Saturday, April 18, 2020

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In this blog, I provide encouragement and biblical teaching on seeking the Lord with all your heart, loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and living a life of holiness, righteousness, and truth.

As the Scripture says:

'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jer 29:13)

And "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mat 7:13-14)

Some of the topics covered include seeking the Lord, prayer, worship, tithing, inquiring of the Lord, hearing His voice, obedience, grace, godly attire and adornment, sanctification, consecration, backsliding, repentance, brokenness, suffering, humility, the fear of the Lord, the role of the commandments for the disciple of Christ, and the conditions of the New Covenant.  I hope this will be an edifying and encouraging experience for you that will help you to grow in your walk with the Lord.

Seeking the Lord Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God Holy Fire Baptism
Lifting Your Face in Prayer Lifting Hands in Prayer Crying Out to God Loudly
Pressing on Toward the Goal Taking Heaven by Force God Exalts the Humble and Brings Down the Proud
Whom Are You Seeking? Should you fear the Lord? Is a Woman's Hair Her Head Covering?
Aim for Perfection Obedience by the Spirit Is Obedience Optional?
Salvation with Fear and Trembling Holy Living in a Perverted World Drifting Away
The Cost of Discipleship Deleted Scriptures in the Bible? Is Tithing Required?
Where Should You Give Your Tithe? Walking in the Perfect Will of God Avoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian
The Obedience of Faith Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross? Law of Love in the New Testament
The New Covenant Law of Love in the New Testament The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith Costly Grace The Law of Christ
The Eyes of the Lord Garments of Godliness The Three Elijahs
The Burning Ones The End Has Come Now, But Not Yet
The Happy Hunters on Fire You're Better Off Following Jesus God Chooses the Weak Things 
The Beauty of Brokenness Seeing Jesus, Loving Him, Character and Glory Hearing the Lord's Voice
Hearing the Lord's Voice Inquiring of the Lord Praise the Lord!
The Loving God Who Bids Us to Come One thing Righteousness, Peace, and Joy
Is the the Self-Help and Actualization Movement a Sham? From Self-confidence to Confidence in the Lord The Self-Help Gospel
Checklist for Revival God Has Not Rejected His Jewish People, Has He? The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer
The Flaming Sword Clean Hands and a Pure Heart The Spirit of the Law
Keeping Your Body Pure and Holy An Open Mind that Loves the Truth Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?
Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth? The Apostasy Parables

The Top Ten Things Jesus Taught
The Disciples’ Prayer Is Tolerance a Virtue? Righteousness by Faith not Law
Life is Short. Eternity is Not. Noah's Ark a Type of Christ Grace, Mercy, and Peace
Ultimate Accountability Separation from the World The Knowledge of the Holy
The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness Ask for the Ancient Paths Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven
The Straight and Narrow Path Unhealthy Competition A Peculiar People
Listen to Jesus, Who Upholds Moses and the Prophets Hope for You

Beware of Philosophy and Empty Deception
The Love of Jesus The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer Having a Servant's Heart
Avoiding Worldly Worship Purge the Evil from Among You Who is God?
Living a Life Worthy of the Lord Praying for the Lord Jesus Who is God? - Part II
The Way, Will, and Word of God Overcomers in This Life The Afflictions of the Righteous
Saints Alive in Jesus Bowing Low in Worship Repentance That Leads to Life
Keeping a Good Conscience Remember Lot’s Wife Called to be Blameless
If -- A Picture Paints a Thousand Words The Lord Will Rejoice Over You The Nature of Persecution
The Wardrobe of the Saints Filled Up to All the Fullness of God Loving Deeply
Seeking Glory from God Amazing Grace God's Sovereign Plans and Purposes
Abominations in the Sight of God Identification with Christ Alabaster Jar
Running from God Forgetting the Past Was Jesus Seeker Friendly?
God's View of Public Bathing Is Secular Music for Christians? Ignorance is Not Bliss
In the Yolk of Christianity Songs of the Holy Fire Known by God
Modern Day Idols Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Walking in Truth, Righteousness, and Holiness
Escaping from Dead Religion Living Sacrifices in Consuming Fire God's Amazing Plan for Your Life
Your Identity in Christ Having the Love of God in Your Heart Knowing the Lord
Following in His Steps Our God is an Awesome God! Hide and Seek with God
Belonging to the Lord No Turning Back David, A Man After God's Own Heart
Living on Earth as They Do in Heaven Chosen for Obedience The Ironies Between Jesus and Barabbas
Dedication to God Keep Your Lamp Burning The Holy Fire Series
The Active Nature of Faith Why God Hides His Face Only What's Done for Christ Will Last
Praying Heart-Prayers Trembling at His Word Seeking Him in the Wee Hours of the Night
If My People Who Are Called by My Name The Flesh vs the Spirit The Sin of Sodom
Christian Perfection The Timeless Beauty of Holiness Stay at Home and Seek the Lord (COVID Quarantine)
Global Prayer Meeting

Our gift of these articles by Len Lacroix is made possible in part by your gracious support of the ministry. Partner with us online.  You may also access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. "Seek My Face" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist. 

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org. Partner with us online by giving to DMI.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Global Prayer Meeting


Please join us for a Christian, global prayer meeting on Monday, April 20, 2020. In 12 locations of the world it will be on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. We will pray for one hour beginning at the time listed below, so that all participants will be praying simultaneously throughout the world during that hour.

How to Pray
Pray with your spirit and with your understanding. Pray to our Father in Heaven in the name of Jesus Christ His Son. Pray in your own language and in tongues.

Main Prayer Points
Pray for the following three main prayer requests:

God's Kingdom to come
His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven
To forgive our sins as we repent and forgive others

Secondary Prayer Points
Here are the secondary prayer points:

For Jesus to reveal Himself to everyone with COVID-19
That everyone with COVID-19 would call upon Jesus' name and be saved
That everyone with COVID-19 would call upon Jesus' name and be healed
For Jesus to reveal Himself to all healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients
That all healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients would call upon Jesus' name and be saved and strengthened

You can print the prayer points here at this link.

Time and Date
Here are the start times and dates, depending on your region of the world: Times and Dates.

If for some reason beyond your control you cannot join us at the appointed time for that hour, then please plan to pray during the hour before or the hour after the prayer meeting.

Invite Others
Please share the link to this post on social media, via email, and word of mouth to those you know. Please let people know they can use Google Translate to translate this page into their own language. It is located in the lower left-hand column of this web page.

We hope you will join us!

Preparation
While you are preparing for the meeting, here are some things you may like to read that are relevant:

Stay at Home and Seek the Lord
If My People Who Are Called by My Name
Coronavirus: Origin, Reason, and Remedy
Economic Turmoil Worldwide
This Pales Compared to What's Coming
The Gift of Speaking in Tongues
Keys to Prayer
Prayer Promises

Pass the Word -- Invite Others!
Since the link to this page is banned as abusive content on Facebook, please post the following link instead: Global Prayer Meeting Invitation.

Confirmation
Less than an hour after the prayer meeting ended on April 20, 2020, I received the following comment from a sister in San Antonio, Texas USA named June, whom I had invited to the meeting:

"Dear brother in Christ! I live in San Antonio, TX - so I prayed at 10:00 am today and just finished my prayers!!! And I would like to share with you what happened during this global prayer meeting!  As you know brother I have awake visions during my prayers to Christ- So this is what I experienced- 10 min before praying - I got scratched my a demonic force on my left arm and left side of my face... This I understand is a demonic force trying to prevent me from praying. I had to plead the blood of Christ our Lord Jesus for protection during this prayer.... Once I started praying- I experienced great visions from our Lord Jesus! And felt the Holy Spirit greatly!!! Our Lord Jesus showed me holy writers in Heaven writing down this event - Letting me know that this prayer event was very important!!! The Lord Jesus showed me many lighted candles  during our prayers - letting me know that many that have our candle burning bright are praying to Him and He is listening!!!! Also before ending our prayer meeting, I saw many lamps with oil- And the the lamps that I saw in my vision were very old oil lamps from a long time ago- not the oil lamps of today. The Lord is letting us know that our lamps are lit and full of oil... Dear brother - Yes indeed this global prayer meeting did have the holy anointing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus and He did hear our prayers and it is written... I pray that you will find these words encouraging and thank you for inviting everyone to this very important global prayer meeting!"

Praise the Lord for that confirmation! Please share this with all those whom you know who participated. Here is sister June's video where she placed that comment.

Author's Note: You may also visit our Home page for this blog, or access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Stay at Home and Seek the Lord

At this unprecedented time, the whole world is staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, which I have written about in my article Coronavirus Origin, Reason, and Remedy. This has caused a major economic crash globally, which I have also written about in Economic Turmoil Worldwide. This is a time of great shaking in the world. We all need some encouragement and direction regarding what to do at this time, so let me share with you some Scriptures that will provide that for you.

When God Shakes the Land
First of all, the Psalms are full of encouragement about hard times, and one of them says:

"You have rejected us, God, and burst upon us; you have been angry—now restore us! You have shaken the land and torn it open; mend its fractures, for it is quaking. You have shown your people desperate times; you have given us wine that makes us stagger. But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow. Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered." (Psa 60:1-5)

When God shakes the land, so that it is quaking, and shows the people desperate times, giving them wine that makes them stagger, there is hope for the saints of God who fear Him. He has raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow. We should cry out to Him to save us and help us, so that those He loves may be delivered.

Enter Your Rooms, Shut the Doors and Hide Yourselves 
Then there is a passage in Isaiah that seems to fit perfectly this moment that we're all in together. It says:

"Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until His wrath has passed by. See, the LORD is coming out of His dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it; the earth will conceal its slain no longer." (Isa 26:20-21).

That's great biblical advice for what to do during this quarantine period. We who are the people of God should enter our rooms and shut the doors behind us; we should hide ourselves for a little while until His wrath has passed by. The ungodly scoff at the notion of God's wrath or a plague like this being God's wrath, but this is what the Bible teaches us. For more on this see End Time Plagues.

What is the Lord doing at this time? See, the LORD is coming out of His dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The shaking is necessary to dislodge sin and idolatry. There has been much innocent bloodshed, and the earth will now reveal the blood shed on it; the earth will no longer conceal her slain.

The coronavirus pandemic (with it's accompanying economic collapse) is just one of many things that are going to happen to shake the earth. As of the time of this writing, the pandemic has infected more than 3.6 million and killed 251,838 people worldwide (latest count here). And there are going to be many more slain. The Case Fatality Rate in the UK is currently 98.1%! Worldwide it is 25.7%. Italy has experienced over 17,000 deaths already, and the US has experienced almost 14,000, but there could be multiplied millions more deaths before this is over. After the first spike that we're in now, there will likely be subsequent spikes later, such as in the fall and in 2021. Therefore, we should take this seriously.

The good news is that this period of staying in our homes won't last forever. We will eventually be allowed back out. The passage in Isaiah above says that it is "for a little while".

Come, You Who Have No Money
As I said, the economic impact from this crisis has been severe. People are out of work, going hungry, they have no money, the supply chain is experiencing major disruptions, there are food and supply shortages (which is essentially a famine), and people are becoming desperate. What should we do? The Lord says:

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David." (Isa 55:1-3)

What a perfect verse for us at this time for those who have no money. If you have no money right now, you should be very encouraged by this, because the Lord is calling those who have no money to come to Him and buy from Him without money and without cost.  He promises that we will delight in the richest of fare. It reminds me of what Jesus said to His disciples when He told them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." (Joh 4:32). He went on to say, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." (Joh 4:34)

The Lord wants to make an everlasting covenant with those who take Him up on this invitation and come to Him.

Seek the Lord While He May Be Found
This crisis is a perfect time to seek the Lord. You no longer have the excuse that you have to work and you are too busy. You are at home now and there is plenty of time to seek the Lord. The non-essential places are closed where people normally go for entertainment and fun, so there are fewer distractions. Seek Him now at this time while He may still be found. There may come a time soon when it becomes so chaotic that you cannot seem to find Him in the midst of it (see here), but this is your opportunity to get alone with Him in your prayer closet. It's not time to be playing games and filling up your time with useless distractions.

"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon." (Isa 55:6-7)

It's time for everyone -- those who know the Lord and those who don't know Him -- to stop doing the things of the world, repent, pray, and seek the Lord. Believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved. God loves you and is calling you to Himself right now. Don't miss this opportunity! He will have mercy on you and freely pardon your sin.

Protection During Passover
In one sense, this plague resembles the deadly plague that God brought upon Egypt, in which He sent the death angel to kill the firstborn male child of each household. But the Israelites were instructed to sacrifice a lamb and put its blood upon their homes, specifically upon the doors and doorposts. They were to stay inside their homes that were covered by the blood of the lamb, and when the death angel would come, it would see the blood there upon it, and it would pass over that home, sparing the life of the firstborn male child in it.

Likewise, as we stay in our homes during this time of the Passover feast (April 8-16th), we should cry out to the Lord for the blood of Jesus to be upon our homes, upon the doors and doorposts, and upon each person within our homes. Name each one inside your home. If they have repented of their sins and invited Jesus to come and live inside their hearts, then His blood is upon them. You can ask the Lord for the covering and protection of His blood, and He will protect you. 

The Passover Lamb was a type of Jesus Christ, who is the true Lamb of God, and His blood saves us from death and hell. For more on this, please see my article, The Passover Lamb as a Type of Christ.

Claim the Promises of Psalm 91
You should also pray a personalized version of Psalm 91 each day over yourself. Make it personal. For example, pray, "I dwell in the secret place of the Most High. I abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge, my fortress, my God in whom I trust. Surely He will save me from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover me with His feathers, and under His wings I will find refuge; his faithfulness will be my shield and rampart. I will not fear the terror of night,  nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at my side, ten thousand at my right hand, but it will not come near me. I will only observe with my eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. I make the Most High my dwelling --- even the Lord, who is my refuge -- so no harm will befall me, no disaster will come near my tent. The Lord will command His angels concerning me to guard me in all my ways. He will protect me, for I acknowledge His name. With long life He will satisfy me and show me His salvation."

It's important to note that these promises are only for those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty (Ps 91:1). There is an amazing aspect of God's Kingdom called "abiding in Christ", which we see illustrated in various ways in Scripture, including the way that Noah and his family went into the ark and stayed there until the wrath of God had passed. For more on this, including other examples from Scripture, see my article, Abiding in Christ Illustrated.

Closing Words
I hope this has been an encouragement to you, during this time of unprecedented shaking, to go into your rooms, shut the door, hide yourself for a little while, and seek the Lord while He may be found. Buy from Him without money and without cost. Call on Him while He is near. Ask for the precious blood of Jesus to be upon you, your loved ones, and the house you dwell in.

Get yourself ready for the rapture. Be like the five wise virgins that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 25, who go and buy oil to fill up their extra flasks with it in preparation for the bridegroom's coming. Get filled with the Holy Spirit. Make your preparations now, before the next major cataclysm happens and before the Lord comes with the clouds of glory. He is coming very, very soon!

Attribution notice: Scripture quotation taken from the Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan, used by permission. Photo courtesy Pixabay.

Author's note: You may also want to read my other related posts:

Economic Turmoil Worldwide Coronavirus: Origin, Reason, and Remedy Are You Rapture Ready?
If My People Who Are Called by My Name This Crisis Pales Compared to What's Coming The Seven Seals Being Opened in Real Time
Seeking the Lord The End Has Come Abiding in Christ Illustrated
The 311 Moment Sequence of Signs Preceding the Coming of Christ Synching Up the Seven Seals with the Gospels

You may also visit our Home page for this blog, or access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Timeless Beauty of Holiness

The Scriptures teach us about the beauty of holiness, which is critical for us to understand, especially in a world where the latest fashions determine what society considers beautiful.

As the psalmist prayed: "Your statutes, LORD, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days." (Ps 93:5, NIV).

In this verse, the Hebrew word for "adorn" is nâ'âh (pronounced naw-aw'), which means "to be pleasant (or suitable), that is, beautiful: - be beautiful, become, be comely." (Strongs). In other words, we could say "holiness is what makes your house beautiful for endless days." Holiness is pleasant, beautiful, becoming, and comely. In fact, some English versions word it that way.

"O LORD, holiness is what makes your house beautiful for days without end." (GW).

"Holiness befits Your house, O LORD, forevermore."  (NASB)

"Holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever." (KJV)

Since the Scripture says that holiness makes the Lord's house beautiful forevermore, and since we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, then holiness is what makes us beautiful forevermore. It is holiness, not fashion, that makes us comely. Holiness is becoming of us as God's holy people, and pleasant -- not only to the soul of the one who possesses it, but pleasant to behold such a saint. Fashions may come and go with the passing of time, but the timeless beauty of holiness lasts throughout all ages.

Matthew Henry wrote:

"All his people ought to be conscientiously pure: Holiness becomes thy house, O Lord! for ever. God's church is his house; it is a holy house, cleansed from sin, consecrated by God, and employed in his service. The holiness of it is its beauty (nothing better becomes the saints than conformity to God's image and an entire devotedness to his honour), and it is its strength and safety; it is the holiness of God's house that secures it against the many waters and their noise. Where there is purity there shall be peace. Fashions change, and that which is becoming at one time is not so at another; but holiness always becomes God's house and family, and those who belong to it; it is perpetually decent; and nothing so ill becomes the worshipers of the holy God as unholiness."

I agree with Matthew Henry, yet today the Church has compromised with the world and accepted worldly fashions, so that believers adorn themselves immodestly, artificially, and impurely. Whatever is vogue for the world has become vogue for Christians, too. That includes makeup, jewelry, unnatural hairdo's, piercing, tattoos, and immodest or revealing clothing that can cause others to stumble.  Such things should have no place in the life of a true saint whose life is devoted to Jesus.

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." (1Co 6:19-20).

Since our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, then whatever applied to the physical temple of Israel on earth, and whatever applies to God's holy temple in heaven, should also apply to our bodies. The Scriptures say that God's temple is in heaven (Heb 8:2, 5; 9:11, 24; Ps 11:4; 18:6; Hab 2:20; 2 Sam 22:7; Mic 1:2; Jonah 2:7; Rev 7:15; 11:19; 14:15,17; 15:5-6; 16:1, 17), and that nothing unclean or impure is allowed there (Rev 21:27; 22:15). Likewise, there should be nothing unclean or impure allowed in our lives, including not just our hearts and minds, but also on our bodies.

"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.' Therefore, 'Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.' And, 'I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.'" (2Co 6:16-18).

We live in a day when the worship of humans is common place and it is normal for people to make women, as well as men, into idols. This ought not be so in the Church, which is the house of God. When men and women adorn themselves artificially to beautify themselves, it leads to idolatry. And the Scripture says there is no agreement between God's temple and idols.

This is true at all times, wherever we may be, but especially in the place of worship. Yet take a look at the way people dress and adorn themselves in the house of God, wherever the Church assembles around the world, and you will typically find worldliness and immodesty.

Albert Barnes wrote:
"The psalm seems to have been intended to be used in the sanctuary, as a part of public worship, and the word 'holiness' here would seem to mean a proper respect for God; confidence in him; a state of mind free from all doubt, and from all that is impure. Perhaps there may be here, also, the idea that in all the convulsions of the world; in all that threatens to overthrow truth and righteousness; in all the attacks which are made on the divine government; in all the efforts of the defenders of error, and in the midst of abounding iniquity, the church should maintain a firm adherence to the principles of 'holiness,' to that which is right and true. There should be one place - the church - where there would be no wavering in regard to truth and holiness; one place, where the truth would be defended whatever commotions might be abroad. The main idea, therefore, in the psalm is, that, in view of the fact that God reigns, and that nothing can frustrate his plans, or disturb his throne, we should approach him with reverence, with humble trust, with sincere and pure hearts."

"In a larger sense, also, in the largest sense conceivable - it is true that 'holiness,' purity, freedom from evil thoughts, from a wanton eye and a wanton imagination, from unholy plans and purposes, should prevail in the house of God, and should be regarded as indispensable to proper worship. As heaven is pure, and as there shall enter there nothing 'that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie' (Rev 21:27), so in the place where we seek to prepare for that holy world - the sanctuary of God - nothing should be allowed to enter that is impure and polluting; nothing that tends to corrupt or defile the soul. It may be added, that attendance in a place of public worship is calculated to make the heart pure, and to banish unholy thoughts and purposes from the soul. A man who feels that he is in the presence of a holy God, will not be likely to welcome into his soul polluted images and unholy desires."

John Wesley wrote:

"It becometh thy people to be holy in all their approach to thee."

The reason it is becoming of His saints to be holy in all things as we approach God is that He Himself is holy and He requires holiness in our lives. The Lord says, "Be holy, even as I am holy." Scripture also says, "From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth." (Ps 50:2, NIV). Not only is Zion perfect in beauty, but God Himself is perfect in beauty. The Brenton English Septuagint translates this verse to say, "Out of Zion comes the excellence of His beauty." (Psa 50:2). He is beautiful beyond description, too marvelous for words. He is more beautiful than diamonds. David's one desire was to dwell in God's house forever, gazing upon His beauty and seeking Him in His temple (Ps 27:4). Therefore, God is both holy and beautiful, but He is never artificial. In fact, His holiness and beauty are perfect, and He makes all things beautiful in His time (Ecc 3:11). That includes man, who is made in His image.

Closing Words
As we have learned from Scripture, holiness adorns God's house forevermore, so that will never change. It's true of His temple in heaven and His temple on earth. That means  holiness is what makes us, His temple, beautiful. Since holiness is what makes us beautiful, then we must keep ourselves free from being polluted by the world with its ungodly fashions (Jam 1:27).

The Lord is not only concerned with our hearts, as is mostly emphasized in the Church today, but He is also concerned with our bodies as well.  He calls us to purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God (2 Cor 7:1). This ensures that we remain beautiful in His sight. But it also has the added benefit of making us beautiful in the natural, wholesome way that God originally intended, when He made us in His image. This is the timeless beauty of holiness.

Attribution notice: Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan, used by permission. Other Scriptures where noted are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB), copyright The Lockman Foundation, used by permission. 

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, please also see the following: Garments of Godliness, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine RevelationsKeeping Your Body Pure and HolyCarrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?, Separation from the World, The Forgotten Sin of WorldlinessTattoos and Body Piercing, Is a Woman's Hair Her Head Covering?Holy Living in a Perverted World, Aim for PerfectionFollowing in His StepsCalled to be Blameless, Ask for the Ancient Paths, and Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven. You may find the Main Directory for this blog at Home, and you may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Christian Perfection

John Wesley
One of my favorite preachers from modern Church history is John Wesley, an English minister who served the Lord during the eighteenth century. He is so well-known that there is no need for much of an introduction. I've been enjoying a book that contains excerpts from his personal journals, which I highly recommend. It is called The Heart of John Wesley's Journal by Percy Livingstone Parker and John Wesley.

Wesley was highly criticized by many people for his message on Christian perfection, and he met with much opposition over it. In fact, he was often verbally and physically assaulted by various mobs and individuals, when he attempted to preach anywhere. In one of his journal entries, he explained what he actually taught about perfection and wondered how anyone, Christian or not, could have any problem with his doctrine if they understood what he meant by it.

Here is how Wesley explained it:

"By Christian perfection, I mean (1) loving God with all our heart. Do you object to this? I mean (2) a heart and life all devoted to God. Do you desire less? I mean (3) regaining the whole image of God. What objection to this? I mean (4) having all the mind that was in Christ. Is this going too far? I mean (5) walking uniformly as Christ walked. And this surely no Christian will object to. If anyone means anything more or anything else by perfection, I have no Concern with it. But if this is wrong, yet what need of this heat about it, this violence, I had almost said, fury of opposition, carried so far as even not to lay out anything with this man, or that woman, who professes it?"

To summarize his five points, they were as follows:

Loving God with All Our Heart
Perfection means loving God with all our heart. Jesus said that this is the greatest commandment: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment."(Mat 22:37-38). As Wesley asked, "Do you object to this?"

A Heart And Life All Devoted To God
Perfection means having a heart and life fully devoted to God. Hanani the seer said in Scripture, "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." (2 Chr 16:9a)

Jesus said, "So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions." (Luk 14:33, NASB)

And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it." (Luk 9:23-24, NASB)

The apostle Paul said, "I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord." (1Co 7:35)

As Wesley asked, "Do you desire less?"

Regaining The Whole Image Of God
Perfection means having the whole image of God in you restored. God originally created man in His own image. Scripture says, "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Gen 1:27). But sin marred the image of God. Yet when any man comes to Christ, the Lord begins to restore the image of God in him. It's true that old things have passed away and all things have become new (2 Cor 5:17). However, there is an ongoing process of transformation that each follower of Christ goes through. Paul said, "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2Co 3:18).

As Wesley asked, "What objection [do you have] to this?"

Having All The Mind That Was In Christ
Perfection means having all the mind that was in Christ. The apostle Paul wrote, "For, 'Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ." (1Co 2:16).  

He also wrote: 

"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 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." (Php 2:5-11).

Pray that God will give you the mind, the emotions, the attitude, and the humility of Christ. As Wesley asked, "Is this going too far?"

Walking Uniformly As Christ Walked
Perfection is walking consistently as Jesus walked. The apostle John wrote: "Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did." (1Jn 2:6)

The apostle Peter was in agreement with this when he wrote: "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. 'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.' " (1Pe 2:21-22).

Who can find anything wrong with teaching that we should walk as Jesus walked and follow in His steps? As Wesley said, "Surely no Christian will object to this."

See my article Following in His Steps.

Closing Words
Our Lord has taught us to "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Mat 5:48). Obviously he would not command us to do something that was impossible for us. We know that apart from Christ we can do nothing (Jn 15:5), but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:13). For with God all things are possible (Mt 19:26).

Having learned from Wesley himself what he meant by Christian perfection, and then having discovered the solid Scriptural basis for it, I (like him) really don't see how anyone could disagree with this teaching. It's straight out of the Bible. If anyone means anything more or anything else by perfection than what has been explained in this post, I have no concern with it.

Wesley was honest to admit with the apostle Paul that he had not yet attained to perfection (Phil 3:12). But he used to say that we should not simply expect to attain to perfection only once we have died and gone to heaven, but we should live our lives expecting to be made perfect by the Lord at any hour. Indeed, this is a wonderful thought for all those who -- like Wesley -- are aiming for perfection and desire to attain to it in this lifetime. I hope you will take such a view as well.

Attribution notice: Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan, used by permission. Other Scriptures where noted are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB), copyright The Lockman Foundation, used by permission. Quote from Wesley's journal taken from The Heart of John Wesley's Journal by Percy Livingstone Parker, (Peabody, MA.: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2008), 379-380.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, please also see the following: Aim for PerfectionFollowing in His StepsWalking in the Perfect Will of GodCalled to be BlamelessThe Four Tallest Homes in HeavenThe Cost of DiscipleshipThe Obedience of FaithAsk for the Ancient Paths, Holy Living in a Perverted World, and Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven. You may find the Main Directory for this blog at Home, and you may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.