Being Holy

What is being holy all about? We are called to be holy. I have thought and thought about this thing of being holy for a very long time. I thought I didn’t have it, but I really wanted it.

God said, in the first verse of Leviticus 19, “Be holy, because I am holy!” He then goes on to tell us how to do that. I know Leviticus is not one of the modern Believer’s favorite books. It’s full of rules and customs and laws that are ancient, and, well we’re New Testament Believers, right?

I used a bit of sarcasm here because Jesus definitely had something to say about that. He said, “Don’t misunderstand why I have come—it isn’t to cancel the laws of Moses and the warnings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them and to make them all come  true.” Matthew 5:17NLV  

I hope you will take the time to read the whole chapter of Leviticus 19. It’s amazing!  (Just click on the blue letters and it will take you to Bible Gateway.) There are so many answers to our culture’s questions about what God says about so many issues. When God said, “Be holy, because I am holy”, He didn’t just leave it at that. He went on to explain in the next verses how to do that. I picked out 10 that stood out to me. I’ve paraphrased some of them for you:

1. Worship God ONLY

2. Keep the Sabbath. God does not say worship on the Sabbath. He says rest on the Sabbath. The expectation here is we can and should worship every day. But since we work every day we need to rest so we have the energy to do our jobs effectively. God knew that so He said, do it.

3. Give your offering sacrificially. Remember the woman with the 2 mites. It was all she had so she gave all she had.

4. Obey His commandments. Yes, all 10 of them!

5. Do not use His Name for anything but worship. This OMG stuff is completely unacceptable to Him. When I hear it or see it the Spirit within me cringes.

6. Care for the needy. That’s why we have the admonition to leave the edges of the fields unharvested. It’s a really creative way to give to the needy. Those who need it can harvest it.

7. Be just. Don’t skew the law because of race, color, creed, wealth, age… or just because you want it your way.

8. Be loving and treat all with respect. I discovered early on, in my teaching career, that respecting my students made a huge difference in what they learned.

9. Do not lie! Can we please go back to just saying what is true? Political correctness and tolerance for everything and anything are way out of control.

10 Avoid hate, violence, and sexual immorality.  We are living in a time where these sins are rampant. Stay away from all three!

So how do we ‘become’ holy? It really is a daily process. It doesn’t just happen when the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. There’s more to it. Holiness requires some thought and work. We are called, invited, and commanded to make holiness a part of our lives.

He created us in His image. He wants us to show the World who He is.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Keep It In Mind!

Do you have Bible verses firmly planted in your mind? What was the last Bible verse you memorized?

I really hope you have an arsenal of memorized Bible verses ready to use every time you need them. There are 31,102 to choose from. Every one of them was breathed by God onto the pages of His Word to be used by us in every situation, circumstance, and aspect of our lives.

Why should we have God’s Word ready in our minds at any moment? David says it very simply in Psalm 119:11 — “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” Yes, David sinned (see 2nd Samuel 11 through the end of his life) but if he hadn’t known God’s word, and hidden it in his mind (heart), he wouldn’t have known it was a sin to do some of the things he did. He also knew he had to ask God’s forgiveness.

These simple words, written and prayed by David, and passed on to us show perfect repentance. David penned them when he was made aware of his sin.

Which of the 31,102 verses will you choose to keep in your mind?

Abba, Father, help us know and use Your word in every activity and event in our lives. Show us what You want to have firmly planted in our memories.

Calming A Churning Mind

What do you do when you find your mind is roiling, churning, restless… When stress and circumstances are overwhelming? I have several Bible verses that I ‘go to’ and think about to calm those thoughts that just will not stop.

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God! I have this on a plaque in my office. It reminds me to sit back, relax, and simply know His presence.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your works acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. I memorized this in college, at a time when I was making career and life choices. It has served me well in the many years since. Trusting Him has always paid off!

Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses, but we trust in the Name of the Lord our God. Years ago, Ray and I were at a dinner theater in the Great Smokey Mountains. This verse was carved into the mantle of the gigantic fireplace of the building. It reminds me that no matter what I have or even, what I want, He is the most important.

Esther 4:4 …who knows that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this. When I am questioning the plan, whining with a case of the why me’s, I sit back and reflect on this verse and Queen Esther’s story. It reminds me that we do what we have to do because it is the right thing to do.

John 3:17 For God sent not His Son to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. This verse follows the most memorized verse in the Bible… God so loved the world… It’s a reminder that we are so loved that He does not want to condemn us! From the beginning, He has wanted us with Him!

I challenge you to commit at least 10 Scriptures to memory. To those of you who have already done that, do more. The calming effect this will have on your mind, soul, and spirit is almost like being cradled in His arms.

Abba, Father, open our hearts, minds, and souls to Your Word. Place in each of us a great desire to know more and more of You each day.

The Promises of God – Storybook Bible – Review

The Promises of God Storybook Bible is not just another children’s Bible but one that proves God is always in control, can always be trusted, always loves His children, always provides, always cares, always…

It’s very interesting to read children’s versions of the Bible, especially after having read and taught the ‘adult’ version for so many years.  Because God’s Word is alive and active, any retelling of the story should reiterate those truths that we know so well and allow ‘new’ truths to become real.  For instance, why did Joseph cry when he saw his brothers again.  We’re often taught that it was because he missed them so much, but could it also be that even though he had forgiven them their betrayal still hurt.

God’s sovereignty is a consistent theme throughout the stories, helping children (actually, anyone who reads it) understand that God is in total control of all aspects of life.

I’m always cautious with Paul’s part of the story and presenting it in such a way that children understand that he is being used by God, through his writings, to help the Believers, both then and now, understand God’s Word, Jesus’ life and sacrifice, and how it applies to our everyday lives. Jennifer Lyell does this beautifully. Check out his quote from her words on 1 & 2 Thessalonians.

Paul wrote these letters to the church in Thessalonica thousands of years ago. But God put them in the Bible because they’re also promises for us today, and they have been for followers of Jesus from the beginning.  We are all to wait for Him to come back and not worry about when it will be because God knows the perfect time.  And we are to listen only to teachers who teach what matches the things Jesus taught.  And we should encourage one another to work hard telling people about Jesus like Paul did! (pg. 255)

I shared this book with a delightful family to read and review for me.  Their comments were very positive with only one suggestion which I found quite interesting.  They felt that sometimes the titles were misleading and should have better matched the story and the concept of God’s Promises.

I would have liked to see some of Mrs. Lyell’s stories of the other New Testament writers, like James and Peter, included in this book.

I highly recommend this book.  Jennifer Lyell is an awesome storyteller. It will be an excellent resource for family devotions, Children’s Sunday School and small group teachers.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B & H Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Should you click on a link and purchase this book I receive no remuneration.

 

 

Fresh Start Bible Review

As a Small Group, Bible Study leader I was (and am) very excited about this new resource, the Fresh Start Bible.

There are many kinds of study Bibles. Some are historical and archeological. Some are topical. Some are word referenced, giving the reader specific guidance as to meaning usage. Some are paraphrased into modern language usage for better understanding. All are intended to point the Believer to a better understanding of His Word and how it applies to daily life. The Fresh Start Bible is no exception. Using the New Living Translation it has hundreds of articles written by various people that enhance and provide understanding. Several short ‘side-bars’ provoke deeper thought about known concepts and stories. It includes many articles about questions that both the new and seasoned believers might have. Personal comments, historical facts, and suggestions for personal, everyday use abound.

I decided to use this Bible as my main resource in preparing and teaching a series of lessons on how the Tabernacle of the Old Testament applies to contemporary worship. It was helpful and informative, leading not only me but also my fellow learners to new insights and thoughts about the subject.

In a future upgrade to this work, I would suggest more ‘side-bars’, commentary and articles for the Old Testament portion.

I highly recommend this resource for both Bible study leaders as well as learners.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy free from Gateway Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”