Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Love Immeasurable and Inseparable

Have you measured God’s love for yourself lately? One drop of His blood is enough to fill the oceans and cover all of creation.

January’s Awakening, Day 31

Human love is capable of great things. What then must be the depth and height and intensity of divine love. Know nothing, think of nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified.

 —Lord Shaftesbury, to his schoolboy son who had a terminal illness

Go measure the heavens with your span;

go weigh the mountains in the scales;

go take the ocean’s water and calculate each drop;

go count the sand upon the sea’s wide shore;

and when you have accomplished all of this;

then you can tell how much He loves you!

He has loved you long!

He has loved you well!

He will love you forever!

 —C. H. Spurgeon

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lordʼs holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16–19 NIV

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38–39 NIV   

            Our love for God and others is incomparable to God’s love for us. God’s love is perfect, untainted by anything selfish, nonmanipulative, unconditional, sacrificial, with no expectation of return, simply infinite in its bounds given freely because of who God is. Nothing can separate yourself from God’s love for you—nothing. No amount of sin nor even if you reject Him—nothing separates you from the fact that as your Creator, He loves you regardless. 

            However, we were created out of love to love Him. Just as He doesn’t force you to believe in the saving work of Christ on the Cross, He doesn’t force you to love Him back either. Forced love is not love. It is a choice we must make just as we must choose to believe. It’s a choice we need to make daily, to love Him with all that we are. God certainly doesn’t need our love, but we certainly need to love God. Loving God is for our own good health and essential to our well-being. You see, if you can’t love God, you can’t possibly love anyone else.

Monday, January 30, 2017

God’s Love for Us

Our hearts are broken from the effects of sin. We need His love to mend and fill the void within.

January’s Awakening, Day 30

Incomprehensible and immutable is the love of God. For it was not after we were reconciled to him by the blood of his Son that he began to love us, but he loved us before the foundation of the world, that with his only begotten Son we too might be sons of God before we were any thing at all.

 —Augustine of Hippo

Christianity does not think of a man finally submitting to the power of God, it thinks of him as finally surrendering to the love of God. It is not that man’s will is crushed, but that man’s heart is broken.

 —William Barclay 

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:1, 2b–3 NIV

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:7–12, 16–19 NIV

            God’s love for us truly is immeasurable, and before we were, we were in His mind. He created us out of His love for us. Love is the intangible quality that binds all humanity together and binds all humanity who come through Christ Jesus to God. Love comes from God and as we are in His image we are a reflection of His love, although but dimly. His love for us is unconditional and He displayed His love by sending His one and only Son, Christ Jesus, to be our atoning sacrifice for sin on the Cross. That is love—sparing nothing, not even your life—for those you love.

            Sin has broken our hearts such that we need His love to fill that void. We can only love imperfectly and selfishly and that’s why we continually need to bask in the presence of His love— so that we can be filled to overflowing with love and continually allow it to flow freely from us. We are to send that love back to God and then to all mankind. To do so, we must be a conduit, always connecting with God and letting His love flow without restraint.  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

If Not Perfection, Then Excellence

Imagine that the Lord is constantly in your presence (and the Holy Spirit is) and perform each action and speak each word with a holiness perfection and be satisfied with nothing less than excellence. What level is your perfection meter reading?

January’s Awakening, Day 29

Perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. Neglect nothing; the most trivial action may be performed to God.

 —Angélique Arnauld

The farther a man knows himself to be from perfection, the nearer he is to it!

 —Gerard Groote

There is no such thing as completed or perfect holiness in this life. Progress yes! Perfection no!

 —Erroll Hulse  

We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. James 3:2 NIV

To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless. Psalm 119:96 NIV  

            Regardless of what you do and how you live, do everything unto the Lord with excellence. Perfection may be unattainable but doing everything with a mindset of excellence is not. I don’t think any of us would qualify with never being at fault with our speech, so we must avoid as many stumbling blocks as we are able. Always strive for perfection in holiness and in all that you do and don’t be satisfied with anything less than excellence. Let all that you say and do be as a gift to the Lord and try to imagine that He’s standing right there with you all the time—you certainly wouldn’t want to offend or disappoint Him.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Striving for Perfection

Aim high. Mature with grace. Separate self from sin. When self is all but gone and all that’s left is Him—you’ve arrived.

January’s Awakening, Day 28

The fact that perfection is beyond our reach, should not diminish the fervor of our desire after it.

 —C. H. Spurgeon  

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

 —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The only way to perfection is, to live in the presence of God.

 —Thomas Wilson

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48 NIV

            Even though true perfection in holiness is impossible in this earthly existence, we are instructed by God’s Word to continually walk in the Spirit of holiness in our new creation in Christ. We must aim for perfection for we will always fall way short of the mark. If we simply aim for mediocrity, even that will escape us. Maturity in ever-increasing holiness is a great goal to strive for and work for till the day Christ brings us home. Remember the key that holiness is “wholly otherness,” such that it is a separation of our body, soul, and spirit from everything contrary to God. Avoid and refrain from the sin that so easily ensnares and entangles us and chains us down to prevent us from winning the race. And yes, perfection truly has arrived when it’s more of Him and less of you to the point where self has all but disappeared.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Brokenness to Holiness

Do you have an unbridled, wild, and rogue spirit, unable to be used by the Master? Or have you learned the biblical secret of brokenness—an obedient and submissive vessel doing the Father’s will?

January’s Awakening, Day 27

Things that are holy are revealed only to men who are holy.


The serene beauty of a holy life is the most powerful influence in the world next to the power of God.

 —Blaise Pascal 

Holiness consists of doing the will of God with a smile.

 —Mother Teresa of Calcutta 

And now the Sovereign Lord has sent me, endowed with his Spirit. This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. Isaiah 48:16b–17 NIV

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:11–12, 17 NIV   

            Why do you think some individuals just seem to be more holy or progress into the holiness realm more quickly? What attribute or characteristic do you think they possess that allows them to reach these greater heights faster? Dedication and persistence? You may be surprised at what I think is the true factor that allows holiness to progress rapidly and to blossom into beauty—brokenness. Not the brokenness we typically think of—that of being fractured or shattered or nonfunctional—but the biblical idea of brokenness.

The biblical brokenness is most in tune with the equestrian idea of brokenness. A wild stallion is truly a beauty to behold but not of much use to its master, or has no master at all. Biblical brokenness is not so much to destroy one’s spirit, but to tame it, train it, refocus it, and control it, such that it becomes ever obedient and submissive to God. Who better than your Master, the One who created you, to know the absolute best for you? After all, isn’t that precisely what Jesus’s life was all about, “Not my will, but thy will be done”?  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Then Satan Comes

Don’t fall asleep on your spiritual watch. Then it is that Satan comes.

January’s Awakening, Day 26

When the saint ceases to seek after holiness, purity, righteousness, truth; when he ceases to pray, stops reading the Word and gives way to carnal appetites, then it is that Satan comes.

 —Smith Wigglesworth

The foundation of true holiness and true Christian worship is the doctrine of the gospel, what we are to believe. So when Christian doctrine is neglected, forsaken, or corrupted, true holiness and worship will also be neglected, forsaken, and corrupted.

 —John Owen 

I am convinced that the first step toward attaining a higher standard of holiness is to realize more fully the amazing sinfulness of sin.

 —J. C. Ryle 

Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. Mark 1:23–26 NIV  

            Satan, the thief, and all the fallen angels (also called demons, evil spirits, or impure spirits) have only one goal in mind. It is to thwart God’s plans in any conceivable way, to keep as many people out of the kingdom of heaven as possible, and at every opportunity to steal, kill, and destroy. As created beings, the fallen angels certainly know God and most assuredly know Jesus as well, “the Holy One of God,” who has all power and authority over them.

            Believers have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within them so it is impossible for a true believer to be “possessed” or indwelt by an evil spirit, but nonbelievers can certainly be possessed. While believers cannot be possessed, they most assuredly can be oppressed externally by demonic spiritual forces. Oppression will come when you least expect it or when you are least prepared to combat it. If you leave the doors wide open, the thief will certainly come. And as we’ve said before, the more you do for God’s kingdom, the greater the oppression that will also come. The bottom line is this—be prepared in season and out of season in all spiritual regards—by reading the Word, praying and meditating, heeding the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, and being constantly in His presence in worship and holiness. Remember, “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4 KJV).

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Humbly Holy

If your attitude is “holier than thou,” you’re probably not really holy at all.

January’s Awakening, Day 25

The greatest test of whether the holiness we profess to seek or to attain is truth and life will be whether it produces an increasing humility in us. In man, humility is the one thing needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell in him and shine through him. The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is lack of humility. The holiest will be the humblest. 

 —Andrew Murray

Nowhere can we get to know the holiness of God, and come under His influence and power, except in the inner chamber. It has been well said: “No man can expect to make progress in holiness who is not often and long alone with God.”

 —Andrew Murray

For this is what the high and exalted One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. Isaiah 57:15 NIV

            If you have to “lord” your authority and power over others, you assuredly don’t have it. If you have a prideful attitude of “holier than thou,” you most likely have truly missed the mark. If you feel the need to demand respect from others, then you have failed to earn and deserve it. None of those attitudes and behaviors are of Christ nor of the voice of the Holy Spirit within you. Those negative portrayals come from an insecurity deep within that is of a damaged self, not of God.

            If you have true authority, true holiness, and true respect due, others will sense it, and know it, appreciate it, and acknowledge it without anything additional needing to be said or shown on your part. If you are, it will be self-evident. You don’t need to parade it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Purifying or Putrefying?

Which process is the dominant force in your life? Are you being purified by the cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit or are you decaying and putrefying with the stench of gangrenous sin?

January’s Awakening, Day 24

A faith which works not for purification will work for putrefaction. Unless our faith makes us pine after holiness, it is no better than the faith of devils, and perhaps it is not even so good as that. A holy man is the workmanship of the Holy Spirit.

 —Charles Spurgeon

The grace that does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit. Christ saves His people, not IN their sins, but FROM their sins. Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.

 —Charles Spurgeon

I would sooner be holy than happy if the two things could be divorced. Were it possible for a man always to sorrow and yet to be pure, I would choose the sorrow if I might win the purity, for to be free from the power of sin, to be made to love holiness, is true happiness.

 —Charles Spurgeon

God has one destined end for mankind—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.

 —Oswald Chambers 

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 NIV 

            Once in a while, it’s good to have a bit of introspection with our meditation. How are you progressing in your pursuit of holiness? How much are you cooperating with the purging and purifying fire of the Holy Spirit? Are your relationships improving, especially your time spent with God? Are your behaviors and attitudes and thought patterns significantly more in line with Christ now versus five years ago? Is your focus positively fixed ahead on Jesus or are you living still in your disappointing past?

            If you’re not gaining you’re draining. And if you’re draining you’ll soon be empty and dry and dead in your sin. Resolve to do better today and every day. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you become that vessel of gold, inside and out, that God can use in special ways. Make holiness the priority in your life and spend quality time with God and those near and dear to your heart. It’s time to rise, moving ever forward and upward, forgetting what is behind and straining ahead, pressing on toward the goal and prize with holiness firmly in hand. Christ Jesus is waiting for you at the finish line.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Our Holiness Through Christ

A vessel of gold or silver, fitting for the Master’s special purposes, or a vessel of wood or clay for common use—which one are you?

January’s Awakening, Day 23

Christ is the most perfect image of God, into which we are so renewed as to bear the image of God, in knowledge, purity, righteousness, and true holiness.

 —John Calvin

Nothing but the name of Jesus can restrain the impulse of anger, repress the swelling of pride, cure the world of envy, bridle the onslaught of luxury, extinguish the flame of carnal desire—can temper avarice, and put to flight impure and ignoble thoughts.

 —Bernard of Clairvaux

Holiness is the end of redemption, for Christ gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.

 —Charles Hodge

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary. Hebrews 10:14–18 NIV 

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 2 Timothy 1:9 NIV

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 2 Timothy 2:20–21 NIV 

            Holiness only comes to a believer through Christ and His sacrifice on the Cross as our substitute atonement for sin. It is the holiness and righteousness of Christ that is then imputed upon the believer. We do not deserve it, nor can we earn it, it is His free gift to all those who come and believe. Yet that holiness is still His, and not fully sealed within us until we are glorified at the Rapture. Until then, we can still freely choose to walk in the holiness of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, or we can choose to walk in the ways of the old sinful self.

            Note that the Scriptures also tell us that some of us who are willing to continually walk in the Spirit of holiness are more likely to be used by the Master as instruments for special purposes, while those not so willing are simply set for common use. Be a vessel fitting for the Master’s special use—walk continually in His Spirit of holiness.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Overcoming the Opposition

Know your enemy—self, the world, and Satan, the ruler of this world. Overcome your enemy—with the Greater Power within you, the Holy Spirit.

January’s Awakening, Day 22

We have learned to live with unholiness and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing.

 —A. W. Tozer 

In the final analysis our greatest problem with holiness is not that our concepts of holiness are feeble, but that our hearts are rebellious. We are selfish, that’s our problem. And the fact that we often won’t admit our selfishness shows how deep the pride goes.

 —Floyd McClung

There is no duty we perform for God that sin does not oppose. And the more spirituality or holiness there is in what we do, the greater is its enmity to it. Thus those who seek most for God, experience the strongest opposition.

 —John Owen

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.  1 John 4:4–6 NIV 

            Concerning anything done for God and concerning anything of God, the one irrefutable truth is this—opposition will come. And the greater your desire be like Christ, and the greater your efforts to work for His kingdom, the greater the opposition that will come. Opposition can be covert, coming from doubts and issues deep within yourself and the negative spiritual realm of Satan, or it can be overt, coming blatantly from the world. (Sometimes the world can be quite covert also, so you constantly need to be on guard.)

            The solution to combating the opposition is twofold. First, know your enemy well and the schemes and techniques of the enemy, including yourself and sin and self-destruction. Once you understand your enemy well, then you can take the necessary steps to block, thwart, and combat those guiles and schemes, no matter from whence they come. The most important point to remember is this—you will always need the help of the Greater Power within you, the Holy Spirit, for in your own strength you will always miserably fail. Do not let anything, especially self, sabotage your efforts.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Progressing in Holiness

Attaining holiness must manifest in the betterment of your relationship with God and all humanity. If your relationships aren’t improving, then you’re not improving.

January’s Awakening, Day 21

True holiness is much more than tears and sighs…A holy violence, a conflict, a warfare, a fight, a soldier’s life, a wrestling are spoken of as characteristics of the true Christian.

 —J. C. Ryle

Progress in holiness can best be measured not by the length of time we spend in prayer, not by the number of times we go to church, not by the amount of money we contribute to God’s work, not by the range and depth of our knowledge of the Bible, but rather by the quality of our personal relationships.

 —Stephen F. Winward 

True holiness does not consist merely of believing and feeling, but of doing and bearing, and a practical exhibition of active and passive grace. Our tongues, our tempers, our natural passions and inclinations—our conduct as parents and children, masters and servants, husbands and wives, rulers and subjects—our dress, our employment of time, our behavior in business, our demeanor in sickness and health, in riches and poverty—all, all these are matters which are fully treated by inspired writers.

 —J. C. Ryle

But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:17–18 NIV

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22–24 NIV 

            If we are progressing in our attainment of holiness, it should first be evident in our relationship with God, and second, in all our other interpersonal relationships. Becoming holy is being continually made new in the attitude of our minds. It is rejecting the old ways of life—the old thought patterns, the old way of reacting to events, the old behaviors, the old way of interacting with God and all humanity—and putting on the new self in Christ, with all the new attitudes, desires, and behaviors that mirror and mimic Christ. It truly is a battleground and constant struggle to stuff the old and wear the new. It is a war waged every day, and it is a war we must win—with Him.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Our Pursuit of Holiness

Arise at once and press on to pursue holiness and don’t stop till you’ve won the prize.

January’s Awakening, Day 20

Christian holiness is not a matter of painstaking conformity to the individual precepts of an external law code; it is rather a question of the Holy Spirit’s producing His fruit in the life, reproducing those graces which were seen in perfection in the life of Christ.

 —F. F. Bruce

The pursuit of holiness is a joint venture between God and the Christian. No one can attain any degree of holiness without God working in his life, but just as surely no one will attain it without effort on his own part.

 —Jerry Bridges

It matters but little whether this eminent state of holiness be gained by a bold, energetic, and determined exercise of faith and prayer, or by a more gradual process—whether it be instantaneous or gradual, or both the one and the other. The great matter is, with each and all of us, that we lose no time, but arise at once, and “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

 —Thomas N. Ralston

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22–25 NIV

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12–14 NIV

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30 NIV  

            The Ten Commandments were given to us to show us what sin is. But holiness is so much more than that—it goes way beyond our actions and our words to every thought manifesting in our minds. As believers, thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit within us to guide us in every thought, word, and deed. Yet the difficult part is that it is a fully cooperative effort between our old self and our new life in Christ, in agreement with the directive of the Holy Spirit. We are admonished to continually forget the old self and put on the new—manifesting in increasing fashion the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If we are not growing exponentially in these attributes, then we are not living in the Spirit but living in our old flesh, and hence, we are still drowning in our sin and not swimming to reach His holiness shore. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Beauty of Holiness

Is the beauty of holiness indelibly etched into every aspect of your heart and mind?

January’s Awakening, Day 19

To be holy is to be morally blameless. It is to be separated from sin and, therefore consecrated to God. The word signifies “separation to God, and the conduct befitting those so separated.”

 —Jerry Bridges

He that sees the beauty of holiness, or true moral good, sees the greatest and most important thing in the world. Unless this is seen, nothing is seen that is worth seeing: for there is no other true excellence or beauty.

 —Jonathan Edwards

Remember your ultimate purpose, and when you set yourself to your day’s work or approach any activity in the world, let HOLINESS TO THE LORD be written upon your hearts in all that you do.

 —Richard Baxter 

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Ephesians 1:4a NIV

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 2 Corinthians 7:1 NIV

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 NIV

            If you could fathom or imagine, perhaps, the most majestic mountain valley with crystal  streams flowing through, never touched or seen by humans, in an immaculate and pristine state—that might only begin to bring into visualization the beauty of holiness. Maybe the most brilliant of diamonds with each facet sparkling in unimaginable radiance and clarity, or maybe simply the brightest and purest of the most intense white light that is impossible to gaze upon—that’s the beginning of the experience of the beauty of holiness. Mere words cannot describe the beauty or true essence of God’s holiness.

            Even harder, maybe, for us to imagine is that we were created that way, in God’s brilliant image, yet free will evidently wasn’t satisfied and now mankind is but a very dismal and dim reflection of what we were created to be. Yet we live this life not for what we have become and what free will has stripped from us, but for the upcoming day when our salvation is complete. Even though we are tarnished and tainted, we are still a representation of God’s pinnacle of creation, and as such, we are admonished, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, to be holy as He is holy—or at least to strive to fittingly be our absolute best. Let “holiness to the Lord” be firmly etched into your heart and mind, every thought and word and deed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Divine Holiness

The Divine Holiness—unapproachable, incomprehensible, unfathomable, and unattainable.

January’s Awakening, Day 18

A true love for God must begin with a delight in his holiness, and not with a delight in any other attribute; for no other attribute is truly lovely without this.

 —Jonathan Edwards

We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. The natural man is blind to it. He may fear God’s power and admire His wisdom, but His holiness he cannot even imagine.

 —A. W. Tozer

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Psalm 24:3 NIV

I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy. Leviticus 11:45 NIV

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15–16 NIV 

            The holiness of God is central to the essence of who God is and that which makes Him God. Holiness will always be a bit of a mystery till the day we, as redeemed humanity, are imparted with it once more by God when we receive our glorified bodies at the Rapture. Only two humans, Adam and Eve, have ever experienced holiness and know both what it is to have it and what it is to lose it. Holiness is all or none, there is no in-between, and once it is lost, the only source is God Himself.

            We may imagine the holiness of God as “wholly otherness.” Holiness separates God completely and infinitely from every other created thing. His essence transcends purity and moral perfection and complete righteousness, as God’s holiness makes it utterly impossible for Him to think any wrong, say any wrong, or do any wrong. One day when we have our holiness imparted back to us, we will be able to stand in His holy presence and still be in total awe.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Worship in the Spirit and in Truth

Shed the superficial skin of halfhearted worship and bind the true spirit of worship to the entire essence of your being. God is everywhere, every moment—worship Him that way.

January’s Awakening, Day 17

God is not moved or impressed with our worship until our hearts are moved and impressed by Him.

 —Kelly Sparks

Many a professing Christian is a stumbling-block because his worship is divided. On Sunday he worships God; on week days God has little or no place in his thoughts.

 —D. L. Moody

We may be truly said to worship God, though we lack perfection; but we cannot be said to worship Him if we lack sincerity.

 —Stephen Charnock

Worship that pleases God comes from an obedient heart.

 —Author Unknown 

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:23–24 NIV  

            Make it a point in your life to turn your days into days of worshiping God from deep within your heart, from your spirit, and in sincere truth. The key to this life is not worshiping God occasionally on Sundays or special holidays in a programmed service, but seeing God in everything and worshiping Him for it every moment and every day of your life. Worship, like reading the Bible and prayer and meditation, must become a lifestyle that is engrained into your essence of being such that it is as essential and as normal as your heartbeat and breathing. That is what worshiping in your spirit and in truth is all about—it is an innate part of you that cannot ever be removed or diminished from within you. Make your worship of God an inseparable part of your everyday existence.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Take a Knee and Bow

Humility, penitence, submission, obedience—not the words that self or the world embrace, but words required of His worship.

January’s Awakening, Day 16

The more a man bows his knee before God, the straighter he stands before men.

—Author Unknown

Worship reminds us of values the world makes us forget.

 —Author Unknown

And what greater calamity can fall upon a nation than the loss of worship.

 —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’ Daniel 7:27 NIV

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Psalm 95:6–7a NIV 

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9–11 NIV 

            The ultimate and perfect exercise to restore you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually is to bend the knees frequently and bow low before God in worship. It is exponentially more effective at renewing your heart, restoring your spirit, and reviving your soul than all other exercises combined. Worshiping God with all humility, with sincere repentance, in reverent submission, and unequivocal obedience will do more to propel you onward and upward than you can imagine. You will become the person of God that He wants you to be. So take a knee and bow down before God—there’s nothing more significant that you can do in this life, and in heaven, worship will be our continual act of joy. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Vain Worship

Make sure you’re worshiping the right God and that it comes from deep within, not just superficially.
January’s Awakening, Day 15
Nothing else so soils the work of God and makes unclean what is clean as the deification of creation and the worshiping of it as equal to God the Creator and Maker.
—Symeon the New Theologian 
So let us hold to this rule, that all human inventions which are set up to corrupt the simple purity of the word of God, and to undo the worship which he demands and approves, are true sacrileges, in which the Christian man cannot participate without blaspheming God, and trampling his honor underfoot.
—John Calvin 

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King,
Never was grief like thine!
This is my Friend,
In whose sweet praise
I all my days
Would gladly spend.
—Samuel Crossman 

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Isaiah 29:13 NIV

They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’” Matthew 15:9 NIV

            We need to evaluate our lives and do some deep introspection on a regular basis. We should be certain that there are no “human inventions” that are corrupting the Word of God or undoing our worship of Him. True worship comes from the heart and is not superficial nor does it simply follow the proper rules of liturgical church orderliness. Rules are fine to follow, but worship is not about following the rules of man.

            Likewise, it is also equally important for us to remember that God created us in His image and that we were given dominion and charge over this earth that He made. Our responsibility is to be better caretakers than we have been, but we are not to ever put God’s creation or the importance of it above Him. We have duties and responsibilities in the care of our earth but that should never come before our heart and mindset of worshiping Him.

            Better we must become in all aspects. Better caretakers of our earth. Better in keeping His Word undefiled and untainted. Better in keeping our hearts and minds in purity through Him. And better worshipers of our Lord, God, Savior, and Creator. He is and always will be still in control, regardless of our performance.