VIDEO Personal Holiness

And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine. Leviticus 20:26

Both the Old and New Testaments command us to be holy. Leviticus 11:44 says, “For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.” And 1 Peter 1:15 says, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”

God demands that we work on our personal holiness. The lust, greed, and filth of the world has a way of seeping into our lives unless we work on our holiness as God Himself works within us. We have to consecrate our screens to the Lord so we don’t watch anything that will lead us into temptation. We need to consecrate our appetites to the Lord so we don’t indulge in a self-destructive way. We need to rid our lives of bitterness, and to love with the heart of Christ.

Even as the world seeks to distract us from God and His plan for us, we are called to be holy as He is holy. That is the life that is blessed.

A holy man will endeavor to shun every known sin, and to keep every known commandment. J. C. Ryle


Overview: Leviticus

The Potter’s Wheel

The pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Jeremiah 18:4

In 1952, in an effort to prevent clumsy or careless people from breaking items in a shop, a Miami Beach storeowner posted a sign that read: “You break it, you buy it.” The catchy phrase served as a warning to shoppers. This type of sign can now be seen in many boutiques.

Ironically, a different sign might be placed in a real potter’s shop. It would say: “If you break it, we’ll make it into something better.” And that’s exactly what’s revealed in Jeremiah 18.

Jeremiah visits a potter’s house and sees the potter shaping the “marred” clay with his hands, carefully handling the material and forming “it into another pot” (v. 4). The prophet reminds us that God is indeed a skillful potter, and we are the clay. He is sovereign and can use what He creates to both destroy evil and create beauty in us.

God can shape us even when we’re marred or broken. He, the masterful potter, can and is willing to create new and precious pottery from our shattered pieces. God doesn’t look at our broken lives, mistakes, and past sins as unusable material. Instead, He picks up our pieces and reshapes them as He sees best.

Even in our brokenness, we have immense value to our Master Potter. In His hands, the broken pieces of our lives can be reshaped into beautiful vessels that can be used by Him (v. 4).

By:  Katara Patton

Reflect & Pray

What comfort can you find in knowing God is a potter who can form something new from your broken pieces? How can you relax as the Potter reshapes you into a beautiful vessel?

God, You’re the Potter and I’m the clay. Mold me as You wish. Remind me that I’m in Your skillful and caring hands.

A Lesson in Pruning

It can be painful when God cuts fleshly habits and attitudes from our life, but that allows growth in Christlikeness

John 15:1-5

Years ago I lived in Fruitland, North Carolina. It was apple country, and several of my parishioners were growers. When I stopped by to visit one of them, I found him mercilessly cutting branches from one of the trees. He told me that to produce an abundant crop of the best fruit, he had to prune the branches. It might look as if the tree was going to die, but new growth would spring from the wounds. 

Our conversation helped me understand why the Lord sometimes acts as a pruning knife in our lives. To get a plentiful crop of spiritual fruit, He must remove anything that hinders us from becoming the person He designed us to be. The process is often painful as God cuts away fleshly habits and worldly attitudes, but His pruning results in us becoming a more accurate reflection of Jesus Christ.

Being loved by God doesn’t mean being coddled. Our comfort is not His primary interest. Just as a grower prunes an apple tree to get a bountiful harvest, so God must sometimes cause us pain in order to bring forth greater spiritual growth, Christlike character, and abundance.

Moses and the Shining Face

“And it came to pass, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand…that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.” (Exodus 34:29)

Moses had been alone with God 40 days and 40 nights, simply communing with God and receiving the tables with the Ten Commandments. When he finally descended, the glory of God so radiated from him that the people could not bear to look at his face, and he had to wear a veil even to speak to them.

The council of Jewish leaders had a similar experience as they interrogated Stephen concerning his Christian testimony: “And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel” (Acts 6:15).

None of us today ever seem to exhibit such glowing faces, nor is anyone likely to mistake us for an angel. But perhaps this is because we have not spent the time in His presence that Moses did, nor preached the Word in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit as Stephen did. Nevertheless, we should have a different countenance than before we met the Lord. Men should be able to say of us as it was said of Peter and John: “They marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (4:13).

In fact, God even promises that this will be so to the extent that we spend time in His Word, which itself is alive with the light of His glory. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

May God enable us, therefore, to be “holding forth the word of life,” even “in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15-16). HMM

Invocation, Prayer Before Battle

May the Lord answer you in a day of trouble; may the name of Jacob’s God protect you. May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose. Let us shout for joy at your victory and lift the banner in the name of our God. May the Lord fulfill all your requests. Some take pride in a chariot, and others in horses, but we take pride in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20 vv. 1, 4-5, 7).

Knowing he faced a life-or-death struggle, David prepared for battle by offering prayers and sacrifices. The congregation prayed for him, and David voiced his certainty of God’s answer (vv. 6-8).

The focus of David’s cry for help was the name of the Lord, which he knew had power. Any hope for conquest, and all protection, support, and help, come only from that name. The most formidable weapons of the ancient world were impotent against the name of the Lord.

I too face confrontation—in the big hassles of life and the small hassles of daily living. I don’t want to rely on modern insights or popular solutions. They are sterile and useless. Only the name of the Lord can give me relief and support. I don’t want it to be the last place I go for help. I don’t have the resources to make it on my own. I’m a dependent person. When I am weak, then I am strong. As Sandi Patti sings so gloriously, “There is power in the name of the Lord.”

Personal Prayer

Lord, keep me from placing my trust in the might of men; remind me that your name is the only reliable source of strength.

The Language of Music

Invocation

The act or process of petitioning for help or support.

An invocation can be a prayer or a musical composition at the beginning of a worship service. A beautiful example is “God Is Here” by Norman Johnson:

God is here and waits to speak with us;

God is here to start this week with us.

With open hearts and minds let us respond to Him—

And keep our appointment with God!

© 1970 Singspiration.

The God Who Is There

The fool says in his heart, “God does not exist.”—Psalm 14:1

The idea of a living, personal God gives men and women the jitters. They sense deep within that they are accountable to Him, but they don’t know just what to do about it.

C. S. Lewis put it like this: “The Pantheist’s God does nothing, demands nothing. He is there if you wish for Him, like a book on a shelf. He will not pursue you. There is no danger that at any time heaven and earth should feel awe at His glance. But Christ the Creator King is there. And His intervening presence is terribly startling to discover.” Lewis goes on to compare the shock of discovering that there is a living, personal God in the universe to sitting alone in the dark and sensing someone breathing beside you. “It is always shocking,” he says, “to meet life where we thought we were alone.”

Listen to this paragraph by Lewis which I quote in full, as it puts the truth in a way that cannot be equaled:

There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly; was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him! We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He has found us? So it is a sort of Rubicon. One goes across, or not. But if one does, there is no manner of security against miracles. One may be in for anything.

No one need worry about getting any shocks when they steadfastly resist believing in a personal God. No shocks, but no salvation either.

Prayer

Gracious God, how can I ever sufficiently thank You for bringing me to Yourself? The thought of a God who is alive, taking a personal interest in me, is more than I can comprehend. Yet I believe it. With all my heart. Thank You, dear Father. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 10:1-4; 36:1-4; 1Jn 2:22

What is at the heart of the atheist?

How does John describe those who deny Christ?

The Father of Mankind

1 Corinthians 8:6

There is one head in a family, one chief in a village, one emperor in a country and one God who rules over heaven and earth. This true God has all wisdom and power. He is full of mercy and loves us as His children.

Alas, we often forget about His grace and blessings and think only of ourselves. This is a dangerous way of life. Even though we are taught about God we sometimes feel far from Him.

A friend of mine left his family in the country and came to Tokyo where he spent several years. He then called all his family to join him. The man’s son, now eight years of age, was seen looking at his face in the mirror every day, and the father wondered why the boy was so interested in staring at himself. The boy replied, “I’m not sure whether you are my true father or not. I feel that you are, but I’m not sure. If you are my true father then I will bear some resemblance to you. So I look at my face in the mirror, and then I look at yours.”

The illustration fits. If we have been far from God, our Father, it is difficult to identify our true Father and to see any likeness to Him. Yet if we take time to think about it we see that we have wisdom, as God has all wisdom; that we have discernment to judge what is right and what is wrong, as God Himself is all-righteous; and that we have a heart with which to love others, as God Himself is full of love.

Human beings were made in the image of God, and we are His children. Moreover, God has so richly blessed us that we cannot tell how great His grace to us has been.

The greatest scholar or scientist finds it impossible to create a cupful of water out of nothing. But God generously gives us the water with which to wash, to drink. No matter how hard the farmer worked, he alone could not produce enough rice. Or what if God did not cause the plants to grow, or withheld the rain? We might complain that the price of rice or wheat is too high or too low, but without the grace of God there would be no rice or wheat to complain about. As one grain of rice or wheat shows, we depend utterly on God’s grace. To someone who strikes a match so that a man can see it is easy to say, “thank you.” Then why should it be so difficult to say “thank You” to the God who by the sun provides light for the whole of the day? How understanding we need to be about such things.

Gunpei Yamamuro, The Common People’s Gospel