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Archive for September, 2017

On October 1st I will present a message titled, “From God’s Perspective,” to the congregation at the evening service at Alma Temple. The service begins at 6:00 pm. Beginning at 6:30 pm the message will be on live radio broadcast on KPOF, AM910 and audio streaming via the internet. You are cordially invited to join us. Alma Temple is located at 1340 Sherman Street, one-half block south of the state capitol building in Denver, Colorado.

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Perfecting Holiness

“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).

In order to explain clearly what this verse conveys, we must go back a few verses. Paul writes to encourage those who have been living the holy life. “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people’ ” (2 Corinthians 6:16). If we are the temple of God, we want to avoid anything that looks like an idol.

Maybe we don’t worship golden calves or wooden idols as they did in ancient times. But there are plenty of other idols that we come into contact with every day. Money is one; it can become an idol if you focus on it too much. Material things can also be idols. Work can be an idol if it takes up all of your time and resources. An idol could be your house, a car, anything that you love more than God. Even your church can be an idol.

Verse 17 says, “Therefore come out from them and be separate, touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” Perhaps the word ‘embrace’ would be better than ‘touch’ for the examples we are considering. If work becomes more important than God, you must somehow detach from your current worldly view of work. In other words, give up those idols and separate yourself from them. If you will do that, God will come into your heart and be with you for the rest of time.

Finally, we see in verse 18, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” These are the promises 2 Corinthians 7:1 talks about. It is the promise of a loving Father to His children. Now that we understand the rich promises spoken of in 2 Corinthians 7:1, we can strive to purify ourselves from things that contaminate us. As far as contamination of the body, I believe we all know that means we should be supporting our bodies with whatever healthy steps it takes to help them function the way they should. On the other side, it means to cease any habits that may be harmful to the body. You can make real changes that stop contamination of the body. It’s personal and you know what to do.

Paul warns Timothy, “Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise both in the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). Contamination of the spirit happens so subtly.
What contaminates the spirit? Desires and fears undermine our trust in God. They are spiritual poison. Be mindful of the movies you watch, the television programs, games, anything that stamps a negative vision in your mind is harmful. We are surrounded by media, but we do not have to be involved in everything that happens over the airwaves. Our goal here is to perfect holiness because we choose to serve an awesome God. You belong to Him and He wants the very best for you. And so what is our attitude to be? The verse says that “reverence for God” is the key.

Holy Father in Heaven, You are great beyond compare. Only You are worthy of praise and honor. Help me be mindful of the things around me that contaminate my body and spirit. I long for holiness to honor You. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

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Boasting

“Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends” (2 Corinthians 10:17-18 NIV).

Boasting reveals unmerited pride. All pride is dangerous and as the apostle John warns, “the pride of life comes not from the Father, but from the world” (1 John 2:16). Leave behind the attitude of boasting, except in the case of boasting in the Lord. Comparing ourselves with others often leads to a secret or undefined competition. Often we find ourselves attempting to do more and better than someone else. Perhaps we have watched a sibling be successful and strive to be better. Being better is not a bad thing, but doing it for the wrong reason and bragging about it is most disgraceful.

Seeking the praise and approval of others turns the focus on us instead of God. Americans are performance oriented which leads to competition to ‘outdo’ another person. This path leads to more striving than peace. This kind of competition is filled with prideful ambition. We are often focused on doing better rather than being better. Yet we know that who we are, our character, is much more important to the Lord than any tasks we might accomplish. Our striving for perfection ought to be perfection in the Lord. Striving to be more like Jesus is a worthy goal and glorifying to Him. When we work diligently to be more like Him, we are not comparing ourselves to anyone except Him. This restores both our humility and our hope.

The sweetest victories are the ones shared by only you and Him. Yes, I can promise you that the very best successes are the ones you and He can share a high-five over with an astounding resonance of joy!
I have been on both sides of this fence. There was a time I felt I had to perform for the people around me. I had to be better, I had to win ― all the time. When that happened I made sure they knew it. The more I bragged, the more they despised me. And all I wanted was to make them like me. The more they despised me, the harder I worked. I had created a never ending cycle of disapproval.
Thanks be to God! His teaching eventually got through my thick head and I began to change. I still enjoyed excelling at certain things, but I make sure I kept it between me and the Lord. This made my efforts all the more satisfying.

Even my writing is a good example. My writer friends say that my writing does not obey the current style. They say no major publisher will choose my books and publish them. I smile and agree that I’m not stylish. I silently wonder if they would say the same things if they knew how much of my writing comes from the Lord. (I depend on Him constantly for inspiration and direction.) None of my books have turned out at all like I originally thought they would. To God be the glory and I gladly accept the criticism.
Whenever I can have a victory or even a loss between me and the Lord, it is extremely delicious! I would rather boast about what He has done for me than boast about my fruitless accomplishments any day of the week. By fruitless, I mean how many games of Scrabble I won this week or how often I checked for Facebook messages. Activities that waste my time are nothing to boast about.
Again, this attitude of boasting in the Lord ties to having an attitude of humility. That is one attitude that God loves.

Gracious Heavenly Father, You are my King. I praise You above all else. Thank You for your loving kindness and tender-heartedness each day of my life. Show me how to excel in the business of glorifying You. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

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