There is much talk today about tolerance, as if it were the highest virtue. In our culture, it's believed the most loving people are the most tolerant. However, we as Christians need to understand God's intolerance to sin, which is inseparable with His holiness, and how God's intolerance to sin is necessary to preserve His creation. Please take time to read A. W. Tozer's clear explanation of this.
"Because God's first concern for His universe is its moral health, that is, its holiness, whatever is contrary to this is necessarily under His eternal displeasure. To preserve His creation God must destroy whatever would destroy it. When He arises to put down iniquity and save the world from irreparable moral collapse, He is said to be angry. Every wrathful judgment in the history of the world has been a holy act of preservation. The holiness of God, the wrath of God, and the health of the creation are inseparably united. God's wrath is His utter intolerance of whatever degrades and destroys. He hates iniquity as a mother hates the disease that would take the life of her child.
God is holy with an absolute holiness that knows no degrees, and this He cannot impart to His creatures. But there is a relative and contingent holiness that He shares with angels and seraphim in heaven and with redeemed men on earth as their preparation for heaven. This holiness God can and does impart to His children. He shares it with them by imputation and by impartation, and because He has made it available to them through the blood of the Lamb, He requires it of them. To Israel first and later to His Church God spoke, saying, "Be ye holy; for I am holy." He did not say "Be ye as holy as I am holy," for that would be to demand of us absolute holiness, something that belongs to God alone. Before the uncreated fire of God's holiness angels veil their faces. Yea, the heavens are not clean, and the stars are not pure in His sight. No honest man can say "I am holy," but neither is any honest man willing to ignore the solemn words of the inspired writer, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord."
Tolerating sin in my own life or even in the lives of those around me will not make me more like Jesus, but less like Him. If I am to follow Him, I must follow holiness, for He will not tolerate anything less.
May our Lord bless you today, and know for sure that you are loved!!!
Greetings in His Name,
'for he was looking for a city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God' Hebrews 11:10
Abraham seemed to always live in tents, and a tent has no foundation. Have you ever been away from home an extended period of time; such as off to school, or off to serve your country. Some of you receiving this today, may have served over seas. If you are like me when you are away for some time you look forward to home. We longed to be done with the duty that kept us away from home. In Christian duty, this world seems to be a sea of sin at times, and we long to be done with the struggles for spiritual survival in this world that is 'a stranger to grace.' Can we relate to the old song, 'This World Is Not My Home'? Can we identify with those spoken of in Hebrews 11:13, 'strangers and pilgrims on the earth'. The promise that will sustain us until we get there is this: 'He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son'. Revelation 21:7. Please find time today to withdraw, if only for a short time and get strength from Him for the journey.
God bless you and have a Great Day!
A small boy came to his Dad once and said, "Papa, look for a long time at that golden sign across the street. Now look at that brick wall and tell me what you see."
"Why, I see the yellow sign on the brick wall," the Dad replied. The little kid got a good laugh out of it.
So, what is the application. Well, if we look a long time upon Jesus we cannot look at anything else without seeing a reflection of Him. Everything which we behold will become a part of Him
'Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.' Hebrews 12:1-2.
Recalling times in my life when I felt I was close to giving up, I found Him encouraging me from within and reminding me there was no better way than this Christian way, and I keep on. If when you receive this today, you are on the brink of giving up, DON'T! It may be that you are discouraged in your Christian life. Or maybe it's just that life has dealt you some hard times lately. Don't give up. Sometimes man is unable to encourage us. Our passage today tells us to look to Jesus as our example. He endured to the end and is at the right hand of the Father. Look to Him, who told us that we will be where He is. There is more to our life than this world, but while we are here He will also be with us here. At one of the lowest, if not the lowest times in David's life, the scriptures say ' ...But David encouraged himself in the Lord.' 1 Samuel 30:6b
Aren't you glad this is also available to us? Let's encourage ourselves in the Lord this day.
God bless and have a Great Day!
"but no one can tame the tongue--a restless evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:8
How many times have you and I said the wrong thing to the wrong person, at the wrong time, and in the wrong place. It seems that the hottest news item of the past few days has taken first place from the Gulf Oil Spill. The "slips of the lips" of the General or his aids, may have a wide range ripple affect, as a pebble tossed into a pool. Our scripture tells us we cannot control the tongue on our own.
"If your lips would keep from slips, / Five things observe with care: / To whom you speak, of whom you speak, / And how . . . and when . . . and where."
Our prayer: Lord we are desperately in need of your help in this area of our life. Please help us control what we say!
Psalm 141:3 "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips."
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 "Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work."
THROUGHOUT OUR CULTURE WE SEE PEOPLE WEARING THEIR BADGES, THEIR LABELS OR LOGOS. PEOPLE TRYING TO IDENTITY THEMSELVES THROUGH SOME SYMBOL. THEIR BUMPER STICKERS, BRACELETS, NECKLACES, TEE SHIRTS, CAPS, AND EVEN THEIR TATTOOS SPEAK FOR THEM, AS TO WHO THEY ARE, EVEN THEIR FAITH, OR THEIR FAVORITE, SCHOOL OR PRO TEAM, ETC.
WHAT IS THE TRUE BADGE OF THE CHRISTIAN? WHAT IDENTIFIES US? DID JESUS SIMPLY SAY: "THEY WILL KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES, BECAUSE OF YOUR LOVE......"
THERE IS A GRAPHIC STORY SURROUNDING MEN IN COMMUNIST ROMANIA'S JILAVA PRISON. SEVERAL WERE PLACED IN A CELL, NAKED, WITHOUT BEDS, WITHOUT BLANKETS AND WITHOUT A BARREL TO SERVE AS A LAVATORY., THEY WERE NEVER ALLOWED TO LEAVE THEIR CELL TO FULFILL THEIR BODILY NEEDS, IMAGINE PASSING THE NIGHT, COMPLETELY NAKED, IN SUCH A STINKING CELL.
ONE OF THE PRISONERS WAS SICK WITH PULMONARY TUBERCULOSIS. LATE ONE NIGHT, HE COULD NOT BEAR TO STAND ON HIS FEET ANY LONGER. HE FELL AND WOULD HAVE FROZEN TO DEATH ON THE COLD CONCRETE, HAD NOT THE CHRISTIAN, MIRCEA VULCANESCU, STRETCHED HIMSELF OUT ON THE CONCRETE SO THE SICK MAN COULD SEAT HIMSELF ON HIS BODY AND HAVE THE PROTECTION OF HIS BODY'S WARMTH.
VULCANESCU REMAINED STRETCHED OUT NAKED ON THE CONCRETE WHILE THE SICK MAN SLEPT FOR A FEW HOURS. HE TOO FELL ASLEEP,. WHEN THEY AWOKE, VULCANESCU WAS ALMOST FROZEN. THE OTHER PRISONERS HAD SPENT THE ENTIRE NIGHT MOVING AROUND WITHOUT SITTING ON THE CONCRETE,. VULCANESCU CONTRACTED PULMONARY TUBERCULOSIS AND DIED, BUT HE DEMONSTRATED THE SAVIOR'S BRAND OF LOVE.
MAY THE LORD BLESS AND KEEP YOU TODAY AS YOU DEMONSTRATE HIS LOVE. AND ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE LOVED!!!!
"The bride says, "His banner over me was love." Song of Solomon 2:4
The victor in war gets to fly his own colors, or banner. Do you realize you were won to Jesus by His love. Yeah, some start moving toward God because of their fear of hell, but the final blow in your battle came to you, by way of His love. "His banner over me was love."
There is a story of a terrorist with the Red Brigade, a Marxist-Lennist group. This leader had planned a bank robbery to help fund their cause. Furbelone had men stationed at different locations around the bank waiting for his signal to start the robbery. He was dressed like a bagger, and located himself on the steps of a church across the street.
Now a little girl on her way to school, climbed the steps to the church to pray. His disguise convinced her he was a bagger; and taking out her lunch, she broke of a part for herself, and gave the rest to him.
At first he wanted to push her out of the way, but he was struck by the thought: "Here is a human being who looks upon me with love, who considers me honest and worthy of esteem." Instead of giving the signal to start the bank robbery, the notorious terrorist took the sandwich from the smiling girl and entered the church with her. His criminal life was over.
Proverbs 10:12 says, "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins." Imagine God's ornate banner covering you and every sin you have committed. Now picture every difficult person you know and their sins under the same banner. How does this change your view of them? As you are changed, pray God's unconditional love also changes them.
May His love bless you today, and remember that you are loved this day!!!
Hello Monday Morning,
Once I had a pastor that started his day with a simple prayer. "Lord what are you up to today? Let me be part of it." That's a good way to start our day, and our new week.
An Irishman was down on his luck and was panhandling on Fifth Avenue before the annual St. Patrick's Day parade got underway in New York City. As a couple strolled by, he called out, "May the blessing of the Lord, which brings love and joy and wealth and a fine family, follow you all the days of your life." There was a pause as the couple passed his outstretched hand without contributing. Then he shouted after them, "And never catch up to you!"
If you are like me, your mailbox is stuffed with appeals from various organizations; your phone rings with individuals seeking pledges; some people even come right to your door with solicitations. After a while, we can fall into an attitude that sociologists call "compassion fatigue." When I feel that happening, I become concerned that I might turn my back, even on worthy causes because I can't handle another request.
We are thankful that God never suffers from "compassion fatigue". No matter how often we go to Him with our needs, He never turns us away. His compassion is always available.
"Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord, Lord, hear my voice: let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"
"O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever."
If we start our day, and this new week, asking Him what are you up to today, can I be part of it? Then asking Him for wisdom in our giving from our financial resources, and from the riches of the gospel He has entrusted to us, we will recognize the worthy cause, and the troubled soul. Yesterday, I heard our pastor say: "Most people don't realize the value of their personal testimony; their own story."
God bless you and yours today as you share, and remember that you are loved!!!
WE WERE ON VACATION IN WISCONSIN DELLS WHEN WE EXPERIENCED OUR FIRST CINEMA 180%. SETH, OUR THREE OR FOUR YEAR OLD SON WAS STANDING NEXT TO ME AS WE HELD ON TO THE RAILS. ONE OF THE SIMULATIONS WAS OF A SPEED BOAT RIDE DOWN THE SNAKE RIVER. AS IT ZIG ZAGED AT HIGH SPEED AROUND ONE CURVE AFTER ANOTHER IN THE RIVER IT CAME TO A HIGH WATER FALLS AND DROPPED OVER. AT THAT MOMENT SETH CRIED OUT "CATCH ME DADDY, CATCH ME!" HE WAS RIGHT AT MY SIDE, AND I WAS ABLE TO PICK HIM UP. HIS PRAYER WAS ANSWERED.
FRIENDS, IF WE LIVE THAT CLOSE TO THE LORD, WHAT EVER LIES AHEAD, WE CAN CALL OUT TO HIM, THE ONE THAT CAN HELP.
"BUT WHEN HE SAW THE WIND BOISTEROUS, HE WAS AFRAID; AND BEGINNING TO SINK, HE CRIED, SAYING, LORD, SAVE ME. AND IMMEDIATELY JESUS STRETCHED FORTH HIS HAND, AND CAUGHT HIM,......" MATTHEW 14:30-31A
GOD BLESS. BRING DAD AND GRANDDAD TO CHURCH SUNDAY. BRING YOUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS, IT'S GOING TO BE A GREAT DAY! IT'S FATHER'S DAY! AND REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE LOVED!!
GREETINGS IN HIS NAME,
LIKE MANY THINGS IN OUR CULTURE, MANHOOD HAS BEEN ATTACKED, AND THE DEFINITION DISTORTED. FURTHERMORE, CLAIMS THAT THE WEAK SEEK GOD ONLY AS A CRUTCH, ARE BOGUS. REAL MEN HAVE FOUND COURAGE TO STAND BEFORE THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN THE UNIVERSE AND SUBMIT THEIR HEARTS AND LIVES TO HIM. IF YOU HAVE DONE THAT, CAN YOU REMEMBER WHAT COURAGE IT TOOK FOR YOU TO GIVE UP EVERYTHING TO JESUS AND MAKE HIM YOUR LORD, IN SPITE OF WHAT THOSE MEN AROUND YOU WOULD THINK AND SAY.
"WHEREWITHAL SHALL A YOUNG MAN CLEANSE HIS WAY? BY TAKING HEED THERETO ACCORDING TO THY WORD. WITH MY WHOLE HEART HAVE I SOUGHT THEE; O LET ME NOT WANDER FROM THY COMMANDMENTS. THY WORD HAVE I HID IN MINE HEART, THAT I MIGHT NOT SIN AGAINST THEE BLESSED ART THOU, O LORD; TEACH ME THY STATUTES. WITH MY LIPS HAVE I DECLARED ALL THE JUDGMENTS OF THY MOUTH. I HAVE REJOICED IN THE WAY OF THY TESTIMONIES, AS MUCH AS IN ALL RICHES. I WILL MEDITATE IN THY PRECEPTS, AND HAVE RESPECT UNTO THY WAYS. WHEREWITHAL SHALL A YOUNG MAN CLEANSE HIS WAY? BY TAKING HEED THERETO ACCORDING TO THY WORD." PSALM 119:9-16
MEN, IF YOU LACK COURAGE TODAY TO SUBMIT YOUR HEART AND LIFE TO HIM, HE EVEN HAS THE POWER TO HELP YOU IN THIS. BUT HE SAYS IF YOU ARE ASHAMED OF ME BEFORE MEN I WILL BE ASHAMED OF YOU BEFORE MY HEAVENLY FATHER. WHAT A TRAGEDY THAT WOULD BE. BUT WHAT A GREAT LIFE AWAITS YOU NOW, FOR WITH HIM, YOU CAN BE THAT STRONG FATHER AND HUSBAND YOUR FAMILY NEEDS TODAY, AND EVERY FATHER'S DAY TO COME.
GOD BLESS, AND REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE LOVED!!!
A flame of fire can be such a dangerous and destructive thing. It can destroy the forest and it's wildlife. It can destroy a family home, and it's most precious possessions. But of course it has many benefits, and many times in the scriptures it describes a heart full of zeal for God.
Jesus envisioned John the Baptist as "a burning and shining lamp" (John 5:35 ). Paul wrote in Romans 12:11, "Be aglow…with the Spirit".
St. Augustine vowed, "To my God, a heart of flame; to my fellowmen, a heart of love; to myself, a heart of steel."
It was a flaming heart in George Whitefield which caused him to cry out, "Believe me, I am willing to go to prison and to death for you. But I am not willing to go to heaven without you!"
John Wesley’s sister described him as "out of breath seeking souls!" To awaken his Methodists, Wesley wrote in his 78th year, "You have nigh lost your zeal for works of mercy, as well as of piety. You once pushed on through cold or rain or whatever cross lay in your way to see the poor, the sick and distressed. You went about doing good, and found out those who were not able to find you. You cheerfully crept down into cellars and climbed up into garrets…. You found out every scene of human misery, and assisted according to your power…. Do you now tread in the same steps?"
Jim Elliot, missionary martyred by the Auca Indians of Ecuador in 1956, prayed: "Am I ignitable? O God, deliver me from the dread asbestos of other things! Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame. But flame is transient and short-lived. Can’st thou bear this, my soul – short-lived? In me there dwells the Spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God’s House consumed Him. And He has promised baptism with the Spirit and with Fire. ‘Father, take my life, yes, my blood if Thou wilt, and consume it with Thine enveloping fire. I would not save it for it is not mine to save. Have it, Lord, have it all. Pour out my life as an offering for the world. Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.’"
It was at a conference of youth evangelists in 1949 that Billy Graham was discussing the Second Coming and the end of time with his friends and said, "Oh, somehow, if the Lord could use me a little bit." The men agreed to pray and all knelt on handkerchiefs to protect their trousers from the wet grass when Roy Gustafson heard a strange, muffled voice. Billy lay full length in wet grass, oblivious to the soiling of his suit, with face into the ground, and Mr. Gustafson heard the plea that placed him on his preaching career: "Lord, trust me, trust me, Lord, to do something for You before You come."
Burning, shining, aglow, flame, ignitable, enveloping, fire, fuel. Lord I want there to be no room in my life for such things as boredom or mediocrity.
God bless you today, and remember that you are loved!!!
Henry D. is from Southern Indiana and writes these wonderful daily devotionals to encourage those at the Dogwood Community Church located in Paoli, Indiana. Henry has graciously agreed to share these wonderful devotionals here at Without Excuse Ministries to encourage you our valued guest!