't want to see Jerusalem restored, and did everything they could to discourage the workers.


In the passage from (1 Sam 17:41-44), David, the youngest son of Jesse, was sent by his father to take some food to his older brothers who were part of the Israelite army that were at war with the Philistine army. When David arrived at the battle site, he saw the Philistine giant Goliath who had been challenging the Israelite army for 40 days to send out a man to fight against him. When David observed the situation he cried out "Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?" (Verse 26). David had fought lions and bears to protect his father's sheep, and was not afraid of this pagan giant that was defying the army of the living God that he served. You know the rest of the story, how David defeated the giant with only one stone from his sling, that struck Goliath in the forehead and knocked him down, then David used the giant's sword to kill him and cut off his head. When the Philistine army saw that their champion was dead, they turned and ran. Then the Israelite army had a great victory that day.


So the enemies of both Nehemiah and David were defeated; Nehemiah and his workers finished rebuilding the wall; and David went on to be king of Israel. The fact that both of these men did not let the discouraging remarks of their enemies prevent them from having complete victory over their situations, should be a real encouragement to all of us. We all as followers of Jesus, face a common enemy in Satan, who hates God and all of God's children, and will do everything he can to prevent us from serving God by extending His Kingdom here on earth. The Father has given all His children the gift of the Holy Spirit when He "adopts" us into His family, and the Holy Spirit will abide with us for ever and ever!!

Sincerely submitted.

Dave Jamer                                                                                           03/03/15