Holiness to the Lord

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. John 18:36

I’ve been working on a blog entitled “My Kingdom” based on the above verse.  There are nine reverences in the New Testament to Jesus’ Kingdom or the Father’s Kingdom.  Do you ever stop and think about what that means, or where it is, or who is there, or how we get there, or why it should influence my life?  Hopefully, I’ve piqued your curiosity for the next blog, but until then, Oswald Chambers makes a great point!

And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.

Exodus 28:36

Continually restate to yourself what the purpose of your life is.  The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness…the one thing that matters is whether a man will accept the God who will make him holy.  At all cost a man must be rightly related to God…

God has one destined end for mankind, mainly, holiness.  His one aim is the production of saints.  God is not an eternal blessing-machine for men.  He did not come to save men out of pity: He came to save men because He had created them to be holy.  The Atonement means that God can put me back into perfect union with Himself, without a shadow between, through the death of Jesus Christ.

Never tolerate through sympathy with yourself or with others any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God.  Holiness means unsullied walking with the feet, unsullied talking with the tongue, unsullied thinking with the mind – every detail of the life under the scrutiny of God.  Holiness is not only what God gives me, but what I manifest that God has given me.  (My Utmost for His Highest – Oswald Chambers)

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Wooing Not Demanding

ID-100159550The law says, This do and you will live.

The gospel says, Live, and then you will do.

The law says, Pay me what you owe me.

The gospel says,I freely forgive you everything.

The law says, Make yourself a new heart and new spirit.

The gospel says, A new heart will I gave you, and a new spirit will I put within you.

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

The gospel says, Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loves us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The law ways, Cursed is everyone who doesn’t continue in all things written in the book of the law to do them.

The gospel says, Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

The law says, The wages of sin is death.

The gospel says,The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The law demands holiness.

The gospel gives holiness.

The law says, Do.

The gospel says, Done.

The law extorts the unwilling service of a slave.

The gospel wins the loving service of a son and friend.

The law makes blessings the result of obedience.

The gospel makes obedience the results of blessings.

The law places the day of rest at the end of the weeks’s work.

The gospel places it at its beginning.

The law says, If.

The gospel says, Therefore.

The law was given for the restraint of the old man.

The gospel was given to bring liberty to the new man.

Under the law, salvation was wages.

Under the gospel, salvation is a gift.

God is Enough – Hanna Whitall Smith

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The Power of Pruning

IMG_5843This is our Christmas tree.  We cut one every year if we can.  Over the years, we’ve tucked away a lot of precious memories.  We’ve cut trees in all sorts of places: from http://www.mccurdystreefarm.com near Mechanicsburg, PA (anyone in that area – if you’ve never been there, it’s a WONDERFUL place with wonderful people!) to the side of a mountain near Williamsport, to our present location just ten minutes up the road, where you cut your tree and then drive to the house about a half mile away to pay!  (That’s called the honor system!)

As our friend told us about this tree place last year, we were very impressed with the trees – well shaped, any size, and only $20; but this year she commented that they hadn’t pruned the trees yet as a warning to what we might find.

The Lord gave us a wonderful day – another memory maker – with all our children except our son-in-law who is in boot camp; however, I did notice that the trees were a bit more ‘natural’ looking, which suits me fine. Ah, but there is a lesson there for us!

This is only one year’s growth – in whatever direction nature willed.  What will they look like next year, or the next if no one prunes them?

The ‘natural look’ is fine for trees, but as Christians, the ‘natural look’ is a warning sign that we haven’t been trimmed by the Master!  He does that with the pruning shears of His Word.  We read ” Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16) or “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” (1 Peter 1:15), and the Lord lays something specific on our hearts that He wants to prune away.  What is our response?  Do we make excuses as to why it’s alright for us to keep that branch, or do we allow Him snip it off?

IMG_5849Pruning is painful.  It takes humility.  It takes sacrifice, but it makes such a difference in our lives.  We may look at what the Lord wants to prune and say, “But that’s too much!”  We’ve all had that experience at the hair dresser’s!  But praise God, He knows exactly how much to prune, when to prune and He sees the finished result: a life shining for the Lord, in the beauty of holiness instead a that natural look! (Gotta love a face like that!!)